This letter is to all the friends I know who have kids in school. This isn’t a generic letter I’ve copied and pasted from something. We either know you from church, or school, or our neighborhood, and this is the first time I’ve ever sent a letter like this.
I have sat back and wondered what the heck we are supposed to do. My husband is a teacher, and he is watching massive reforms to education being implemented in our schools. Teachers are being pulled out for training on all of these changes, but have you heard about it?
When we registered our son for Junior High, we found out some major changes are starting next year for him, and how he is being taught. We thought this was just our school district and so we were focused locally. But we have since found out that this is not true. It’s called “Common Core” and it’s being adopted by our state.
Some of the changes coming/or already implemented:
* The schools will be/or are collecting LOTS more data on your children to keep track of how they are learning (some of the data can include religious affiliation and political party of the family). I’m not sure what this has to do with their education… But the data is very extensive, which makes the next issue even more troubling.* There has already been regulations put into place that our schools have equal rights with parents on privacy issues. Just in case you aren’t aware, the school no longer needs your permission to share data about your child with whomever they think needs it. (This is alarming in that it means our kids will be tracked from cradle to grave..have your kids ever made mistakes in school, not done well on assignments, had any problems? This will be on permanent records that won’t just stay at schools but can be passed on to others..jobs etc).
* Detracking: which means there will be no advanced, no regular, or slower level classes, everyone will be together. Some descriptions of it can be found in the book my husband was told to read at his school. (This is a pro Common Core book) Part of it is online. Having children that are both accelerated and some that struggle in school, I see no benefit, but huge detriment to both with this new change. That is being implemented in our school district next year. If it’s not yet in yours, it will be coming soon once Common Core is fully established. (Below is a link to that book “Detracking for Excellence and Equity.”
publications/books/108013.aspx* Changing how curriculum is taught. Math is taking a massive change in their methods of teaching. There are many people worried that this type of teaching will make it VERY hard for kids to move into advanced math. So my accelerated kids will be held back with this new method. It over complicates math, so that it’s overwhelming to learn. And they start teaching this complicated method in the young elementary school grades. This is one argument. Whether you agree or not, once implemented, it won’t matter what you think.
There are other changes in other subjects also related to Common Core. But this is the subject I have seen changes implemented already. Check out how your kids are doing their math. I’ve heard it’s in Meridian and I know it’s in Boise schools already.
* The Common Core curriculum is being lead by the Department of Education. So if you have a complaint about how your child is being taught, and we adopt the method of teaching that they are setting up all testing for (including college ACT/SAT’s) and the school testing your kids do each year, then you can no longer go to your principal or your school board for changes. They will have taken federal money, and be committed to them on how our kids pass their testing. If you don’t like the curriculum, your local control is lost, you will have to complain to the Department of Education.
Because all of this is being pushed so hard by the Federal Government, with money being dangled in front of states on whether they accept this or not, there is immense pressure to just follow it. Most curriculum/education books these days are being written to common core, and the testing will be based around it.
So if we don’t like it, we will have to speak up loud and immediately. Our state leaders will have to know we expect them to stand against this, stick to the old methods, or find their own curriculum, and find it’s own way to stand without the Federal Government.But if we let it be implemented, we have set in motion something that will be very hard to get rid of. That’s my biggest concern. Usually when our schools or school districts do something, we still have the power to make changes locally, if we don’t like it. This will make it very hard, if not impossible. Unlike Tom Luna’s last plan that was voted down…whether you liked it or not, at least we had a say. We won’t have that same say with this one, if we don’t talk, literally today!
Whether you agree or not, I think all parents should be informed, and make sure that they are really on board with this, because it is not a small change. Butch Otter has spontaneously said he will open the forum for discussion tonight and for 6 more nights. I have not seen it advertised, but know about it from my husband’s school.
After these meetings the decision will be made. If this is the first time you have heard about this, I am not surprised. But I would spend the day learning more… TODAY, because the meetings start tonight!
I’m horrified I took this long to send out the email, but it just sounds like such a crazy email to send, and yet these meetings have forced the issue. This is a very big change coming, if we don’t stand up and start asking questions!Two people that are in the argument over it is Tom Luna, (who is very much for it), and Glenn Beck who is very much against it. So if you want to find arguments from both sides, those are two outspoken people you can look to, to see very different sides of the issue.
If you have questions, give me a call. But PLEASE don’t read this and set it aside. I don’t tend to be a person who sends out emails like this. I tend to be the person who sits quietly on the side lines, and doesn’t try to rock the boat. But our family is in the setting to see the changes being made, how fast they are being implemented, and without many parents even knowing it’s happening, and we are very alarmed.
Below I have attached two links. One is a show that Glenn Beck did on Common Core. He’s actually done at least one more that I’ve seen, there might be a third. This shows some of the arguments for why this should at least have parents asking questions.The other link is to Butch Otters open forums for parents to visit. There will only be two in the area and one is tonight. So please don’t put this email aside, but pass it on.
And then the link I put above gives you a book that the teachers were told to read to convince them that this is a good thing. That gives you two different sides of the argument, and a meeting to go to once you have looked at both ideas.
I know I am so busy! That is one of the two reasons I haven’t sent this email earlier. But I guess some things you have to just stop what you are doing, because the immediacy on the decision takes precedence. I think this is one of those days, you should change your schedule and decide what you think.
PS I have heard that once this is implemented they will force it in every part of our education (even homeschooling). I haven’t researched the truth of this statement…but if that is true, you REALLY can’t sit back…or you will have lost all options on how we teach our children.
Butch Otters Public Meetings on Education start TONIGHT!!!
idahoparentsandteachers.com/ time-for-public-to-have-a-say- on-education-reform/
Glenn Becks show on Common Core
wordpress.com/2013/03/18/the- full-glenn-beck-tv-show-on- common-core-3-14-13/
A few days ago this letter was forwarded to me from a friend. I contacted the author asking if I could post it. Their spouse is a teacher in Idaho, and here are some of their concerns about Common Core…