Several parents, grandparents, former and current educators, attended the last task force meeting. The meeting started at 6:30 and ended after 9:00. Most of the speakers who attended the event spoke about their concerns with Common Core. In watching the news coverage on our major stations following the event, Common Core was hardly mentioned. The valid questions and concerns from several Idaho citizens were glossed over. During this event members of the Task Force were heard openly mocking citizens and educators that were asking questions. They are employed to be civil servants, they work for us, and on our behalf. As we get involved, and understand what Common Core will mean for Idaho’s children, we as parents and citizens deserve their respect. We have a right to question the decisions they have made, and we have the right to hear answers that are based in fact and not opinion. We have a right to say we don’t like it, we don’t want it, and demand that they prove their assertions.
Governor Otter on December 27, 2012 wrote a letter entitled Getting Serious About Improving Our Schools Means Continuing the Conversation. Governor Otter’s letter to the Task Force He wrote, “I expect this group to have meaningful discussions and reach out to communities all across our state. For those groups representing educators, I am asking that they not only bring people to the table, but that they also serve as a conduit to their memberships in school districts throughout Idaho. Everyone involved will be responsible for the tone and substance of this conversation.”
Common core was decided without any “meaningful discussion”. It was “adopted” by a few Idaho individuals as part of a federal grant program. They wanted to qualify for federal funds and grants, so they accepted the federal mandate to “adopt English language and math standards that meet the new college- and career ready standards no later than 2014-2015.” The standards were only the first of several other requirements. They also agreed to common assessments, and a Statewide Longitudinal Data System. flexibility waiver (Idaho State Department of Education ESEA Flexibility Request 02/16/2012)
Common Core State Standard initiative was never brought before the full Idaho Legislature. One parent who heard about Common Core early in this process, was present at the Education committee hearing where they were reviewed, and ultimately approved. She was allowed ten minutes to present an opposing view of Common Core. The proponets were given unlimited time, and then allowed time to rebute any opposition. Is this Governor Otter’s idea of, “reaching out to a diverse cross-section of members to join in this process”. In this same letter Superintendent Tom Luna said, “I have already met with representatives of each stakeholder group individually and am anxious to move beyond discussion through an open, transparent, accountable process so we can all take the steps necessary to move our education system forward”.
Nothing about the process of Common Core has been transparent. The process was never intended to be. The organization that helped to write the standards holds private meetings. “the Council of Chief State School Officers holds over one hundred meetings per year. CCSSO meetings are closed to the public and attendance is by invitation only unless otherwise denoted.”CCSSO Meeting Policy Of the ones currently listed on the website none are open to the public. The standards themselves were written by a work group “composed of content experts from Achieve, Inc., ACT, and the College Board. The Work Group’s deliberations will be confidential throughout the process. States and national education organizations will have an opportunity to review and provide evidence-based feedback on the draft documents throughout the process. Final decisions regarding the common core standards document will be made by the Standards Development Work Group. The Feedback Group will play an advisory role, not a decision-making role in the process.” NGA Common Core Development & Feedback Work Groups Does this sound like a state led initiative? This document Common Core State Standards Development Work Group and Feedback Group Announced, lists those who were part of the working group. Idaho is not represented in either the working group, or the feedback group. How was this Idaho-led?
Parents and most of Idaho’s legislative body were not consulted or included in either the writing or vetting process. Those who voted to implement Common Core gave away this state right to have input on our educational standards. As it stands today there is no amendment process for the Common Core Standards. We cannot alter them in any way. Why are we outsourcing this core state function?
If this was meant to be an open and transparent process, it would have been. It was not. Many parents are still not aware that Common Core is more than a set of standards. Superintendent Luna continues to promote this Myth. He leaves out all mention of the Consortium that will be writing common assessments, and the data collection elements that are a necessary mandated part of these new standards. If they wanted parents and citizens involved in a “meaningful way” the process would have been completely different. They still do not want our voices heard. I will continue to ask for a open publicized debate. I ask all of you who are in the fight against Common Core to do the same. Write your local and national representatives. Ask them to answer your questions. Ask them to allow us to make our case. Let our voices be heard in a meaningful way!