They tossed me a bone. Let’s face it, that’s what Wednesday’s joint Education Committee hearing amounted to…
Let’s start with the understanding that the two men who put the forum together support Common Core.
On January 9th, I was informed of the panel they planned to hold and asked to help get experts to sit on the panel. With less than two weeks’ notice it’s very hard to get nationally recognized Common Core experts – they’re in high demand! Sandra Stotsky and Jamie Gass actually did volunteer to be a part of the panel via Skype or teleconferencing, but when I suggested this to Rep. DeMordaunt he turned down the offers.
As the date loomed closer I had a few concerns that I shared with Rep. Demordaunt. (You can’t complain afterwards if you don’t complain before!)
In an email I stated:
“I wish there had been more notice given before this forum. There are a number of experts who would have been willing to come here, but with less than two weeks notice it was just not possible. Some of these experts were willing to teleconference to participate, but that offer was declined.
Also, it would appear that you chose both the panel for the pro and the con sides of the forum. Isn’t it a conflict of interest for you, who is so vocally pro Common Core, to be choosing the panelists who are anti? I don’t even know who is going to be sitting with me.
It also seems a little lop-sided that the proponents would have three members on the panel and opponents only two.”
In response to my concern that the panel was set up to be lop-sided in favor of pro-Common Core individuals, Rep. DeMordaunt replied that most of the questions submitted by the public were anti-Common Core and he felt the pro-Common Core side needed more opportunity to “explain” their positions. This smacks of elitism on his part. He didn’t suddenly become more intelligent than his constituents by virtue of his new position as an elected official nor did the people in his district elect him because they felt he was smarter than they. They chose him because they felt he would best represent their collective opinions and concerns. Instead, he’s chosen to dismiss their concerns as uninformed about Common Core. That’s unfortunate, since I liked him enough to make phone calls on his behalf and even put his sign in my front yard for his campaign during the 2010 election cycle. Doh!!!
I understand that, in an effort to save time, the questions were submitted beforehand in an effort to condense and shorten the length of the forum. However, I saw the full initial set of questions and the pared down version and it was obvious that all the questions that would have put Tom Luna and Co. on defense were removed from the final count. What remained were softball questions largely centered around only ONE of the four pillars of Common Core – the standards. Although that’s an important subject to discuss, it’s not nearly as concerning as the other three.
This forum was an attempt to appease those of us who oppose Common Core. Now they believe they can say they’ve heard both sides of the story. In reality, they’ve only really ever listened to Tom Luna and his supporters for the past five years. If the education committee truly has a desire to learn and fully hear both sides of this extremely important issue they need to invite local and national experts to present for at least two hours. These are they who’ve taken the time to connect the dots and document the facts behind the Common Core agenda.