Archive for Tuesday, May 14, 2013

State Board hears opposition to Common Core Standards

May 14, 2013


— The Kansas State Board of Education heard a barrage of criticism Tuesday over the reading and math standards it adopted two and a half years ago.

During the “citizens open forum” of the board's meeting, which usually only lasts about 30 minutes, the state board listened for an hour and a half as speaker after speaker from many parts of the state spoke out against the new Common Core standards for reading and math.

“When I heard about Common Core, I decided to check it out, and realized it was just the latest incursion of the federal government in its relentless pursuit of controlling our lives,” said Judy Smith, state director of Concerned Women for America, a group that, according to its website, works to “bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.”

The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in all but a handful of states, were a project by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop curriculum standards that would prepare students for college and the workforce.

Kansas formally adopted the standards in 2010, dubbing them the "Kansas college and career-ready standards." School districts throughout the state, including the Lawrence school district, have spent much of the past two years getting teachers ready to implement them.

But Megan King of Lawrence told the board she didn't believe the public was ready to accept the standards.

“I would encourage you, like everyone has said, to step back and look at this a little bit differently,” King said. “People are just now becoming awake to this because it was really brought in through a backdoor effort.”

Few of the people who spoke said they objected to the specific content of the standards, but most did share the opinion that they represent a form of federal intrusion into state and local education matters.

“They've already taken over our healthcare, and now they're trying to take over our education system,” said one woman who addressed the board. “Enough is enough. People are tired. We're tired of not being listened to. We're tired of not being heard. But most of all we're tired of bureaucrats trying to tell us what to do at our local and state level.”

Most state board members, however, appeared unmoved by the testimony.

“I think these are Kansas college and career-ready standards,” said newly elected board member Jim McNiece, a Wichita Republican. “I think we've had a great deal of input. I'm pleased with the direction we've gone, the board prior to my arrival as well as this board.”

Board chairwoman Jana Shaver, an Independence Republican who was a member of the board in 2010, said she also was not convinced by the speakers.

"You know, they talked about myth and fact," she said. "Of course, we have our facts that we have researched. We put a lot of thought and time into deciding about that in 2010."


IreneAdler84 11 months ago

I wont rehash the obvious fact that this was NOT a federal mandate. In fact these standards were developed by a consortium of educators at the state level because they were not happy with NCLB.

I also find it interesting that the vast majority of the comments fail to present coherent objections to the standards themselves. Most are just focused on the federal gvt as the bogey man.

Point of Fact: There are standards of practice for a wide variety of professional practices (e.g., Medicine, Psychology). Why should teaching be any different.

Point of Fact: I am completely unaware of any penalty for states who set the bar HIGHER than Common Core standards.

Point of Fact: I think what concerns many of the groups who oppose Common Core is that it is designed to teach critical thinking. Can you imagine what Kansans might do in the voting booth if they began to think critically about claims made by Brownback et al?


jafs 11 months ago

"The purpose of education is to one day see the face of God"

Not in my world.


erdkinder 11 months ago

I'm still doing research and digging through lots of information to find out what is really going on here. I find it interesting that, in order to apply for Race to the Top grants, states needed to be a part of a consortium of several states (at least five) who agreed to use the same standards. A state was allowed up to 15% of its own content, but that is not much. According to the Race to the Top website, to qualify for a grant, each consortia of states agreed to demonstrate that it would develop an assessment that, "Measures student knowledge and skills against standards from a common set of college- and career-ready standards (as defined in the NIA) The (NIA), notice inviting application, provides the following: "Common set of college- and career-ready standards means a set of academic content standards for grades K-12 that (a) define what a student must know and be able to do at each grade level; (b) if mastered, would ensure that the student is college- and career-ready (as defined in the NIA) by the time of high school graduation; and (c) are substantially identical across all States in a consortium." This means that the standards are not just common across one state but are common across several. I find it ironic that the national not-for-profit, Achieve Inc., along with the two D.C. trade-based organizations, the National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers rolled out drafts of their College and Career Readiness Standards during the grant process. States may have not been technically coerced into these common standards but were definitely highly encouraged as evidenced by the timing involved and the number of states who accepted them so quickly before seeing final copies. I am reading that the U.S. Department of Education was highly involved in the meetings to develop these standards and want to find out more about that. I know that we need accountability and quality education opportunities everywhere, but I am concerned about the nature of the textbooks and materials aligned to national standards. I encourage people who care about our children to deeply research what is going on here. Now, the moment you were waiting for, let's just strip off the layers and get to the real point. Time for me to stand up and be the radical Christian I am called to be! When prayer was taken out of our public schools, God was removed. Confusion results. The purpose of education is not to raise our children to be parts of a governmentally oiled, global, economic machine, though, of course, I don't deny the importance of economics or preparation to live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters world-wide. The purpose of education is to one day see the face of God. Wouldn't it be a blessing if that were the standard! I firmly have faith that God the Son, Jesus Christ, will show Himself to us all at some point. Will we accept Him? True happiness can come earlier rather than later.


erdkinder 11 months ago

"I am a Douglas County resident, and I participated in the Kansas State School Board of Education meeting and spoke about my concerns with Common Core. I can honestly say that this article did not fully represent the content of what was shared that day. Contrary to what was stated, several people spoke about concerns over the content of the standards, especially with regard to the math and English/language arts (ELA) educators who refused to sign off on them because they felt that they were not rigorous enough and lacked balance between study of technical/informational texts and literary works. The article failed to mention the former state Board of Education member who stood up and said that the Common Core initiative was pushed through in 2010 under Governor Parkinson with people really having little knowledge of what exactly they were pushing through.

To be continued


tomatogrower 11 months ago

"You know, they talked about myth and fact," she said. "Of course, we have our facts that we have researched. We put a lot of thought and time into deciding about that in 2010."

And these fanatics only deal in myths, they don't like facts.

"The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in all but a handful of states, were a project by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop curriculum standards that would prepare students for college and the workforce."

Where is the federal government? Where was this Judy Smith when professional educators developed the standards? It's been in the newspapers. I guess, since Fox and social networks didn't report on it while they were being developed, she knew nothing. She had to wait to be told what to think. Where was this Judy Smith when she was being taught critical thinking in school? What a good little robot. Miss Judy, why don't you try and educate yourself before making a fool of yourself in public?


jafs 11 months ago

The problem with letting states and local areas operate independently, without common standards, should be obvious.

A child born in one place may get a very different, and inferior education than one born in another.

If we really want to make sure that all children in the country are educated well, we'd have to have a consistent national set of standards for education.

Since there are variations in population from place to place, states and local areas should still have flexibility about how to go about achieving those standards, in my view.

The problems with NLCB have more to do with including folks who couldn't achieve the standards, a lack of funding, and the outcome if schools don't achieve the desired standards. But, the idea of nationally consistent standards for education is a very good one, I think.


NoStandardizedMinds 11 months ago

Now that all of us who testified at the Board meeting have met and exchanged contact information, yes, we will work together. Our movement against Common Core is part of a larger grass roots movement to return to Constitutional government, rule of law and protection of property rights. Calling us insulting names will not make us go away. Astroturf is organized top down and usually dissolves after an event is over. Grass roots activism is concerned people getting together to solve problems and the movement grows, instead of dissolving.


hellomynameis 11 months ago

I completely agree with you stacyD this is not a partisan issue. If you did not agree with NCLB then you should not agree with CCSS.


Asamatteroffact 11 months ago

Leading educators such as Sandra Stotsky, Ze’re Wurman and, and Jim Milgram have found the Common Core standards to be academically inferior to several state standards and to standards from high achieving countries. But even more disturbing is that the standards will lead to a national curriculum, which will become a federal curriculum, which is a really bad idea. There is already a curriculum aligned with Common Core-- the Core Knowledge curriculum. From the E.D. Hirsch web site, this curriculum “describes what children need to learn to meet these [Common Core] standards”. So, we're not just talking about standards. A national curriculum would be a one-size-fits-all system that leaves parents, local educators, and local school boards out of the picture.


PFC 11 months ago

Ah, the trolls are signing up in bunches to enlighten us with big government conspiracies.


StaceyD 11 months ago

This seems to be becoming some kind of partisan issue, but let’s all remember that we were united in our opposition to No Child Left Behind. Why? Because No Child Left Behind was a national standard that limited the ability of schools, teachers, and parents to tailor the education of each child; because it created standardized testing that forced teachers to ‘teach to the test’; because it was underfunded. All were good reasons to oppose No Child Left Behind, and all were non-partisan.

I am happy to see No Child Left Behind ending, but to replace it with another standard that limits the ability of schools, teachers, and parents to tailor the education of each child, creates a standard curriculum that will eventually necessitate a standardized test for that standard knowledge, and is underfunded, makes no sense.

It doesn’t matter where the standards come from, if they are forced upon schools, teachers, and parents, we will be in the same place we now find ourselves and we’ll likely be debating the next ‘fix’ a decade from now.



hellomynameis 11 months ago

It is not flawed logic to see clearly that the states were coerced into adopting a set of standards that were not even written yet in order to apply for much needed Race to the Top money. Kansas did not end up receiving RTTT money, but they did get a No Child Left Behind waiver which states clearly as one of 4 requirements the need to adopt Common Core Standards. These documents are very easy to find on the website. Read the memorandum of agreement, the RTTT application, and the NCLB waiver and put it in a time line you will see there was little choice involved. I would hate for you to have to do your OWN research and form your OWN opinion, just continue to read Lawrences editorial paper that feeds you the narrative so you can spew it back word for word.


ABC1234CBA 11 months ago

The Common Core State Standards is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is simply another avenue of the Federal Government to root itself into our society more. I have to look at issues like this with logic and not emotion. First, there is no Constitutional provision for the Federal Government to have dealings with education and direction to the States on what the subject matters should be. That would be strike one. The second is the failed past of the Department of Education, created under President Carter in 1979. The explosion in education spending hence has not created better students; I would argue it has created more lemmings that independent thinkers. I therefore have no confidence that more government with fix anything - it always makes the problem worse and begs for more government to fix that. That is strike two. The third is the irrational methods that are being proposed. It is unclear to me what the "experts" were thinking drafting these standards, but they appear to be appeasing the ADD culture we currently have. There is no diligence study of the real core subjects of western civilization. They certainly claim there is "rigor", but the methodology does not provide for the complete study of any literary work and the contextual understanding of the text. I have read the CCSS Initiative documents and they are full of the typical bureaucratic BS; the plain simple issue is that Common Core does not teach children how to think - it will only school them for a test - not making them prepared to succeed in the labor market nor at University. I believe in Federalism, the division of government, and in the 9th and 10th Amendments. This is a State issue, Kansas should decide how to educate Kansans. D.C. does not know how best to serve everyone - we are individuals - I certainly do not wish my children to come out carbon copies of their classmates - each robotic in their inability to think for themselves.


EduSanity 11 months ago

Come on people, wake up to the rhetoric of Common Core.

This is the federal and corporate takeover of education.

Whether conservative, liberal, radical, or somewhere in between, you should really pay attention to how the local control of schools is being stripped away (by oversteps by the federal government which conservatives should hate AND by the involvement of corporate America which liberals should hate). Kansas should follow Indiana's move this week of HALTING the implementation (or mis-implementation) of the CCSS.


Mark Thompson 11 months ago

The article is mostly accurate in depicting what happened except with the characterization that the speakers were from "many parts of the state". The speakers were mostly from Johnson County and Wichita. If you looked a bit deeper into their backgrounds, I'd venture to say that most of them were proponents of home schooling and private schools - not frieds of public school in the least. This was a very coordinated display that reflects an extremely narrow segment of Kansas. Please pay attention to the words the speakers kept using: bibilical, federal intrusion, loss of freedom, backdoor. These are obvious talking points provided to the speakers. The ultimate irony is the speakers were trying to portray that they were tired of bureaucrats telling them what to do, but every one of them were parroting exactly what someone else wanted them to say. Puppets in a propaganda machine.


grandnanny 11 months ago

I agreed with you until you got to the part about local schools being controlled by teachers' unions. Local schools are controlled by local school boards which are elected and often run by people who have an axe to grind. Many have little education themselves. Teachers and teachers' unions have little input into what classes are taught or where the money is spent. The United States does not have one of the lowest performing public school systems in the industrialized world. In fact many countries have tried to copy our system. What we do is educate every child who comes through the door regardless of whether that child is homeless or comes to school without breakfast. We see children who have been beaten and sexually abused. Teachers are the ones on the front lines but they are the ones who get bashed every time someone wants to destroy public education. I have not studied the Common Core but my daughter who is a teacher likes them so I hope it will be what is needed. Unfortunately until children come to school ready to learn teachers will still be faced with daunting tasks. (Sorry there are no commas. That key is not working on my keyboard.)


scarletbhound 11 months ago

Thank you, RGH, for setting the record straight on the background of the Common Core. Your information is absolutely correct. The Common Core has nothing to do with the federal government. It was entirely a project of state governors and education officials nationwide, who undertook the effort precisely because of concern about the federal government's involvement in education -- specifically the well-intentioned but poorly implemented No Child Left Behind act. Moreover, the Common Core has been endorsed by virtually all the more conservative education policy makers, such as Chester Finn and Rick Hess. Indeed, they also have been endorsed by E.D. Hirsch, who has long advocated a strong liberal-arts oriented curriculum that includes large doses of history, quality literature etc. that most conservatives have long sought to implement in the schools, to replace the self-esteem and other psycho-babble that has dominated U.S. education . Let us also not bow down to the principle of "local control." Remember, most local districts are heavily influenced by teacher unions and look what decades of local control got us -- one of the lowest performing public education systems in the industrialized world. Let's hope the state board holds firm on the Common Core which, I think, is the last hope to save public education.


chootspa 11 months ago

Setting aside her factual errors about Common Core, I don't get her argument. So how dare the government involve itself in public education? Wha?


Ray Parker 11 months ago

Continuing their commitment to controlling global population growth through artificial contraception, sterilization, and abortion initiatives, Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, are now attempting to control the curriculum of the nation’s public schools. Subsidizing the notorious Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $76 million to support teachers in implementing the Common Core—a standardized national curriculum with strings on school funding that enforce the replacement of classical literature with “fact-based” reading that promotes their left-wing political agenda - propaganda and indoctrination enforced by their funding, at the expense of the traditional education really needed.

Tyranny Alert

Tyranny Alert by parkay


rgh 11 months ago

People wake up. These standards are not federally regulated and were not federally mandated and handed down! They were started years ago (well before 2010) by the governors of various states and the education commissioners of various states.

States were not required to follow these standards. They were presented and states had their own opportunity to be a part of a newer more rigorous system of testing and accountability or go their own way.

People can say they don't care for the standards if they want but cannot argue these are coming from the federal government. It's not factual in any sense and total garbage to even say. You do have options as in private schools (some of which will be using these same college ready standards) or home schooling which saves you enrollment fees, textbook rental, and lunch fees. I'm just sick of the conservative right wing trying to persuade others that the standards have something to do with the federal government.


kuguardgrl13 11 months ago

I highly doubt the board will be swayed. College education programs around the state are already preparing their students to teach Common Core. Too much money has been put into this to change now.


toe 11 months ago

I love the common core. You will be able to write computer programs to replace teachers and save a lot of money. Efficient education will finally be realized with a massive increase in productivity.


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