AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
November 14, 2013
IRRC Wants to Hear Your Concerns About Common Core
The next hearing of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) concerning Common Core is November 21st at 10:00 a.m. in Harrisburg. They will be hearing testimony at that time, but if you cannot attend the meeting, they will accept your written testimony up till November 19th.
Your testimony needs to include specific concerns; make it personal, not just copy and paste from a form letter. The IRRC is very concerned about the well-being of the students. Check out the testimony of these two mental health professionals and their concerns with Common Core: Dr. Gary Thompson and Dr. Megan Koschnick.
Check these videos out for some ideas/facts/concerns:
David Barton explains Common Core on The Blaze.
Watch this Tennessee high school senior take down Common Core at a local school board meeting.
Here are some concerns you can expound upon in your testimony:
• Unfunded Mandate
Implementation of the Common Core curriculum was agreed upon sight unseen to receive Federal Stimulus funds. The total cost is still not known, but is likely to run in the 100’s of millions for the state. Further federal funding (such as Title 1 for impoverished children) will be tied to alignment of the Common Core.
• Standards Lack Freedom in the Classroom
As we have seen with “No Child Left Behind,” standardized testing = teachers are forced to teach to the test rather than use their teaching talents. This limits freedom in the classroom for meaningful discussion, creativity in learning, personal connection, and spontaneity of the class.
• No Consideration for Special Needs Children
There are no variations for children with different needs. All children are required to reach the same standards at the time regardless of culture, special needs, and abilities. It is a one size fits all standard for children• Lessons Questionable – inappropriate lessons. Each day, more examples are brought to the nation’s attention for questionable content with regards to age appropriateness, clarity and content of the assignment, political indoctrination, and social morality.
• International “benchmark”
Though Common Core claims to be “internationally benchmarked”, that claim is not proven. Rather, just the opposite. International benchmark has been downgraded to “internationally viewed” or created with benchmarking goals. Common Core Math is 2 years behind the benchmark. Check out these quotes from the Common Core math writers.
• Federal Mandate
Though standards are marketed as “state led”, Common Core is a federal mandate of standards swept into place with the stimulus package. Common Core was created by a private organization and states agreed to its implementation sight unseen as it was not yet complete. Alignment with the Common Core was required to receive education funding from the Stimulus Package and was offered to replace the unpopular No Child Left Behind.
• Data Collection
400 data points will be collected, stored, and referenced over the course of a student’s lifetime. Data includes everything from grades and discipline, to medical records and political and religious affiliations. In the “Promoting Grit and Tenacity” booklet produced by the Dept. of Education, supports future plans to use new technologies to collect bio-data. This report acknowledges the trade off of privacy for progress. Federal privacy statutes were re-written to accommodate data sharing of children for RTTT (NOTE: PA has said they currently will not expand their data collection; BUT the framework will be in place to fully comply at any time!) Remember in 2011 the Obama Administration changed the federal student privacy laws (FERPA). The ACLU and EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) oppose Common Core data mining and the FERPA changes
• Untested Methods
Common Core’s philosophy of education is untested and has received poor reviews from top educators. The program has been labeled as “a joke” and “dumbed down”, while many teachers describe instructions and assignments as confusing to students, having ridiculous extra steps, and not age appropriate. Check out this story of 10 Professors who oppose Common Core. Cursive writing has been dropped by Common Core. Check out this Common Core math test for first graders!
• Takes money and time that should go to a comprehensive education.
Though the total cost is not yet calculated as to how expensive Common Core will be when fully implemented, it required a new curriculum to be aligned with the program, new texts, tests, software for government reporting, data maintenance, new employees on the payroll for data support, new report card system, etc. Funding for Common Core necessities will have to get priority because federal funding depends on implementation. Arts and programs other than Common Core will have to take a back seat. New York City schools finally received their Common Core textbooks — late and full of errors!!
• Government overreach
Federal government is taking control of education away from parents and local schools and even states and regulating with a federal mandate. Common Core cannot be changed by local or state authority, nor can it be taken in part. It is copyrighted to be used as a whole. With questionable assignments, a shift away from literature and higher math, politically partisan assignments and perspective on history, the federal government has an apparent agenda.
• Lying about its sources and implementation
All levels of government have consistently and intentionally misrepresented both the source of the drafting of Common Core Standards, and which branch is responsible for it. From slight alterations in the name of Common Core to deceive concerned citizens at a state level to outright name calling by the US Secretary of Education. Deception about state led construction and initiative as well as proof of benchmarking and positive student outcomes continue.
• Never voted upon –
A federal standard was never voted on by the Senate, House of Representatives, or by any voter. It was a condition for eligibility for federal stimulus funds and agreed upon sight unseen by 45 states.
Also, remember the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives money to organizations like the PA Business Council and PA Partnership for Children to push Common Core on the rest of us!
Email your written testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org Note that your testimony is directed toward: “Regulation #6 – 326: Academic Standards and Assessment and IRRC # 2976.”