Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Common Core concerns

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Editor,

I am growing deeply concerned about a real threat that is encroaching the hallowed halls of the schools in our state. The threat has a name: Common Core.

Educational engineers with no background in education have sought to radically change the education policies in our nation. Their plan would change the mission of schools from teaching children academic basics to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards. They have slowly been advancing this plan and have in recent years brought it out of their 'laboratories' into the light of day. And they started with the nation's governors.

On June 25, 2009, our governor, Jay Nixon, signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) committing our state to begin implementing this radical global education plan. The National Governor's Association and their agency called "Achieve" stated that their goal was to change states educational policies whether they were working or not. Bypassing all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures, the National Governor's Association enabled federal funds to flow to the governor and his appointees on workforce development boards. School superintendents, local school boards, parents, students and taxpayers were completely left out of the decision.

Senator John Lamping was astonished and alarmed by the audacity of the governor to commit our state to something so far-reaching without getting the public's involvement. So he authored a bill, SB210, to require that districts get the opportunity to review CCSS before it was decided upon in the Senate. This bill would put Common Core on hold until DESE went into each district in Missouri and answered questions of the citizens, and offered a cost analysis to each district as to what CC would cost their community. So what happened? Why weren't we allowed to see it? I understand the bill was filibustered and never voted on, thus taking away the opportunity of school administration and boards of education as well as parents, teachers and taxpayers to preview Common Core.

Common Core is focused on producing global workers not creative thinkers. Students are forced to standardize not only their school work but their very thinking! Bill Gates, who has given millions of dollars to get Common Core implemented says, "we won't know if Common Core works for maybe five years." Do we want this experiment performed on our sons, daughters and grandchildren? And why does our children's thinking need to be standardized?

Both Dr. Sandra Stotsky, our nation's leading expert in English and Dr. James Milgram, our nation's leading mathematician called Common Core "junk" and refused to validate it. Milgram said that the math portion, "will set students back by two years, possibly ten."

In closing, I am urging all of the good parents and grandparents in our district to arm themselves with factual information about Common Core. Don't settle for the 'standardized' talking points from DESE that have been given to the superintendents and school officials.

(Often these officials are unaware, through no fault of their own, of the background behind these talking points.) Get informed.

Caring for our students and our rights,

-- Beth Perkins, Marshall