Texas Mom Shocked: Common Core Flyer in Son's Special Ed Packet
Denton Independent School District (ISD) parent Jenny Williams was stunned by the flyer she found in her son's fifth grade reading intervention packet--"3 Key Ideas for Parents (about the Common Core)."
On May 23, Williams met with Ginnings Elementary administrators for her son's special education dyslexia exit meeting. Breitbart Texas spoke with Williams who said that she had been asking her English Language Arts/Social Studies (ELA/SS) teacher Renae Lemmons about summer reading resources.
Williams said, "I'd also been asking what interventions the district would use in going forward as part of the StudentSuccess Initiative (SSI) for the remainder of elementary and into middle school." She said that she had requested photocopies of the pages of a book her son
didn't finish reading. It was part of the dyslexia program at Ginnings Elementary.
Williams also told Breitbart Texas that she didn't get the book pages but instead got the Common Core flyer along with STAAR and other state assessments her son had taken over the elementary school years.
The flyer was created by Jennifer Jones, K-5 Literacy and Intervention Specialist at Lake Myra Elementary School in Wake County, NC, is posted online at Common Core affiliated educator sites like Teachers Pay Teachers, which houses curriculum, lessons, tips, ideas and other materials for teacher members to purchase for use in the classroom. Last year, this same flyer made the social media rounds from parents in Common Core states.
"3 Key Ideas for Parents (about the Common Core)" Fed Led Ed instructional techniques including "thinking deeply" because "really thinking deeply is hard," and "integrating learning" because "problems and solutions happen everyday," and "showing how
they know," because the new (Common Core) "tests will require students to explain how they know."
The flyer also provided parenting tips to support the Common Core philosophy of education at home such as telling mom and dad to use the word
"because" after "No" or "Not tonight." They also suggested parents "give reasons--you to them and them to you" plus "explain and discuss issues or problems in your house, neighborhood and
community." Two other tips are to "tell your children what you value and why," and "encourage and celebrate opinions," none of which had anything to do with summer time dyslexia reading resources.
On the Hello Literacy website, Jones stated that the Common Core handout was written in "parent-friendly" language. She is also the creator of the Hello
Literacy blog and the author Hello Literacy's "200-plus Reader Response Journal Pages for Common Core standards RL.1-10; "Common
Core Reading: Growing Readers by Writing & Responding to Literature," the Common Core tool "Reading to Learn from informational text," and
"50 Shades of the Common Core: Critical Thinking & Text Complexity," among many other Common Core materials.
In a series of online correspondences obtained by Breitbart Texas, Williams had conversations about the flyer with Ginnings' principal Missey Chavez and Denton ISD Executive Director for Elementary Academic Programs Vicki Sargent following the incident.
Sargent wrote to Williams about the flyer, "It should not have not been distributed." Sargent also acknowledged that she spoke to Chavez to ensure there was no further distribution of the "3 Key Ideas for Parents (about the Common Core)."
Last week, Breitbart Texas also contacted Chavez. Her initial comment to the inquiry was to ask what was our concern about the flyer. Once it was made clear that this was Common Core related, she said she knew nothing. According to Williams, Chavez was one of the adminstrators in the dyslexia exit meeting.
In the email, Sargent also commented about the flyer, saying to Williams, "The strategies described seem reasonable for parents to assist their students over the summer; however, Texas is not a Common Core state."
Reasonable or not, the "3 Key Ideas for Parents (about the Common Core)" espoused Common Core methodologies which are not supposed to be used in Texas. During the 83rd legislative session in 2013, the state banned Common Core through House Bill 462. Again, the flyer did not address nor satisfy Williams' requests for dyslexia reading intervention and/or support materials.
In fairness to the well-intentioned ELA/SS teacher, she emailed Williams a link to Newsela on May 15. This is a site billed as "an innovative way to build reading comprehension with non-fiction relevant: daily news." The free version offers a limited library of articles; however, the paid full access Newsela
Pro subscription touts that it is "your ally as you lead teachers in mastering the Common Core."
Breitbart Texas attempted to reach Lemmons and Sargent, neither of whom responded to emails or phone calls. Instead, Denton ISD Communications Coordinator Mario Zavala, Jr. told Breitbart Texas that the incident was a misunderstanding. He said, "the teacher went to her normal list of resources."
Breitbart Texas then asked Zavala to clarify what was that list of resources. He said, "To my knowledge, it was her personal resources."
Zavala did not know why or how a flyer that was about teaching parents to embrace the Common Core ended up in the teacher's materials in Texas, although he summarized that this was all a mistake and no harm to do wrong was intended. He also reported that this was the only incident.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.