DALLAS, TX — Across California, grassroots groups have come together to address growing concerns with the Common Core State Standards. The state adopted them in 2010. The 2013-14 school year served as a trial run for the implementation of the nationwide standards and testing. This year, it all became official.
Breitbart News reported that in April “Unveiling Common Core” blitzed through the Golden State in five nights to oppose the centralized, one-size-fits-all standards. Now, “Unveiling Common Core: The Unanswered Questions” has expanded into a two-week, 13-stop tour from November 3-17.
“Unveiling” will examine the fundamental changes in the new education standards, government data warehousing, local control, and high-stakes testing. It features nationally and regionally-known community leaders, speakers and education experts, all poised to discuss the troubling realities of Big Education.
The tour kicks off in Northern California, in Merced County on November 3. Keynote panelists are Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita at University of Arkansas and the author of the highly acclaimed Massachusetts academic standards and Dr. James Milgram, professor emeritus in the Mathematics Department at Stanford University.
Stotsky and Milgram were the outspoken voices on the Common Core Validation Committee who refused to sign off on the national standards. Joining them is Kevin Snider with the Pacific Justice Institute, the legal organization responsible for the assessment and survey Opt-Out forms.
The Northern California tour continues onto Stanislaus County on November 5, Sonoma on November 6, Contra Costa on November 7, and El Dorado on November 8.
November 10-17 is the Southern California leg. It opens with “Confronting the Reality” of Common Core in San Juan Capistrano on November 10. Stotsky and Milgram will be joined by Bill Evers, Former US Assistant Secretary of State; Ze’ev Wurman, former senior advisor, US Department of Education; and Emmett McGroarty, American Principles Project. Event underwriters are the American Principles Project and the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research.
Following are forums in Mission Valley on November 12, Chino Hills on November 13, the Inland Empire on November 15 and Palos Verdes on November 16. The final date, November 17, in Costa Mesa, will be hosted by the Orange County Board of Education (OCDE) as a public hearing.
On October 20, the OCDE hosted a standing-room-only Common Core heated debate where radio personality and constitutional law attorney Hugh Hewitt questioned the constitutionality of the Common Core in California.
The Orange County Register reported that “districts are required to instruct students either based on previously adopted standards or Common Core skills. Public schools are required to give Common Core tests. Also, schools may not have access to certain funds if they avoid Common Core.”
This second wave to unveil Common Core comes as California faces monolithic challenges to thwart implementation.
Last month, EdSource reportedthat in California “the prospect of implementing the Common Core without significant resistance seems greater than in many other states,” highlighting a troubling reality for the golden state — no significant public opposition statewide to the Common Core.
EdSource director Louis Freedberg wrote that primary opposition to federalized public education has come from red states and not “deeply blue” ones like California. However, in the blue state of New York, opposition has also come from the progressive left and union fronts.
This is not happening in California where unions, top educrats, elected officials, even officials running for statewide seats, and all four higher education institution systems — the University of California, California State University, California Colleges and the Association of Independent California Colleges andUniversities — uniformly embraced the Common Core.
In June 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed a slew of bills that supported Common Core implementation and pumped $1.25 billion into its technology, instructional materials, and teacher development.
The California Teachers Association (CTA) applauded Brown’s actions: “Funding for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards is of paramount importance to CTA, therefore, we commend the Governor for allocating $1 billion to do so.”
Local control of publicly funded K-12 education is slipping out of Californians hands.
Freedberg also wrote in the EdSource article: “Common Core standards have been fully integrated into other reforms underway in the state principally California’s reform of its school finance system and the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Under the LCFF, each district must draw up a Local Control and Accountability Plan and specify how it plans to reach goals in eight priority areas set by the state. Common Core implementation is one of the eight priority areas schooldistricts are expected to focus on.”
California is not one of the states to have a general No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver from the US Education Department. Instead in 2013, the Obama Administration “approved eight California school districts (Fresno Unified, Long Beach Unified, Los Angeles Unified, Oakland Unified, Sacramento City Unified, San Francisco Unified, Sanger Unified, and Santa Ana Unified) for a one year district waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), in exchange for locally developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.” It is part of the California Office to Reform Education (CORE), according to the US Department of Education.
In 2010, California may have lost its Race to the Top dollars bid, although it does fund transitional “pre-K” kindergarten with Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC).
California invested heavily in the development of Fed Led Ed’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sponsored Assembly Bill 484 (AB 484), which replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) annual exams measuring academic learning based on the state’s content standards with SBAC’s California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).
AB 484 was co-authored by Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), former state Senate President Pro Tem. He was the lead author of 2010’s Senate Bill X5-1 (SB X5-1) to pursue Race to the Top funding.
California joined SBAC as a governing member in 2011.
Stanford University’s Linda Darling-Hammond serves as an SBAC senior research advisor. She was President Barack Obama’s education mouthpiece during the 2008 campaign and is connected to other controversial education reform in Texas — CSCOPE, dubbed a scope and sequence curriculum management system. It was rebranded as an education resource following tremendous public outcry
California has the largest K-12 public education system in the nation. The 2014 Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report stated: “According to the California Department of Education and the Education Data Partnership (Ed-Data), the state serves more than 6.2 million students and employs more than 275,000 teachers in about 950 school districts and nearly 10,000 public schools.”
Darcy Brandon is a suburban San Diego parent and co-director of Californians United Against Common Core. She is gearing up for Mission Valley forum.
She told Breitbart Texas that the impetus for this beefed up second California tour was to make more parents aware of the disconcerting realities of Common Core, especially the math, with the help of nationally recognized math expert Milgram.
“Parents are seeing the math coming home and are wondering if it’s crazy,” she said recalling a parent who spoke at a recent board meeting in her home school district, Encinitas Union (EUSD). This dad stated that he had two masters degrees, was an engineer and still couldn’t help his grade school-aged daughter with the math homework, according to Brandon.
Peggy Nickle, Sonoma County mother, grandmother, and tour publicity volunteer, agreed. She told Breitbart Texas, “It’s time for parents to get out from behind social media, get involved, and get going — time to unite and be a part of the solution.”
“This isn’t just another reform,” Brandon emphasized. “This is important.”
Events are free and open to the public, although RSVPs are required through EventBrite.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.