Common Core expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky told Connecticut grassroots activists against the Common Core standards that the latest “tactic” of their state legislature was to suppress debate about the standards by refusing to hear any bills whatsoever on Common Core.
Stotsky told about 200 Stop Common Core in Connecticut activists on Saturday that Connecticut, Colorado, and Massachusetts are among the states in which lawmakers are stifling any discussion or debate on the standards.
For example, on Wednesday, Connecticut state House Republican Leader Larry Cafero issued a news release calling for a public hearing on the Common Core standards.
“We have heard from thousands of educators and parents outside the legislature on these matters,” Cafero said. “As lawmakers and their elected officials, we owe the public the chance to address these issues in a formal setting within the General Assembly.”
Cafero went on to question why, despite being deluged from the public, not a single bill regarding Common Core or teacher evaluations was raised by the legislature’s Education Committee. Cafero criticized the plan to hold an “informal hearing” in which only invited speakers will be allowed to speak.
House Democratic Chairman Andrew Fleischmann confirmed on Wednesday that no bills will be raised regarding Common Core.
“This is exactly why teachers, administrators, parents and their children find themselves in the situation they are in now: Common Core was adopted outside of the legislative process which meant that too many voices were left out of the debate,” Cafero wrote.
At the Connecticut Common Core forum, Stotsky described some of the other tactics that have been used to prevent debate and discussion about the standards.
“As soon as an organization invites pro-Common Core speakers,” Stotsky told her audience, “they back out, leaving only anti-Common Core panelists. Then, the Common Core supporters say the panel is ‘stacked’ against them.”
“Now organizations have caught onto this,” she added. “They invite the pro-Common Core people, and provide at the forum a list of who was invited so that the audience can see who didn’t show up.”
Stotsky discussed the rationale of Common Core creators in manipulating the state of Massachusetts to “dump” its own standards–one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students. Stotsky herself is credited with developing the Massachusetts standards.
“Massachusetts was promised $250 million in Race to the Top funds,” she explained. “With Gov. Deval Patrick being a good friend of President Obama, Massachusetts became the ‘sacrificial lamb.’ Once Massachusetts succumbed, the Common Core designers could say to the other states, ‘If Massachusetts is willing to give up its great standards for Common Core, other states should as well.'”
Stotsky went on to describe her involvement on the Common Core Validation Committee (CCVC), which, she said, ended up being “for show.” She stated that none of her critiques of the English Language Arts (ELA) standards, which were written by Common Core “architect” David Coleman and Sue Pimentel–neither of whom ever taught English–were ever acknowledged in any way.
“The standards were a done deal from the very beginning,” Stotsky said.
She added that she and internationally known mathematics expert Dr. James Milgram, who also was invited to participate on the CCVC, were told to sign a “confidentiality agreement” that they would never discuss what occurred at their meetings.
“Because the standards were created by private groups, there are no public records of who hired Coleman, Jason Zimba — who wrote the math standards – and Pimentel, and no contracts about their hiring that can be reviewed,” Stotsky explained. “No one can file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to review these documents because private groups own them.”
“And, of course, no one in the media asked how the Common Core standards came to be,” she said.
“So, what we have,” Stotsky concluded, “is a bizarre situation in which the standards were written by unqualified people. We have a set of invalid standards developed by an invalid committee.”
Gail Whitright, a retired Connecticut teacher who taught for 25 years, including in Hartford for 15 years, told Breitbart News that she believes parents no longer have any say in their children’s education with Common Core, and teachers have lost the ability to be innovative in their teaching.
“Common Core will cost each state about $300 million,” Whitright said. “It’s not constitutionally-based, and it’s time for parents to go one step beyond just looking at their kids’ homework. They need to find out what they’re teaching their kids in school.”
Carrol Sisson, a member of Connecticut Statewide Common Core Seminar, works regularly as a substitute teacher.
“I see what’s going on and I’m nauseous,” Sisson told Breitbart News. “The kids rule in the schools and there’s no discipline. The curriculum has been dumbed down with Common Core. This year, the class I often teach is doing Algebra I, but last year the same class was doing Algebra II. The standards are definitely not ‘rigorous,’ like they want you to believe.”
East Haddam parent Ami Moreau said the changes due to the Common Core are really hard on her children.
“My concern is the testing and the timing of the testing,” Moreau told Breitbart News. “There are also problems with the math standards that are not being addressed by the school board.”
Moreau added that her school district has had no curriculum or textbooks.
Rev. Will Marotti, Senior Pastor of New Life Church in Wallingford, Connecticut and guest host of local CBS (WTIC) talk show Sound Off Connecticut, has been discussing Common Core more often on the air because he believes more people need to be informed.
Marotti attended the Connecticut Common Core forum and told Breitbart News, “I think what Dr. Stotsky said is worth its weight in gold. The word is not getting out to enough people.”
“There needs to be an outcry from parents and teachers to Washington, D.C.,” he added. “We also need legislators who are bold enough to come out. It’s amazing. We have people who have already given us a less than adequate education system who are now giving us standards that are even less effective.”