During a two-week tour throughout the state that served to educate parents and community members about the flaws of the Common Core standards, grassroots members of Californians United Against Common Core found they were dismissed by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, an organization of education bureaucrats, and the mainstream media.
Breitbart Texas’ Merrill Hope reported on the tour itself entitled “Unveiling Common Core” in early November.
Local San Diego NBC News dismissed the protesting parents and reported instead on Duncan’s visit to the city to discuss the nationalized standards with teachers and students who have already been onboard with the education initiative since last year. San Diego schools received $22 million to spend on Common Core.
Following a school visit, Duncan attended an annual policy forum of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the copyright owners and developers of the Common Core standards. Duncan was invited to give an address at CCSSO about the controversial initiative.
English Language Arts standards expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky spoke with Breitbart News about the 13-city California speaking tour and the protest. Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram, mathematician at Stanford University, were members of the Common Core Validation Committee, and both shared their knowledge and experience on the tour regarding the flaws of the standards themselves as well as the clandestine way in which they were developed.
Stotsky noted that the preview of Duncan’s speech to the CCSSO in San Diego “suggested his talk was to center on ways to promote implementation of Common Core, such as by lengthening the school day and extending the school year to include summer as well as fall, winter, and spring.”
“A few protesters wondered if parents would be given visiting rights,” Stotsky quipped.
While protesting in front of the U.S. Grant Hotel, the site of the CCSSO meeting, Stotsky said the group asked security guards to let Duncan, CCSSO officers, and the state superintendents at the meeting know there were people outside protesting against the Common Core standards.
“No invitation to come in and listen to Duncan’s speech was forthcoming,” Stotsky said. “The protesting parents outside the hotel were completely ignored by the CCSSO, Duncan, and the state superintendents listening to him, just as parents across the country have been ignored by them for five years.”
“‘Keep them at a distance’ is apparently the official federal policy toward the parents of the children in our public schools on whom the states have imposed the deeply flawed educational policies associated with Common Core,” Stotsky added.
Darcy Brandon, co-director of Californians United Against Common Core, echoed Stotsky’s comments. Brandon told Breitbart News that while the organization’s events were attended by thousands of people across the state, the media’s failure to take notice of the tour was disappointing.
“We sent out press releases to no avail,” Brandon said. “There was even the local NBC station literally across the street from our gathering, but they chose not to report on the protest.”
“They had, however, been to the elementary school Duncan had been at earlier that morning,” she added.
Brandon continued that one of her group’s members sent a “Shame on You” message to NBC, asserting, “NBC San Diego had an opportunity yesterday to report on the controversial topic of Common Core in a fair and balanced way but opted not to.”
Brandon explained that many Facebook comments after the tour reflected the disturbing information that was revealed regarding the math and English standards that have drawn overwhelming debate.
Throughout the tour, Milgram provided a handout titled “Missing or Delayed in Common Core’s Mathematics Standards,” a shorter version of the critique he presented when, as a Common Core Validation Committee member, he refused to sign off on the standards.
Milgram continues to drive home the message that if states do not abandon the controversial Common Core math standards, America’s place as a competitor in the technology industry will ultimately be significantly undermined.
The mathematician observed on the tour that Common Core is two years behind the math standards in the highest-performing nations, and that the math standards fail to prepare students for STEM careers.
Despite personal attacks against both Stotsky and Milgram by Common Core advocates who claim the standards are “rigorous” and have been “internationally benchmarked,” a recent study challenges these assertions.
As Breitbart News previously reported in April, visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution Ze’ev Wurman — who accompanied the California speaking tour in the southern part of the state — found many irregularities in the Validation Committee in terms of credentials of its members and why they were selected to be members in the first place.
In his paper published by the Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute, Wurman also described two studies conducted by Validation Committee members who approved of the Common Core, and then later attempted to find post facto evidence to justify their decisions. In both studies, Wurman said the research was poorly executed and failed to provide evidence that the standards are internationally competitive and reflective of college-readiness.
Despite the significant flaws of Common Core, Brandon said her state is still going ahead with the controversial initiative.
“The Governor, State Superintendent, legislature are all in favor of it,” she said. “We have a long road ahead of us to fight it here but parents are determined to do all we can to get rid of it.”
“We’re not buying the propaganda that says we all like it because we know better,” she added. “We’re on the front lines, talking to parents with kids in the classroom and see how it’s affecting them and their families.”