Connecticut GOP Uses Parliamentary Rule to Force Public Hearing on Common Core

Connecticut GOP Uses Parliamentary Rule to Force Public Hearing on Common Core

Immediately following a press conference by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), during which the state’s largest teachers’ union said “implementation” of the Common Core standards had been “botched,” Connecticut state House Republicans announced they were able to force a public hearing on legislation to delay the controversial nationalized standards.

CT News Junkie reports that Connecticut state House Republican Leader Larry Cafero said the House GOP had used a legislative petition process to force the Education Committee to hold a public hearing on two bills, including one to impose a moratorium on the implementation of Common Core. Cafero said Republicans had collected enough signatures from lawmakers to force the public hearings.

“We have circulated a petition which has been signed by 51 House Republican members which was filed moments ago with the House Clerk office which will force a public hearing on the two bills in question,” he said.

The other bill would codify changes made by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration last month to delay implementation of elements of the state’s teacher guidelines.

Last week Cafero criticized a plan by the Democrat-led legislature’s Education Committee to hold an “informal hearing” on the Common Core standards in which the only invited speakers were in favor of the new initiative.

Cafero said that, despite being deluged with concerns from the public about Common Core, not a single bill regarding the standards was raised by the Education Committee. Last week, House Democratic Chairman Andrew Fleischmann confirmed that, in fact, no bills would be raised regarding Common Core.

As Breitbart News reported, last Saturday Common Core expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky told Connecticut activists against the standards that their state legislature was among those that were attempting to “suppress debate” about the standards by refusing to hear any bills at all on the initiative.

On Wednesday morning, CEA officials said that the union had conducted a poll that suggests that Connecticut’s teachers are overwhelmingly critical of how the Common Core standards have been implemented. According to the poll, teachers say schools are not adequately equipped to teach the standards and 97 percent said the initiative’s “implementation” had been rushed.

The CEA teachers’ survey was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, whose president is Stanley Greenberg, husband of Connecticut U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D).

“Our students can’t afford to wait,” said CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg. “There’s no redo for them when precious teaching and learning time is lost to problems connected with CCSS implementation.”

Following along with the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers statements about the “botched implementation” of the Common Core nationalized standards, Connecticut teachers’ union leaders were careful to say that only the “implementation” of the Common Core standards was “botched,” and not the standards themselves.

In fact, Waxenberg shared CEA’s specific recommendations to “improve” the standards and tests aligned with them, including one to place “teachers at the center of efforts to develop aligned curriculum, assessments, and professional development that are relevant to their students and local communities.”

CEA also repeats the mantra of other teachers’ union leaders:

While a majority of members support the central goal of CCSS, very few do so without having serious concerns and reservations. Mishandled CCSS implementation has eroded confidence in the ability of the education system to get this right, resulting in 56 percent of CEA members supporting the Common Core but with reservations.

Teachers’ concern that their students’ low performance on the Common Core-aligned assessments would lead to their own negative evaluation ratings has been a major dilemma for union leaders who have pledged support of the Common Core standards to both the Obama administration and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the latter of which has awarded the unions millions of dollars to promote and implement the standards.

“Teachers are calling for a moratorium,” said Waxenberg. “Let’s basically say here that teachers are not saying we don’t want standards, what we’re saying is give us time to digest what we are being asked to do, to make sure we can get this done right before children are being judged improperly.”

Connecticut is one of 45 states whose state boards of education adopted the Common Core standards, a federally promoted education initiative introduced in the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill through a competitive grant program called Race to the Top (RTTT). States could apply and compete for federal grant money as long as they adopted the Common Core, a set of uniform standards and aligned curricula and testing that allows for a greater role of government in education, higher levels of social indoctrination, student data collection, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on assessments aligned with the standards.

Connecticut did not receive RTTT funds, but adopted the Common Core standards anyway.

The National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and nonprofit progressive education think tank Achieve, Inc. were mainly responsible for the Common Core initiative, and both the NGA and the CCSSO are the publishers of the Common Core State Standards.

The state boards of education, most of them unelected, that signed onto the unproven Common Core standards did so with little, if any, public or media scrutiny prior to even seeing the standards themselves.

The implementation of Common Core has been privately funded primarily by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, underscoring the alliance of big government political elites and corporatists in this academic initiative.