There is a new wave of interest in the battle to Stop Common Core. The letter shown below should be sent to the media, your legislators and can be modified to suit your organization or personalized. After countless meetings with our legislators, we can sense that there is nearly uniform frustration. We are passionate about an issue most don’t fully understand, and worse, they are misled by political forces who stand to gain by Common Core. We have become adversaries rather than working with them to educate and inform them about our goals. This letter gives you, and them, ideas about our concerns and how they can actually do something to help. You might find it useful in sending to your legislators and using in meetings as a guide. If each of you sent this letter, modified to your needs, to your state legislators and then met with them, we might have success this legislative season. Our children need all of us and our Country needs them, please we hope you copy and paste into an e-mail and send it out to your legislators. Go to this site to get contact information on your legislators: https://www.popvox.com/gettoknow
Too often the growing opposition to Common Core presents a fragmented and emotional message which may leave you confused about how you can actually help with legislation. Nearly 100% of the parents and teachers who learn the realities of Common Core oppose it, but what can we do about it together?
Other states have already led the way with many differing approaches and we can learn by their success and failures. We have learned that simply by rebranding Common Core, anger and frustration increases while children suffer and test scores plummet. Pausing Common Core continues the steamroller and children need help now…not 3 years from now.
Oklahoma (HB 3399) is the only one so far to completely remove Common Core by legislation http://openstates.org/ok/bills/2013-2014/HB3399/ . Look at pages 18-22 for specific language which may work in Florida. This is a key provision:
D. 1. The State Board of Education shall not enter into any agreement, memorandum of understanding or contract with any federal agency or private entity which in any way cedes or limits state discretion or control over the process of development, adoption or revision of subject matter standards and corresponding student assessments in the public school system, including, but not limited to, agreements, memoranda of understanding and contracts in exchange for funding for public schools and programs.
and this: 3. Until the statewide student assessments for English Language Arts and Mathematics are implemented as provided for in paragraph 1 of subsection C of this section, the State Board of Education shall implement the subject matter standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics which were in place prior to the revisions adopted by the Board in June 2010.
Simply put, we would immediately roll back standards to pre-Common Core and roll back or eliminate the tests as well, while all stakeholders are engaged in creating our own, Florida Standards. Many excellent existing standards are immediately available. Dr. Sandra Stotsky has offered us, FREE, her standards used to create the “Massachusetts Miracle.” Hillsdale has been very successful with their Classical Academy approach. Home schools have a variety of approaches with astounding and demonstrable results. These are tried and true methods for excellent education results.
Here is a list of real ideas for legislation this year:
1.) Stop the use of high stakes testing or any testing which does not directly help the teacher or student to identify and guide their individual progress. This would increase instruction time, reduce cost, and reduce unproductive stress. Testing now takes about 50% of class time, some administrators and teachers report. School boards and the states spend huge sums with out of state and out of the nation vendors with poor results and no controls.
2.) Use an Oklahoma approach (Oklahoma HB 3399) to eliminate Common Core by rolling back our standards to pre date Common Core while Florida has a chance to review new standards or give districts freedom to choose their own, restoring local control. Teachers were trained for this and materials likely are available.
3.) Revise SB 188 to strengthen controls on data mining as FERPA is not an effective measure to prevent sharing of individual data without parental consent. See this http://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/ferpa-does-not-protect-student-privacy-and-never-did/ Any data gathering or sharing with outside testing companies or USDOE should be stopped. Increasing standards and accountability has not increased student performance, in fact it has added enormous costs and reduced class time available for learning. http://www.cato.org/publications/congressional-testimony/impact-federal-involvement-americas-classrooms
4.) Revise SB 864 to provide longer review periods before textbook adoption and meaningful participation by the public. Allow local districts complete flexibility to adopt standards, curriculum and tests, restoring local control.
5.) Prevent organizations outside Florida from controlling our choice of curricular materials and TESTS.
6.) provide a one-time public review process of all texts now in schools to insure no unacceptable texts are now in use. That would include pornographic materials and outright propaganda as well as inaccurate materials. See this informative speech by Dr. Duke Pesta: Published on Apr 24, 2014 – Click here to view or go to What comes with Common Core for some troublesome materials now in use.
Speaker Bio — Dr. Duke Pesta
Dr. Duke Pesta received his M.A. in Renaissance literature from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Purdue University.
He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges, and his been active in education reform, developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas. He is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and the Academic Director of Freedom Project Education. –
Here are a few shortcuts to specific parts of his presentation:
7.) Change the State Board of Education from an appointed to an elected board to restore accountability.
We are looking forward to cooperating with you to serve our children, our state and our nation. Our long lists of constituents and experts are waiting to discuss your ideas and questions with you.