"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Hazelwood Report on Delphi DESE Meeting May 2

The Hazelwood Patch had an article from a taxpayer who attended the May 2 DESE meeting on Common Core standards.  The writer's narrative is not much different than the other meetings DESE held via the Delphi technique.

From Elizabeth O'Fallon in Is Common Core a Bad Apple?:

At the meeting, a presentation on Common Core was given by Dr. Tim Ricker, the Area Supervisor of DESE for the St. Louis Region. The information that was provided was labeled by the presenter as a “non-specific,” as it was just an overview on Common Core. We were also told that a “script” for the meeting must be followed in order that the same information would be presented at all eight of the DESE meetings across the state. 

The thing that disturbed me during this meeting was the inability of the public to ask questions openly. I have attended a gamut of public meetings and this is the first where the public was not allowed a real forum to speak on the matter at hand. During the presentation, I tried to ask one question to obtain some clarification on a point, but was completely ignored by the presenter. Instead of being allowed to ask questions, we were told we would be broken up into groups later for smaller, more intimate discussions.

Once divided into tables, each table had a Common Core “facilitator.” This facilitator helped to “steer” the small group discussion around that of Common Core. Our table facilitator repeatedly said that she was not “an expert” and therefore couldn’t answer our specific questions, only jot them down.

When we were broken down into groups we were asked to do two things: 1. We were supposed to write down one thing we liked about the Common Core State Standards, and 2. We were also supposed to write down any questions we had regarding CCSS. The clincher however, was that as a group we had to come to complete “consensus” regarding our questions and statements before they could be written down.

A friend of mine wanted to know more about students having to take remedial classes in college, but was told by our facilitator that that question didn’t related directly to Common Core. After the group discussion was concluded, the facilitator would read our concerns and comments aloud. We were told that our questions would not be answered that evening but instead would be submitted to DESE and addressed online. As of this writing, no questions have been answered on their website, www.dese.mo.gov.

I am no longer a public school parent, as we now homeschool. However, had I been a parent at this meeting with their child still attending a local public school, I’d have been much more upset about how this meeting was handled. The lack transparency and of meaningful public involvement was mind-blowing.

Desptie the room being full of administrators, school board members, teachers, and district employees, and for a district that has already begun implementing Common Core, I didn’t believe that there was no one present who was not “qualified enough” to answer questions on Common Core.
 Read more here.

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