Whether or not you agree that people are paranoid about what Common Core will bring to Missouri, it is evident and irrefutable that the meetings were to be facilitated in the same manner. They were scripted and questions were not answered.
Why would citizens take their time to attend meetings for information they could gather from DESE's website? Do you think citizens would take their time to attend a meeting if they knew none of their questions would be answered?
Please sign the witness form for SB210 to be heard in the House on Thursday, May 9. This bill would require DESE to hold public hearings chaired by the Commissioner to answer questions as to cost and data mining information. The bill also requires time for citizen testimony.
From Kansas City:
Meeting at Center High School in Kansas City was a complete waste of time. Maybe 50 people in attendance. It pretty much was a propaganda session for DESE. Same old tired claims, canned presentation that I am sure was given at every meeting across the state. No questions taken by presenters. Had participants in groups to discuss Common Core after presentation. Participants were to complete a form that DESE took back. Had two questions on it: What do you like about the Common Core? and What questions do you have about Common Core? Most hilarious and telling statement of the night came from the Center High School Superintendent who introduced the speaker and issued closing remarks. Something to the effect of we aren't going to wait for the research we are going ahead anyway. Claim that the answers to our questions will be posted on the website in a week. DESE appeared to me to be ill equipped to answer questions. I get the impression they don't really know what they got themselves into by adopting these standards.
We are blessed to have good schools in Camdenton, Missouri. As a parent of students in 12th, 10th, 1st, and kindergarten I feel I have a good grasp on the positive aspects of the Camdenton School District. I was unaware before last month that Common Core was coming to Missouri Schools, including Camdenton. Camdenton, without community input, had even applied last year for Race To The Top (aka Race to the Middle) funding but was denied. There was a meeting last Thursday about Common Core for the district who invited parents to come. It was the same thing played out in many other communities in Missouri. A short video presentation followed by breaking up into groups. A sheet of paper was given to everyone with two portions. The top portion, which was the largest, asked “What things do you like about Common Core?” with a large section of lines to fill in. Mine was blank except for the words “Not much”. The bottom smaller half asked “What questions do you have about Common Core?” I filled that section in completely asking questions about why this is being forced on us, the elimination of more classical literature from English programs, and how does the Math Standards compare globally with top nations, not to mention our own district. Why do they not admit it is only preparing kids for a 2 year college, instead of 4 year universities? Common Core may bring up the worst districts in Missouri, but it will pull down districts that are providing a good education. Currently Camdenton gets 9% of its funding from the federal government, why can’t we find a way to go it alone? Our children’s future may just depend on it.
(Responding to Brian Bollman's article on the DESE meeting in Cape Girardeau):
Sounds similar to the meeting I went to in Hazelwood.
Another Camdenton remark:
Tonight in Camdenton there were many more people than seats. There was a standing room only crowd left with more questions than answers. Within the first three minutes the DESE rep made it clear to the crowd who had come to learn more about Common Core, there would be no questions allowed. We were told that we would be redirected to "table facilitators" after the power point presentation (that can be found on the DESE web site) was played for the attending crowd. The rep read from a script, and acted very nervous.
People were encouraged to move to each "table facilitator" and ask questions that would be given to DESE to compile and faq sheet on that will be found on their web site in coming weeks. 20 minutes was allotted for the group discussions at each table.
Many people in attendance left in disgust when redirected to tables and "facilitators" because they came to hear answers to questions, not a sales pitch. Many people at the Camdenton meeting migrated to the back of the room while networking in an effort to plan a "real" educational forum where people could ask questions and expect answers right then and there.
Some of my favorite quotes of the night were:
"The federal government played NO role in Common Core".
"No data collection is required with Common Core".
"A state can change the standards at any time. It is the state's choice on HOW to use the standards."
"The standards are owned by the state, therefore can be changed by the state."
"Standards do not tell teachers HOW to teach."
"The Missouri Constitution and state law direct DESE to set high academic standards."
I left encouraged. People were challenging the "facilitators" at each table. I don't think it went as DESE had hoped it would tonight.