Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Common Core meeting
A Baltimore parent was forcibly removed from a school meeting and arrested on September 19 for challenging a new Common Core state curriculum. At the meeting, Robert Small voiced his concern that the Common Core standards do not prepare students for top universities and may misuse data on students. Small was escorted from the question and answer session and arrested on charges of second-degree assault on a police officer. On Monday the Baltimore County State Attorney's office dropped all charges against him.
The incident has contributed to a growing debate across the country about state standardized testing.
School Superintendents receive an F grade for Common Core meeting
Dr. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, and Lillian Lowery, Maryland Superintendent, had the opportunity Thursday night to make minor amends at an MSDE-sponsored informational meeting after a three-plus year information blackout on Common Core, the new federal curriculum for Maryland schools.
Instead, Dr. Dance added insult to injury by screening, omitting, and editing parents’ questions.
Questions from the audience of about 160 people, which consisted of parents, PTA members, teachers, and school administrators, were submitted on cards prior to and during the 1-1/2 hour meeting for the Q&A period which lasted about 40 minutes.
Dr. Dance chose which questions to read or omit, opting for teacher and school administrator or softball questions. But he also altered the wording of the questions themselves.
My submitted question:
“What is the process for parents to review what data has been or will be collected on our kids, where it is stored, how it will be used, and with whom it has or will be shared? What are parents options for opting out of data collection on our kids?”
What Dr. Dance read:
“As a parent, I’ve heard a lot of information around the state Longitudinal Data system. What is the process to review what data is being collected on students, where is it stored, how will it be used, with whom will it be shared?”
After the question was answered, I called out, “Can parents opt out?”, but was ignored.
My submitted question:
“Although Common Core was adopted by MDE three years ago, in exchange for a quarter Billion dollar federal incentive grant through Race To The Top which is conditioned upon adherence to Common Core, parents weren’t informed until after its implementation. The MDE has not valued nor requested parental input. Instead, there was no transparency or even the courtesy of notifying parents much less consulting them. No wonder parents are up in arms. You’ve awakened the Mama Bear. Why haven’t parents across the state heard of Common Core until the month of its implementation?”
What Dr. Dance read:
“As a parent, I was a little disappointed that I’m just starting to hear so much information around the Common Core state standard. I want to be informed as most parents across our state. As a parent, how can I learn more information around Common Core?”
Parent removed and arrested from the meeting for speaking out of turn
As the pom-pom and rah-rah session neared an end about 20 minutes before the meeting close, parental frustration was mounting as our questions were still going unanswered. One parent, Robert Small, decided to interject to try to force some answers (see video at top of article).
He said: “I want to know how many parents here are aware that the goal of the Common Core standards isn’t to prepare kids for full-fledged universities, it’s to prepare them for community college.....Parents, take control. We’re sick of this. This is not a CNN political game. This is a public town hall... Listen, don’t stand for this. You’re sitting here like cattle. You have questions. Confront them. They don’t want to do it in public.... Parents, you need to question these people....Do the research, it’s online.”
Mr. Small was arrested after being removed from the auditorium and charged with second degree assault of a police officer and a second charge of disrupting a school function.
The video clearly shows that, if anyone was aggressive, it was the security guard, not Mr. Small. What may have happened out in the hall however, is unknown.
In the second video clip (click here), you can hear multiple parents call out how their question was not read and they were ignored.
There will be one more out of four Common Core meetings hosted by county school boards in Maryland. This one is on October 1 in Prince George’s County. Click here for more info.