Before I submitted the letter below to each of my three school principals, I first met with each personally for timeframes from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. The visits were not at all adversarial, but rather opportunities to express to them my concerns about Common Core and the broader issues of loss of local control of our schools and school board over-reach.
We did not share the same views of Common Core, but an understanding was reached regarding my concerns. So far, the schools have been very cooperative with my requirements which are expressed in the letter.
Just as important is the high likelihood that my letter was shared with teachers, the PTA board, and the school board on both the county and state level.
I encourage all parents who have concerns to make an appointment with your principal and submit a letter.
I really appreciate all the time you took to meet with me last week. As I expressed at our meeting, it is unfortunate that the MSDE has inserted its agenda between parents and the teachers and school administrators.
At our meeting at school, I expressed several concerns surrounding Common Core. To recap, one of the primary issues is the loss of local control of our schools due to federal grant programs that come with strings.
Coupled with our dependence on the grant money, especially during and after implementation of Common Core, I see this situation as one that will morph unpredictably over time, as each grant will have new federal requirements beyond our control, and our ability to turn down the funding will decrease as our dependence grows. So the issues are such that they will play out over time, but pulling out may be impossible if not done now.
Another concern is over the Common Core exemplar texts and any reading materials that will be chosen to align with CCSS. Some of the examples which have come out of other states that implemented Common Core before Maryland are frightening. I want to be kept informed on what my child is reading and being read. Anything inappropriate or approaching propaganda is totally unacceptable and will be met with the full weight of my objection.
I am also VERY concerned about data mining. This may not be directly related to Common Core, but I believe the same federal takeover mentality and school board over-reach that is bringing us CCSS is also bringing us intrusive data collection. While the data collection is not fully implemented yet, I have conclusive proof that it is on its way. The MSDE Executive Summary from October 2012 details implementation plans for BIRTH to grade 12 education reform, and the expanded data collection which will accompany it. The link to this document is found here:
The biggest red flag about Common Core is the subversive nature of its implementation. The MSDE never consulted the public prior to making the decision to adopt CCSS in June of 2010. And in the three years after adoption, it only felt the need to INFORM parents upon implementation. The forums held by the MSDE were not formatted to allow for open public comment, with followup questions or clarifications able to be asked. Rather, we had pre-submitted questions from parents screened and reworded, one parent arrested for asking questions out of turn in frustration, and another threatened with arrest for handing out opposition flyers.
Even now, the MSDE is not disclosing information yet about the Early Learning Challenge reform linked to above, which is a radical reform plan. Elements of this plan further extend the reach of the school board over the proper role of parents.
I do not grant permission for my child to take any surveys or questionnaires of any kind which will be stored electronically unless my prior permission is granted. That includes any online assessments and tests including MAP [Readistep for middle schoolers] and MSA. I refuse to permit my child to take the PARCC assessment should their class be chosen for this year’s pilot of the assessment. [I omit the request on testing for my high schooler since the tests are a requisite for graduation.] I will not allow my child to use the planned new electronic device for lessons, whenever that is scheduled for release, nor any other type of monitoring device. Please make whatever accommodations you must in order to honor my requests. I am willing to work with the school in any way in order to accomplish this.
Thank you for your assistance, cooperation, and understanding.
Parent of [child], Grade ___
To join the fight against Common Core and federal overreach, join the Facebook pages:
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