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Mayor Gatsas and school board vote for Common Core in Manchester

Mayor Gatsas: Doesn't want discussions with parents.  It's his way or the highway
Mayor Gatsas: Doesn't want discussions with parents. It's his way or the highwayPhoto by Kimberly Morin

Monday night was the Manchester School Board meeting in which the Curriculum and Instruction Committee’s vote to push Common Core in Manchester was considered. Several parents spoke during the public input session to explain why “new Manchester Academic Standards” were nothing more than Common Core. Neither Gatsas nor the Board seemed to care after the public input.

Manchester Academic Standards are nothing but COMMON CORE
Manchester Academic Standards are nothing but COMMON COREPhoto by Kimberly Morin

Manchester parent Patrice Benard handed the board a printout showing that 88% of the English Language Arts (ELA) standards will be nothing but Common Core. Representative Emily Sandblade explained that 99% of the Math standards are nothing but Common Core and further that the standards are considerably lower compared to other countries. She also explained how Common Core math does nothing to promote STEM nor will it enable students to further careers in math at selective four year colleges.

Manchester House candidate Victoria Sullivan reminded the Mayor and school board of headlines from last October: “Manchester Schools Reject Common core”. “Under pressure, Largest NH school district looks beyond Common Core.” And finally, “Groundbreaking independence in NH: Manchester District’s Academic standards freed from Common Core.” Yet there the board sat in front of her getting ready to vote on Common Core standards.

More speakers pleaded with the board to reject Common Core. Not one speaker was in favor of the faux new standards. Yet it seemed as though the majority of the board had already decided they didn’t care what anyone said. They were determined to vote for incomplete standards that are nothing but Common Core.

A board member even suggested there be a forum where parents could get answers to questions they have but Mayor Gatsas reminded her that the board doesn’t discuss issues. Parents can give public input but there is no forum for back and forth.

Board member Ross Terrio asked if the standards could be changed to which Assistant Superintendent David Ryan claimed they could be after a couple of years of assessment to see how they are working. In other words, Ryan admits they have no idea how these Common Core standards are going to work and Manchester children will be guinea pigs to find out.

Interesting that the board voted against the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests which specifically test the Common Core Standards they voted into place. Why? Because the Smarter Balanced tests would cause numerous teachers to end up being fired for poor performance. Common Core and the tests are that bad. The board decided to keep Common Core to dumb kids down but were sure not to keep the tests that evaluate both students and teachers on Common Core.

It’s a sad day for Manchester children when the Mayor and school board break their promise to provide them with the highest standards in the state. They clearly lied and don’t actually care about providing the highest standards. Is it because of money they stuck with Common Core? Is it because the teachers can’t handle teaching higher standards like those in Massachusetts (which Wakefield, NH adopted)? Why would any school board punish children with Common Core standards knowing there are actually standards that exist that are better and have been practiced for years with success?

The truth will eventually come out about Mayor Gatsas and the school board. For now, parents have been slapped in the face as unimportant. Their opinions or care for their children’s education does not matter. As board member Staub made clear (this is paraphrased): Teachers know better than parents about education. Parents should just sit down and shut up and let teachers make the decisions.

Manchester children will be used as guinea pigs for standards that were never piloted; never benchmarked to international standards (they fail when that is done) and standards that will not only dumb students down but make it so they are unable to attend a 4 year college upon graduation because they will not have enough credits in certain subjects to be able to do so. While wealthy kids are sent to private schools, public school kids will be set up to be the workforce of the future. It’s a sad day for Manchester indeed.