One of the most egregious aspects of the Common Core implementation has been the lack of parental and public input.
The MSDE attempted a too little, too late damage control by hosting four forums in the state in October, more than three years after the adoption of the CCSS, which were viewed by many as nothing more than one-sided PR propaganda to promote Common Core without the opportunity for opposing views. The arrest of a frustrated parent for speaking out of turn at one of those forums in Baltimore County garnered a million hits on YouTube and brought to light the lack of conversation allowed to take place over any aspect of Common Core.
Facebook groups opposing the new standards and loss of local school control have been proliferating across the country. “Stop Common Core”, “Inappropriate Common Core Lessons”, “Parents & Educators” groups, “Educational Freedom”, “Parents Against School Propaganda”, “Protect Student Privacy”, and others advocate for protections against a myriad of concerns surrounding Common Core and other recently discovered educational reforms prompted by Race To The Top grant funding.
The MSDE and MPT are now co-hosting a televised Common Core event they label a “town hall”, even though it was never open to the public. The event will air just three days after a planned citizen protest march against Common Core on Nov. 18, and first appeared on the MSDE website immediately after the protest announcement.
Bill Reinhardt, spokesman for the MSDE, told me there were personal invitations only for those hand-selected by the MSDE and MPT to be in the audience and panel. He said “a cross-section of people and teachers” were invited such as superintendents, educators, and members of the PTA.
When asked if there was a way for the public to submit questions for the panel to answer, or if there was room on the panel for a representative of the opposition, the answer was no and no.
Cindy Sharretts, a long-time education activist, said, “The MSDE is a government entity and is answerable to the people. They should allow experts on both sides of the issue and it should be well advertised.”
Sharretts asked, “Is MPT planning to televise the Common Core forum in Carroll County on Nov. 4, which is a true local grassroots event with representatives from both sides of the issue?”
One of the Carroll County event organizers extended an invitation to MPT earlier this week to film their forum.
Sharretts pointed out that the flyer for the MPT/MSDE event contains a disclaimer that “This production is developed under a grant by the USDE.”
Sharretts said, “MPT receives grant money from the MSDE and USDE. MPT promotes the programs that are implemented under the MSDE and acts as a PR mouthpiece.”
Sharretts’ research bears this out. Keep in mind that Common Core and the Early Learning Challenge educational reforms were products of the Race To The Top federal grant program.
The Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission (MPBC), the parent of MPT, is according to the Maryland Manual, “an 11-member board appointed by the governor. Two members are nominated by the MSDE, and one member is the state superintendent of schools.”
THE MPBC and MPT locally has already gained much from its relationship with the MSDE. The Maryland Operating Budget analysis for MPBC states, “"Reimbursable funds increase $400,000 due to a memorandum of understanding between the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission (MPBC) and the Maryland State Department of Education to develop deliverables for the State’s federal Race to the Top grant."
See video at the top of the page, with clips taken from the website of the Association of Public Television Stations.
So the USDE is using taxpayer money (RTTT grants) to bribe states into enacting its directives in radical educational reforms without parental input, consent or knowledge, and the MSDE turns around and uses your state tax dollars (through grants to MPT) to sucker the public into thinking we should be thanking them all for it.
Please join parents and engaged citizens at the protest march on November 18. If they continue to silence the public, we must rise up.
To join the fight to stop Common Core and protect local control of our schools, join the Facebook pages:
In Maryland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/StopCCSSinMaryland/
In Baltimore County: https://www.facebook.com/groups/484284261670485/
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