August 13, 2013
What the State Board Knew and What They Are Doing to Cover
What They Didn’t Do About What They Knew
by Joyce Kinmont
I’d like to be done with Common Core and just concentrate on homeschooling, but the battle continues so I will simply send you short updates. I hope you are engaged in the battle in your state.
Wendy Hart is a school board member from the Alpine School District in Utah. We learn from her short video that the Utah State School Board knew full well that national standards were being developed, and they did not put up a fight. If you watch it, you may agree with my thoughts:
- The Utah State School Board and their employees knew in 2009 that the federal government was setting national standards. The word “national” was frequently used. Calling them “state standards” was a slight of hand that came later.
- In a June 2009 presentation to a legislative committee, newly appointed Superintendent Larry Shumway discussed very briefly whether it would be better to at least “be at the table.” One legislator suggested that by doing so they would be “endorsing” the national standards. I’d wish I could call Representative Holdaway a hero and say that he then mounted his horse and rode through the night warning, The Fed’rals are coming! The Fed’rals, are coming! No, he resigned from the legislature to become a lobbyist for the teacher’s union. But . . . there were 18 other legislators in the room. I guess no one saw the problem, so our children just slipped through the cracks.
- The question of “being at the table” is valid, but it was never deeply explored. There should have been a real discussion about the level of influence we might have at the table, if any; about Constitutional principles; and about giving up our Federal money. The Legislature should have been deeply involved in the discussion. All parents should have been invited — these are our children whose freedom they were so casually signing over. I was able to tell the current State Superintendent this at a public meeting recently; he listened but he didn’t hear.
- The “extremely tight turnaround” the federal government gave the school board for no good reason was a low integrity manipulation. The board might have just said No! A senior citizen newspaper that recently appeared in my mailbox contained an article on avoiding frauds: “If someone says you have to take an offer immediately or you will miss the opportunity, it is likely a scam.” Do we want our schools run by people who seem to lack wisdom and integrity?
- Acquiescing in “showing that you are part of the group” is giving in to peer pressure. Can they not stand up to pressure? We may all have our breaking points, but do we want our schools run by people who give in so easily?
- So casually did they accept the standards! Brenda Hales had no concern. The rest apparently followed her lead. This was all before the standards were even written! And did you notice that they had to petition Washington for approval? Actually the standards don’t really matter as much as the curriculum and testing that will be forced upon our children to mold their thinking.
- And then there is the money. “No small chunk of change.” Do we want our schools run by people who will give up liberty for money? And don’t forget that this was stimulus money that we and our children will be paying back for the rest of our lives.
- I was surprised by the insulting remark which obviously originated from Washington and was parroted by Ms. Hales about not wanting the process to “end up being like the Constitutional Convention, have it last two or three years….” The comment reveals the collective distain for things we hold dear.
- In view of the knowledge the State Board and their employees have that Common Core is the product of the federal government and its corporate associates, the School Board and their employees should stop their dishonest attempt to convince the public that Common Core standards, curriculum, testing, and data collecting are State products and are without federal control. Some of them should be submitting their resignations. (I can’t help but wonder why Superintendent Shumway resigned after 3 ½ years.)
The public meeting I referred to was actually a protest at the Board’s August meeting, called because it was discovered that the board is engaging in a major PR campaign to counter the pushback they are getting from citizens.
Over a hundred of us showed up that morning, on a day’s notice, to protest this expenditure of our own tax dollars. Most stayed outside carrying signs while the rest of us attended the meeting. Only four people were given slots to speak in the meeting, for 2 minutes each. Then the Board left for their other meetings and those inside joined those outside.
Superintendent Menlove, who has only been Superintendent since January, came outside to see the protest. Apparently someone asked him to please listen to the concerns people had not been able to share, and he agreed. We went back into the empty board room and he listened to us for a good hour, but as I said, he didn’t seem to hear. He is hired by the State School Board to implement their decisions, and that’s what he is going to do. I feel badly for him.
I am convinced that those running our public schools in Utah have no desire to stop Common Core. Hopefully the Legislature will do something; but whatever happens, our best choice is to do the hard work of making our home our children’s first temple of learning. And we must warn our neighbors.