Exposing Common Core, an education forum sponsored by South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SCPIE), was held in Columbia over the weekend. The event was held at the Columbia Convention Center and began at 9am Saturday. SCPIE President Sheri Few welcomed approximately 150 people from all across the state who came to hear national experts present the problems with the Common Core National Standards.
American Principles Project Jane Robbins gave an overview of the problems with Common Core and explained how the Federal government coerced states into adopting the standards. From a lawyer’s perspective, Jane explained that the Federal government’s involvement in the adoption of the standards, and the accompanying assessments, violates the U.S. Constitution and three Federal statutes.
University of Arkansas Professor Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core Standards Validation Committee, exposed the secretive development process, which did not include any high school teachers or college/university professors. She and Professor Milgram were the only two content area specialists on the Validation Committee and neither one of them signed off on the standards. She explained the reduction of literature that is replaced with informational texts and a bigger concentration on writing over reading as being very problematic.
Ze’ev Wurman, of the Hoover Institution, talked about many troublesome issues with the Common Core Math Standards. The biggest problem being the delay of skills and particularly the delay of Algebra I until ninth grade, which will not provide a pathway for students to prepare for entrance into the country’s best colleges and universities and particularly STEM classes. He explained that one of the chief authors of the Math Standards is on record saying the standards only prepare students for non-selective colleges (colleges that accept all students regardless of ability). Additionally, Wurman told of an experimental geometry in the Math Standards that has never been implemented successfully anywhere in the world.
Joy Pullman, of the Heartland Institute, talked about national data collection efforts and the testing consortia funded by the Federal Government to develop computer tests for the Common Core Standards. She explained that South Carolina is committed to working with the Smarter Balanced testing consortia who is under contract with the Federal Government to allow access of all student level data to the Federal Government and to other states.
After lunch, Whitney Neal of FreedomWorks told the audience that over twenty states had some effort underway to pause, defund or otherwise halt implementation of the Common Core Standards. She shared some ideas about how South Carolina could stop Common Core.
South Carolina Senator Larrry Grooms told a funny story about his wife buying a washing machine and used it as an analogy for how the decision to adopt Common Core Standards in South Carolina may have happened. He suggested it was done hastily with heavy coercion and big promises that did not turn out to be true. He talked about his bill to repeal Common Core: Senate Bill 300 and encouraged the audience to contact their Senators and ask them to add their name to S300 as a co-sponsor. He also gave other ideas about how grassroots activists could persuade the Senate Education Committee to pass his bill.
SC Senator Tim Scott received a loud round of applause and shouts of support upon his arrival just before speaking. Senator Scott told of his childhood experience growing up poor with a single mom and about how people took an interest in him and mentored him through multiple schools. He believes education decisions should be made locally by the people who know and understand the needs of the children within their own community, not by the Federal Government.
The event ended with a question and answer panel, which included a lot of strategy questions about how South Carolina can stop Common Core.
For more information about the problems with Common Core and how you can help Stop Common Core in South Carolina, visit: www.scpie.org and sign up for action alerts.