At the Oct. 7 meeting of the Tyler County Board of Education the board heard from the West Virginians Against Common Core group. Angi Summers presented a slide presentation stating many of their views in opposition to Common Core. She pointed out that they were mainly there in opposition to the move that they believe will nationalize education and create a National Data Bank of information of our children.
Common Core is a set of Educational Standards that are funded by special interest educational groups, such as Bill and Linda Gates, the National Governors Association, and the Council of State School Officers.
Reading from her slide, she stated that in 2010 the U.S. Department of Education received $10 billion from the stimulus bill, from which they used $4 billion to create The Race To The Top Program, and at the same time were creating the Common Core. This in turn allowed them to alter the family rights and privacy act, and allow third party access to student records without parental consent.
She went on to say that in 2010 President Obama made the statement in a speech that as a condition of receiving Title 1 funding that all states would be required to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that would prepare students to be college and career ready. She stated they believed this was illegal.
She spoke about the nationalization of the Math and English standards adopted by Common Core and that in fact most states, including West Virginia, adopted those standards before they even saw them. She stated that in West Virginia this was a big deal as the State Superintendent of Schools made the national announcement.
She also said the standards are copyrighted and owned by the NGA and are not amendable. She also believed this to be illegal according to the 10th amendment, as stated in the Federal Resister that states cannot subtract from or change the standards, but only supplement them by not more than 15 percent. She said the Federal Government does not belong in the running of our schools and they are actually just a third party with zero authority.
She also pointed out that the collection of student data from the consorting groups assessments is very, very costly, and in the end the costs will be born by the states which will filter down to the counties. A study of aligning states to the Common Core standards was finished in 2010 and just the start up cost were estimated at $10 billion. It should also be noted that of the 45 states that have adopted the Common Core standards, not one of them has released a cost study to administer the online assessments. "So, nobody knows and we are not being told what this is going to cost us," she said.
By adopting the Common Core, West Virginia has agreed to link our data with other states, the federal government, and other private agencies-creating a national data base.
The data base was funded by Bill Gates, whom she said actually paid $100 million to build. This, they believe, will be used to track kids from kindergarden to the work force and then freely share their information with private companies without your consent. "We believe that the real goal of data collecting is not education," said Summers. "Collection of data of students and sharing that information with others is, we believe, to be an invasion of privacy.
She stated that when they gave this presentation to the state, one of the questions asked was how the data was shared. She said the Assistant Superintendent of Schools said the data was not shared outside of them. "We question that because of some documents we have looked at," said Summers. "The first is called the memorandum of understanding between the SBAC and the State of WV. The data is indeed being shared from state to state and between the federal government."
Opposition to Common Core is rising across the country. Many states are opposing the standards including Indiana, Utah, Pennsylvania, Florida, and others, as well as school leadership groups across the country. It should also be noted that the Republican National Committee has also issued a resolution against Common Core.
Summers also directed the board to their website to find out more information. "We believe this whole thing is a train wreck against the kids, our states, and our nation," asserted Summers. "It is not about standards, the conversation should not be kept on standards because this is about controlling education. Our founding fathers knew this, that is why they left the 10th amendment, leaving the education to the states.
"If we lose control we lose our kids. If we lose our kids, we lose our nation, and it may be the last battle we ever have. So as county board members we think you all can do something," said Summers. "We invite you to look at this stuff and to find out more about it. We do think county boards have a voice, you are our voice, the voice of the people, in fact in education you are the only voice. And we need your help. We need you to stand up for our kids. We all have this obligation of citizenship."
She thanked the superintendent and the board for their time. The board then thanked her and the other members of her group for coming to the meeting.
Relatedly, under delegations, Bonnie Henthorn spoke about her concerns with Common Core and the quality of education she feels her kids are getting. She stated that her comments were not about the teachers or the school, and in fact she did commend them. She mentioned that many of the teachers were of a high caliber. She is more concerned about what the teachers are being forced to teach.
She came to the board to raise her concerns over Common Core and its curriculum, along with the general direction of education. She also had issues over parental rights of privacy.
She felt that specifically the standards of math and English were lacking. She stated two plus two equals four and always will. She said that "fuzzy math" is no way to excel. She made mention of her own children and felt that they were falling behind where they should be and felt that the change in curriculum is the reason.
She also mentioned that she had considered home schooling but was afraid that Common Core standards would soon be placed on home schooling as well.
Henthorn seemed very concerned about the privacy of data being collected by Common Core and the overall direction of education as a whole. She called the board's attention to a Common Core book called the bluest eye that is being used in many states but is not yet in our libraries. She stated the content is very explicit sexually and discusses illegal sexual behavior. She called the book chilling, to say the least. She also mentioned the Weekly Reader as being full of social agenda's and political views.
She spoke about the loss of individual creativity and independent thinking. She feels that Common Core would like to have total control of education. She says she mentions it here to make board members aware that our constituents are aware of it as well. Over the past several years she said parents have seen a continual encroachment on parental rights, citing an incident with her own child going on a field trip.
She mentioned several other objections to the Common Core standards and to the way they are being applied to the local schools and teachers, along with the effects they have on the kids and their education. She then thanked the board for their time.