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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Common Core Testimony Presented to the Ohio State Board of Education

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My Testimony

On June 11, 2013, fifteen individuals, including myself, attended the Ohio State Board of Education public meeting in which they were accepting testimonies about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). We each in our testimonies shared our concerns regarding these new standards. 

We heard from some of those testifying about the changes that are already taking place in the public schools. If we don't put a stop to this, it will continue to trickle down to our homeschooled children as well. This is evidenced already by homeschool publishers who are choosing to edit their books in order to align with CCSS. (To see which publishers are aligning with these standards, click here.)

One mom shared her daughter's recent experience in public school as a second grader. They moved here from Kentucky and while her daughter attended school there she was one of three reading at or above second grade level. Because she was ahead in her reading skills, in her current school she was "forced" to sit in the hall with a chapter book while the rest of the students learned how to read at a second grade level. The mom stated, "We are moving towards a national education system that is teaching not to each individual student, but to the masses."

There was a school representative there who was requesting that his school be allowed to opt out of the excessive testing. I had heard that the amount of testing is going to be outrageous and this school representative presented evidence on this through his testimony.

A young girl of the age of 10 also testified. She titled her testimony Educational Communism. Her words were, "If Common Core happens, then no one would have different opinions because everyone would have the same curriculum and everyone would know the same things as facts. Differing opinions is what caused our nation's founding." This was a very enlightening comment coming from a child of such a young age.

Once the meeting was over our group was left with the impression that the majority of the members of the board had already made up their minds and still believed that the new standards were ideal. My opinion is that those members who are proponents of CCSS feel that we are all misinformed. 

We NEED you to become informed about this issue. We NEED more voices to speak up against Race To The Top which includes Common Core and PARCC testing, otherwise irrevocable damage will occur.

If as a homeschooler you feel that this will not affect your children, I respectfully disagree. When you attend an informational meeting (or research the topic on your own), I believe you will understand my statement. I have spent MONTHS researching this issue; I have searched for answers to back up the Ohio School Board; but for each answer they give, I can find evidence against it. 

Just recently, a mom had us Ohioan homeschoolers concerned about a post she shared on Facebook. She wrote, "Need advice. I'm a bit frustrated because I sent in our end of year assessment/evaluation to the district. It was approved but we were told that due to the Common Core Standards (and some things placed in the wording) the district can now do RANDOM AUDITS of homeschoolers." Thankfully, we learned that this was nothing but a scare tactic from an interim superintendent. However, this is something we as homeschoolers need to be aware of in case other districts try to tell us the same thing. 

At the meeting we were told that the Ohio schools would basically pick and choose what worked from CCSS and leave the rest behind. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE. They can add 15% of whatever they’d like to the standards, but because the standards are COPYRIGHTED they can’t change them, and according to the Race To The Top grant, it is my understanding that they have to implement all of the standards.

The subject of data mining was brought up. A person testifying spoke about the fingerprinting that is taking place in the Hudson school district. Children place their finger in a machine so that the school can access information pertaining to their lunch account.  (Hudson City Schools offers Horizon OneSource System which is the system used for this fingerprinting process.) 

The President of the ODE didn’t seem to know anything about this. In fact, she wanted to know which school in particular was performing this fingerprinting procedure. This program is not new. I believe it is at least two years old, if not more. Due to this, I was surprised at her response to this information.

So why am I bringing this up? As homeschoolers we don’t have to worry about this, right? I bring this up because the members of the ODE continue to tell us that there will be “no data collection.” They scoff at the idea of data collection, yet as the Hudson example shows, this is already taking place in our schools. I believe the Ohio State Board of Education is misinformed.

Through what I have learned via all of my research (and as I continue to educate myself) is that the Ohio State Board is either receiving information that is not accurate, or they are pushing the CCSS through because they have to.

Another area in which the homeschoolers will be affected is through testing; including SAT testing. According to the College Board, SAT tests will be aligned with the standards and if you’re not teaching to the standards, how will this affect your child's ability to pass this and other tests? You can read more about the College Board's plans here.

Each time I read an article supporting CCSS, I continue to find evidence against it. This is why I have decided for myself that these standards will be detrimental to students everywhere. Some of us have been blessed to homeschool our children, but will our children have the same opportunity to homeschool their children. If not, what will all of this mean for your grandchildren? It is because of them that I have become passionately concerned about what is happening to the education in America.

If you are in agreement with me, that Ohio has to opt out of Race To The Top (RTTT) and Common Core (CC), there is an online petition you can sign. To do so, click here. Also, please share this petition with every parent you know, whether their children attend public, private, charter school, or are homeschooled.

Also, if you would like to continue to stay updated on the status of our fight to have Ohio opt out of RTTT and CC, you can find our group on Facebook and ask to join: Ohio Parents and Teachers Against Common Core, or you can email me and I can add you to our Ohio email list.

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