The following letter was received from Lynda Milburn, retired educator, who attended an NMPED sponsored presentation on Common Core. Her great distress over what the state is willing to do to our children in order to get federal money touched us deeply. Since the local newspaper won’t print her comments, and since what she has to say is significant, we are sending her letter to you. Please send us your ideas on how to defeat this insidious threat to our childrens education. You can reach Lynda at firstname.lastname@example.org
I attended the Common Core meeting yesterday at the Bella Vista School. This “town hall” meeting was hosted and presented by the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED). At one time we had been told that PED Hannah Skandera would be present–she was not! After introductory remarks were made, and a video about how great CC was for our students was shown, we had “breakout sessions” that we could attend. We could choose which session we wanted to attend. These “breakout sessions” were:
The What, Where, Why and How of the Common Core State Standards
Common Core in the Elementary Classroom
Common Core in the Middle and High School Classroom
Common Core for the College-Bound
Common Core for Career Preparation
Since I taught at CHS for 32 years, I chose Common Core in the Middle and High School Classroom. After our facilitator showed another video and made her presentation, she opened it up to questions. One of the first questions that a parent asked was “Why wasn’t CC phased in gradually starting with kindergarten and first grade instead of dropping it on us all at once?” There was some discussion on this from several in the group, and the facilitator said we didn’t have time to wait 12 years to phase CC in.”
Several parents commented that their child had been an A student and because of CC (apparently mostly in the math area), that child had brought home his/her first D. The student and the parent were totally frustrated and mad because the student did NOT understand what was being taught, and the parent had no idea how to help the student. There was one brave sophomore student in the group who had come with her mother. She stated her frustration with what her experience with CC had been. She was in tears by the time she finished talking. (I thought she was so brave to speak up in front of so many adults and the PED people!) The facilitator stated several times during the discussion that people should go to the PED website for information or talk to the student’s teacher. Well, there were several brave and concerned teachers in our group, and they were just as frustrated as their students were!
The facilitator received lots and lots of “feedback” from this group of parents and teachers! One person asked “What are you going to do with all the feedback you have received?” The facilitator replied, “This meeting is not for feedback. This meeting is to tell you about what Common Core is.” To be honest, I think our facilitator was a very nice lady. She admitted several times that she could not answer some of their questions. I heard from fellow retirees who attended the other sessions that their facilitator was rude and very abrupt when a question was asked about CC which apparently she did not want to discuss. There was a lot of discussion in our group. I felt that some of the people were totally frustrated, and others were just down right mad! All were very concerned about what CC was doing to our children–regardless of the child’s age or grade level.
I did ask the facilitator what was the highest level of math that was going to be taught at high school. She said it would be Alg. II. (I had heard this from other sources, and I wanted to “check it out”.) I asked–what about the student who is taking trig or calculus? She said “Oh, that student has exceeded our standards so we aren’t worried about that student.” A math teacher in the group spoke up and said she was glad that I asked that question. According to what she had to say, there are at least 200 students who failed Alg. I this year, and they will have to repeat the class next year. The teacher who previously taught trig. or calculus would not be teaching that subject next year, but would be needed to “reteach” these students who failed Alg. I. Someone in the audience did say that we have students in high school who cannot add or subtract. I admit this is startling information, and I think something is wrong if a student is in high school and can’t do basic arithmetic. Personally, I think allowing the student to rely on a calculator has damaged he/her math skills. Take his/her computer/calculator away, and how much math does he/she really know!!
There were several other things that were discussed. I was very impressed with the comments that were made by these parents and teachers. I admit that my “quotes” in this email may not be word for word, but they are basically what my feeble mind remembers. I don’t mean to misrepresent anything that took place in this breakout session.
At the end of the session I spoke up and told the group that I knew this town hall meeting was sponsored by the PED, but I wanted them to know there was going to be another important meeting about CC. It will be May 8 (Thurs.) in the Ingram Room at our local library at 5:30, and Kris Nielsen will discuss the negative side of Common Core. (I did this at the very end so the facilitator would not have a chance to stop me!) PLEASE ATTEND THIS IMPORTANT MEETING!
There was an article on the front page of the CNJ this morning about this CC meeting. When I read the entire article, I admit I was disturbed about the slanted way I felt reporter, Emily Crowe, wrote the article. Emily Crowe introduced herself to me after the meeting. She said she would like to ask me a couple of questions. She asked me what I thought of the meeting and did I learn anything. I told her I was glad that so many parents and teachers had attended the meeting. I also told her that I felt I had learned a lot. (I did learn a lot from the comments that were made during the breakout session that I attended). I told her I saw a lot of very frustrated parents and teachers. (I admit I don’t remember every single word I said. A lot was going on around us while this conversation was taking place.)
Well, this is what she wrote in the paper–in case you don’t read the paper:
Retired educator Lynda Milburn said she had found many frustrated parents and teachers in the area who are still trying to figure out how best to help their students get through the transition to CC. “I learned a lot and I was glad to see the parents get involved and talked about frustrations,” she said. (CNJ’s wording!)
Personally, I feel like the way this has been worded might indicate to some that I approve of CC. I oppose Common Core 100%! I think it is the worst thing that has ever happened to our educational system. I think it hurts our kids and is totally unfair to our teachers. I think it is clearly a world-wide indoctrination system promoted by the liberals in our country. I think big-money, power-hungry people are out to see that more government control takes over this country. As I have stated before, big government has taken over our healthcare system, and now they are out to take over our educational system and our youth! Wait until you see the curriculum for social studies and science!
One more thing–one of the handouts from this meeting states:
“The CCSS (Common Core State Standards) do not require schools to use specific curriculum or teaching methods–those decisions will continue to be made at a local level by school boards, superintendents, principals, and teachers.” Maybe the PED thinks they can get by with making this statement because of the word “specific”, however, I have had so many teachers tell me that this is totally a lie. The curriculum is test driven! They have to teach for the test because their evaluation is based on how their school does on the test! Maybe PED doesn’t consider this to be “specific”–is this a play on words perhaps??
A word to parents, educators, school board members, students, retirees, and all concerned citizens–stay informed, keep fighting for our kids, our educators, and our freedom! We can’t afford to lose control of our educational system. Thanks to all the parents, teachers, and the student who spoke up in these breakout sessions!
I have put this in the form of an e-mail, because the editor of the paper will not accept another letter from me discussing CC. I have already had one letter published under “Letter to the Editor”, and the editor called me when I sent in a second letter. He told me he only allowed one letter per year per subject.
Please feel free to share this with others. I speak only for myself. Others are certainly free to have other opinions. Hopefully, we can maintain that freedom! Feel free to email me if you have questions or comments. Thanks for taking the time to read this.