Just about a year ago, I happened to attend a Board of Education meeting. I had taken my son and a friend who were working on scout merit badge requirements and had not been very involved in school issues. Our then superintendent stood up to talk about the recent NYS Assessments, and how the scores were poor (only 30% scored proficient) and that the NYSED knew that this would be the case. At the time, I remember thinking to myself, “It sounds like someone in the education department was trying to help out his brother-in-law’s software company by giving them a contract to write crappy tests.” The meeting continued, and it was prior to the budget vote, so there was the usual discussion about unfunded mandates. I naively asked “What unfunded mandates should we be asking to be repealed?” I look back on that now, and boy, did I sound like an uninformed un-involved parent. (I am being nice to myself, I rated this blog “G”).
By fall, my son is a junior, so we are well past the assessments stage and the moms that I am most friendly with are as well. I might have remained oblivious to the changes that were going on all in education. Then something wonderful happened and if you have been involved in any way in education reform and the stop common core movement, you have probably already guessed. Arne Duncan said the backlash against Common Core was “white suburban moms are discovering that their children are not as brilliant as they thought”.
There is something very wrong when a policy maker, and one who yields as much power as Arne Duncan does, says something so, well, dunderheaded, and keeps his job. (Insert any word you would like for dunderheaded, I am keeping my “G” rating.
So, I started doing some research. I attended a Common Core meeting sponsored by State Senator Greg Ball. I joined a Facebook group, then two, then three. At first, I could not believe some of the things that I was reading. Now, I think many of my friends and acquaintances think I sit in my kitchen wearing a tin hat. I am not a professional educator, I do not make money from the school systems or the government. I am a mother, wife, employee, volunteer. I have my opinions, and I have the research that I have found to form my opinion. My plan is to take those of you who are interested through some of my experiences. My hope is to be a place for parents new to the realization of what education reform has become in this country.
Next time I will talk about the Fordham Institute. I hope you join me.