A Call to Action
by Natalie Micheel
Sioux Falls Mom
The Siouxland Republican Women held a Common Core forum earlier this week. It included major state players from the “pro” side, and representation from the “against” side. SRW asked for questions prior to the event, and indicated they would take no question or comment from the floor that night, so one could surmise this was going to be a less than open and democratic forum. I was also told no signs, buttons, etc, and when we got there the crowd was told they couldn’t clap or otherwise make any sound. So, going in, we knew that this was going to be a frustrating event . . . planned by our own side no less. Dr. Melmer said, “This is America, so we get to debate stuff like this.” which was so ironic given that Common Core was implemented quietly without public input or review, and that even at that meeting we were locked down so tightly, “debate” was never an option.
The pro-Common Core side had the floor a good part of the time, controlled the discussion, and had the last word. I think Dr. Schopp (SD DOE) said it best when she said she was, “Surprised not one question was asked about the academic standards” and then she proceeded to lecture us on standards for 2/3’s of the evening’s time. No questions that were submitted were answered directly, and the pro side was able to control the discussion so that they did not have to dive into any sticky areas, or if they did, they did not have dive all the way, nor swim in murky waters, but could instead just put a toe in and tell us a few favorable items. I believe that their clear disregard for the parent role in education, their open condescension, their half-truths and more, were all so apparent, that they completely ignited the opposition, and even several people I heard who had walked in cold (knew nothing) and had an open mind, were aware that it must be a big lie the pro side was covering up in order to act the way they acted up there.
Look for this fight to go to the very steps of the state legislature and the door of the Governor’s office. People are rising up in SD. We will not cede our school districts to federal, nor private, control, will not take the power away from our local school boards and state legislature. We will not see our children taught material that is meant to confuse and frustrate them rather than educate them. We will not offer our children up to try an unproved and very fishy smelling education experiment en masse. We will not allow the government to make parents look like fools who can’t do second grade math, thereby weakening us in our children’s eyes in our roles of family leadership. We will not stand by and watch our children and family be tracked on every possible indicator from preschool to workforce, be labeled and tracked by data taken when they were growing and changing. We will not stand for weak privacy laws that leave our student’s data open to a variety of strangers, some who will no doubt use it for their profit. We do not believe in constant assessments, especially when the assessments don’t test knowledge, but rather behavior, willingness to conform, and world view. Our children are not their test scores, and behavior assessments ARE NOT TESTING AT ALL.
And most importantly we are a frugal state and can see clearly that there is a lot of money making and changing here, that is accountable to no one we can see. We understand that there is no money to be made by Big Education (whoever thought there could be such a term?) when you teach math the way you have always taught math, when 2 +2 = 4 and the child just needs to MEMORIZE that. There are BILLIONS OF DOLLARS to be made when you find a “new (unproven) way of teaching math” and demand every text book in America be changed to conform. And that of course is the “tip of the iceberg” where the money issue is concerned.
There are many of us, SO MANY OF US, who are aware we live in opposite world, and I put the rulers of opposite world in SD education on notice, we are going to right it!
If you are interested in adding your time and talents to the effort, you can let me know. There is an absolutely breath taking group of smart, engaged, parents, grandparents and concerned citizens who are working to end Common Core in SD and our country, and we would love to count you in.