Shane Vander Hart, chief blogger at Truth In American Education, and Communications Director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative, participated in a Common Core Forum hosted by the Siouxland Republican Women on September 17th, 2013 in Sioux Falls. Many questions submitted by members of the public were left unanswered. Shane made a comittment to answer as many of those questions as he could. Here is the first installment of the answers to those questions. This one is devoted the the history of the Common Core in South Dakota.
Thank-you Shane for your leadership in the effort to inform the public about the Common Core.
South Dakota Q & A: South Dakota’s History for Common Core
I participated in a forum last week in Sioux Falls, SD. Questions were complied for two months prior and the panelists were given the questions (summarized) a couple of days prior to the event. Unfortunately since forum was not moderated and rules put in place regarding time limits South Dakota Education Secretary Melody Schopp and former South Dakota Education Secretary Rick Melmer were able to set the tone of the forum early. Dr. Schopp was able to go first. Hardly any of the questions were answered, and I know many of the attendees were frustrated. I was as well since I only was able to touch the mike twice and was actually skipped over at one point. You can read a recap here.I made a commitment to those in attendance that I would do my best to answer the questions that Dr. Schopp and Dr. Melmer didn’t. I’m going to break these up into several articles (there were a lot of questions!). The first installment is on South Dakota’s History for the Common Core. I’d like to preface this article with encouragement to check out the local experts – South Dakotans Against Common Core is an excellent resource.Questions will be in bold, my answers italicized….Who is responsible for bringing the Common Core standards into South Dakota? The President or the Governor?The President indirectly and the Governor directly. Ultimately it was the decision of the South Dakota State Board of Education. They voted to adopt the Common Core Math and ELA standards on November 29, 2010. Governor Mike Rounds was aware of the process as it began several months prior and I assume signed the original memorandum of understanding with the Common Core State Standards Initiative and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The reason I’m fuzzy on that is because they were adopted with less than two months to go in his last term and I’m not sure when those were signed as I don’t have copies of the documents. The process definitely started in his administration.That said Governor Daugaard is complicit as well as he has continued to allow the implementation of the Common Core in South Dakota.President Obama is complicit indirectly through the Race to the Top grant program (which was an executive earmark within the Stimulus package passed in 2009) which South Dakota did apply for. The application did state that “high points” would be given if the applicant adopted a set of “college and career-ready standards” developed by a consortium consisting of a majority of states. The Common Core was the only game in town. How much the Race to the Top funding (which South Dakota did not receive) played in adopting the Common Core in South Dakota is up for debate, but one can’t dismiss it’s role.Since Governor Rounds is running for U.S. Senate it would certainly be worthwhile to have him explain his role in the adoption of the Common Core and his position today.
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