SD Secretary of Education and Local Superintendents on Eye on Kelo-land

On October 6th, KELO TV aired an installment of Eye on Keloland with the subject of Common Core. 

The first thing Dr. Schopp said was the National Governor’s Association commissioned a number of national experts from across the nation. Please name the content experts who wrote the standards. These standards were written by 5 people. (link1)  Please name the content experts who signed off on the standards. (link2)

On October 1, 2013, at the Board of Education meeting in Chamberlain, Dr. Schopp was invited to hear Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a member of the Common Core Validation Committee, speak at an event in Sioux Falls.  Dr. Stotsky is credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students, as well as the strongest academic standards and license tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. Dr. Stotsky was in Sioux Falls to share her professional academic concerns leading to her refusal to sign off on the Common Core Standards. Dr. Schopp said that she was not concerned with what national experts have to say about the Common Core standards. She was only interested in what South Dakotans have to say about the standards.

And why, if the Secretary of Education’s job, is to make sure we offer the best education possible for South Dakota’s children, would she not want to hear from someone who led Massachusetts students to tying for first place in science in grade 8 on the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and were among the highest achieving countries in mathematics?  It would appear that Dr. Schopp only wants to hear from national experts who support this academic experiment called the Common Core. 

Mr. Holbeck has asked what standards are not right. If you really wanted to hear the issues that are not right, why did you not attend the event to hear Dr. Stotsky’s concerns?

Dr. Schopp says the state spent one year studying the standards. The final draft of the Standards was not released until June 2010, The Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in November 2010. Representative Jim Bolin sat on the House Education Committee at that time, and the Common Core was never mentioned. To be fair, the state Department of Education did receive a confidential draft of the standards in January, 2010, but that draft was revised several more times before the final draft was publicly released. The process sounds not quite so open as she would like us to believe. 

Dr. Schopp insists it was a voluntary opportunity for states to determine whether or not they wanted to adopt the Common Core. She also says that it was not a requirement by the federal government to adopt the Common Core Standards. Only that the federal government wants the state to have college and career ready standards and that the Common Core is one of those. If there is more than one set of standards, why did the South Dakota Board of Education choose standards that are copyrighted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers? That copyright negates our ability to change the standards and the teaching methods required by the Common Core. Both of these associations are Washington DC trade organizations.

Later in the interview, Dr. Schopp says that the South Dakota Department of Education has requested flexibility from the federal government on the assessments, so that in this first year of full implementation, schools are not held accountable for the results of the assessments.  If the federal government is not involved in the adoption of the Common Core Standards, why do we need to receive flexibility from them regarding school accountability and the Common Core assessments? And why did we voluntarily give up our educational autonomy to the federal government?

You notice Dr. Schopp says the state is working together with all the associations. Associated School Boards of South Dakota,  School Administrators of South Dakota,  and the South Dakota Education Association. Never once does she say they are working with parents. I have studied current education in our state and country enough to know that there is no longer local control. The associations and unions, along with corporations and the federal government, are now running the education of our children.

Dr. Schopp also said that she wanted to assure people that student data is protected. Ask any IT person. There is no such thing as assured protection of data. Oh, and don’t forget to ask the NSA about protecting data. From the South Dakota Department of Education website

This will increase data availability for reporting and analysis used by teachers, schools, districts, and the SD-DOE as well as external stakeholders, such as policy makers and researchers. SD-STARS will also allow for deeper and richer performance analysis by bringing student, teacher, principal, and financial data together.

The state has said it will not share personally identifiable information. But the federal government has changed the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), so it can receive personally identifiable information without parental consent. (link3) And if there is not to be tracking and sharing personally identifiable information, why did South Dakota agree to create Unique Student Identifiers

All three panelists said they “think” implementation of the standards is going well. Not once do they sight the research that shows that the Common Core Standards are an academic improvement.

In addition to the above, these questions all needed to be asked and answered:

  • Where is the documentation of a pilot study or validated research showing that the Common Core Standards and it’s teaching methods are an academic improvement?
  • Many early childhood experts have said that the Common Core Standards are not developmentally appropriate for the young child, K-3, and that the standards will cause harm to the young child. Where is the evidence that the standards are developmentally appropriate?
  • Before the standards were adopted, was a cost analysis done?

Nothing they say changes the fact that the Common Core is an academic experiment being conducted on the children of the state of South Dakota and the nation. 

Please go to the KELO link below to read the comments from parents.
KELO Eye on Keloland – Common Core

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