Missouri’s First Public Hearing on Common Core HB1490 Work Groups. Whose Political Agenda is Being Protected?
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The Missouri Torch videoed and reported on the first public hearing on HB1490 work group progress:
Yesterday I attended the State Board of Education meeting where the work groups working on the new Missouri education standards gave their reports on their progress. One thing I noticed is almost every group reported they were missing members. I also noticed the reports only touched the surface and no one reported problems working together, despite the fact the ELA 6-12 workgroup has had several heated battles.
You can find The Missouri Torch’s report on the volatility on the 6-12 work group here. This particular meeting included an ELA 6-12 work group member making the motion to deny Sandra Stotsky any speaking time, illustrating the member’s obvious desire not to hear from a nationally known ELA Standards expert who was asked to serve on the CCSS Validation Committee. This same work group member testified against the passage of HB1490 in the Senate hearings. It was brought up at this meeting that “we are ALL experts at this table”. That may be true, however, there are varying degrees of expertise and there was no one at the table that day who possesses the expertise and credentials of Dr. Sandra Stotsky in writing and critiquing standards.
Duane Lester highlighted three videos from the testimonies received at the first CCSS public hearing and Jessica Boyster’s was particularly compelling. She began by asking questions raised by the previous speaker’s comments (at 37:58), a paid work group facilitator from DESE. A bit of background: Paid facilitators were not specified to be paid for or provided by DESE in HB1490. This is a financial obligation DESE decided to pursue on its own without legislative directive or mandate. The facilitator began by stating the work group process had become “a political agenda” and she was unable to perform her job. She was the facilitator assigned to the K-5 work group but she was not “allowed” to do her job because the work group, well, voted to not to assign her that responsibility. That is the work group’s prerogative to not use her services.
She also complained that the K-5 group had not met with the ELA 6-12 group to align their work. That is true. I will add, however, as an observer to the ELA 6-12 group, a meeting with the K-5 group was discussed in the 6-12 group and legislative appointees early on in the process requested a combined meeting with the K-5 group. The appointees from the educational organizations (not the parents/teachers appointed by legislators) nixed that idea. The NEA appointee stated that maybe “we can allow a meeting for them for 30 minutes”.
If the K-5 facilitator is concerned there is no alignment from the two groups, I believe that this resistance is coming from the ELA 6-12 educational establishment appointees, not the parents/teachers legislatively appointed. If this process contains a ‘political agenda’, it might just be that agenda being protected is from the educational establishment which adopted unwritten, unvalidated and unfunded standards written by private NGOs with no public/legislative accountability.
When you hear a state board member speak about the ‘political hijacking’ involved, he might want to take into consideration that any hijacking occurring emanates from the education reform groups hijacking the intent of HB1490:
Click here to watch Dr. Lenz talking about the hijacked process and his admiration for the facilitators. He mentions the teacher’s frustrations on the ‘hijacked’ process but doesn’t mention any parental input. State Board of Education member Lenz was a previous President of MSBA, a private, not-for-profit group that exists to help public school boards organize and lobby.
Here is Jessica’s video in which she asks the State Board why facilitators were even hired by DESE when there was no funding or legislative authority to do so. She also tells the State Board the effect of Common Core on her daughter:
Published October 28, 2014