PTA Loves Common Core. PTA Members, Not So Much.
As we reported yesterday, National Education Association members are pushing back on that organization’s love for the Common Core. The NEA has frozen the comments on this article at 82. You’ve just got to wonder how many comments are “pending” from NEA members.
Today we’ll take a look at the Parents & Teachers Association and its support of Common Core. How much money has the PTA received from the Gates Foundation to promote CCSS? From Susan Ohanian:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded grants
National Congress of Parents & Teachers (PTA)
Date: May 2013
Purpose: to educate parents and communities on the Common Core Standards and empower leaders to create the changes needed in their school systems
Date: November 2009
Purpose: to support implementation of a strategic plan for national PTAs to promote college-readiness, and higher student performance outcomes
Hillsborough County PTA
Date: November 2011
Purpose: to continue and enhance its parent advocacy training modules for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that were originally created during its Gates-funded National PTA sub-grant in 2010
Washington State PTA
Date: March 2011
Purpose: to assist with technology communications infrastructure to push for key policies in Washington
NY State Commissioner John King scheduled meetings across the state to talk about CCSS but cancelled them after the first meeting. Too many people questioned him and wouldn’t accept the talking points from the CCSSO and other Gates funded organizations. According to the Daily Caller, he will now have more intimate meetings that are “invitation only”:
A New York education department spokesman told Albany NBC affiliate WNYT that King’s next Common Core event will be an intimate, selective affair. Audience members will be required to have invitations.
According to The Journal News, state legislators will moderate the new forums.
While future forums may involve more public participation, the idea, certainly, for the next one is to prevent a repeat of the generally raucous — sometimes incredibly raucous — atmosphere in Poughkeepsie.
Noted New York educator Carol Burris provides an important update on the story below.
Via the New York State PTA’s Facebook page
Dear PTA Members and Friends, The NY State Education Commissioner’s office has requested suspending the remaining Town Hall meetings on the Common Core scheduled for:
Tuesday, October 15-Garden City HS, 170 Rockaway Ave, Garden City
Wednesday, October 16- Shenendehowa HS West, 970 Rt 146 Clifton Park
Thursday, October 24- Williamsville North HS, 1595 Hopkins Rd Williamsville
Wednesday, October 30-New Hartford SHS, 33 Oxford Rd,New Hartford
While our goal was to provide an opportunity to learn and share, based on review of the initial October 10 meeting, the Commissioner concluded the outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend. Please know that NYS PTA will continue to work with all education and child advocacy partners to keep our members updated and informed on education, health, safety and welfare issues affecting children and families. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and express our sincere appreciation to those who have given their time to assist with organizing this initiative.
New York State PTA
They’re only willing to talk, not to listen.
The PTA’s Common Core support is not settling well with some PTA members. A Facebook group “PTA members against Common Core” was started on October 7, 2013 and already has over 400 members. Show the group your support. “Like” the group and show the PTA how the moms and dads really feel about the standards and education reform being implemented without their input. It’s time to stand up for your kids and grandkids.
From the Facebook group description:
We are PTA members who do NOT support Common Core State Standards.
“Every Child, One Voice” is the PTA motto, but it does not represent OUR voices.Description
There are many reasons people dislike Common Core. Whatever your reason, you’re upset that PTA supports it without ever asking the PTA membership, without any proof whatsoever that it works.
Did they ask the PTA membership or even let us vote on it? No.
Did PTA take nearly $3 million dollars from Bill Gates to support common core? Yes.
Are his dollars more important than your children? Apparently so.
Did PTA leaders even see the Common Core standards before agreeing to support them? Apparently not, since they were not fully released until 2010 and the National PTA accepted money from Bill Gates in 2009 specifically to support Common Core. (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2009/12/National-PTA-to-Mobilize-Parents-for-Common-Core-Standards)
PTA POSITION STATEMENT (and our comments showing that the PTA is not abiding by it):
“The National PTA supports nationally agreed upon voluntary standards if they are derived by consensus at the state and local levels. (Common core is NOT voluntary, and definitely not derived by consensus. The local level has had no voice in common core, nor can we opt out of it at the local level). Parents must be involved in this process. (Parents were definitely not involved in this decision!). National PTA opposes federal legislation and/or regulations that mandate standardized testing or would lead to such testing, (Common core and standardized testing are inseparable) as well as federal policies that mandate comparisons of states, school districts, or individual schools (The mandate of common core, through Race to the Top and Waivers given to states from the federal government, most definitely compares states, school districts, schools using standardized testing and longitudinal databases.) and student retention based on a single test.” (Students may be retained due to their standardized test score, and, furthermore, the test may also affect a student’s GPA and college options)
Link to PTA’s statement: http://www.pta.org/about/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1294)
IT IS OUR BELIEF, within in this facebook group, that crucial dollars will be wasted on common core and standardized testing that should be spent on smaller class sizes and enrichment opportunities through music, art, physical education, sports, and extra-curricular programs.
PTA teaches parents to advocate for their children. PTA leaders shouldn’t be surprised when parents actually DO! PTA should listen and respect our voices.
What can you do about it? Joining this group is a first step. We truly don’t want to hurt PTA, because PTA has done many wonderful things for students, but if PTA doesn’t change and do what is best for our children, it just may be time to abandon ship and set sail on our own by forming independent PTO organizations within our schools.