Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.39.07 PMClick here to see full 6 minute video.

This month’s MSBA report contains a segment talking about what is happening with the K-12 Standards Work Groups. In that segment the reporter says,

“The initial meetings held in late September were far more contentious than expected with some work group members who were opposed to common core trying to hijack the process, according to state board of education member Vic Lenz.”

What process? The work groups were created to function autonomously. There is no process described in the law telling them exactly how they are to “develop” (not review – MSBA) standards. To hijack something means that you force it to deviate from a predetermined course which can only mean that DESE was using the facilitators to steer the work groups on a predetermined course.  The State Board of Education, DESE and MSBA had envisioned a review of the common core standards as the only function of the work groups and were very upset that they did not get to continue on their predetermined course.

MSBA appears to agree with Board member Lenz who blames the parents for the tension in the work groups.  I encourage them to watch the videos and notice who is saying what. The ELA 6-12 facilitator could not even answer honestly that DESE had contracted with her to come facilitate the meeting. That was disrespectful and deceitful. A teacher on the science group told a parent she wasn’t qualified to be speaking about science standards.

The announcer also continues to refer to the one work group as the Social Studies group instead of the History group. This is incorrect and the difference between the two is NOT a small point. The law says the group is to develop history and governments standards that include “geography and the history and governments of the United States and the world.”  Social studies, as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies, is “integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” The subjects that are integrated into a social studies program include:  sociology,  political science, history, economics, religious studies, geography, psychology, anthropology, and civics.  If the Board would like to establish another work group to address those other topics like religious studies, psychology and anthropology they are welcome to do so, but the current group has a very specific charge.

Another private association in the state that holds the public in contempt is the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA). In their latest leadership training this  fall they describe the local school board this way.

Board Meetings: Your Monthly Penitence for Entering the Superintendency
December 12, 2014
Presenters: Gary Wright, Ph.D. – Director, Superintendents Academy; Gerry Lee – Board Member, Springfield School District and Paul Ziegler, J.D. – Superintendent, Northwest R-1 School District
Topics: Developing a board agenda; review of Sunshine Law; superintendent evaluation and compensation; and strategies for working with difficult board members.

 

Having to deal with the locally elected board members is a form of penance or punishment according to administrators.  Wonder what a “difficult board member is?”  Perhaps it is someone who does not just roll over and agree with whatever the Superintendent is handing them as the latest top down policy or program.

Today’s pubic hearing on the status of the work groups, required by the legislation that was passed, being held in a tiny room in DESE’s office building is just one more snub of the public by a system that claims to be serving the needs of the public.  It is clearly a passive aggressive move by the SBE to satisfy the letter of the law in the least meaningful way possible so that their exposure to the public is as small as possible.

Sadly, we continue to support these organizations with our tax dollars. Ask your local school board how much money they are paying to MSBA, who clearly finds public involvement an impediment to THEIR agenda, for dues. Find out if your district pays your Superintendent’s membership dues to MASA. Why would we continue to fund organizations who train our employees to work against the will of the public/their employer?

Published October 27, 2014

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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