Attendee at Conejo Valley Common Core Meeting is Shocked- Wait ’til you read his email

connollyBetsySeptember 23, 2013- Newbury Park, CA

Video added Oct. 3, 2013

Matthew Layden is a Conejo Valley resident with four children in the public schools. He works in IT and is well-educated. Layden became concerned about the major changes involving the Common Core Standards, which he believed could have a significant impact on his children.  He started researching it. When he heard about a Common Core meeting at the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church on September 11, 2013, he attended it and  found it was put on by a Conejo Valley School board member (Betsy Connally, at left) and a teacher, who took it upon themselves to do a one-sided Common Core promotion, without balance.  Layden was outraged when citizens were shut down when they attempted to offer their opinions, even told that they weren’t welcome at the meeting. Well, this isn’t quite bad as the story (see THIS) about  a man who was manhandled, bodily thrown out of a meeting and arrested for similar questions at a meeting in Maryland last week, but it violates most standards of civil discourse in these parts. Mr. Layden describes the meeting and also cites his Common Core research sources in an email he sent to over 400 Conejo Valley public school teachers last week.  He gave Citizensjournal.us permission to publish it here in its entirety. We also have come into a possession of a video of the meeting which should be released later this week. – The Editor

 

From: Layden, Matthew 
Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2013 10:47 PM
Cc: Layden, Matthew
Subject: Common Core Discussion

My name is Matthew Layden.  I have four children and a niece in the CVUSD school system so I am simply a concerned parent.  I recently attended a Common Core presentation on September 11th with speakers Betsy Connolly of the CVUSD Board and United Common Core Science specialist Teacher Michael Pucher.  By chance it was sponsored by the Democratic Club Conejo Valley.  I initially thought that it was going to be a discussion/debate between the 2 speakers but as it turns out they were both proponents. 

watch video:

Betsy Connolly CVUSD Board Member and teacher Michael Pulcher defends Common Core data mining


 

After their presentations the floor was open to questions.  When the first question was taken from a retired educator from UCLA, Betsy Connolly interrupted her saying ”we are not taking rebuttals, only questions” so she started to restate her question making it obvious that it was in the form of a question.  Betsy then motioned to the organizer that those types of questions were not acceptable and both the organizer and Betsy shut her down and wouldn’t let her speak.  So the woman trying to start a discussion, a few other educators and some parents walked out in disgust after not being allowed to speak their concerns.  I followed them out to find out what they were trying to ask when some club members came out to the entrance and basically told the woman that Tea Party members were not welcomed there, she was flabbergasted stating “I’m a Democrat and a member of this organization for the past 11 years.”  Truthfully, a person’s political ideology is irrelevant to this issue on education. 

While speaking to them, they gave me some resources to research, books, web sites and YouTube videos, etc.  I have researched their resources and many more and have compiled a summary of what I have learned, some myths vs. truths, and I have included some links to videos and articles relating to educators’ and students’ experiences, and even testimony to certain state legislature.  Once you look at the materials below and attached, you will realize that I am skeptical about Common Core and its origins, intent, efficacy, cost and even if this is just a grand experimental undertaking with our children being the primary subjects in this experiment. 

In addition to the resources that I am providing, I have read and watched many more articles and videos from both sides including the proponents and developers of this Common Core project, such as state and federal governments, Bill AyersLynne Munson, etc.  From the proponents side, I only saw “fluff pieces” or claims that I saw effectively countered by the detractors of Common Core (Diane Ravitch, Sandra Stotsky, etc).  But what I never saw were counter responses from the proponents, as if they didn’t need to show any hard data or explain why no true educators created the program or why the program is funded by private “non-profits” like the Gates Foundation, or why states or local districts can only change 15% of one topic area of curricula, etc.

So I only ask that you keep an open mind to the attached materials and that you do not do as Betsy Connolly and the Democratic Club Conejo Valley did to those educators who wanted to have a discussion the other night, and just shut me down.  After looking at the materials (I recommend as a minimum, watching at least the top 11 or 12 listed below), please provide feedback as to how the Common Core will help either the students or our school system but please backup any responses with references documents or a video or a contact with whom I can speak.  Feel free (actually it is preferred) to get as technical as you like with data, resources, etc.  I welcome any information so I can ask more educated questions.  All of my education and work experience has been of a technical nature and data driven, so please don’t feel the need to simplify or dumb down anything.  If you lose me I will ask for clarification.  Thank you.

Resources I viewed and read:

DescriptionSource

Category

Link
Robert Scott Testimony 2-6-2013- Part 1Georgia General Assembly

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcpMIUWbgxY
Robert Scott Testimony 2-6-2013-part 2Georgia General Assembly

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5fHQlj9JQw
Parent Arrested from Common Core Meeting for speaking out of turnBaltimore County Public Schools meeting for parents

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEQmUnisDEM&feature=youtu.be
Student Joshua Smith Speaks Out Against “Springboard” CurriculumA student’s perspective

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWzSHoK47mE
Common Core Nonfiction Reading Standards Mark The End Of Literature, English Teachers SayNews

Article

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/common-core-nonfiction-reading-standards_n_2271229.html
Dr Diane RavitchScholar

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARR2TaepIhM&list=PLOV5Dk27-YX1TQMMqav_f5yMY-BOSeVC4&index=1
Problems with Common Core – Dr Duke PestaScholar

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FETOSytLous
Indoctrination in Common Core ELA TextsA parent’s perspective after seeing child’s books

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGph7QHzmo8
Stop Common Core testimony Michigan House of Representatives. 3/20/13 HB 4276Michigan House of Representatives

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Za7x8vbVTo
Two Moms Against Common CoreParents’ perspective

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk0D16mNbp4
Teacher Resignation Video: Ellie Rubenstein Explains ‘Everything I Love About Teaching Is Extinct’Teacher’s perspective

Article w/Video

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/teacher-resignation-video-ellie-rubenstein_n_3328117.html
“Common Core Common Sense: Why It’s Illiberal and Unconstitutional”Press Conference

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDSvvyjsXSk
Ben Swann Exposes Common Core CurriculumNews

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrpjiywhSQU
PRESS CONFERENCE: Sen. William Ligon Introduces SB 167 – Withdraw from Common Core CurriculumLegislator Press Conf

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODz4X0GO-Fk
Dr Daniel B. CouplandNews

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc1KLDVY5QA
“Common Core” Pushback States Worried About New Education Standards – Megyn KellyNews

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H34ndCeV1o
My Views on the Common Core – Keith HughesEducator

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uoGNzlbG3k
Part 1 of 5 Stop the Common Corehttp://stopcommoncore.com/

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRNJluF2O4
Part 2 of 5 Stop the Common Corehttp://stopcommoncore.com/

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8FJ1U90HIg
Part 3 of 5 Stop the Common Corehttp://stopcommoncore.com/

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnpqT_XirPo
Part 4 of 5 Stop the Common Corehttp://stopcommoncore.com/

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geLCamWdblE
Part 5 of 5 Stop the Common Corehttp://stopcommoncore.com/

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjJFjNx6jOI
Wurman & Wilson Analysis of Common Core Math StandardsScholar

Article

http://www.math.jhu.edu/~wsw/ED/ednext_20123_Forum.pdf
Pimps’ & ‘Mobsters’ for 4th gradersNews

Video

http://www.klfy.com/story/23470003/pimps-mobsters
Interview with a Clinical Mental Health TherapistClinical Mental Health Therapist

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdPz7Eg18jU&feature=share
Common Core Standards – Fact and FictionJoy Pullmann, Managing Editor of School Reform News

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXf91AGW2QA
Warning lands Batavia teacher in hot waterHigh School Teacher

Article

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130525/news/705259921/?interstitial=1

 

Myths versus Facts

Myth
Common Core (CC) was a state-led initiative.
Fact

The CC standards were initiated by private interests in Washington, DC, without any representation from the states. Eventually the creators realized the need to present a façade of state involvement and therefore enlisted the National Governors Association (NGA) (a trade association that doesn’t include all governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), another DC-based trade association. Neither of these groups had a grant of authority from any particular state or states to write the standards. The bulk of the creative work was done by Achieve, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit that includes many progressive education reformers who have been advocating national standards and curriculum for decades. Massive funding for all this came from private interests such as the Gates Foundation.

Myth
The federal government is not involved in the Common Core scheme.
Fact
The US Department of Education (USED) was deeply involved in the meetings that led to creation of Common Core. Moreover, it has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the two consortia that are creating the national tests that will align with CC.  USED is acting as the enforcer to herd states into the scheme (see next myth).

Myth
States that adopted CC did so voluntarily, without federal coercion.
Fact
Most states that adopted CC did so to be eligible to compete for federal Race to the Top funding. To have a chance at that money, recession-racked states agreed to adopt the CC standards and the aligned national tests sight unseen. In addition, the Obama Administration tied No Child Left Behind waivers to CC adoption, making it very difficult for a state to obtain a waiver without agreeing to accept CC.

Myth
Under Common Core, the states will still control their standards.
Fact
A state that adopts CC must accept the standards word for word. It may not change or delete anything, and may allow only a small amount of additional content (which won’t be covered on the national tests).

Myth
Common Core is only a set of standards, not curriculum; states will still control their curriculum.
Fact
The point of standards is to drive curriculum. Ultimately, all the CC states will be teaching pretty much the same curriculum. In fact, the testing consortia being funded by USED admitted in their grant applications that they would use the money to develop curriculum models.

Myth
The Common Core standards are rigorous and will make our children “college-ready.”
Fact
Even the Fordham Institute, a proponent of CC, admits that several states had standards superior to CC and that many states had standards at least as good. CC has been described as a “race to the middle.”  And as admitted by one drafter of the CC math standards, CC is designed to prepare students for a nonselective two-year community college, not a four-year university.

The only mathematician on the CC Validation Committee said that the CC math standards will place our students about two years behind their counterparts in high-performing countries. An expert in English education said that CC’s English language arts standards consist of “empty skill sets . . . [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” She also suspects from her analysis of work done so far on the standards that the reading level deemed sufficient for high-school graduation will be at about the 7th-grade level. And CC revamps the American model of classical education to resemble a European model, which de-emphasizes the study of creative literature and places students on “tracks” (college vs. vocational) at an early age.

Myth
The Common Core standards are “internationally benchmarked.”
Fact
No information was presented to the Validation Committee to show how CC stacked up against standards of other high-achieving countries. In fact, the CC establishment no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked” – the website now states that they are “informed by” the standards of other countries. There is no definition of “informed by.”

Myth
We need common standards to be able to compare our students’ performance to that of students in other states.
Fact
If we want to do that, we already can. In the elementary/middle school years we have the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test; in high school we have the SAT and ACT.

Myth
We need common standards to help students who move from state to state.
Fact
The percentage of students who fit that description is vanishingly small (much less than 2%); most families move, if at all, within states, not to other states. It is nonsensical to bind our entire education system in a straightjacket to benefit such a small number of students.

 

Thank you,
Matthew E. Layden
(redacted data)
matthew.layden@amgen.com

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6 Responses to Attendee at Conejo Valley Common Core Meeting is Shocked- Wait ’til you read his email

  1. kim September 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    The dumbing down of America! Enough is enough!

    Reply
  2. Jen S. September 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Another important component to the Common Core is the ability to gather data on students individually, creating a file for each student that will follow them from kindergarten to age 20. The Common Core has the capability to gather up to 500 points of data on each individual student (income level, behavioral problems, performance, medical background, etc.) in the name of information sharing. This is scary, scary stuff.

    Reply
  3. admin September 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Charges dropped, but controversy continues
    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/index.html

    Reply
  4. Emily gonzales September 24, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I am a mother of 3 here in Thousand Oaks, I too have written letters to the superintendent Jeff Baarstad, so has my sister in law and friends. We also submitted opt out forms when we sent our kids to school this year. This year i pulled my 4th grade son put of school and put him into a charter/home school program. I was astonished at how many parents there were teachers. Ppl need to wake up before it is too late!

    Reply
    • Andi September 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      I agree! People are just allowing this to happen due to choosing to do zero research themselves and accepting whatever the schools say. I pulled my kids and am doing Christian homeschool.

      Reply

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