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Some San Diego Parents Advocating Against Common Core

Aired 4/14/14 on KPBS News.

As students across San Diego County have begun piloting Common Core-based exams, some of their parents have banded together to advocate against the national education program.

As students across San Diego County field test Common Core-based exams, some of their parents are banding together to advocate against the national education program, which encourages a deeper level of critical thinking in English and math through problem-solving and explaining how they found their answers.

Mary Baker is a parent in the Poway Unified School District and organizer of Citizens for Quality Education, one of several groups across the county voicing their opposition to Common Core.

Baker’s group is hosting two upcoming forums featuring a panel of three speakers: the first event is scheduled for April 23 at the Handlery Hotel & Resort in Mission Valley; the other is April 24 at California Performing Arts Center in Escondido.

“So parents can have some expert information that they can take to school board members," Baker explained.

The group is expecting a crowd of 500 . . .and not just parents.

"We’re wanting to get elected officials there and school board members -- even people in business," explained Baker.

The goal is to have an honest discussion about the merits of the standards and to address concerns about data mining, privacy issues and loss of local control over education, she said.

“The parents want the truth, they want information, and they’re not getting it,” Baker said. "Parents are frustrated because they’re going to their school boards and talking to them about their concerns and they’re basically just getting responses of ‘this is what we’ve adopted.'"

Some school districts have responded to parent concerns by holding their own informational meetings.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 14, 2014 at 8:48 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Home school, seek private schools. Beware this national move towards anything close to common education. Seek out the way for you child to become an independent thinker.

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Avatar for user 'deprotinator'

deprotinator | April 15, 2014 at 8:40 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Every year, there's some organization that'll publish a ranking of student achievement across all 50 states. You read that in the news all the time. It's pretty clear over the years that a large gap exists between states. It makes sense that something has to be done to address that gap. Maybe Common Core doesn't seem like such a big deal for CA because the parents and students here don't feel like there's a great benefit, but another state may gain a lot. And in the long run, every state will benefit. Maybe the methods and procedures in this new program isn't the best way to go about it, but that is why the schools are conducting field tests as reported by KPBS. The scores of these field tests won't count, "instead, the results will be used to help education officials evaluate the technology and quality of test questions for next year." It's a new program, a big change. So naturally, there's a lot of discomfort and uncertainty, but the philosophy is a good one. Some common standards should be in place to reduce the huge educational gap between the states. The big concern now is in the execution of carrying out the Common Core. The field testing seems like a great idea to begin with. Like everything new, it takes a couple years of refinements before it can be perfect. Blind resistance, protesting, and complete denials are counter-productive for both the teachers and your kids.

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Avatar for user 'JackF'

JackF | April 21, 2014 at 11:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

depritinator - how about you let YOUR kids be the lab rats for the "field testing"? The resistance is not blind. Your ignorance of what IS happening in other states who have already started this does seem to be however. EVERY parent who cares about their children SHOULD be concerned about EVERY aspect of their education including wholesale changes to how they are taught, what they are taught, how they are tested and the data collection on them. Blind acceptance of creating "uniformity" among the states, or even within a state, should be a big warning for every parent. The standards themselves? Good, bad, indifferent, every parent should learn from the experts about them and not just take the word of bureaucrats and financial stakeholders. Kudos Mary for putting on these events. I hope every parent and teacher who doesn't believe kids should be treated like laboratory animals should attend these.

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Avatar for user 'rhonda5'

rhonda5 | April 24, 2014 at 4:07 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

deprotinator- My son attends a public school who partook in the "field testing." He's in fifth grade and he took the test along with two of his friends. He stated the test was incredibly confusing and he didn't understand what the questions were asking. He had also stated he didn't want to go back and take any of the other tests because it was too frustrating. I had him opt out and discontinue taking the tests. I also know of a third grader at our school who took the test and one of the questions that was asked was what does 2 + 2 =? If the student answered that 2 + 2 = 5 and was able to logically explain why the answer is 5, her answer would be correct. I don't know if you've taken child development classes but I have and children at this age cognitively think concretely and don't start developing and thinking abstractly until the age of 12. You can't expect 8 or 9 year old child to logically explain his or her answer. As far as your comment about a "gap" or scores being definitively higher or lower in certain states, this is partially due to demographics. I'm not opposed to changes that would help improve our educational system. I am also personally invested in this because I still have three children both in the primary grades as well as secondary grades who are attending school but Common Core isn't the answer.

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