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Former professor speaks out again Common Core

A recent visitor to Silver City told his side of Common Core, the new federal mandate for our schools and for our children. Keith Harris of Deming, a former professor at Berkeley, CA., told his listeners at the Republican Party meeting that Common Core was not something to be used in the classrooms of a free society and that challengers needed to learn a lot more about it so they could help remove it.

In a physical sense, Harris said some classroom times were quite extended—90-minute class periods had been seen for some high school subjects—and students couldn’t keep up with such intense block periods. Many things were changing under Common Core and much of it was not good.

Within the community, Common Core fostered attitudes of exclusiveness and distancing from many community elements, including parents. Parental conferences were reduced or done away with, and Core designers apparently wanted no interference from parents. Students would no longer be taking books home or doing homework in general. Information to parents would also be reduced. There would be little sharing between home and school when Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were fully implemented.

A major objection to this new ‘educational design’ was the dumbing down that would increase as Core took over school content, about 85 percent of the total. At its present state, Harris said math scores would average a 10th grade level for graduates, and their reading levels would average 7th grade skills. Other subjects would offer similar ineffective results. History stands to be a big loser, with students learning whatever the curriculum designers decide they should get.

Harris said even liberals who cared about education had negative things to say about Common Core and where it was leading. A local personality, Michael Hayes, ultra liberal in many ways, was taking a firm stand against CC and had lambasted it in the Silver City Sun-News. Because his article was rather long, he had broken it into 3 segments so the News would print it. Numbers 1 and 2 made the print, but by that time, proponents of CCSS were so riled against his articles that the News pulled the third part.

Among the papers Harris handed out to attendees to inform them about CCSS, he had copied the first two Hayes articles. The first was titled ‘Common Core Consolidates, Federalizes Experts’ Incompetence.' The second announced ‘English Common Core State Standards rotten to the core.'

Another handout was titled ‘Kick Common Core out of New Mexico,' with subtopics of ‘Take Action to Stop the Federal Take-Over of New Mexico Education,' ‘New Mexico was politically coerced into accepting the CCSS standards,' and similar opinions. The three-page report on ‘Problems with Common Core’ lists problems of standards, data collection, curriculum and more.  

Literature from As A Mom adds two pages of facts and reasons to stop CCSS. Another sheet diagrams a list of money sources and those who stand to make money from CCSS. Obama stimulus funds were a major factor (a few billion) and the name of Bill Ayers (the bomber) as a curriculum developer is definitely an eye-opener.  

A Testing schedule for 2013-2014 tells how many times a failed test may be retaken, cut scores for courses, etc. Tests may be severely slanted against anyone who doesn’t take CC, such as home and private school students, who could soon have big problems getting into a college, no matter how proficient they really are. Harris brought materials from a number of sources and added a list of Internet addresses where those interested could get more information.

In his presentation, Harris noted that the Northwest Ordinance was one of the first laws leading to public schools and their financing. The schools now are almost entirely government controlled, and a major thrust is to ‘data mine,' asking students to give an amazing amount of information about themselves and families, most of it not related to educational topics, much of it snooping into private areas government shouldn’t be interested in, anyway.

Harris said the governor, Susana Martinez, was on the side of CCSS and getting some bad advice from her informants. Other individuals and groups lining up to support CCSS include the Gates Foundation, Florida governor Jeb Bush, our federal administration and our legislators. There are many more, as well.

So, who is for removing CCSS? Well, five states refused to sign on to it, with the other 45 taking the bait initially. By now, said Harris, 41 of those 45 are looking for ways to get out of that commitment. Some well-known organizations that hope to stop the movement include Stop Common Core in New Mexico, As A Mom, Truth in American Education, TEA Party Nation, Americans for Prosperity, and other groups.

And what can be done about it? For New Mexico, Keith Harris says signing the petition for removal holds hope, especially if it can get 10,000 or more signatures for it and have them sent in by early or mid-December. He gave out a number of petitions before he left and asked those who received them to please copy more before they used those up.

When petitions are filled with signatures, those collecting the signatures will find an Albuquerque address at the bottom where they can send them. Harris insists that for our state, the petition with about 10,000 or more signatures would be a great help. As states are responsible for the welfare of their citizens, this is to be done state by state. The governor needs to hear from citizens who want some say in their children’s educations.

There are many more facts to be gathered to show the true nature of Common Core State Standards, but Harris has made a start. He has shown a way for any voting-aged citizen to be a part of the retreat from the government-mandated school regulations and bring parents and community-others back into the futures of children.

Because CCSS appears to be such a certain failure for children’s futures, Harris suggested that a good Vo-Tech program could help most of our students a lot, and those trained under CCSS might not make it to college, anyway. It is time for parents to get involved, together. Too much is at stake to hand children over to socialist planners who add educational titles to their names. We can do much better for them without CCSS.

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