Video: Parent Arrested from Common Core Meeting for Speaking Out of Turn

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School Superintendents receive an F grade for Common Core meeting

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Dr. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, and Lillian Lowery, Maryland Superintendent, had the opportunity Thursday night to make minor amends at an MSDE-sponsored informational meeting after a three-plus year information blackout on Common Core, the new federal curriculum for Maryland schools.

Instead, Dr. Dance added insult to injury by screening, omitting, and editing parents’ questions.

Questions from the audience of about 160 people, which consisted of parents, PTA members, teachers, and school administrators, were submitted on cards prior to and during the 1-1/2 hour meeting for the Q&A period which lasted about 40 minutes.

Dr. Dance chose which questions to read or omit, opting for teacher and school administrator or softball questions. But he also altered the wording of the questions themselves.

My submitted question:
“What is the process for parents to review what data has been or will be collected on our kids, where it is stored, how it will be used, and with whom it has or will be shared? What are parents options for opting out of data collection on our kids?”

What Dr. Dance read:
“As a parent, I’ve heard a lot of information around the state Longitudinal Data system. What is the process to review what data is being collected on students, where is it stored, how will it be used, with whom will it be shared?”

After the question was answered, I called out, “Can parents opt out?”, but was ignored.

My submitted question:
“Although Common Core was adopted by MDE three years ago, in exchange for a quarter Billion dollar federal incentive grant through Race To The Top which is conditioned upon adherence to Common Core, parents weren’t informed until after its implementation. The MDE has not valued nor requested parental input. Instead, there was no transparency or even the courtesy of notifying parents much less consulting them. No wonder parents are up in arms. You’ve awakened the Mama Bear. Why haven’t parents across the state heard of Common Core until the month of its implementation?”

What Dr. Dance read:
“As a parent, I was a little disappointed that I’m just starting to hear so much information around the Common Core state standard. I want to be informed as most parents across our state. As a parent, how can I learn more information around Common Core?”

Parent removed and arrested from the meeting for speaking out of turn

As the pom-pom and rah-rah session neared an end about 20 minutes before the meeting close, parental frustration was mounting as our questions were still going unanswered. One parent, Robert Small, decided to interject to try to force some answers (see video at top of article).

He said: “I want to know how many parents here are aware that the goal of the Common Core standards isn’t to prepare kids for full-fledged universities, it’s to prepare them for community college…..Parents, take control. We’re sick of this. This is not a CNN political game. This is a public town hall… Listen, don’t stand for this. You’re sitting here like cattle. You have questions. Confront them. They don’t want to do it in public…. Parents, you need to question these people….Do the research, it’s online.”

Mr. Small was arrested after being removed from the auditorium and charged with second degree assault of a police officer and a second charge of disrupting a school function.

The video clearly shows that, if anyone was aggressive, it was the security guard, not Mr. Small. What may have happened out in the hall however, is unknown.

In the second video clip (click here), you can hear multiple parents call out how their question was not read and they were ignored.

There will be one more out of four Common Core meetings hosted by county school boards in Maryland. This one is on October 1 in Prince George’s County. Click here for more info.

  • Ron H
    • Ron H

      ALEC* not ALES

  • Harel B

    A few comments from someone who, as a university professor, has worked for 15 years with K-12 teachers. It’s great to see parents speak up. Progressives have some common ground with both conservatives and “apolitical” parents – but we have to be careful. There are conservative websites who criticize but “for the wrong reason” and push alternatives that are just as destructive.

    Another reason to be careful is, things are complicated. For example, we hear “math and English are crowding out other subjects” making it sound like math and reading are winners – they are not, they have been short changed by “reform”

    More importantly, the devil really is in the details – there’s what it says on paper, there’s the funding that comes (or doesn’t) there’s the freedom teachers are given (or not) on paper, the freedom they are given (or not) in practice, in their district, their supervisor, etc. As a math PhD educator, I should be for Algebra and more math right? Generally, yes, I am. But the devil is in the detail. I want education, not “Training” and would prefer (a little) less math but in depth and not “cookie cutter” than a little (or a lot) more math, if done in a way that straighjackets teachers, cuts off opportunities from early on and “tracks” kids in lower economic strata, and so forth. So even a “simple” sounding question like “more algebra or less?” is complicated.

    There are some simple things – teacher empowerment versus turning teacher into easy to fire robots who obey; community empowerment and involvement versus corporatization; open-ended exploration versus an extremist version of “back to basics” that wants to “train” kids rather than give them a broad education – believe me, “even” in math, the latter is much more powerful, the former is limits human potential and ultimate level of skills, drastically. For math, see NCTM.org, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Do not take what they say as sacred truths, but, overall, they are educators, and especially those not at the “top” level are more free to speak from their heart about what works, on those “simple things” list above. Progressive voices to listen to: Diane Ravitch, and Alfie Kohn. Good hourlong NPr interview:

    http://www.wbur.org/npr/135142895/ravitch-standardized-testing-undermines-teaching?ft=3&f=135142895 and her blog http://dianeravitch.net/

    and the more “radical” but deeply thoughtful and caring Alfie Kohn: http://alfiekohn.org/articles.htm

    What’s happening to education in this country is heartbreaking. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve worked with award winning teachers brought nearly to tears or to early retirement by this anti-human slow motion suicide pretending to be “reform” it’s not as visceral as mass murder in wars with out tax-dollars but the stakes are high, and the effort to stay informed and be involved while challenging, are critical – the stakes are high, and may Abe forgive me but it’s absolutely true:

    The stakes are whether public education of the people, by the people, for the people (shall or) shall not perish in this country.

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