Education Nation And The Common Kool Aid Core

Dated: 09/19/2014

Views: 1587

Today I traveled  to Albany to a studio taping of Education Nation.  The forum topic was Common Core and the Special Needs Student.  I was hoping for some open, lively dialogue about how Common Core standards are affecting students with IEP's particularly in New York State.  I was hoping to bring back some useful, meaningful information to our local SEPTA.  After all, NBC News states the purpose of the Education Nation project in this way:

“Education Nation” seeks to create a thoughtful, well-informed dialogue with policymakers, thought-leaders, educators, parents and the public, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing every American with an opportunity to achieve the best education in the world. These discussions cover the challenges, potential solutions and innovations spanning the education landscape.
The first thing the moderator spoke about was how the State Education Department was invited and responded that someone would attend.  However, they cancelled on Monday.  Not surprising.  This has become the norm for them.  Ducking the public, avoiding forums, avoiding or cancelling opportunities to hear from real parents and educators.  Further increasing distrust of themselves and creating an even larger disconnect with the public.  How nice of them.  But back to the forum.  My impression was that there were many parents in the room with genuine concerns about their children's needs not being met.  Many spoke of personal stories and were there trying to get answers and guidance.  What was largely ignored was how the Common Core is directly affecting our children in school.  There was one particular commentator who was given too much time over and over again to, well, cheer for the Core.  The forum was off topic. There were some parents who were in favor of the testing because they want their teachers and school districts to be held accountable for failing their children.  If there is truth to what they spoke of, I feel badly for these families.  But, with all do respect, I don't think many are aware of the whole, broad picture about what is happening in our schools nationwide.  Having children with disabilities or any children for that matter, endure all these wasted hours of invalid tests is not the answer.
It's no secret I am opposed to the Common Core and high stakes testing.  So when one panel member then began to speak about the importance of the new Common Core aligned tests, which by the way she said are NOT high stakes---I almost jumped out of my seat--I knew where this discussion was headed.  She went on to speak about how people have difficulty with change and that the standards are good.  Blah, blah, blah....The two other panelists were not given enough opportunity to speak.  The moderator didn't have proper control over the forum.   There were many Common Core cheerleaders in the audience.  And I'm not completely certain, but I bet it was no coincidence.  Here's why:

In September of 2013, NBC under the name NBC Universal, received a $1.3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation “to support the 2013 Education Nation Summit’s Teacher Town Hall and expand education coverage.” That’s $1,340,000, to be exact. The Gates Foundation shows it also awarded NBC $1,000,000 in 2012 to support the Education Nation Summit and $2,033,500 in 2010 to support the “National Education Summit”.  Well, there you have it.  Come on, Education Nation, step up to the plate and conduct a real forum about Common Core.   Seems to me they are afraid of what the other side knows....what most of the nation knows.   

Well, I got my turn to speak at this forum and I was none too popular.  I let the panelist know that she was wrong, the ELA and Math tests ARE high stakes.  No denying it.  And my kids don't take them.  I blamed the State Ed Department for rushed implementation of these standards--standards that are unproven, untested with no evidence based research.  Standards that are not developmentally appropriate.  No wonder parents are here looking for help for their children.  Their teachers probably weren't even trained on how to teach the material and there are no clear concise directives from the state on what to do with Special Ed kids.  Teachers fault?  No way.  I blast the Engage NY modules, I tell stories of kids vomiting and crying while taking state assessments.  Again I blame the State Department of Ed for everything forgetting I'm on live TV at this point. The moderator looked stunned and the one commentator couldn't quite look me in the eye.....gee, I wonder why.  I finished, thanked them for the opportunity to speak and went back to my seat.  Not a peep from the audience.  I'm quite certain I may not be invited back.  But hey, maybe Commissioner King was watching and will answer my emails now....fat chance.
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Suzanne D. Coyle

A lifelong Rockland County resident, I am excited to be a part of Wright Brothers Real Estate in beautiful downtown Nyack. My husband and I reside in New City, where we are raising our three daughters....

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