Are kids’ futures being sold to highest bidder?
March 20, 2014 12:40 AM | 1475 views | 6 6 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

As this year’s Georgia Legislature ends, we have to ask some very fundamental questions. Do the legislators really represent “We the People,” their constituents; or do they represent the moneyed special interests filtering thousands of dollars in campaign donations their way? We fear it is the latter.

A search of “Georgia Ethics and Campaign Contributions” reveals large amounts of campaign contributions that many legislators receive at our expense. While it is legal to take such contributions, in doing so it certainly makes the constituent question as to where their loyalties lie.

It should come as no surprise that the Center for Public Integrity found Georgia to be one of the MOST unethical states in the union.

Currently, the Republicans are the majority in the Georgia General Assembly. Therefore, one would expect that legislation asked for by Republican grassroots would pass overwhelmingly. Sadly, that is not the case.

One such example is the Common Core national education standards withdrawal bill, SB 167, sponsored by Senator William Ligon. Hundreds of Georgians worked with Senator Ligon for over a year to raise awareness with parents and concerned citizens to get this bill passed. Unfortunately for the anti-Common Core supporters, the bill went through massive rewrites by Gov. Deal and it emerged in the 2014 session no longer a full withdrawal bill but an “incremental withdrawal” which ultimately died in the committee process.

As the Bible says, “Man cannot serve two masters.” We beseech every voter to realize this. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For that reason, every voter should be well-informed and prepared to limit the amount of time politicians are in office if we want to preserve our freedoms and those of our children. We only hope it is not too late.

Jan Barton

Marietta

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Support Military
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March 20, 2014
As was stated in the MDJ last week common core is a big benefit to our military families as our kids can transfer from state to state and have a similar curriculum. Again what is the specific problem with common core except those who believe this is a government plot just like the black helicopers? Support our military, support common core!
Sonja G
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March 21, 2014
One would think that the military would have learned by now that politicians are not really looking out for the soldiers and their families given all the recent examples such as Benghazi and the recent cuts etc. (not to mention the treatment of disabled vets). I'm not sure why the military is such a sucker for unsubstantiated rhetoric like "it makes it easier for military families" if they move. Consider this: Did you know that Common Core allows different pathways of math in high school (integrated, traditional are two of them)and that GA and Utah were the only states that chose integrated. So if a student in GA moved to SC (or anywhere other than Utah) guess what, they won't be doing the same math at the same time? Are you really telling me that even though experts and parents are testifying all across the country that these standards are developmentally inappropriate and causing harmful stress and apathy to learning and that the math is putting the average American student 2 yrs behind their international counterpart and that the environmental propaganda and moral relativism that is documented in the curriculum aligned with it is arguably social indoctrination and you think that it's all ok just because you wrongly assume it keeps a military child from missing a beat when changing schools. What if there are better solutions for helping students adjust to changing schools mid school year? Isn't it absurd to suggest that all student should get an equally common (low quality) education just to make it convenient for moving families. I am the daughter of a Veteran and I can assure you that when we moved my teachers were extremely accommodating and it wasn't the crisis you make it sound to be. The reason it's such a problem now is because most states mandate state TESTING of STATE standards so the schools basically TEST instead of teach so if a state has different standards then it can cause issues for the student but that's because state and federal governments are controlling the schools now and the teachers don't have flexibility to cater to individual student needs like they used to before outcome based education reforms (like no child left behind and common core). The real solution is not to force a common national standard on all schools but to restore local control of schools so they can meet the individual needs of their students which would include new students mid year. I would remind you that a battle was fought because of taxation without representation. Parents are equally passionate about education without representation and so if our state and federal government continue to force this centralized education on our schools while making us pay for it they have underestimated the will of patriots who will just say no thanks and take their kids out of these "common" schools to keep their child from being turned into a "commoner."
@ Jan Barton
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March 20, 2014
Ms. Barton: Please explain why Sen. Ligon miserably failed to cite simply one core standard he disagreed with when asked more than once during recent public hearings at the Gold Dome?

If you were responsible for working with Sen. Ligon FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR as you say, can you honestly say you served Sen. Ligon well since it appears he was woefully unprepared?

During recent hearings,Ligon was asked by Republican Rep. Amy Carter; "I ask AGAIN what are the specific standards that you have problems with?”

The senator didn’t offer ANY specifics, but said much had been published nationally about the shortcomings of Common Core.

It seems Sen. Ligon was vainly trying to defend the indefensible (i.e. his own bill) and that you Ms. Barton were his accomplice. Well done!
At @Jan Barton
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March 20, 2014
Please... THAT's your argument??!! Just because Sen. Ligon couldn't spout off of the top of his head at that moment means there was no validity to his argument? Never mind the countless arguments, the comparison of Common Core Standards to the former Georgia Performance Standards and the fact that state after state is withdrawing from this mess is not enough evidence that Common Core is bad for kids and is too costly.

The independent analysis on the math standards was provided by Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao, a 25-year veteran of math instruction who teaches mathematics and science education at Mercer University’s Tift College. Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and a former member of the Common Core Validation Committee, provided the analysis on the English language arts standards.

“State officials and their personnel knew early on that Georgia was one of the nine states that already had standards as good as or better than Common Core. That analysis was provided by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which in fact is a pro-Common Core organization which received Gates Foundation funds to perform that study. Even so, Georgia’s standards fared very well under their analysis,” stated Sen. Ligon. “However, I wanted to know just how satisfactory or how deficient Common Core standards are compared to what Georgia already had. I sought out two content experts who were willing to perform the study. What they found is eye-opening and proves that Georgia made a very bad deal when it traded in our former standards for Common Core.”

The math report summary shows that important mathematical concepts have been removed in the elementary grades: (1) data-analysis tools such as mean, median, mode, and range; (2) the concept of pi, including area and circumference of circles; and (3) division of a fraction by a fraction, which is a key component to number sense."

The two reports have been published; the shortcomings have been made known to the Georgia Legislature - they failed to do their job and have yielded their responsibility to the almighty dollar.

Why don't you do some peeking into those campaign contributions that were made to the very ones who sought to keep SB 167 from passing? Money is the root of all evil - and it rules those who should be representing us.
Sonja G
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March 21, 2014
Judging by the tone of your comment I'm not sure you are really wanting to know if there are problems with the standards but just in case you genuinely interested, I will share with you just a few examples of some of the problems with the elementary math standards (assessed by Dr. Baccallao from Mercer University)and then describe the experimental geometry being used at the high school level which is even more concerning.

So what is missing in the new Common Core Math Standards?

"Mean, median, mode, and range -- gone in elementary grades.

The concept of pi, including area and circumference of circles – gone in elementary grades.

The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (prime factorization) – gone completely.

Using fractions, decimals, and percents interchangeably -- gone completely.

Measurement -density – no measurement instruction after 5th grade.

Division of a fraction by a fraction – gone in elementary grades.

Algebra -- inadequate readiness in the elementary grades and pushed back one year (from middle school – 8th grade – to high school – 9th grade). This means the majority of Georgia students will not reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities.

Geometry -- simple skills such as calculating the area of triangles, parallelograms and polygons are no longer taught in elementary grades."

According to Dr. Wurman (expert mathematician who helped write the CA math standards that were considered high achieving) -you can google him and find many youtube links- the 10th grade geometry is an experimental math that has not been used successfully anywhere in the world and was a documented failure in the Soviet Union in the 60's. I have a Master's degree in Science and can confirm that it is not Euclidean geometry (which was traditionally taught successfully at the high school level). Our children deserve better than to be taught using untested unpiloted standards (which were just copyrighted in 2010: to suggest they were tested is nothing but a LIE and I challenge you to prove such- be sure the tests you refer to were conducted in relation to student performance not the study of comparison of standards to standards as done by Fordhum Institute that received millions from Gates who also paid Achieve Inc.- the main authors of the stadards). It must be in relation to student performance! Like you challenged Ligon, so I ask you, PLEASE name one school that successfully piloted these standards and specifically how it impacted student performance.

Math is a subject in which foundations must be laid (builds on itself). The dangers/risks of using experimental methods should be self evident. If you skip a foundation or teach it with confusing methods the negative impact is IMMEASURABLE especially if the result is a student becoming apathetic to learning math which was the case with my 10th grade son who previously loved math. You are entitled to like the standards but I am equally entitled to not like them and I don't. What you don't have a right to do is force me to pay for this experimental education that is extremely expensive with it's mandated high stakes testing that aligns with the standards. I object to education without representation (my local school board had not authority to choose the standards or the math pathways in our high school- state mandated Common Core aligned).

If you had done any objective research you would also know there are valid reasons that 500 educational experts signed a joint statement asking the Governors to stop the standards because they had grave concerns that the k-3 standards were developmentally inappropriate. If you are genuinely interested in learning about the experts objections then I suggest you start by googling Dr. Stotsky and Dr. Milgram and be ready to have your eyes opened to the fraud that has been committed on all parents of this country by self serving public private partnerships of bureaucrats and big corporations who stand to benefit more from their textbooks and tests being forced without choice into all our schools.
RE:Sonja
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March 23, 2014
As a parent who researched this I found this controversy to be totally political and not at all about education. It turns out it's just another way to attack teachers and The President. Same crowd with the same bogus data as they are so well known for. see Sonja
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