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Friday, June 7, 2013

Opinion: PTA's Drank The Kool-Aid

PTA's Drank The Kool-Aid
by Johnnelle Raines

Recently, I sent a letter to the National PTA headquarters expressing my concerns on why they are endorsing Common Core State Standards. Their response was very troubling to me. It is obvious they have drank the kool-aid. Here is their stance, according to Chrystal Jones, MPA Senior State Advocacy Strategist… 
"We strongly believe that these new standards increase rigor and will better prepare our students to be successful in their career or college.” 
They also believe the “Federal government has no weight on the local/state decision to use or not use the standards.” Federal $ Race to the Top funds have no bearing on being able to opt out of No Child Left Behind??? Wow...that $1 million dollar grant PTA received in 2010 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “educate” families on Common Core State Standards really worked! It even 'educated" the PTA...or should I say “indoctrinated?”

According to PTA's web site:
"PTA's everywhere must understand and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals." 
If PTA truly believes this, then I do not understand how they can support "one size fits all" standards. Each child is unique and special and learns at different rates. To expect ALL children to learn at the same rate and the same time does not "embrace the uniqueness of all individuals". Chrystal Jones further states in her letter, “National PTA volunteers have passed several resolutions beginning in 1981 calling for clear, high, voluntary academic standards for all children.” She neglected to say there were five members of the verifying committee on Common Core who refused to sign off on it. Two of which are Sandra Stotsky and R. James Milgram. Both of these people are well respected experts in the education field. Here are links which prove these experts who actually sat on the verifying committee don't think, “these are clear, high, voluntary academic standards for all children.”

I think it is time for PTA and parents to do more research on the pros and cons of Common Core and especially the Data Mining that comes along with it. PTA needs to acknowledge their mistake in endorsing this Federal overreach into our children's education. Implementation of one size fits all standards do not improve achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students and will not better prepare our children to be successful in their career or college. Here is a link to "educate" yourself on Common Core Standards … and I didn't get $1 million from Bill and Melinda Gates! 

Johnnelle Raines
Retired NC public schools educator

* Note: the 2013-2014 school year will create the final (and full) implementation of Common Core into the Pickens County School District. Many retiring teachers are concerned with the program.

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