What happened at the Common Core forum in Hollis

To the Editor:

Last week, Kat McGhee wrote a negative review of the yet-to-be-held forum on Common Core state standards (CCSS), claiming the panel was anti-CCSS and not fact-based.

There were eight speakers invited six weeks prior to the event; five were pro-CCSS and three against. Four pro-CCSS invitees declined and refused to send an alternate as requested. I’ll let the reader decide who is biased and running from the facts.

In contrast, Rep. Carolyn Gargasz, R-Hollis, was not afraid to come to the forum and defend her recent vote against HB 1508 that would have stopped the implementation of CCSS in New Hampshire. She admitted that she was attracted by the federal money attached to CCSS and accepted the pro-CCSS talking points at face value.

Ms. McGhee and her pro-CCSS friends were welcome and spoke freely at the forum. The speakers, however, responded with fact after fact regarding the weaknesses and dangers of CCSS for over three hours to a crowd of over 120 citizens. Here are some of the facts that I recall:

? CCSS is not just “standards” it is also curriculum because all CCSS “aligned” text books are written to CCSS-approved teaching strategies preparing students for CCSS- approved smarter balanced assessment tests.

? CCSS was not approved by Congress, but instead was snuck-in through a back door by Bill Gates and other corporations who stand to profit from its data mining and materials development.

? CCSS is financed by $5 billion in bail-out money earmarked for states Departments of Education but only if they adopt CCSS and making it political and federal.

? CCSS is about “who should decide how and what our children are taught.” Should it be centralized education planners from the federal government or parents, teachers, democratically elected local school boards in each state?

Finally, one of the most appalling stories I heard at the forum was how the huge educational success in Massachusetts was derailed for $250 million in CCSS funds proving money trumps all. Massachusetts had been the top educational achieving state in America for five of the last eight years for all grades from 3-12. No state had ever accomplished this and Massachusetts did it five times. However, in 2012, their state BOA (a handful of people) decided to derail that success and adopt CCSS for the $250 million in federal funding.

The people of Massachusetts are now reversing that decision and have placed CCSS implementation on “pause.” So should we!

HAROLD W. CADMAN

President, Pneucleus Technologies LLC

Hollis