November 2014

Elections are just around the corner. Please take time to educate yourself. When it comes to public education, corporate reformers come in all shapes, sizes, and political parties. Take time to read up on the candidates for Governor and for the State Board of Education.

To find out information about registering to vote, where to vote, and who is on the ballot, visit the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The 3rd District’s State School Board candidates are:

A.J. Wagner: Former judge appointed by Governor Kasich in August 2014.

Sarah L. Roberts: Former teacher and OEA member opposed to high-stakes testing.

Mary Pritchard: Conservative who opposes Common Core.

Charlotte D. McGuire

 

 

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More Ohio Common Core News

The debate over Common Core is heated in part because there are several drastically different political groups opposed to the CCSS for a variety of different reasons. At CURE we are not attempting to promote any particular party’s opposition to Common Core. Our goal is to disperse information, create discussion, and use our voices to support public education, teachers, and our children, who we believe, should not be defined by test scores.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/08/bill_to_kill_common_core_limits_foreign_and_modern_authors_religion_and_science_rules_are_unclear.html

Ohio Lawmakers Debating Common Core State Standards

Important things happening in Ohio.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/08/19/ohio-lawmakers-educators-debate-common-core-standards.html

Why parent voices matter

Teachers are having their livelihoods tied to test scores and toeing the line. We don’t have the same restrictions. It’s our duty as parents to speak up for our kids and their teachers.

The deafening silence of teachers

So what can you DO?

So, you’ve started to get informed. You’re gathering information and concerned about public education. You’ve heard the call. Now what?

Get involved locally:

Email us at centervillecure@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get information on events and resources.

Attend local school board meetings and get involved with your PTO.

 

Get involved state-wide:

Contact the Ohio Department of Education.

Write to Peggy Lehner, Montgomery County’s district 6 Senator and Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Contact Governor John Kasich.

Contact Congressman Mike Turner, who represents Montgomery County.

Get involved with the UCC’s Justice in Education Mission.

Like Save Ohio Schools on Facebook.

 

Get involved nationally:

Contact Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education.

Follow and sign petitions with the Network for Public Education.

Join and sign petitions with Parents Across America.

 

 

 

 

B is for Basics

We are a group of Centerville City School parents whose MAIN GOAL is to START A CONVERSATION. To start many conversations. We are not experts and we are in the process of information gathering. We want to SHARE information and get Centerville parents involved in the conversation.

Some things we’re talking about:

1. High-stakes testing and assessment are hurting education.

The problem is also BI-PARTISAN. The current streak of high-stakes testing began under George W. Bush and his policy, No Child Left Behind (NCLB.) It began the high-powered focus on test scores instead of a more comprehensive look at the whole child with a variety of diagnostic tools. NCLB began assessing teachers based on how their students performed on test scores. Through NCLB, schools were forced to begin teaching to the test or risk losing funding. Bad test scores=lower school grade=teachers losing jobs, districts losing funding, etc.

Barack Obama’s and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s policy, Race to the Top, made the stakes even higher. Same wolf, different clothing. Under the current administration, children have more tests to take, and if teachers don’t show at least 30% growth rate for the year, their jobs are at stake. Principal’s jobs are at stake. Schools can be closed. That’s a 30% growth rate ON THE TESTS. On one week’s worth of testing that your child may or may not do well on because: they’re tired, they’re sick, they’re 7, or 8, or 9, they’re nervous, they’re hungry, they’re distracted, or a myriad of other reasons.

These type of stakes placed on student performance make the environment ripe for failure. And then what happens? Cue the Superhero Charter School.

2. Privatization widens the gap.

Once a district proves they are struggling, the “market” of education becomes a free-for-all. Charter schools begin to open, promising student achievement and great test scores, which they can provide. What you may not know, however, is that Charter schools can attain great test scores because they can CHOOSE who to let in and who to keep. If your child doesn’t test well, they can be kicked out and sent back to public school. Which leaves our public schools filled with children that don’t test well, children with learning disabilities, children in economically disadvantaged homes whose parents don’t realize or care that choice in education is available to them. Instead of continuing to close the achievement gap between minorities and class the gap widens, leaving the public school system with less Government funding, fewer teachers, and a place for the “have-nots.”

3. Schools as business.

Once privatization begins, anyone wanting to make a quick buck can get in on education. Charter schools can be opened by anyone with enough money to do so. Teachers get fast tracked through their education which leads to a lower quality teaching staff. What you’re left with is an education community focused less on teaching children, and more on making money, and competing for funding, turning our kids into automatons of test-taking.

With Race to the Top, states already had to compete for government funding. Those states that implemented the Common Core Standards received extra funding. The CC testing will require computers and software to take the tests. Sensing a theme? Race to see who can make the new software fast enough. To the top, indeed.

4. The Common Core

This is a great idea that is floundering in its implementation. It’s a novel idea to have all states on the same chapter so kids aren’t missing out on valued pieces of curriculum. It’s a great idea to require certain educational standards that children should meet. However, the Common Core is like trying to fit the step-sisters’ feet into Cinderella’s shoes. One size does not fit all.

Common Core is currently being field-tested on our kids. That’s correct, it was not tested before it was adopted, nor was it written by educators. However, it’s adoption earned districts’ much needed resource money, and it’s assessment implementation will require software and computers.

5. Parents in the dark

Local districts and staff are bound by the state and federal mandates being handed down that suggest they need to teach harder and better to make kids “pass” tests. Their jobs are at risk, their hands are tied. As parents, ours are not. We owe it to our kids and to their great teachers to understand the facts behind Education Reform and it’s opponents.

It’s time to organize as a community and start paying attention. All opinions are welcomed here.