This is the 3rd post for FOM Friday dedicated to you, my followers, who’ve requested a look at your state’s superintendents of education. I’m honored you continue to seek out my help in your quest for the truth. Today’s post has a look at 5 states. In alphabetical order: AZ, FL, LA, MS, NY.
Arizona’s John Huppenthal:
Currently, Mr. Huppenthal is serving as the top educational official in AZ, however, he recently lost a primary election to continue at the helm. Until the new person (who remains to be known) takes office, it’s pretty much business as usual. Since Mr. Huppenthal’s job is pretty much out of his hands, we’ll not look at too much of his truths/lies. Yes, he did lay the ground work, however, it will be the next person elected who will pick up the torch and either carry it on or put it out. However, before we look at the contenders, let’s look at some of the ‘legacy’ Mr. Huppenthal leaves behind: http://www.arizonadailyindependent.com/2014/08/12/huppenthal-sends-over-60000-teachers-a-campaign-emailvideo-in-possible-violation-of-law/
While in office, he actively supported the Common Core, yet on the campaign trail he didn’t. According to the website above, he did some other things that do not lead anyone to believe his words. If you missed the debate between Mr. Huppenthal and his opponent, Ms. Douglas, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6Zr-q-ThXE Mr. Huppenthal leaves office ‘Total fallacy’ rated.
The current race, Douglas vs. Garcia:
Ms. Douglas, thinks CCSS is”top-down government control of our education system.” ‘Total truth’! Race to the Top funding is the controlling arm the feds used to give us Common Core. Here’s her next statement, “The federal government has no role in local education whatsoever — they’re using our money to coerce us to do things.” Again, ‘total truth‘. More from the debate between she & Mr. Huppenthal has her sharing this quote, “It (CCSS) tells us what we must teach and how we must test our children, which will control curriculum. It tells us how we must evaluate and compensate our teachers. It tells us how we how we must grade our schools. And it has a data collection system on children that rival communist Chinese.” Now, I cannot speak to the comparison between countries (several searches have turned up very little), I can share this article about the data mining being intrusive from a user friendly viewpoint, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15951 This article talks about global companies & the data they collect. As to the rest of Ms. Douglas’ comment, ‘total truth‘! We’ve seen many examples of curriculum with the copyrighted name/emblem. Her campaign website is under construction. Her challenger, David Garcia. Mr. Garcia is a professor with AZ State, a known Common Core supporter (see: https://education.asu.edu/resources/accrs), developer (see: http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS22B1 Be sure to look at the section ‘outside resources’ and click ‘view’ when you see ASU, then notice how it takes you to UA). In Mr. Garcia’s short video for his campaign, he states, “There’s no excuse for our race to the bottom.” For this statement, I would say he is speaking ‘Total Truth‘. However, that’s where he stops. I congratulate him on his former service to our country via the military & his honesty as a candidate. But that’s where my respect ends. Look at his words his from his website, “Let’s be clear, Common Core is not a federal curriculum but a set of more rigorous academic guidelines. Arizona has had standards for more than two decades. As a rule we should continually seek to improve our curriculum and advance our educational standards. The problem is not the standards but rather how we hold our schools, teachers and students accountable to those standards.” So disappointing, ‘Total Fallacy‘ on what Common Core is & isn’t. Oh, he’s all for more assessments, AP courses, STEM and CTE as well. (website: http://dg4az.com/issues/common-core/)
Florida’s Pam Stewart:
Well, knowing how instrumental education leaders and politicians from FL have been in not only Common Core, but PARCC as well, this commissioner is fairly transparent. Selected by the State Board of Education, Ms. Stewart is the current office holder in the ‘hot seat’. “Hot seat” is well deserved, as the position has been filled, vacated at least 5 times since 2011. See: (http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2013/09/17/state-board-picks-pam-stewart-as-education-commissioner/) In her interview on “Florida Newsmakers”, she states that those Common Core Standards ARE more rigorous (trips over the phrase while speaking it) and will prepare students. “Total fallacy!” Another fallacious statement, “They (the CCSS) do that through teaching our students how to think critically, problem solve, and think analytically.” Sorry, I have to ask here, since when did ‘standards’ teach? I thought it was the teachers who taught! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbvgZ9lLKPI) Before the interview is over, Ms. Stewart shares that the first step needs to be public input when it comes to how to best serve students. That ‘Total Truth‘ is a few years too late! Had public input been taken BEFORE Common Core, we wouldn’t need a ‘Fib-o-Meter’! Ms. Stewart is also ‘fallacious’ for all her references to pro CC groups, assessments.
Mr. John White, a former Teach for America alumni. Right off the bat, Common Core friendly! He’s been successful in helping NY get started on the Race/Top road, before heading south. Oh, I almost forgot, Mr. White was chosen to lead LA. Mr. White is also a member of the “Chiefs for Change” non profit group that adores the Core! (see: http://chiefsforchange.org/members-page/) The ‘love letter’ written by Mr. White is here: http://chiefsforchange.org/letter-from-supt-white-and-bese-president-chas-roemer-to-louisiana-educators/ My favorite ‘Total Fallacy‘ he stated, “Not only is continuing the state’s multi-year plan the right thing to do for our children, but also it is the legal path forward.” There are many other statements of Mr. White’s we could measure, but with his hand already exposed, we can easily see where his bets are placed. Mr. White should be in advertising, he’s doing a banner job in selling the CCSS!
The current Superintendent, Dr. Carey Wright hasn’t been in office very long but she’s already come out swinging in the fight for Common Core Standards. Her predecessor, Dr. Tom Burnham was also pro Core. In fact, the U. S. Dept. of Education, considered him a courageous educator. Dr. Burnham helped usher in CC in MS, but it’s Dr. Wright who has promised to continue to usher the Standards in. Since one Doctor started this in MS and one is continuing to support the efforts, I thought a look at this statement by Dr. Burnham would be worth measuring, ” Common Core’s shift from “What’s Taught” to “What Students Need to Be Able to Do.” This initiative emphasizes that to be successful in the 21st century, college and career students should to be able to:
Solve problems, Communicate, Adapt to change, Work in teams, Analyze and conceptualize.” Pardon me, Dr. Burnham, but qualified teachers CAN teach students ALL those things WITHOUT the CCSS! ‘Total Fallacy‘ Now, keeping this statement in mind, measure Dr. Wright’s, “I have said repeatedly across the state and I will say it to you. I fully support the Common Core State Standards. These are very rigorous standards that will better prepare students and your future employees. You need employees who can think critically, solve problems, work in teams and communicate well. That’s what you do each day, and that’s what Common Core is designed to help our students do.” The rest of her address is quite interesting. When I read it I wasn’t sure if I was in MS or TN. Dr. Wright gets extra ‘fallacy points’ for all the references to CCSS friendly groups. ‘Total Fallacy’ See: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/state-superintendent-of-education
Our last state for today finds us in NY & measuring the current Commissioner, John King. He’s been in office since 2011. Before him, was David Steiner from 2009-11. We’ll get to Mr. Steiner in a minute, but look at the email Mr. King sent out not long ago: (http://myemail.constantcontact.com/News-and-Notes–Teaching-is-the-Core.html?soid=1110847617454&aid=l23enSVw_ZY ) He’s not only thrilled by CC, he’s announcing Social Studies is also aligned, “The Social Studies Framework has drawn support from social studies teachers, professional organizations, and other state and national education organizations. It includes key ideas and concepts for each grade level and incorporates Common Core skills in literacy, writing, speaking and listening, as well as social studies practices.” I’m giving Mr. King a ‘Total Fallacy‘ for this because we all know how well Math & English are preparing our kids, so I’m sure Social Studies will be wonderful, too! By the way, how does a person ‘practice Social Studies’?! From this archived video, Mr. King tells us there’s “no perfect plan to dramatically change standards.” (http://archive.lohud.com/VideoNetwork/3096793101001/Education-Commissioner-John-King-on-Common-Core) ‘Total Fallacy‘, Mr. King! By the way, count how many times he tells you 45 states did this. So, we know the current NY commissioner is a supporter (hey, remember the headlines of how WELL all those NY students fared on assessments?), let’s look for a moment at Mr. Steiner, who was in office when the Standards were adopted in NY. “How delighted I am to be with David Coleman and all of you.” He goes on to extol the great uniting wonder of Common Core. See: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeeT1_P1hAI) While Mr. Steiner shows his alliance right off the bat, I will thank him for exposing the ‘triangle’ of CCSS in this video. So, he gets ‘Total Fallacy‘ for the Core & ‘Total Truth‘ for helping confirm what many have wondered…’just Standards’ or more?!
Well, not one ‘neutral’ statement from any of the leaders in the 5 states we’ve looked at. Most of the leaders are very vocal in their support of Common Core. How sad. Well, we have work to do, fellow citizens..let’s do it!