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Immediate Repeal of Common Core State Standards and Cancellation of Membership in the PARCC Consortium in the State of Maryland

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PETITION TO: Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland

Whereas, Maryland has earned national recognition for student achievement in recent years, prior to the implementation of Common Core State Standards, and the decisions about the rigor of the Maryland’ standards and tests were made by school and university educators in our state, and

Whereas, decisions about curriculum should be made by parents through their locally elected school committee in consultation with local teachers and administrators, and

Whereas, the education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice, and

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards were developed and funded by private organizations, and

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards were adopted by the Maryland State Department of Education without the knowledge and/or approval of the local school committees, parents, and other citizens of Maryland, and

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards in mathematics are benchmarked approximately two years behind international standards, according to Professor James Milgram, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, who consequently refused to sign off on the Common Core State Standards, and

Whereas, the Common Core State Standards for English would have 12th graders reading at an 8th grade level, and Common Core’s standards are an unsound basis for the development of common assessments. Moreover, in order for test developers to develop “curriculum-based” assessments, they will essentially remove control of curriculum from the local level if not the state level.  All of this according to Dr. Sandra Stotsky, was the lead ELA, (English, Literature, Arts) expert on the Validation Committee, and who refused to sign off on the Common Core State Standards, and

Therefore, we, the undersigned, instruct the Governor of Maryland, the State Board of Education, and the State Representatives to take the steps necessary to bring about the immediate repeal of the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, the application for the grant known as Race to the Top as it relates to the Education Reform Act (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), the No Child Left Behind waiver, the appropriation of all state funds for the technology needed for any Common Core-based tests, and the immediate cancellation of membership in the PARCC consortium, and to remove all restrictions and requirements related thereto that have been placed upon the state and return to the pre-2010 Maryland State Standards.

 Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Common Core

1.    Common Core is a Federal Takeover of Education. The ultimate goal of Common Core is to have every school district follow the same national standards. This is a failed educational approach that will undermine educational quality and choice. States and local communities better know how to design standards based on their students and parents’ needs, than Washington bureaucrats.

2.    Common Core is Bad for Parents.   Parents will not have a say in their child’s education under Common Core. They will not be able to suggest changes to their local school’s standards or enroll their child in another public school with better standards. Common Core would limit parental choice and shut their voices out of their child’s education.                                      

3.    Common Core is Bad for Teachers.  Teachers would have little control over their classrooms under Common Core. They will be forced to comply with standards decided upon by federal bureaucrat. This leaves little to no room for teachers to innovate to meet the unique needs of their students.

4.    Common Core is Bad for Taxpayers.  Common Core has a hefty price tag that will be paid by taxpayers in states. Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction estimates that Common Core will cost the state $300 million. 1 California Department of Education estimates it will cost $759 million to implement the nationalized standards. 2 Common Core will cost taxpayers a lot of money while not improving education quality.

5.    Common Core is Bad for Students.  Common Core is a one-size-fits-all education policy that assumes every students learns exactly the same. A top down and centrally controlled standards will hurt students’ creativity and learning. Good education policy realizes that all students have different learning styles, preferences, and paces.  teachers “teach the test.” This means that students are memorizing rather than learning and critical thinking about information.  Common Core would resemble No Child Left Behind by requiring students to take national standardized tests to measure their progress.

6.    Common Core Violates Privacy.  The Race to the Top Grants associated with Common Core violates privacy by “data mining” information about students that will follow them the rest of their lives. The information collected is more than just test scores and academic progress. Common Core will track information on religious practices, political beliefs, “sex behaviors and attitudes”, and more.

7.    Common Core Brainwashes Students.  The Curriculum is designed to Indoctrinate students into believing government  propaganda, by promoting  one progressive political ideology, and religious bias and indoctrination, and anti-american propaganda, and not allowing our students to be free independent thinkers, making informed decisions and forming opinions  based on the facts.  Common Core rewrites history to fit how the government wants them to think.

8.    Common Core is Unconstitutional.  The federal government should not control education. Since education is not specifically listed in the Constitution, the authority over education should be left up to the states and the people. This allows localities from New York City to rural Alabama to design unique curriculums that are best for their students.

9.    Common Core Will Require Some States to Move Backwards.  Some states have advanced standards that are designed with students and parents in mind. Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas, who served on the committee to validate Common Core standards said, “The standards dumb American education down by about two grades worth.  Some states would have to move their standards backwards to comply with Common Core standards.

10. Common Core Is a Failed Education Approach.  Washington has tried one-size-fits-all education approaches time and time again. Centralized education programs have not worked and will never work. The quality of education has only declined over the past few decades. The solution is to get the federal government out of the education business.

 10 Reasons to Refuse the PARCC Test

for Your Child in Maryland

1. High-stakes standardized testing takes an emotional toll on students.

The PARCC is unlike any test you took as a child. It is unprecedented in its level of standardization and in the punitive measures attached to testing performance
The PARCC is a timed exam and unfamiliar to students in form and content
The stress of high-stakes test taking produces anxiety and is even more challenging for students who already experience anxiety
The testing environment can be oppressive, as students movements and behavior are heavily monitored
2. The PARCC test drives the standardization of learning.

The Common Core State Standards, which support the PARCC, have narrowed state curriculum to fit the demands of the test
Untested subjects are deprioritized or dropped altogether
This unprecedented level of standardization cannot accommodate student differences in need, ability and interests
3. Test prep means less quality instructional time in schools.

PARCC is longer than previously administered tests
PARCC means more testing beginning at younger ages
Schools now commonly refer to a “testing season” that lasts from March until June
4. The PARCC test is a fundamentally flawed assessment.

There is no evidence that PARCC prepares students for college or careers
PARCC is developmentally inappropriate for students at all grade levels
Not enough sample tests, practice tests, or exemplars have been released
The expectation that many or most students will perform poorly on the test is public knowledge
Because Maryland students are already tested and assessed throughout the school year, the PARCC is unnecessary
 

5. Schools around the state of Maryland are unprepared to take a high stakes exam.

Never before have so many students taken an online exam simultaneously
Districts have continually reported schools’ IT infrastructure cannot support PARCC administration
The rush to implement the PARCC does not make sense for our schools
6. PARCC is a cash cow for testing companies such as Pearson, Inc.

Technology and testing companies – not educators – have funded and organized the rush to develop and implement the Common Core and PARCC
States have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Common Core and PARCC
In Maryland, combined costs for Math & English/Language Arts tests are as high as $61.24 per student
Pearson is a private company which will have access to student data with very little oversight. Pearson may sell personal data related to individual children who have taken the PARCC
7. School districts have been bullied into accepting PARCC and the Common Core – and residents have been failed by their elected leaders who signed on to it.

When Chicago Public Schools announced they could not and would not administer PARCC this year, they were threatened with losing up to $1 billion in funding
Schools and school districts across the country have been forced to comply with federal and state mandates around PARCC or risk lose millions of dollars in funding
Maryland policy makers have endorsed Common Core and PARCC without diligently investigating what is at stake and without asking the right questions
We will call their bluff – we will not allow our children’s schools to be held hostage to bad educational policy
8. PARCC test scores will be used to justify punitive measures.

Per “No Child Left Behind” and other school reform measures, test scores are used to fire teachers, hold students back and close down schools
These actions are disruptive and are unsettling to the communities that have to endure them
These measures disproportionately impact under-resourced communities and students of color
 

 

9. There is no legal way for school administrators to force your child to take a test she or he does not want to take.

The official position of the state Department of Education is that there is no “opt out” provision for testing in Maryland
There is no legal precedent for forcing a student to take a standardized test
Maryland students and parents can opt-out, refuse, or decline to take the test just as families can in other states
National “messaging” around the Common Core and PARCC has been carefully crafted to conceal problems and to appeal to parents and teachers
Schools present a favorable view of the PARCC and their ability to carry out testing because of a lack of political leadership from the state
All parents should be informed of the detriments of standardized testing
Your child cannot be punished, failed, or held back for refusing this test
10. Now is the time!

More people are questioning PARCC than ever before – teachers, students and parents around the country have begun to speak out against high stakes testing
Boycotts and other actions against high stakes testing have galvanized communities to fight for justice in education
Given the large number of problems with the test, many schools will not be held accountable based on test results this year. This is a lower-stakes opportunity to boycott the test and to build momentum for bigger boycotts to stop the damaging “accountability” provisions in the years to come
If your child is “fine” taking tests and you can supplement your child’s test-driven curriculum with enriching experiences outside of school, the same cannot be said for everyone
Even if your school tends to meet AYP or other defined goals, the same cannot be said for all schools – especially those in under-resourced areas and disproportionately those populated by students of color
We need to stand up for all children who are experiencing an unprecedented transformation of the learning experience via the expansion of high stakes testing.

 

 

 



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