Common Core needs another community vetting
by Donald Conkey
May 15, 2013 09:46 PM | 1690 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Once again I commend the Cherokee Tribune for its reporting on the growing debate regarding Common Core and its potential for far reaching damage to Cherokee County’s educational system. The Tribune reporting represents true journalism at its finest.

I especially commend Tribune reporter Michelle Babcock for her report in the May 4 Tribune on a recent Cherokee County School Board meeting that provided several quotes from school leaders that should cause all Cherokeeans to stand up and persist to know more about why this board adopted Common Core in December even before it was completely written. This policy reminds me of Speaker Pelosi’s arrogant comment regarding Obamacare; “You will have to pass it to know what’s in it.”

Perhaps the most notable quote in this report was made by Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo. He is quoted as saying: “Frankly, it’s a little late in the game, I think, for the political discussion to be occurring about Common Core.”

Does he mean that if the board sees their policies are leading the system over the educational cliff that they should not take another look and take corrective action? Dr. P’s words lead me to believe he believes recommendations from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a useful but progressive organization, trumps local boards control in making policy for its students and school system. I don’t share his implied belief.

I believe that educational historians Thomas Sowell and David Barton, as well as state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (who opposes Common Core), would likely consider Dr. P’s statements regarding Common Core as progressive in nature, perhaps defending it as one of Obama’s primary tools to “fundamentally transform America” by gaining total federal control of America’s educational system.

I also believe that when Sowell and Barton refer to America’s educational teaching methods as “indoctrination,” a strong condemnation of America’s educational system, Cherokeeans ought to demand a closer look at Common Core before its full implementation.

There is still time to reconsider a decision based on incomplete input before it’s too late to turn back. This board needs to determine now if those negative declarations being raised have merit instead of learning too late they were valid, as America did with Obamacare.

Too many believe that when the board accepted the $2.8 million federal grant to participate in Race to the Top that it was a “bribe” by the feds to “suck” their system into Common Core.

This fed grant enticement is much like a teenager being enticed into smoking his/her first cigarette, then getting hooked on nicotine (grants) — a dangerous drug that often leads to harder drugs, and then finally to self-destruction. America’s “Monuments to Ignorance,” (prisons) are testaments of how dangerous “rosy-sounding” enticements can be.

The Tribune reports imply Kelly Marlow was the only board member who took the time to study Common Core in its entirety before raising the red flag of warning. If her concerns prove valid the board should applaud Marlow for her courage in bringing to the board’s attention what she believed were issues serious enough to warrant a further review of the board’s policy of adopting a program before it was fully written, as the congress did in adopting Obamcare.

To state that a policy can’t be reversed is illogical — no corporation would stay in business long with such a policy. I acknowledge Dr. P. for what he is; a brilliant and talented administrator who was instrumental in restoring a broken school system years ago, but that is not sufficient reason to allow a $2.8 million grant (bribe) to validate bad board decisions.

I believe this board should slow down its implementation of Common Core until they have had time to study the “entire” Common Core agenda — and receive community input before finding out that Common Core is an educational ObamaCare in the making — only worse.

Many years ago a mentor spoke to the subject “Ignorance is expensive.” Perhaps this board should ask themselves “How expensive will it be to ignore those growing concerns about Common Core?” School board members were elected to lead, not to mislead. Now is the time to ponder the questions being raised by those truly concerned citizens who see danger in Common Core.

You were elected, thus responsible, to see that Cherokee County’s students get “a true American education,” an education based on the Founders educational foundation that built America as the land of opportunity it has become, not one based on a “one-world philosophy.”

Support a “citizens committee” to further vet Common Core!

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.
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