The implementation of the Common Core “State” Standards (CCSS) is causing major disruptions in the school districts, the schools, the classrooms, and the homes where parents are trying to help with homework. To find out what exactly is going on, you need to talk to your local school chief (superintendent of schools / public instruction / whatever your local bureaucracy calls the office) and ask questions such as the following.

Why is your school district currently implementing CCSS in its schools? Where did you get the idea that you are specifically required or authorized to implement CCSS?

What specifically is the school district doing to implement CCSS?

Was public or teacher comment allowed in the design of the curriculum that your schools shall use in order to implement CCSS? Was teacher comment allowed in the design of this curriculum?

Was public or teacher comment allowed in the selection of the textbooks (and other teaching materials) that shall be used in this curriculum? Were teachers allowed to assist in the selection of the textbooks and other teaching materials?

Was public or teacher comment allowed in the design of the tests that will measure student performance under Common Core? Was teacher input allowed in the design of these tests?

What professional educational authority can you cite that the curriculum, textbooks, teaching materials and the tests, are in fact Common Core compliant? What is the process of validation and who actually performs and certifies validation and compliance?

What professional educational authority can you cite that CCSS itself was validated?

Where and how was that validation done and what were the results?

Where and how was the new CCSS curriculum validated, both to show compliance with CCSS and to verify that it does lead to better student performance?

Where and how were the new CCSS lesson plans validated, both to show compliance with CCSS and to verify that it does lead to better student performance?

Where are the district’s CCSS curriculum, the lists of textbooks, teaching materials, lesson plans and tests posted or published so the public and the parents can examine and comment on them?

How does CCSS accommodate kids with special needs? NOTHING about CCSS or in the teacher training videos on the internet encourages any confidence that the material or the exclusively “child-centric” group-think teaching method is appropriate for kids with ADD or other learning disabilities.

Is the district engaged in retraining teachers to teach the CCSS “child-centric” way?

Who is training the teachers in the CCSS “child-centric” way? Consultants, or senior teachers?

Where are the teaching materials for teacher retraining published so teachers, parents and the public can examine and comment on them?

How much money and time is spent on retraining teachers?

Where does the money for teacher retraining come from? What adjustments in the budget are made to accommodate this expense? What other programs are reduced to do so?

Is retraining time taken from instruction time or the teachers’ off-duty time? How does a school make up for the lost time in the children’s education?

What is the reaction of your teachers to the changes required by CCSS?

What is the PRIVATE reaction of your teachers to the changes required by CCSS?

Can we conduct an open and honest poll to find out?

Do your teachers fear reprisals if they disapprove publicly of CCSS?

Will the district by hook or crook get rid of teachers who do not approve of CCSS?

Will applicants be required to prove their allegiance to CCSS in order to be hired?

Why are the teachers’ unions in favor of CCSS when their rank-and-file is not? Isn’t the “child-centric” assault by CCSS on the professionalism of their teaching members reason enough to oppose CCSS?

What is the reaction of the parents to the changes required by CCSS?

What is the PRIVATE reaction of the parents to the changes required by CCSS?

Can we conduct an open and honest poll to find out?

Do the parents fear reprisals if they disapprove publicly of CCSS?

What is the reaction of the students to the changes required by CCSS?

Can we conduct an open and honest poll to find out?

What are you doing about how student performance is degraded by the changes due to CCSS?

Will you double-check student performance by testing against both the old and the new standards, using both the old and the new tests?

How are students graded under CCSS? What are the grading criteria under CCSS?

If there are no right or wrong solutions, no right or wrong answers, and all work is in groups, how will the teacher grade a child’s individual knowledge and performance in class?

Will students be graded strictly on the teacher’s perception of their participation, attitude and “social adjustment”?

Will the grade be based only on results from the formal CCSS tests (SBAC or PARCC)? How often is the test administered? Every grading period? Just how many tests are there?

How much school time is taken up by the CCSS tests?

Because the CCSS test(s) is (are) copyrighted, how much has the district budgeted for the expense? Where does the money come from? What adjustments in the budget are made to accommodate this expense? What other programs will be reduced to do so?

How will the parents know how their child is doing under CCSS? Is there still a report card?

How will the parents even know if they can do anything to help their child improve? Improve in what; in actual knowledge, or just the perception of participation, attitude and “social adjustment”?

What accommodations are the district and its schools making for students with special needs?

What happens to no child being left behind under CCSS? Does everybody pass, or everybody fail? Or just be shunted off into academic or “career” tracks? (We did use to have home ec, business and trade tracks…)

What role does the district allow for parents to play in this new world of CCSS?

What is the district’s or the teachers’ attitude toward parents helping their kids with homework?

How will the district or the teachers resolve the conflict at home between the old ways in which the parents were taught and the new CCSS way their kids are being taught in school?

Do the district’s schools now have the huge numbers of computers needed to support CCSS testing? How much money is budgeted for computers? Where does this money come from? What adjustments in the budget are made to accommodate this expense? What other programs are reduced to do so?

How is the district safeguarding the very intrusive demographic data collected as part of CCSS testing?

Does the district make provisions for opting out of CCSS testing or at least from the demographic part?

Will the district, schools, teachers, parents or students be penalized if students refuse to participate in CCSS testing? How will the district react to any resistance?

How will the school district use the CCSS test results to decide which administrators, principals, teachers, aides, substitutes, etc., to retain and which ones to fire? What is the teacher union’s role in this decision?

What changes in the law will you recommend based on actual experience with CCSS in the classroom?

Where does CCSS leave room for advanced placement and honors courses; for art, music and drama; for home economics, business and wood / metal / auto shop? Are they dropped because they reinforce the adage, “practice makes perfect;” i.e., what CCSS discourages most, “rote memorization? Where is there room for the many other interesting in- and out of school programs that many local districts are now and have for a long time been offering in their schools and communities?

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