Common Core stirs concern


PERRYSBURG – There was no doubt that the 50-plus people who attended an information meeting on Common
Core Thursday were unhappy with what they heard.
Many groaned in surprise when they saw some names associated with the new standards, and grumbled
unhappily as they heard questions now being asked students.
The Maumee Valley Defenders of Liberty and the Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition sponsored the public
discussion on the pros and cons of Common Core at Way Library.
The standing-room-only crowd saw the timeline that unfolded up to Common Core, and heard some sample
questions from the new tests.
Common Core is an initiative to establish consistent educational standards across the states with the
intent to prepare students for college and careers.
In 2010, the Board of Education in Ohio adopted the Common Core State Standards in English language arts
and mathematics. The board also adopted more rigorous versions of Ohio’s academic content standards in
science and social studies. All four sets of standards will underpin teaching in classrooms by
Forty-five states have adopted the standards.
Discussion leaders were Sue Larimer, a member of the Perrysburg Board of Education, and Tina Henold, who
ran an unsuccessful campaign for Toledo Public Schools Board of Education in 2013 and who has
home-schooled her three children.
Larimer took nearly 90 minutes to draw an outline from the Coalition of Essential Schools in 1984 to the
Grow Network in 2000 and then how Common Core came from Achieve Inc.
Larimer repeatedly stated that her research and findings were her opinion and were not affiliated with
the Perrysburg school board.
She said standards should drive curriculum which in turn should drive benchmarks.
"Common Core is not curriculum," she stated.
Larimer drew another timeline from people including Deberah Meier and Bill Ayers who were both members of
the Democratic Socialists of America; to Vartan Gregorian, Ted Sizer, founding chairman of the Coalition
of Essential Schools, and David Kearns, who led the Annenberg Foundation, which donated $500 million
Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
At the mention of Ayers name, along with Barack Obama, who was also part of the Chicago challenge, and
Arnie Duncan, then CEO of Chicago Public Schools, the audience groaned.
In another tangent, Larimer described how David Coleman, the man who is considered to be the architect of
the Common Core standards and is president of the College Board, founded the Grow Network, an
organization committed to revising assessments. He is working to rewrite the ACT and SAT tests for
college-bound students. He sold Grow Network to McGraw-Hill, which is supplying thousands of schools
with textbooks on the heels of the national market for books that follow the core standards.
All Common Core is copywritten, said Larimer, and businesses can’t sell textbooks that don’t follow
Common Core.
She warned the audience to be careful what they read, and cited several Facebook postings of failed tests
that turned out to be fabricated.
When Henold went to the front of the room, she pointed out that cursive writing is optional under Common
Core. Such writing engages both sides of the brain, and is far more useful to a child than just the
actual writing, she stated. "If a child cannot write cursive, how can he or she read the founding
fathers documents?" she asked.
With math, if a child can explain how they came to conclusion, the answer is counted as correct.
"The process is more important that being correct," said Henold.
Phonics is not a part of Common Core, but ebonics is, she continued.
There are no maps in geography lessons; and in history, students learn that it was Mikhail Gorbachev who
was responsible for taking down the Berlin Wall, not then-President Ronald Reagan; and that the Boston
Tea Party was a terrorist event.
"Let’s start getting rid of this ridiculous bunch of garbage," she stated.
"Curriculum is driven by the test. We’re teaching to the test," she said.
"We need to start finding out what they’re teaching our kids," Henold continued, and asked for
volunteers in the Toledo, Maumee and Perrysburg school systems to read textbooks starting with fourth
The books should be made available, she later stated, since it’s taxpayer dollars that bought them.
"They aren’t standards, they’re directives," said Larimer.
Jim Farthing, of Whitehouse, said what he heard did not come as a surprise. He said he is particularly
unhappy about how history is being rewritten.
Sue Hrosko, a retired teacher from Perrysburg, said she had doubts over the efficacy of how the new
standards will make the country better.

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