Chula Vista parents protest switch to Common Core State Standards

They don’t “believe the hype”

Chula Vista parents and kids protested outside Castle Park Middle School on September 13.
  • Chula Vista parents and kids protested outside Castle Park Middle School on September 13.

When U.S. secretary of education Arne Duncan came to Chula Vista on September 13, the fanfare at Castle Park Middle School was spectacular. Oversized pictures of Duncan’s face were waved on sticks while students wearing “Believe the Hype” T-shirts chanted success slogans.

But a small group of protesters outside the event wasn’t pleased.

Also on September 13, the state legislature passed AB 484; the same state tests being celebrated by the Castle Park school will be passé as California switches to “Common Core State Standards.” (AB 484 paved the way for California to transition to Common Core State Standards in that the bill delays for a year the new round of testing based on the new standards.)

The new standards will require new texts and/or materials, new rounds of training, new tests, new infrastructure, and new computers because, ultimately, the testing will be given on computers. The taxpayers will likely not get off easy.

Although the Common Core State Standards have been adopted in 45 states, opposition is building: Georgia, Oklahoma, Utah, and Pennsylvania are choosing to opt out of implementation. Those who oppose the education reform have been depicted as “tea-partiers,” but the women who demonstrated at Arne Duncan’s South Bay visit were diverse.

Kristin Phatak told the Reader, “It’s a non-partisan issue; I’m a registered Democrat. We are a mixed group of people here — conservative, liberal, non-political. We are teachers, nurses, and professionals.”

Phatak continued, “I’m a mom who has been researching Common Core State Standards for a year. I’m probably one of the early moms in Chula Vista who did it because it was piloted in my son’s school, Salt Creek Elementary.” (Salt Creek is in the Chula Vista Elementary school district.)

“Unbeknownst to us parents, we started seeing this work coming home with our kids and that’s how we found out. I have a graduate degree, my husband has a graduate degree, we are both English speakers. When we saw this homework coming home and we couldn’t even help our child with it , we said — what is this?

“For example, what this district did for math was…my son had to show a problem four different ways, model it visually, model it on a quilt, model it on a number line, and one other way. The additional emphasis is on word problems; they must explain their work in writing….

“It’s terribly ironic,” Phatak continued, “here’s Arne Duncan speaking in this [U.S. Department of Education] Promise Neighborhood with a very high Hispanic population… These standards could harm the population; the one subject that these children might have great success in as second-language learners is math. Math is a universal language, and now they’re taking that success away from them by demanding they read and respond to word problems.”

Phatak’s group of protesters made two presentations to the Chula Vista Elementary School District trustees, on August 14 and September 11. “We felt that we were really dismissed by the board,” Phatak said.

“On September 11, I presented to the Chula Vista [Elementary School District] board the education code language that says this must be local decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards. I had already spoken to a person in the California education department about it — the [Chula Vista] board never went through that process to allow the public to comment on cost, standards, data collection.”

Lina, another member of the group demonstrating at Castle Park on the day Duncan passed through, pointed to a 2010 statement by Duncan’s aide in the Harvard Business Review that states: “…the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.”

In a September 18 interview, Anthony Millican, communications officer for the Chula Vista Elementary School District, said that the district has a great deal of parental support for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. He confirmed that “there will be a lot of tech demands” and that the state has allocated to the district $4.6 million to help with expenses, including professional development.

It is unclear if the funding comes from Proposition 30, the tax-increase measure that passed last November, to mitigate loss of state funding for schools.

Millican also said that the Common Core State Standards “were put together by business leaders, university professors, educators” and that the shift in education will be from “drill and kill to critical thinking.”

He avers that this latest educational reform will be “more about the learning and less about the test score.”

Kindergarteners and first-graders will be receiving report cards this year based on the Common Core State Standards.

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How ironic that on this very day the SUHSD board chose to hold a SPECIAL BOARD MEETING at 5:00 to discuss CORE curriculum and the materials needed.

Why the special board meeting? With the CORE curricum being a major move, one would think that our board would have wanted parent input.

HOWEVER, this is yet another indication of just how LOCKED OUT WE ARE IN THE PROCESS.

Can you see that light at the end of the tunnel? The light of hope are the trials in the LARGEST CORRUPTION CASE in San Diego County - and the elections of 2014!

Why wasn't Mr. McCann at the District office for the meeting, why did he teleconference? HE was at the Duncan rara siskoomba celebration.

Ms. Phatak raises some very good questions. Hopefully, at some point, the community will be INCLUDED in the discussion and the concerns raised will be addressed. ALL parties should be included in the conversation and see themselves as stakeholders vs. observers.

When I initially heard discussion about national standards in education, I was in favor of it, having heard that state standards can vary dramatically; states can do their own testing and then declare that for example, 80% of students are performing well merely based upon whatever standards have been arbitrarily given...resulting in a 'feel good' conclusion, ultimately meaningless.

Wouldn't it be better to have universal standards for all states--so that we can really see who is learning, what is being learned, how we are preparing students for their and our future?

In theory, yes--but let us return to the quote from the Harvard Business Review: "educational entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets".

You bet they will.

And this will become a huge revenue stream (popular phrase these days) for the providers--so huge, that there is a great deal of push for this national market to open up.

Additionally, I have read hints of 'data mining'--so that the very students being taught will also turn into additional sources of revenue, as they are analyzed and further targeted.

Perhaps all this is inevitable. Perhaps it is the wave of the future. If so, we need to really take a look at all phases of this and decide if this is what we want, if this is what is best for our country.

France has national standards in education, with difficult tests to gain admission to the various universities. But the percentage of French students who go to university is lower than the percentage of US students who continue on.

My fear is that the Common Core is really a commodification of education, turning students into consumers some of the time and products the rest of the time; the eagerness of corporations to latch on to more government funding becomes something to be wary about.

Education is about acquiring critical thinking skills, good decision-making skills, being able to learn from the past and look towards the future--and also about how not to get 'suckered' by promotional material. Right now, all of us need to use our critical thinking skills and take a look at what is being sold as the "Common Core".

Who are the educators who compiled the Common Core materials? Are they speaking up for what they have done, or were they faceless drudges in some back office frantically performing to a corporate directive?

It is disheartening to see the educational system under fire from just about every direction.

We can't trust the Sweetwater UHSD to make a good decision on anything--they tend to be influenced far too easily by thoughts of personal benefit. We need the educators to take a good long look at the new materials and tell us what they think.

We need the parents to monitor what is going on, and see if these materials are beneficial--or if it is claptrap with a bow.

We need some community dialogue, unhindered by the 1, 2 and 3 minute time limits imposed by our singularly unimpressive Sweetwater Board of Trustees.

Part II

We need some community dialogue, in a trustworthy setting, with people who are there not merely going through the motions, texting, unwilling or unable to really follow what is taking place. We need some dedicated people for this task. Perhaps those who really want to help the students of these districts.

Good luck Chula Vista Elementary School District students, teachers and parents. It looks like there is a great deal of work ahead. It is doable if people are sincere in the attempt. It is doable if the process is meaningful.

Unfortunately, that sincerity and meaning is missing in Sweetwater, where it is not about what is best for the future of the students, it is about the bank account and career fantasies of the superintendent and the board members. And their hangers-on, eager for handouts.

Citizens for Quality Education in the Poway Unified School District is active as well, working hard to get the ALL the information and facts out to the parents and members of the community. We are holding a Community Forum tonight at 7 pm at the Rancho Bernardo Country Club. Our group is trying to engage the public in a discussion with school board members and Superintendent Collins on the concerns we should all have about the impacts the Common Core standards will have on our children. Encinitas is active and so is Valley Center. Thanks Chula Vista for doing your part!

eastlaker, thank you for your astute comments and careful assessment. The Sweetwater Union High School board called an emergency meeting on September 13. See below for the single item on the agenda.

  • Conduct a public hearing and adopt Resolution No. 4257, Assurance of Sufficient Availability of Textbooks and/or Instructional Materials and Assurance that the Core Curriculum is Aligned to the State Content Standards.

So was the emergency meeting on the 13th the "public meeting"? If so, why was the public not informed prior to the meeting?

Or did I miss something?

According to the Brown Act, ALL meetings of the public body (the governing board of a public agency) are open and must receive proper notice....72 hours in advance for regular meetings, less for special and emergency meetings. I seriously doubt it qualified as an emergency meeting. Special meetings may be called to discuss specific topics and be in workshop format.

Only items considered in 'closed session' are not open to the public.

This Board, and Superintendent, are particularly evasive about such things.

I hope in the future to do a longer piece on common core standards and assessments--there is a quite a bit of material that I was not able to include in this article.

As I understand it, much of the funding for the common core came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What we have been finding is that the parents doing the research on Common Core know more than the local boards and administrators. For instance in this article: "Millican also said that the Common Core State Standards “were put together by business leaders, university professors, educators” and that the shift in education will be from “drill and kill to critical thinking.” He avers that this latest educational reform will be “more about the learning and less about the test score.”

These statements are both false. The standards were put together by trade associations in Washington DC primarily funded by the Federal Dept of Ed., Bill Gates and other large corporations hiding behind their non profit masks. The reform is all about the assessment (Common Core's form of testing) linking teacher's evaluations and pay to the results of the assessments aligned with the standards - The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Be armed with the facts and the hard evidence to support the facts when addressing your boards and administrators.

Fight On!!!!

Remember this topic one year from now. Pay particular attention to CPM's scores next time they are released. Where are the millions of dollars poured into this school district going? Certainly not into the classroom. I want to know why board members that are facing felonies are still making the decisions and had the nerve to elect James Cartmill, who is one of those indicted, as president? The employees of this school district are being tormented by a Hitler like superintendent. The light some refer to can not get here fast enough.

I live in Vista and became aware of Common Core when I sat in Back-to-School night in my son's 7th grade math class. After the teacher's talk on what CC looks like in the classroom, I had a sinking feeling they were not doing much math. I was right. In 5 weeks of school he has never opened his "old" math book full of pesky math problems, instead his class talks, writes, and draws pictures about one math problem at a time! That's why so much less is taught under CC, they move at a snail's pace. I was told much of the 6th grade curriculum would be repeated, and Algebra 1 is no longer an option for 8th grade. And, this is not a dumbing down of math?! CC burdens students to describe and write every minute detail of reasoning, while refusing to teach the easiest, most efficient way to solve the problem. I urge parents to learn as much as possible about CC, and if you have concerns..join the fight!

I'm continually dismayed by the folks that say our students and teachers are too dumb to meet state standards. Usually they have some ulterior motive. Bottom line is there needs to be more academic rigor. Only 51% of Cal public schools met the Academic Performance Index this past school year, down two points from the previous year. Student SAT scores in California have been dropping for years, and are now below the national average. Making elementary school easier is not going to position our students for success.

Stjorres, Will the test be harder or easier? Mr. Millican told me yesterday that when the new tests are given which might be more than one year out--the district anticipates an initial dip in scores which he said often accompanies new standards and tests.

The district is also holding special meetings to assist parents with the common core homework their children will be bringing home. The special meetings are announced on the district website.

Stores - are you saying that you believe CC will dummy down our students? I am interested in your opinion.

It is obvious there are problems - while we have discussed everything from Student to Teacher responsibility, I am of the opinion Parental involvement/responsibility needs improvement as well. Last, but not least in Sweetwaters case it appears that our hard earned tax dollars are being spent in areas that will not effect the quality of education.

More money with the implementation of CC?

landy: One of the corporations pushing Common Core is ExxonMobil. They have financed national televison ads promoting it. Yes, ExxonMobil, the same company that lied to the public about their oil spills and finally pleaded guilty to breaking several environmental laws and settled criminal and civil lawsuits of over 1 billion dollars, which was the most extensive attempt in human history to mitigate the environmental damage caused by an industrial disaster. So now we're supposed to get behind their vision of a business-modeled educational system? No thanks. The one core standard we should all get behind: The Teaching Of Historical Facts.

45 states is not correct... I count 23. That # is getting smaller every week. Washington state just dropped the same IMAP performance tasks we are adopting next year. we are a day late and a dollar short as usual.

I've apparently been living under a rock, as I was just introduced to Common Core earlier this week at a talk given by the principal at my daughter's middle school. One thing he came back to repeatedly is echoed by eastlaker - he said he's been bombarded pretty much nonstop with pitches from content providers looking to sell the CC material.

I also heard the same thing as Susan regarding an expected dip - "this is to be expected when we switch to a new testing standard, so don't be alarmed" or something to that effect.

I see a lot of comments here about math - personally I noticed last year (4th grade) a shift away from a "right way" of solving a problem and moving onto the next skill set and the implementation of three or four different approaches to arrive at the same solution - my daughter just looked at me funny when I tried to re-teach a skill in the only way I knew how.

"I know how to do it that way Dad, we learned it two weeks ago. I'm supposed to solve it this way now." I'm just left wondering why she needs this way if she was reaching the right solutions using that way.

Some of the sample CC curriculum, including an example math problem I got at my meeting, seems intriguing - but it also seems needlessly complex, given the reduced base skill set kids seem to be acquiring due to re-learning a process in multiple methods. I've been hesitant to knock this practice before because what works for some kids may baffle others, but I'm really debating the slowdown of general progress these methods entail.

Thanks, Susan, for your timely articles that always inspire a great conversation. Even though I mostly watch from the sidelines, they're quite informative.


Why do corporations and politicians feel they have the right to fiddle with education? By the same token should educators dictate how business should be run? I can't imagine a CEO telling his managers to forget the way things have been done in the past and to implement a "new and improved" yet untested business model which will require spending capital on retraining and all new materials. And if that doesn't bring the desired results, no worries, the CEO will find a newer "new and improved idea" every few years. It's Orwellian!

Project-based learning gets my vote. And let's teach higher order thinking skills, by all means, but don't swing the pendulum to another extreme. Don't get rid of fiction! Reading the classics is valuable in countless ways. I'd like to go back to the way of teaching that produced eastlaker's thoughtful and articulate commentary. Who were your teachers?

Question: Can districts opt out or do whole states have to do that? It doesn't make sense to spend money on all new tests unless they are better. How about letting other states pilot them and then compare.

Finally, I'm very concerned about having more student information available. Will names be attached to the data or only identifying numbers?

Reader2, I attended public school in Minnesota through high school. Took classes at several places before graduating from SDSU with a degree in Comp Lit, followed by a MA in Creative Writing from SFSU. Best college classes ever: Howard Hong's History of Philosophy I & II and Kierkegaard at St. Olaf College. Art History at Columbia was pretty good as well!

Actually, Reader2, I CAN imagine a corporate CEO doing something like that. I've seen it done. When the new approach succeeds, the CEO is called a "visionary. If it flops, the CEO is a failure, and rides off into the sunset. Something like that happened recently at JC Penney when a new CEO radically changed the pricing, advertising and promotion policies. It didn't work, he's gone, and now the survival of the company is in doubt. A little off-topic, but with mentioning.

Personally, I don't know enough about the common core to give it my approval or disdain. (It's time for me to dig into the matter.) But I do know that in the past couple decades, high schools have been proclaiming how they teach "critical thinking", and I've seen very little of it. Most of the time the subjects are taught on a "do it my way" or "do it the way the book describes", and the kids get good grades. If some of these things actually teach critical thinking, and not just memorization and regurgitation, CC will have my vote. If this is just a bunch of contrived things that don't really rub off on the kids and change their perceptions, it will be bust. We all will get the chance to see, won't we?

The only difference is that in education nobody is shown the door. They just wait for the new "new and improved" method, books, or technology, (With the corresponding price tag) Meanwhile the educators are not asked to report what worked and what didn't work, what could be tweaked. Talk to your children's teachers privately and they will be candid about their frustrations with the never-ending pendulum swings. I'd love for the common core to work. I just want the teachers and parents involved and, big and, some measurement of success that's not attached to the teacher's livelihood. When teachers fear for their jobs, our kids lose. As stated below, there's something to be said for rote memorization of times tables. We had this debate with phonics. Let's not make it an either/or proposition. Seasoned teachers know what works. Let's ask them.

Few are shown the door, and even after failing, some are promoted. But in some districts in the past few years, principals were cashiered when test scores didn't improve. (In many cases, the better teachers transferred out or retired and the clientele slipped socioeconomically. So, the principal became the fall guy or gal.) There are two kinds of "seasoned" teachers, those whose seasoning makes them better and keeps them trying hard, while the others throttle back and put out little effort. It is not always easy or possible to determine who is who, because the latter group always puts on a good front. We agree that when teachers are in turmoil and are worried about their job secuurity they tend to do less real educating rather then more. These frequent pendulum swings just keep education in turmoil, and detract from rather than improve teaching.

Here is an article from Huffington Post about concerns some parents and teachers have about the English component of the curriculum.

Honored to have your thoughts and your hands on experience Dave. I, too, have been hearing the buzz words common core generally let them wash over me with the associated buzz word "critical thinking." I think the advice people have reiterated on this blog about educating oneself...not just relying on the buzz important.

Separate from or maybe part of the discussion: I just want children to learn to love to read--that will take them 9/10 of the way they need to go.

Wholeheartedly agree on the reading thing - it's been a struggle at times but my daughter is finally starting to come around in the last month to where "30 minutes reading time" is a voluntary hour rather than "Am I done yet?" after 20...

It's served me fairly well too - I halfheartedly skated through high school, aced jr. college classes I found interesting and bombed the rest (once I'd completed all the interesting ones relevant to graduating it was all over), but an early-rooted love of consuming as many written words as possible (see my twitter feed to scratch the surface of that) has pretty much gotten me by in life.

Add to that the fact that reading a variety of material exposes one to a wide variety of writing styles and expands one's own skill set by osmosis - finding someone my age or younger who can effectively communicate in writing is becoming so rare it's almost a guarantee of securing gainful employment that doesn't involve counting pickle chips.

David Rice - you are not alone, many of us must be your neighbors under that rock. SUHSD announced they were going to CC at a board meeting and voted on it. I have been waiting for an in depth interactive meeting to explain, but alas none to date.

Regarding the 'selling of CC material' - now at SUHSD that should be interesting. You see we have gone to IPADS, that was SUPPOSE to be the saving grace. The only problem, a couple of weeks ago the entire IT system crashed when the IPAD students took a test. Did the community warn of such things, that would be a yes; did Ed Brand listen, that would be a no. When a parent and IT expert offered her professional opinion regarding our lack of ban width and other options that might be investigated our Superintendent called her boss and allegedly insinuated she had broken some employer rule. Ah yes, that is our reality in the South Bay under the reign of Stalin, I mean Ed Brand. No doubt Brand will come up with some new idea, some new scheme that he will try and sell as education - in my opinion, I agree with those throughout the city and county who are of the opinion, that he is nothing more than a charlatan. 'We need it for CC he will say'. Wonder how much it will cost us?

To add to the conversation many have accused the district of placing our non English speakers in special Ed. How will this demographic be taught?

The students of SUHSD who have been taught the traditional way, the very students who will be expected to change mid stream. What of the testing scores they need to gain entry into College? How will that be addressed, since, as reported, there is an expectation that scores will drop as dramatically as the balances in SUHSD accounts have since Brand then 'the gandara' and now back to Brand again.

In closing, I see major problems on the horizon - I see massive amounts of monies for CC being spent, I see the trials, I see a new board, I see Brand being shown the door, and then what?

Thank you all for a good discussion, but it would take quite an optimist to believe that there is soon going to be any light at the end of the tunnel. So depressing!

This is the partner of "VigilantinCV." Susan is absolutely correct about how important being able to read is -- almost. The rest of the equation is math, particularly algebra. I was an accounting major and I was surprised how often simple algebra helped me figure out an accounting problem. Even more surprising to me was how helpful simple algebra has been useful all my life in doing word problems. And I don't mean word problems out of a textbook, but real-life problems. A situation will come up and, usually involving some numbers, and if you state the problem and then write it down in equation form, it is easy to solve. The "=" is the "is." Just state a problem in English and when you come to the "is," you have the equation.

I am 82 with a Ph.D. in economics and cannot see why my education with rote learning of the multiplication tables, plus algebra isn't the way to go.

VigilantinCV - your words equate to simple yet intelligent truth. If we were to believe the jargon that is being spewed it would it would have us wondering how, using rote learning, have so many accomplished so much?

Might it be that the following have negatively impacted student learning:

Teaching to the test Dwindling respect of authority by youth Lack of parental involvement in their child's education Substantial larger amounts of monies being spent on Administrators Failure for all participants to be seen and respected as stakeholders, working towards a common goal Teachers becoming disenfranchised Administrators so focused on job security that they fail to offer their opinions choosing instead to kiss booty Unions so focused on job protection that they fail to discipline those that need it Paranoia district wide, not being able to trust anyone - this environment encouraged by the current t super Alleged new and improved expensive curriculum YEARLY

Some of this reminds me so very much of "the new math" and all the emphasis on scientific notation...and that seems to have gone away. I am wondering if the Common Core elementary school math program is 'the new math 2.0 or 3.0' or something of that sort.

I was taught that the best math was the most 'elegant'--simple, direct.

While I will agree that mental dexterity is important, I believe that memorizing math tables helps a great deal in mental dexterity! Brain circuitry benefits from memorization...which doesn't mean that drills are the only thing!

Are there websites with Common Core materials available for the public to take a look at?

And weren't we supposed to have those public info sessions/task force meetings on Common Core?

I am not surprised that Sweetwater is not forthcoming with information, as they like to play everything close to the vest. (Wouldn't want the public to actually be able to follow where the public's money is going, after all).

It seems that convincing the public to throw everything out for something untested is a bit careless. I think that it would be better to have two or three states try it out, have assessments, have educators make adjustments as necessary and then implement it in sector, IF AND ONLY IF results are born out. I also think that guidelines need to be in place so that providers aren't gouging the public. Additionally, any 'data mining' needs to be monitored strictly and opt out conditions must be available.

Susan, your comment about just wanting children to love to read is spot on. I filled my home with magazines, fiction, non-fiction and even pulp journals. It doesn't matter so much what they read as long as they are reading a large sample of available literature. Reading enjoyment and comprehension will enable a person to understand and learn almost any subject and be a benefit throughout life. Also enjoyed vigilantinCV's comment about math. So very true!

An article in the UT is publicizing a conference on common core for San Diego:

Will the public be welcome?

Having trouble getting the link down.

Check the UT for Common Core Seminar!

Item K1 pages 2 & 3 of this month board meeting to be held this coming Monday. Ed Brand wants $100,000.00 MORE for a private investigator. Now, this is on top of the approximate $55,000.00 he has already spent on ? this year and the approximate $65,000.00 that he owes the PI because the first $55,000.00 was not enough.

Now, last month when this agenda item was discussed the HR department clearly stated they did not know why he needed yet another $100,000.00; the CFO could not answer the question either. Ed Brand, well he could NOT be asked as he had LEFT the board meeting to go to the National City Planning Dept to LOOSE his bid for allowing Alliant U to be housed at the Natl City Adult building for FREE. So why, why would ANY school district need to spend this kind of money for a PI?

Want to know what and who $100,000.00 worth of your tax dollars are being spent on?

anniej recommends you attend Monday nights meeting - it will be made perfectly clear.

You will NEVER look at your tax bill quite the same way.

I'd like to put forward that all the money going to pay for a private investigator is evidence of an unhealthy state of mind on the part of our Fearless Leader, Fast Eddy. Paranoia isn't a good sign, although the old joke does say that even paranoids have enemies.

Wouldn't all this money be better spent on the students? Why on earth should this school district have to fund a PI or two or three...unless Fast Eddy is investigating himself. That's where the questions really are, after all.

Hmmmm....this bears more consideration, that's for certain. When the District has 'personnel' matters to be investigated, the District generally hires the contract lawyers to do that (usually Dan Shernoff and Co).

So what other issues merit other investigators?

Chula Vista parents take it from a parent in NY fight against these "standards." They will ruin your child's education. They were not written by educators but will come with the over testing of your children (my son, if we allowed him to test last year, would have taken over 28 days of standardized testing). The standards are not developmentally appropriate. I invite you to go look at EngageNY website and examine the math modules and what they ask the kids to do. It is grossly inappropriate! Secondly, when you look at the teaching modules on EngageNY you will see the lessons are scripted. The teacher is a robot who reads off a script - no time for creative teaching, no differentiation of instruction for your English language learners, and no differentiation for Special Education children. Lastly, the money your district gets from RtTT for signing on to do CC will be a pittance compared to what you will need to spend for the testing that will come with it. Our district received a paltry $36,000 but had to spend over $1million on the testing. Plus 70% of the kids in NYS failed these tests. I could write a book - but take it from this parent,who is also a teacher, stop these Standards in their tracks; fight for control of your children's classrooms, fight so your teachers will have the freedom to be creative and be able to differentiate instruction. Go to EngageNY and look at the teaching modules - they will tell the story.

This may have been a small group---that showed up for this event, but there are MANY, MANY who are against all of this Education Deform!!

If one does not believe that my statement is true....all one has to do is go to google search and type in "Against Common Core" and you will come up with similar results as these: About 73,500,000 results (0.27 seconds).

I am in a group that is growing daily at an astounding rate....bring in those who are not only against this but who are willing to FIGHT AND PUSH BACK IN A MIGHTY WAY!!

We are 28,000+ teachers ---- the BADASS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

And we are the BADASS PARENTS ASSOCIATION ALSO (2000 strong in membership)...

If you know longer can stand sitting on the sidelines as a benchwarmer......please come help us is like HORTON HEARS A WHO.......and every single voice MATTERS!!

PS.....I practically have Arse Duncan (ooops I mean Arne) on speed-dial----we often take actions against him.........there could not be a poorer choice of a non-educator, non-teacher in a position such as his ever...........smh....personally many of us would love to see Diane such a role!!!

In RE: agenda for Monday's SUHSD board meeting: 1) an item under contracts for South Bay Community Services in the amount of $15,000; 2) contract with ESI International for approximately $150,000 (ESI has many 'arms' but it is likely that is the money for the unspecified investigations; 3) an item to compensate Trustee McCann for his absence from the August 19 meeting 'due to illness' AND....drumroll please..... 4) a Closed Session item to evaluate the 'superintendent'.... the any opportunity for the public to have their legal right to public comment about THAT before they go into closed session for the stated purpose of evaluating Fast Eddy as Superintendent?

anniej - apparently has T-Shirts and business cards sale - thinking of you - sb

Hype? Is that what you call admitting your teachers can't teach actual mathematics?

echosierra - Students at Otay Ranch have to do 'pretend' chemistry labs because of a lack of resources. Not to worry, they have a new track. The board members who sat there last evening and listened to the educational needs of those Chemistry students - did they have a clue? That would be a NO!

Try blaming that on the teachers!

Annie: They are just practicing for dry-labbing it in college.

While I have never really thought more law suits would be the answer to the problems in Sweetwater UHSD, I am beginning to wonder. Why shouldn't the chem students and their parents sue the district, the county B of E and the State B of E if they are not provided with the necessary tools for the class?

Is this happening anywhere else in the state, the county, the district?

It is an outrage--but unfortunately, only one of many outrages that abound in Sweetwater.

There is the outrage of the Private Investigator fees of over $150,000. When questioned, Brand and Hueso can't really get their stories straight, but why should that be a surprise. Guess they didn't think anyone was paying attention. Guess again.

What is going on with the creative accounting and the charter schools? There were many questions last night, and no real answers, although Brand did keep repeating that the district gets paid back and it wasn't/isn't costing the district anything. When was the last time anyone really believed Ed Brand on anything?

Ummmm. Never?

Isn't it amazing that the board members, many of whom have served for many years, are unfamiliar with financial reports? Is it because Brand has never allowed them to take a look at them, has never "approved" the reports for release to the board--except for the massaged and trumped up ones, that is.

What does it take to get some action from the authorities? Private citizens being investigated by the district because they ask questions? Really? Who does Ed Brand think he is? Before any real name calling begins, I would just like to say that we in this district are very lucky that there are people who stand up, speak out, look for the truth and tell the truth.

Without that, we would be lost. This school district would be lost. The education of this district's students would be worthless, non-existent and as devoid of meaning as the words exiting Ed Brand's mouth.

For the record, I would like to add, it is simply beyond all reason that a person of Ed Brand's--what? Corrupt and vindictive nature? Manipulative, devious, self-serving ways? Consistent, repeated wrong-doing on so many levels? I can't really say, perhaps others can come up with the best phrase to describe this entity in our midst. So--as I was saying, it is simply beyond all reason that this entity is in charge of the education of the children in this district. Rarely has anyone been less suited for their position. In my opinion.

So is Ed getting "laid off" or are they pretending about him (and the board) still? The police report says other driver was speeding at Cartmill - Ch10 - so at least that wasn't his fault, just a bunch of other huge mistakes.

Thank you for writing about Common Core State Standards (CCSS). After months of research and witnessing the decline in my children's education, I am convinced this thing is NOT good. You are the only local media outlet doing any reporting of this and I thank you!! Look to New York and see how CCSS are falling apart there. They have already lived through a test cycle and the effects on children are alarming. See youtube, "Commissioner King Gets Spanked," and "Professional Educator Gives Commissioner King an Earful." This will happen in California once kids start taking the SmarterBalance Standardized Tests (Spring, 2015). California students must take SB field test this spring, 2014; although, they will NOT release test scores to parents (to quiet a NY rebellion). PLEASE continue to report!!!!

Kelly Ferreira | Vista

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