To the editor:
A recent Barrington School Committee agenda contained a discussion item on the Common Core State Standards. Shortly after the discussion on that topic, the school committee chair and two other members agreed they heard enough on this matter.
The chair then made a suggestion; In the future, discussion on the Common Core is no longer allowed on the agenda unless the superintendent (with consent of the chair) would allow further discussion. Really?
This is the first time such an action has occurred with the school committee in my four years as a member. The mere fact that the members do not concur with a minority view does not confer the majority the right to quash those with opposing views.
Scores of parents (a number which grows each week), residents, and teachers, continuously tell me they want more discussion on this matter.
Support for the Common Core is collapsing nationwide, and this truth is currently taking root in towns throughout Rhode Island. This is a hot topic in our state legislature, as evidenced by Rep. Amore’s (D-East Providence) recently submitted bill.
If this needs to be discussed a thousand times, then so be it.
The Common Core encompasses everything from curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Why would we ever want to limit discussion and/or debate on this issue?
Will my fellow school committee members limit the rights of elected officials, including the rights of parents or residents, from hearing more on this should they ask for the Common Core to be on the agenda? We’ll see.
Consider for a moment how many times our town council has discussed the Spencer Trust and affordable housing issues. These issues were on every agenda in recent history.
Was any member of the town council or any resident ever denied an opportunity to discuss these vital topics? They were not. Simply put, this process is undemocratic.
I believe the Barrington School Committee’s adoption of the resolution to “unequivocally and without reservation” support the Common Core is both premature and ill advised. Moreover, I strongly caution my colleagues from enforcing the notion that the Common Core is a “done deal,” and that its place on the agenda is persona non grata. It is not!
We were elected to represent each and every constituent. This apparent attempt to silence dissent regarding this matter is equally unbecoming and unwise.
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