Common Core forum offers local insight


The Bristol Warren Education Foundation and the Bristol Warren Regional School District will be hosting a community forum series throughout this school year. The kickoff to the series is a forum on the Common Core State Standards, a topic that has been debated at the national and state levels. The district and BWEF will be bringing this subject home by providing community members a view of the implementation of these standards at our local level, Common Core State Standards, BW Style.

Please join the BWRSD and the BWEF for this free, informative and interactive community forum on Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the library of the Mt. Hope High School.

A team of Bristol Warren educators will present the classroom view of the implementation the Common Core State Standards and will share with the public their research, preparation and practice. Local educators will be joined by Mary Ann Snider and Phyllis Lynch from the RI Department of Education, as well as educator ambassadors, Tracy LaFreniere and Jaime Crowley. This team will provide a broader view of implementation by providing a state and national context.

For more information on the Common Core State Standards, click here.


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Common Core.... Please be sure and attend this meeting if you care about the welfare of your children.

For starters.. The Common Core Standards currently only have skills associated with English-Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. There are currently no science or social studies Common Core Standards. This leaves it up to individual states to have to develop their own set of standards and assessments for these topics. (Do you trust your state government to decide what the standards should be?)

The Common Core Standards will lead to an increased value on standardized test performance. More preparing for tests, than general education.

The Common Core Standards will lead many current textbooks to be obsolete. This will be a pricy fix as schools have to adopt new materials that are effectively Common Core ready. More new taxes. And I highly recommend that you view a common core history book.... see what you think of the way history of our country is portrayed.

The central organizing theme of the Common Core ELA standards is that study of creative literature must be diminished in favor of nonfiction “informational texts.” The idea is that students should be drilled in the types of documents they are more likely to encounter in their entry-level jobs (and make no mistake, Common Core is a workforce-development model, not an education model).

The premise that great literature creates great readers is validated by the Massachusetts experience. Massachusetts rejected the workforce-training model in 1993, embracing instead a reading curriculum rich in high-quality literature. This curriculum was incorporated even into the vocational high schools, so that students who chose that path would still be expected – allowed – to explore the classics. The result? Massachusetts SAT scores rose for 13 consecutive years beginning in 1993, and Massachusetts students routinely scored highest in the nation on national reading tests. Sadly, this was before Massachusetts jettisoned its high standards for Common Core.

President Obama and Secretary Duncan often say that the Common Core standards were developed by the states and voluntarily adopted by them. This is not true.

They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states.

As it stands, the government will begin to data-mine children from kindergarten until the time they enter the workforce. This data, which attempts to determine learning patterns based on the students’ (and their family’s) religion, moral attitudes, and political affiliations, is then sold to a private company, inBloom (funded by special interests, particularly Bill Gates), and returned back to the government. No less than nine states, including New York, prohibit parents from opting-out of this creepy data collection.

Parents who believe that their children will benefit from this massive data project should be extended the invitation of participating via an opt-in. If there is enough public support for data-mining students, it should be a family decision to enroll in such a program. But to forbid parents from having their young child’s future courses pre-determined based on the patterns of other students’ attributes and behaviors is nothing short of government arrogance and overreach.

I believe that any parent who researches this thoroughly will reject it!

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.