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Dr. Mary Byrne Speaks Against Common Core

Mary Byrne, Ed.D., spoke on Oct. 28 at the Ava Victory Academy auditorium to about 60 people gathered at a public forum sponsored by the Douglas County Republican Committee.
In the audience were concerned parents, grandparents, and teachers, including representatives of the Ava R-1 School District. Sen. Mike Cunningham and Rep. Lyle Rowland were present as well.
Dr. Byrne’s PowerPoint presentation documented a national initiative promoted by grants from the U.S. Department of Education designed to shift the responsibility for education from parents and local school boards to a consortium of federal and state officials, federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations funded by foundations, large for-profit corporations, and testing companies.
If the Common Core State Standards Initiative becomes fully implemented, the government at state and federal levels gains personally identifying data and the corporations reap immense financial rewards. The educational materials (standardized tests, teachers’ manuals, textbooks, etc.) will be copyrighted by their producers ensuring suppression of any competition and no deviation from the established programming. The “public” is effectively taken out of education.
One of the main points was identifying Common Core as a component of a workforce development program, sanctioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and controlled from a national level. Some dire results would include using the CC standardized tests, which have no established validity or reliability, in a Value Added Modeling approach for teacher evaluations. The National Academies Board of Testing and Assessment cautions that VAM estimates are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable. A teacher must “teach to the test” to ensure their continued employment.
In short, the teacher becomes an instrument of the State, narrowly and exclusively forced to implement the State’s questionable standards. Based on these tests, decisions will be made as to the disposition of students. By judging and directing their abilities from an early age, children would be divided into groups cleared to go on to higher education or tagged for industrial employment, subsuming individuality to a universal State-mandated system. A “late-blooming” student (perhaps who might have the innate talent to become a neurosurgeon — Dr. Ben Carson, for example) may be “counseled” to a career less suited to his talents.
Using math as only one example, Byrne illustrated the difference between the “old way” and the “new (Common Core) way” of teaching. She demonstrated how the “new way” is “…conceptual, not functional, and developmentally inappropriate for young children.” In other words, it often fails because it’s based on faulty psychological science and may actually be damaging to a child because it is introduced at the wrong age level.
She described how personal information is reportedly collected from students in another district in this country by school-sanctioned private entities, including questions about their family’s economic status, physical living arrangements, weapons they may own, etc., for digital storage. Beyond questions about its purpose and use in education is the fact that there is no guarantee of its security against the data being hacked.
Philosophically, questions were raised about the meaning of liberty and freedom. Sociologically, contrasts were made between a rigidly tiered class system (elite v workers) as in European societies and the social mobility available in a traditional American system. Dr. Byrne contrasted the Liberal Arts and the teaching of Classical Literature and the Humanities (teaching human values) as intended by the Founders of this country with the workforce development knowledge and skills inherent in the German or French Common Core systems.
Many more interesting and cogent insights, revelations and illuminations were enjoyed by the participants throughout the evening. The event concluded with various questions, comments, personal accounts and statements from the audience.
What Can You Do?
Go to school board meetings and tell your board members that you want the implementation of Common Core stopped.
Opt your child out of online testing.
Contact your legislators and ask them to support bills to stop data collection on students and teachers in Missouri and restore local control of schools.
Dr. Byrne writes: The website I recommend for learning about CC in MO is http://moagainst commoncore.com/. Another terrific website for studying CC issues across the country is http://truthinamericaneducation.com/.
Dr. Byrne’s entire testimony to the Missouri State Board of Education on Oct. 27, may be seen at http://douglascountygop.org/ , where you will also find her complete PowerPoint program, including all the documents (with relevant portions highlighted and underlined). Check this site for news about the formation of a local group of parents concerned about Common Core. You may also call 683-2838 for more information.
(The preceding article was submitted by Dave Fleagle of the Douglas County Republican Committee. The viewpoints expressed are those of Dr. Byrne and/or Fleagle.)