Approximately 40 Barrington residents got an “alternative view” of the Common Core State Standards in the high school Tuesday night, Jan. 28.
They also were briefed on legislation in the State House that is attempting to halt the implementation of the Common Core and the PARCC assessment test in RI for about a year by setting up a special task force to study the new standards.
“I’m trying to cut the head off the snake,” said Rep. Gregg Amore of East Providence, a high school history teacher, who introduced the bill. “If we delay the PARCC, it will die.”
Amore’s bill was part of a presentation in the high school cafeteria that followed the Common Core Outreach session in the auditorium, which gave the Rhode Island Education Department’s take on the controversial Common Core standards. The cafeteria session, dubbed “The Rest of the Story,” was sponsored by the Barrington-based citizens group, Stop Common Core RI.
“Help is on the way,” said Barrington School Committee member Scott Fuller, a member of the citizens group.
Fuller relayed the news that the Tiverton School Committee voted this week to support Amore's bill. Now if he could only talk his colleagues on the School Committee into doing the same thing, he said.
“Do you want your kids to be part of a national experiment?” he said. “You need to be very concerned, especially if your children are in elementary school.”
Tad Segal, a principal organizer of the anti-Common Core group and a Barrington parent, said he has two principal concerns.
“It’s not developmentally appropriate for younger children,” Segal said. “There were no early childhood educators involved in this."
"And it’s never been field-tested," Segal said of Common Core.
Susan Giordano, another Barrington parent, described Common Core as “untried, untested and unproven. And it’s a one-size-fits-all approach … that was written by people tied to testing companies. If you follow the money, it all makes sense.”
She also said one of the primary supporters of Common Core, computer magnate Bill Gates, said that “we won’t know for a decade if it will work.”
Amy Segal, the wife of Tad Segal, said: “The standards are the curriculum in Barrington. They are exactly what the Common Core State Standards are.”
She pointed to a copy of the Common Core standards for third-grade math that was projected on a cafeteria wall. It mimics exactly the Common Core, she said.
Fuller added that Mary Ann Snider, a RIDE representative at the “outreach” session, said: “The Common Core standards aren’t that much different than what the state has now. So, why are we spending the money and time and effort to change them?”
Fuller, a math teacher in Cumberland, also said that the mathematics standards in kindergarten through fourth grade “are the hot-button issue” for many parents.
Amore said his legislation, which will be given a hearing the week after the February break, is an attempt “to shine light on this.” He said a similar bill has been introduced in the State Senate.
“Urban districts are going to be killed by this,” Amore said. “It is already causing great chaos. We’re trying to bring the state Board of Education to its senses.”
“The (PARCC) test will drive the instruction,” he said. “This is the best sales job I’ve ever seen except at war time. This education policy is so misguided. But we have to get this bill to the floor first."
Tad Segal ended the alternative Common Core session by urging people to attend the hearing on Amore’s bill.
“If we don’t show up, we’re dead,” he said. “We’re dead.”