Saturday, May 17, 2014

An Open Letter to Michael Petrilli | Missouri Education Watchdog

An Open Letter to Michael Petrilli | Missouri Education Watchdog:

An Open Letter to Michael Petrilli

common core truth 1
HB1490 is the start to reclaim educational development/delivery by Missourians for Missourians.

Anne and I were at the Capitol yesterday for a press conference about the passage of HB1490.  We talked to various legislators about the bill and plans for next year.  It was a full day and we have ideas for more legislation next year to ensure even greater local control for schools.  Just like a small child learning to walk, legislation is “one step at a time”.  We’ve made the first step in regaining control of the educational direction/development of Missouri education by Missouri parents, teachers and educators, not private non-governmental organizations copyrighting standards and assessments the state has been mandated to use.
Michael Petrilli of Fordham issued a press release yesterday while we were in Jefferson City, claiming that this bill will result in nothing more than a “rebranding” of the standards.  From Truth in American Education:
Fordham Institute released a statement from Mike Petrilli, who is their executive vice president and they call “one of the nation’s most trusted education analysts” (according to Fordham & Bill Gates), spinning yesterday’s Common Core vote from the Missouri Legislature:
The Missouri state legislature reached a compromise to move forward with the implementation of Common Core Standards while continuing to determine their own state-specific program. Their vote illustrates that states are, in fact, in charge of standards, and maintains Missouri’s commitment to raising the bar. As a graduate of Missouri’s public schools, I hope that the state’s lawmakers don’t let politics complicate learning in the classroom. In the end, I suspect that any ‘college and career ready’ standards adopted by Missouri will be quite similar to the Common Core, and at least as rigorous. Children in the Show-Me State deserve nothing less.”
First, Petrilli seems to insinuate that opponents said that states could not vote themselves out of the Common Core.  They can (and should and quickly too!).  Second the plan is to replace the standards, there was no plan to determine their own state-specific program until the Missouri Legislature weighed in.  This is a loss for Common Core advocates, plain and simple.  The compromise was in place in an attempt to secure Governor Nixon’s signature.  Should he veto this bill he could very well end up with an override of this bill or one that is even stronger.  The Missouri Legislature has already voted to override 13 vetoes by Nixon this term.
Third, as far as a rebrand goes, that is a potential concern and one we will be watching.  Anne Gassel of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core said in a released statement, “We would have liked the language to be a lot stronger in terms of rejecting the Common Core State Standards. We will have to rely on the professional integrity of those selected to be on the various work groups to really focus on what is best for our students and teachers and not be swayed by outside political or financial interests.”
Mr. Petrilli may have lived in Missouri at one point in his life but he currently lives on the East Coast.  I don’t know how he knows what Missouri citizens need or even think when he doesn’t live in the state.  I haven’t seen a survey done by Fordham to determine what the people of Missouri want in their educational development/delivery.  Apparently Mr. Petrilli’s version of government is that of a centralized authority determining what students should know and the use of national standards.  To my knowledge he has not asked Missourians what Missourians want in their public education development/direction.

I believe the parents, teachers, taxpayers and students who are Missouri residents have a better idea of what is happening in Missouri schools than Mr. Petrilli does in Washington, DC.  The An Open Letter to Michael Petrilli | Missouri Education Watchdog: