My note: Jim knew very little about Common Core until he saw his first Common Core presentation by the very knowledgeable and articulate Heidi Huber and Emmett McGroarty in Marietta, Ohio in 2013.
A few months later, Jim jumped on his Harley and rode eight hours to Notre Dame University for a forum that had life-long effects. Many of you probably remember that one with Jane Robbins, Dr Stotsky, Dr Megan Koshnik, Joy Pullman, Dr Milgram, Jamie Gass, Emmett McGroarty, Terrence Moore, et al.
After the forum, Jim headed home on his Harley with many long, quiet hours of thinking-time ahead of him on the Indiana highways. Since then, Jim has worked passionately to remove Common Core from WV schools and he has become a great spokesperson for parents and children.
Unfortunately, state boards and superintendents continue spouting their propaganda and the complicit press promotes their talking points. Most recently, a well known WV talk-radio host, Hoppy Kercheval, interviewed these deceivers numerous times, never reaching out to our side, while we have all grown frustrated and fed up with the propaganda.
As a result, WV Delegate, Jim Butler responded to Hoppy with the following letter. Thank You, Jim, for all you are doing. We need more like you in WV government.
FROM JIM BUTLER, WV HOUSE OF DELEGATES:
Listening to interviews of Superintendent Martarino and new board president Green in recent days, on your program and others, I continue to be disappointed to hear the misinformation, deception, and propaganda that continue come from the Board of Education and the DOE. One thing is clear to me; they are determined to continue down their chosen path at the expense of WV children.
I have been in the House of Delegates for three years now and I have bent over backwards to be respectful of Board and DOE officials but they have misled and withheld from me/us for the entire time that I have had contact with them.
I have been learning all I can over this time and I could drown you in information but I will list some deceptions, starting with questions to them beginning my first legislative session; I would gladly discuss this in depth if you like.
Question to Superintendent Ferris: how much will it cost to implement common core? Answer: not sure, hard to tell, probably about the same as what we are doing now.
- Question: are these standards developmentally appropriate for our young children, has someone reviewed them to ensure that they are? Answer: they have not been reviewed, we are not concerned. (My question was prompted by testimony and documents of child psychologists who say that the standards are not appropriate and can actually cause substantial harm).
- Question: I have heard testimony that the standards are not better or even good, have they been proven better? No answer
- Misinformation on several occasions: West Virginia teachers wrote these standards. Fact: This cannot be true because the CC standards are copy written and cannot be substantially changed. (oh and if they really did write them: they just happened to be the same as 45 other states, and they just happen to be the same as the ones copy written by the National Governors Association and Chief Council of State School Officers)
- Misinformation again on several occasions (including Martarino himself): we will/can change the standards. Fact: they cannot change them substantially because as mentioned they are copy written and they have to be aligned with the standard test.
- You will lose 360 million dollars if you repeal these standards (I have this in writing from Board President Gayle Manchin). Fact: No state has lost federal funding because of repealing common core.
- Question to Ferris and Martarino; what are the data points that are required to be shared? I am still waiting for an answer.
- Misinformation: we NEVER share student information. Fact: They are required to make it available. They will confuse you by trying to differentiate student private information, directory information and others. By the way, they opposed an amendment to prevent them from selling student information.
We have had nationally recognize experts in standards development and teacher evaluation in West Virginia. These people have offered to help develop truly better standards. This offer was rejected without even having a discussion.
The testing has been a mess, and the cost of that testing is in the tens of millions, also not disclosed to the legislature. Research shows that the tests themselves are poorly conceived and simply not a good product.
When the House repealed CC, and I admit that our bill needed further work in the Senate, they scared the Senate to death with a fiscal note of 128 million dollars to develop our own standards. I have seen no justification for this.
My objection has never been focused on the standards themselves. I have relied on experts in standards writing for their guidance on this; just as our new board president will likely listen to someone else. Superintendent Martarino and the board have decided to focus on standards and have said that they are open to change them knowing that they cannot substantially do so and remain in this common core based program. By the way, if you look at the web pages leading up to the standards you are subjected to what can easily be described as propaganda. By the way; the teacher of the year is an award that is promoted exclusively by common core proponents; is it a coincidence that she supports common core? They also do not disclose this information.
I skimmed through the Social Studies Standards. The difficult thing about critiquing something like this is that the standards could be taught and include just about anything. I did note that it seems that they go out of their way to be sure not to call our form of government a republic. Does the term constitutional democracy appear in our constitution? I also note the concepts that they ask kindergarteners and first graders to understand. I would challenge adults to grasp such concepts. This may be, in part, where the developmentally appropriate criticisms come from.
A full set of standards that are missing are the science standards. I had reviewed them a year ago and they are full of manmade climate change slanted directives. So do you think that students who are subjected to all of this are going to support the policies that benefit an energy producing state?
I have avoided equating common core, aka next generation, to Obama Care but it is like it in that it is so complex that it is difficult to learn about and understand. I challenge anyone to ask county school board members what it really is, where it came from, and if it can be adapted to our needs. I have met no one who can explain it.
I am not necessarily opposed to standards but they should be proven appropriate, proven better, they should meet the needs of West Virginians, and they should provide for local and ultimately parental control.
I am skeptical of common core but I have been all but daring someone to give me facts to convince me that this is a good program. I have been stumped or confused by misinformation but when I research I have to return to my previous conclusion. Someone please show me the proof; my life in the legislature would be much easier.
If you took the time to read this thank you. Jim