GOP Leader Calls for Hearing on Common Core

State Rep. Larry Cafero, a Norwalk Republican and Minority Leader in the state House of Representatives, says he wants a public hearing on Common Core education standards. (Photo from Cafero's official statehouse website)
State Rep. Larry Cafero, a Norwalk Republican and Minority Leader in the state House of Representatives, says he wants a public hearing on Common Core education standards. (Photo from Cafero's official statehouse website)
The Democratic-controlled Connecticut Legislature should hold a public hearing on the Common Core education standards and teacher evaluations, says the Republican minority leader of the state House of Representatives.

State Rep. Larry Cafero of Norwalk, the House Republican leader, issued this news release Wednesday calling for the public hearing by the joint House-Senate Education Committee:

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero today called upon Democrats to stage a full public hearing in the Education Committee on the controversial Common Core curriculum and teacher evaluation standards that have caused upheaval in state public schools.

Cafero, writing to the Democratic chairs of the panel, said a full inquiry into the federally driven program must take place to allow educators, parents and anyone who wants to weigh in, vent their opinions and offer suggestions.

“We have heard from thousands of educators and parents outside the legislature on these matters. As lawmakers and their elected officials, we owe the public the chance to address these issues in a formal setting within the General Assembly,’’ Cafero said.

Cafero questioned why, after lawmakers have been deluged from the public, not a single bill regarding Common Core or teacher evaluations was raised by the Education Committee. He criticized the plan to hold an “informal hearing’’ where only invited speakers will be allowed to speak.

House Democratic Chairman Andrew Fleischmann today affirmed no bills will be raised.

“This is exactly why teachers, administrators, parents and their children find themselves in the situation they are in now: Common Core was adopted outside of the legislative process which meant that too many voices were left out of the debate,’’ Cafero wrote.

Not holding a full public hearing, he added, would, “continue to leave people out of the conversation and continue to do damage to our entire education community.’’

The Republican bill proposal would codify important changes adopted by the Performance Evaluation and Assessment Committee.

Susan Harris February 28, 2014 at 08:58 PM
Cheryl- The good news is this: I think we all agree on what we expect our schools to do and what they should leave alone. I don't know for what period of time you have researched education issues- maybe it just started with the Common Core. As for me I have taken the long view - over 30 years analyzing this stuff. You could say I went from concerned parent to concerned teacher to concerned citizen and reformer because student achievement was getting lost in all the political wrangling and agendas. We will have to wait and see how the Common Core comes out. I am optimistic as I begin volunteering in an urban elementary school with their CC reading program where the principal recently asked me if I understood the process of literacy involving decoding- phonics, fluency and comprehension. He also said that he had students in mind who were ready for the challenge of moving to the next achievement level- would I work with them? All I can say is I wish my children 30 years ago this program.
Diana March 01, 2014 at 09:37 AM
Cowdung - you truly don't get what I am saying to you - or you are just not listening. Maybe both. I FULLY understand the difference between CC standards and curriculum. I KNOW CC is not a specific curriculum. Please stop assuming I do not understand the difference. I AM saying that those in the BOEs are in such a zealous state trying to be the best and promote CC goals - that they are willing to believe anything a sales pitch tells them regarding curriculum to meet those goals. They are not doing their due diligence and investigating before implementing - and this IS due to their desire to reach the goals set by CC. The curriculums ARE being developed with CC goals in mind. I NEVER said CC dictates using circles and hash marks. I DID say that the CURRICULUM being used to meet the CC GOALS is dictating using this method. And it is NOT working - at least in the area I live in. The schools ARE making curriculum choices based on our state mandated requirement to meet the CC GOALS. Again, as for spelling and writing - I have NEVER said CC DICTATES any such thing as abandoning it. I DID SAY that the curriculum has been abandoning writing and spelling to boost STEM subjects. This IS a direct cause and effect of the school system's efforts to meet state required goals in STEM as well as CC. My brother in law is a recently retired teacher - so I do have a basic understanding of how the state laws affect the actual teaching of students in my state. I am not in any way an expert on the educational laws of every state, nor even my own state. You apparently are and kudos to you. The more I read from you the more I think you are here only do try and debunk those who have legitimate complaints about the way school systems across the nation are handling the implementation of curriculums in order to meet the required goals of CC. Fortunately, both of my children are almost done with school, and will be moving on to post secondary / College. One this coming fall, and the other in the next couple of years. I am very glad they won't be caught up in this period of trial and error for very long. As for my friend, it is her choice if she is going to argue with the school/teachers. I would have if it was my child in that situation - and have argued with them. I even brought in definitions from dictionaries to prove that the math terms they were teaching were not being used correctly. I have even threatened legal action. I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe is in the best interest of the education of my children.
CowDung March 01, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Diana's: If schools have been dropping spelling and writing in favor of STEM, them the CC requirements that schools teach writing and spelling would be a good thing. It's a great example of why we need Common Core. That need for CC is the reason I am trying to keep the anti-CC crowd honest in their criticisms. There is so much propaganda being pushed concerning 'national curriculum', 'Common Core data mining', 'CC based curriculum', and 'Common Core math' that the realities of Common Core are being lost. As far as curriculum goes, it is a good thing to introduce alternative methods for performing maths functions--there are kids that respond better to the non-traditional methods. For many years, girls lagged behind in maths because they tended to not do as well with traditional method maths, but now do very well with the alternative methods. That's not to say that traditional methods should be shunned or penalized, but rather students should be able to use the method that works for them.
Linda Lavelle March 01, 2014 at 11:07 AM
The Longitudinal Data program is exactly a data mining program. CowDung is obviously a gov't troll. See how the operate here: http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/02/yes-paid-government-trolls-social-media-blogs-forums-websites/
James Bond March 01, 2014 at 11:15 AM
Common Core is about money and who gets it,period! Many of the mandated requirements from the state are not properly funded and lawsiuts are now coming forth because of it. Makes one wonder,if the state really wants to fund public education or spend it on the magnet schools.Time will tell........
CowDung March 01, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Linda: The difference between me and 'government trolls' is that what I am posting is the truth, not propaganda. Read the actual standards and educate yourself rather than making claims that have no basis in reality.
Linda Lavelle March 02, 2014 at 09:56 PM
For any of you who still are defending Common Core, please see this fact-based video showing the background and intent of CC, and then tell us if you still want this for your children. It is worth every bit of the hour it takes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNeimlu9jxk
CowDung March 02, 2014 at 11:22 PM
Linda: Considering all of the untruths you have posted so far, I'm thinking that your video isn't as 'fact based' as you are claiming...
Linda Lavelle March 03, 2014 at 11:22 AM
CowDung. Did you watch it or are you spouting assumptions?
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 11:48 AM
I watched the first few minutes of it. That was enough to tell it was just more of the same propaganda...
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 11:50 AM
They seemed to be worried that future installments of Common Core would insist that schools teach evolution as part of their science standards...
Linda Lavelle March 03, 2014 at 12:37 PM
You obviously didn't watch it but feel entitled to offer opinions based on nothing. Watch it all the way through and then argue with highlighted excerpts from Agenda 21 published documents exposing the aim of destroying American education. They're not hiding their goals, it's all right there. Dare to read it.
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 01:38 PM
It's actually a video--kind of hard to 'read it'... I offer my opinions based on what is actually contained in the Common Core standards. I'm not going to waste my time with speculations about what will be coming next, or what 'evil' plan people have to destroy American education. Until something it actually published as part of a standard, I'm not going to worry about gloom and doom prophesies that may or may not become reality. If in the future, new standards are proposed that I disagree with, I'll voice my opposition. Right now, not only do I take no issue with what is required under Common Core, I actually see Common Core as something that was long overdue.
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 01:40 PM
Are you ever going to share the titles of the '80% of books' that aren't going to be allowed anymore under Common Core?
MAC March 03, 2014 at 03:25 PM
“THE PERFECT PLAN TO DESTROY AMERICA — NATIONALIZE EDUCATION”.......................................................................... "If a person wanted to destroy our American culture, keep this generation from communicating effectively with older generations, and ^^^make sure today’s children grow up detesting America^^^ instead of valuing our nation’s American exceptionalism, the best plan would be to implement the Common Core Standards (CCS) into every school in America."................... CD, you are obviously a lackey for Leftist, Top-down, anti-Christian control over U.S. education. Donna Garner explains this clearly and with substantiated detail in this article:...................... ttp://www.educationviews.org/the-perfect-plan-to-destroy-america-nationalize-education/................................................ A tiny excerpt relating to your question--bottom line there won't be TIME LEFT to teach literary classics in depth!!:....................... "As directed by the CCS, teachers have to make sure that by the time students graduate in 2014, 70% percent of books studied must be nonfiction (i.e., informational text); and those nonfiction selections must be taught in a 'close reading' process.  That means students must not be given any background information or historical significance of a nonfiction piece before reading it.  For instance, the Declaration of Independence must be presented devoid of what was occurring in the United States at the time this monumental document was written, leaving students with a shallow understanding of the courage and revolutionary spirit that moved the signers to voice their opposition to tyranny.................   "Just as importantly, how many English teachers could possibly cover the great classic pieces of fiction literature in only 30% of classroom time?  None.  For instance, it takes at least four to six weeks in English I to cover Great Expectations, which is one of the most outstanding, applicable, and character-building books for early-high school teens to read."...
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 03:44 PM
Here's some 'fact vs fiction' showing why the '70% percent of books studied must be nonfiction' is false... http://seventhtype.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/fact-vs-fiction-on-common-core-literature-requirements/
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 03:50 PM
Debunking a related claim that 'Common Core expects English teachers to spend half of their reading time at every grade on informational text'. It also mentions the '70% informational text' falsehood. http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2013/oct/21/sandra-stotsky/common-core-expects-english-teachers-spend-half-th/
Susan Harris March 03, 2014 at 06:19 PM
Mac: As a conservative I think it is about time the public "wakes up" and pays attention to what is being taught in our schools- all driven by education standards. Just curious, before the Common Core standards, did you research or preview the CT state standards that were in place since the mid 80's? Only asking because few did. They were also never published. Keep in mind this net result after 30 years of the past CT state standards: 60% of CT students need remediation in reading and math before college work, others lack the basic skills for entering the work force, 40% drop out rate of high school students, largest achievement gap in the country between wealthy suburbs and the urban areas. Regarding your comment about the Declaration of Independence being taught without proper context. Mac, this is the thing: Who could and should bring the proper context to important historical events and documents? A history teacher, right? Currently our State history standards evaluated by the right of center Fordham Foundation- and in the trenches of state standards for 30 years- gave CT a failing grade- an F for our Standards in history. Evidently, what needs to happen are new State standards in history that includes context, clarity and rigor as cited by the Fordham Foundation. Apparently you did not know this because you fault the CC standards for including The Declaration of Independence. At least it is included. What proper historical context do you think was given for the Declaration of Independence in CT before the CC standards? As a former history teacher I can tell it was not in there. So I agree with CD. I am going to judge the Common Core standards by what the standards are in math and reading. Whereas the past State standards were hidden these are transparent and many Districts are putting them online. Furthermore I havestudied them and am going to apply them in the classroom as a volunteer. The Fordham Foundation gives them a grade of A-, B+- its a big step up from our status today.
MAC March 03, 2014 at 07:25 PM
Susan, HOW can you call yourself a "conservative" and support CC, which is all about CONTROL--with the personal and FAMILY DATA mining, etc.?? And that "control" comes not only from the FEDs (using the temptation of $$, as pointed out by others), but from Bill Gates and other Corp CRONIES of the Ruling Class in D.C. and Hartford (and other state capitols)............................... Could it just be that results currently in CT are so lousy because of too much control by Teachers' UNIONS, and failures of local school boards in some towns and cities? Another factor is that children from Fatherless homes do worse--and that's not going to change with CC. No amount of $$$ and "higher standards" from governments can replace involved and prepared parents, who read to their children from infancy and demand accountability for homework, grades etc.--and teach their children how to WORK, instead of to have an entitlement mentality!
CowDung March 03, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Mac: Common Core does not require data mining. I think I already posted a couple of links that show that claim to be false. I'd love to get the teacher unions under control--a great way to get more money spent on education rather than funding Cadillac healthcare plans and lavish pensions. Involved parents are also a good thing--no argument from me against that one either. Common Core isn't intended to address those issues. Laws can address the union issues, but one cannot legislate involved parenting. Don't fear Common Core--children and schools have been long overdue for better standards.
Susan Harris March 03, 2014 at 09:23 PM
Mac: Apart from the low status of our State's standards in education, could you explain to me what you mean by the control of the Teacher's Union and the results that are so lousy in the State? The reality is that they are both connected because State standards- for better or worse- drive education. As far as local control in our school districts-what failure are you talking about, apart from the low status of our State Standards, that can explain the gap, lack of college preparedness, and students who are not skill ready for the workforce? You simply can't. My third point is this: A good teacher with clear, rigorous, content standards especially in the areas of math and reading CAN make a difference in an urban district where dad may not be present and homework completed can not be counted on. I know because I did it. I taught kids to read in an urban high school- because they had not been taught previously. My students then applied reading to the content area of history because I was their history teacher. My view was this: I have these students for 45 min. everyday for 180 days. It is my job as their teacher to teach history. If I have to teach them to read first so be it. If homework could not be done in school I did not assign it. The problem I experienced was not the kids, not their neighborhood but the lack of basic skills and background knowledge that they brought to HS. As another of words the low status of our State standards in reading and history and the education policies which support them. That's why I support the Common Core. It is the right thing to do for our students.
James Bond March 17, 2014 at 04:20 PM
Common Core. A test which a student can 1.)Ace 2.)Fail or 3.)Not take at all. Non of which has anything to do with promotion from one grade to the next. Its all about how much $$$ that town will get. The kids,who are they?
Cullen March 29, 2014 at 06:53 PM
Well I've heard thru the grapevine the dissatisfaction of the Common Core. What I say first to the teacher's union is yes you will be held accountable & not get credit for just doing what may be the politically correct thing which is socially promote. Hey if promote when they're not ready for the purpose of district bragging rights, you may not be doing the kid any favors. The U.S. has a lot of cultural illiteracy going in. There's nothing wrong with keeping a kid back & having them retake. We all seem to concerned with this race to age 22. Hey today adults go back for GEDs & degrees well past that. Now to the issue of actual instruction. What makes teaching is the unique creativity that a teacher develops & applies & this may vary year to year. Who said teachers should be a bunch of robots? Well a bunch of highly paid people who are politically connected & have never walked into a classroom. Now yes I think kids should step up to the plate & know something, but I think the methodology should not be conformity. It should be left up to the teacher who takes all these ed courses & makes use of whatever manipulatives, equipment, exercises, media that is available. In my thinking, conformity is really about communism.
Cullen March 29, 2014 at 07:03 PM
Let me opine here on the overall status of CT schools. I do a lot of research in this area. CT has one of the very top educational standards in the country & their schools are highly ranked nationwide. Comparable states are NJ, MA, & NH. The best high schools typically reside in the eastern one-half of the country, in particular, the northeast (both New England & Mid-Atlantic). Many people probably don't know that CT is highly esteemed for its prep schools. Where the state does not fare well is in our city schools & you can spend all the money you want but until you get rid of the bullying, the crime, the out of wedlock births, the victimology, & get students to step up to the plate, those schools will continue to be in the lowest 25%. Now it appears to me that the charters are just beginning to show some progress. The next thing we must confront as a society is that we have entrenched this idea of entitlement. Hey step up to the plate. Today's kids are overindulged in their social media & trying in some cases to overload their plate because they think that you have to overload your plate to get into college. Not so. You can't be on 3 dance teams, 5 soccer teams, 2 debate teams, the school newspaper, the yearbook, & the school play & expect to excel at any of them. It's all about time management. If you're overinvolved but then desire a reprieve when the big test comes up, then you don't have the commitment to do that sport or that play. Why? Because college folks is all about time management & the work world is not that kind either. You can't sanitize this issue. Today's kids are in for a big awakening because we have been dumbing down so much.
Cullen March 29, 2014 at 07:13 PM
I must state I am in accord with Ms. Harris on the subject of the Declaration of Independence. Kids today are more or less being indoctrinated to leftwing ideology instead of knowing why our Constitution (federal & state exists). On one level we hear that our nation should be following international rules & when you look at who the largest abusers of human rights are, well they sit on various U.N. councils. Additionally, we see that many of our politicians in politically safe districts don't understand that the 2nd amendment was put there by the founders to protect the people from the tyranny of the govt. Been paying attention in recent years to see why Christianity is being trashed so much in our media & schools. The 1st amendment is there to protect one's right to belief, not to remove one from the avenue to a Creator. In recent years, we hear how the govt can fix everything & we have many pols that want to redistribute income of those who work. That's more about redistributing the vote to those who never will work. Govt. can run a post office & you want it to fix poverty. The truth is govt. wants to maintain the welfare rolls because it can control people & buy votes. The way out of poverty-get an education of some kind. You don't obtain success by bringing the well-achieved down; you must get the lowest tier to rise. Pride does not derive from charity of welfare checks; it derives from accomplishment. Then too on the state level, the state addressed the problem of educational inequity by allowing for the choice of charter & magnet schools. These schools are slowly coming along. Kids have to behave & wear uniforms. The climate is better. You see it's all about stepping up to the plate. Of course the unions don't like the competition because if enrollment plumments in their own schools, that means someone gets laid off & when those add up, that means less dues coming in.
Susan Harris March 30, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Cullen, I think you bring up a good point. The past state standards were very concerned with pedagogy and methodology- the way a teacher taught. This translated not only into how but also what the curriculum would be. This emphasis was done at the expense of teaching rigorous content in core subject areas. It's also the reason we experienced top honors in the achievement gap, along with a lack of career and college readiness from our students. In contrast the Common Core puts forth rigorous standards in the content areas of reading and math first and allows teachers the creativity to figure out- from their tools in the toolbox- how to get it done. This difference is central in understanding how we arrived at this point of needing new standards.
Danielle Bolliger April 01, 2014 at 09:11 AM
I know some people early in this conversation were interested in what the standards for Common Core are. My sister sent me this link which is about an hour long but worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzLrYIDQiqY
Danielle Bolliger April 01, 2014 at 09:14 AM
I also came across this yesterday. There are 3 videos. The third one is a very concerned parent from Arkansas. I hope more parents stand up to get rid of Common Core. http://patriotaction.net/forum/topic/show?id=2600775%3ATopic%3A6635270&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_topic
CowDung April 01, 2014 at 09:18 AM
How about actually going to the Common Core website to find out what the CC Standards are? That parent in Arkansas is an idiot. She's complaining about the Singapore math curriculum--it has nothing to do with the implementation of Common Core. Common Core does not specify the use of any of the techniques, procedures, methods or formulas that people like the Arkansas mother are complaining about.
CowDung April 01, 2014 at 09:18 AM
Please read the standards: http://www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/


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