Call to Action: Stop the Madness
Superintendent Hofmeister delivered the new math and English/language arts standards to the Legislature on February 1. Unless other directions were given by the both houses and signed by the governor, the standards would take effect as of the 30th day of session.
Apparently Monday – the day after Easter – is that 30th day. Let’s see…session started February 1st. There are 29 days in February. Monday will be the 28th day of March. That means…
Wait, you’re telling me that in 57 calendar days, the Legislature has only been in session for 30? I get the whole “want to spend the weekend with my family” thing. Believe me. I get it. They take Fridays off to meet with constituents back in their districts. Well, many of them do. I suppose I can’t paint with a broad brush.
Still, if they had worked eight four-day weeks since the start of February, there would have been 32 days of session so far. So what happened?
They took an extra day off during Spring Break, and they took an extra day off last week. The timing was fascinating.
This Monday, the House and Senate passed joint resolutions (HJR 1070 and SJR 75, respectively) to approve the standards. The House version calls for additional review by the groups that had already provided comments, but it still would allow Hofmeister and the State Department of Education to move forward. The Senate version – which I love – would approve the standards and permanently remove the Legislature from the business of approving standards at all.
Then it all turned into a [choose your own colorful term] contest. The Senate wouldn’t hear the House resolution, and the House wouldn’t hear the Senate resolution. Then the House called it a week a day early, but the Senate didn’t. Now it depends on who you ask as to whether or not we’ve reached the 30th day.
Side note: this is the government we’ve chosen to have. I’m just going to leave that there.
Everything seemed to be over. However, as former Faber College student John Blutarsky once said, nothing is over until WE decide it is!
On Friday, somebody said (and repeated, and repeated) the phrase that makes rational conversation suddenly disappear.
Last week it was Jenni White over at ROPE. This week, it’s Representative Dan Fisher, who appeared yesterday on the Glenn Beck radio program.
In this 12 minute clip, he flat out lies about the new math and ELA standards. He says that we’re bringing Common Core back.
We’re not. We’ve covered that extensively. Nobody has distanced themselves from our new standards more than Achieve, Inc. – the architects of the Common Core. As I mentioned last week, they reviewed our standards and hated them. They pointed out over 200 times how our standards are not like Common Core. We even had a Twitter battle over the fact that I pointed this out.
It was the best of times.
Thank you, Achieve, Inc., for making my point for me. These standards were made by Oklahomans for Oklahomans. They received over 60 letters of support from fellow Oklahomans. One of them was from me – a life-long and fourth-generation Oklahoman. Are they as good as Common Core? It depends on whom you ask. Curriculum has been my professional area of emphasis since I started graduate school in 1999. I think they are. I would stake my professional reputation on it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have voiced my support in the first place.
Glenn Beck is not an Oklahoman. Dan Fisher is, but he’s an extremist.
Unfortunately, this stunt has activated the people who listen to Glenn Beck – nationally – and who are now calling our legislators’ offices. We need to do the same.
If you want to know about the math standards, read what Nicole Styers wrote yesterday:
One striking difference between 2009 and today: during previous revisions of standards, state leadership specifically asked us not to open the standards up to public comment. For our new standards, we actively sought out as much feedback as possible, above and beyond what was even “required” of us by HB 3399.
For me, this was the most amazing and rewarding part of the process. To be able to collaborate with teachers and others in education across the state was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. It truly was a team effort, one that I am honored to have been a part of.
Over the last 10 months, The writing team meet face to face, as a whole team and as grade band groups, at least half a dozen times. We also meet via web conferencing and conference calls. Although we had a compressed timeline, the SDE hosted three official rounds of public comment and several unofficial rounds (when groups of educators came together as groups and looked over them together). I was blown away by the amount of input and the number of people who took the time to share. I loved Rob Miller’s blog about Ordering the Perfect Pizza you might link it here. It is perfect metaphor of the process. It was a collaborative effort. Often, we made changes based on comments that I didn’t personally agree with, like the grade integers are introduced, but that was the nature of the process. We never compromised the content or the conviction to have the best standards possible for Oklahoma Students. For my students. For my daughter.
Now is the time. They are ready. They are strong. We need stability. We need to move forward.
Or read what Brook Meiller – who was on the ELA team – wrote on Facebook yesterday:
I am on the standards writing team along with other Oklahoma educators. We worked hard to make these standards right for Oklahoma students. Groups outside of Oklahoma and outside the interest of Oklahoma public schools students are slandering the standards and those who wrote them. When you read or hear something about the Oklahoma ELA standards not having anything about Oklahoma in them, or are simply Common Core, remember that ELA concerns such as foundational reading, parts of speech, paragraph writing, theme, similes, etc….none of these are unique to Oklahoma. Our standards are good and need to be in the hands of Oklahoma teachers. ROPE and Glenn Beck have no business in public school in Oklahoma. They do not care about our kids. Call and email your legislators and ask them to pass these standards and move on to other important issues in our state. Please share.
That’s what we need to do. For now, I’m through with trying to engage the people listening to the likes of Beck and Fisher. They’re not even trying to understand public education or standards. Call your senator. Call your representative. Mention that you’re an actual Oklahoman. Mention where you work, where your kids go to school, what the standards mean to you. Let them know you’re fed up with the delay. Let them know you want the standards enacted now.
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