Assemblyman seeks repeal of Common Core in Nevada schools

CARSON CITY — The curriculum to implement Common Core is so confusing that parents can’t even help their elementary school-age children do their homework, a state lawmaker said Wednesday in support of a bill to repeal the controversial educational standards in Nevada.

Assemblyman Brent Jones, R-Las Vegas, said the convoluted curriculum, when combined with intrusive data mining of personal information about students and their parents and a costly unproven testing requirement, make repealing Common Core the right move for Nevada policymakers.

Jones testified before the Assembly Education Committee in support of his Assembly Bill 303, which would do away with the standards in Nevada. One of the biggest problems with Common Core standards is the “top down” control, one-size fits all mentality that many believe will lead to ultimate failure and federal government overreach, he said.

It was the first hearing on the measure, which faces an uphill battle given the opposition to the measure from members of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Cabinet.

But the intrusive data mining and loss of privacy are also major concerns.

“Now that the public has had a chance to ‘read the rules,’ we discover Common Core violates the privacy of students and their families through the gathering and sharing of vast amounts of personal information,” Jones said.

“And worse yet, that private information is being sent and shared with the federal government and will follow the student and his family for years.”

Jones noted that many states are looking to repeal Common Core as more information about the program has become available. Nevada needs to do the same, he said. Jones has proposed that Nevada instead adopt standards established by Massachusetts.

The bill was opposed by Dale Erquiaga, state superintendent of public instruction, and Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

In a joint letter to the committee, the educators said repealing the Nevada Academic Content Standard for English language arts and mathematics based on the Common Core State Standards would unravel years of work to implement more rigorous academic standards.

The Common Core standards were adopted by the Nevada Board of Education in June 2010.

“With this action, the Board of Education committed to ensuring that all students are ready for college and careers,” Erquiaga and Klaich said. “The standards establish a single set of clear educational standards that outlines what students should know and be able to do in English language arts and mathematics from kindergarten through 12th grade.”

Nevada’s school districts are developing their own curricula and classroom teachers decide how best to instruct to the new standards, they said.

“There is no mandated curriculum or instructional methods that teachers must use, only a set of standards that will promote college and career-ready students,” Erquiaga and Klaich said.

The state Board of Education voted unanimously last week to oppose AB303.

“There is no question that the Common Core standards are good for our kids,” board member Allison Serafin said.

Sandoval has supported Common Core during his time as governor, issuing an executive order in 2013 creating the Common Core State Standards Steering Committee.

The Common Core standards were established by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2010.

The hearing concluded with no immediate action on the bill.

Several dozen Common Core opponents rallied in support of the bill earlier in the day.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.

Opinion: Parents need to be watchful of Common Core

Parents need to be watchful and do their homework regarding the effect Common Core Standards might be having on your children. Some states where Common Core was implemented two or three years ago have filed litigation to opt out of these new education standards. There are efforts underway in ours and neighboring counties, to opt out of Common Core. More news stories are also being reported about the impacts of Common Core, while also questioning actions by school officials.

Last week, an administrator in a Florida school district notified parents that there would no longer be recess, because recess interfered with the time that teachers needed to teach students under the Common Core Standards. Where is the rationale of this decision, at a time where obesity is listed as one of our country’s major health concerns? After sitting in a classroom, young minds need to vent some of their energy, not to mention, deserve a breather. Even adult workers get breaks.

Some feel that Common Core will lead to schools being under the jurisdiction of higher government or regionalism (less local control). Many also question those who may be the force behind these new educational standards. Then there are the surveys sent home to parents, seeking private information that has nothing to do with the education of their children. This definitely comes under the classification of “too much information.” Parents may legally refuse to answer these questions and opt out forms are available, locally. Many school administrators have not shown a willingness to discuss Common Core or address parents’ concerns. Perhaps that is because of the fear by school districts, of dollars that would be lost, if they do not implement Common Core Standards in math and English. Other subjects have been rumored to soon be included under Common Core.

Many professors and the highest academia have expressed their concerns about the fundamental changes in new education standards, data warehousing and high state testing in our schools. Local students, who have always excelled in school, are now finding themselves not faring well under Common Core, which also impacts their self-esteem. Students being taught in groups seems to discourage individuality. I have talked to parents and even substitute teachers who find it difficult to help children with their math homework.

Parents, please get involved and don’t be afraid to speak up. There is also an in-depth report available online. Just key in “Accuracy in Media” and you will find a news story about the background and individuals behind Common Core. Be aware of any actions or presentations at public forums and school board meetings. For information or to get involved, you may contact Bob.

Children are our nation’s future. They deserve to have an education that will instill individuality, while offering all opportunities to excel, and most important that prepares them for admittance to the university, college or trade school of their choice.

I ask parents, grandparents and everyone, to please do the research and talk to other parents. If you feel what I have shown as information and concerns is all wet, I am fine with that. At least you have made the effort to come to your own conclusions, without putting your child’s development, and future, at risk.

TERRY GHERARDI
Cameron Park

The pros and cons of Common Core: Nevada officials, critics debate

common coreCARSON CITY, Nev. — A debate on Common Core, the controversial K-12 standards adopted — and then reconsidered by states across the country — played out like Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” on Tuesday at the Nevada Legislative Building.

Common Core or not Common Core? Improve Common Core? Repeal Common Core and replace it with something else?

Those were the questions addressed in Carson City in front of a packed room during a forum presented by the Citizens for Sound Academic Standards and sponsored by Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill.

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