Why are Tax-Funded Common Core Meetings Closed to the Public?

Filed in CCSSI Influence Forces by on January 3, 2013 1 Comment

Joy Pullman, research fellow at The Heartland Institute and the managing editor of School Reform News, reports that the meetings of Council of Chief State School Officers to write and discuss the Common Core State Standards are closed to the public.

Meetings between members of the Council of Chief State School Officers to write and discuss these standards and corresponding tests are closed to the public, though taxpayers pay for state officials to attend these meetings and to be CCSSO members.

“[T]he Council of Chief State School Officers holds over one hundred meetings per year,” its meeting webpage states. “CCSSO meetings are closed to the public and attendance is by invitation only unless otherwise denoted” (emphasis original).

CCSSO and the National Governor’s Association are two nonprofits that coordinated state involvement and adoption of the Core. It outlines what states will expect K-12 children to know in math and English/language arts in each grade. Nearly all states adopted them in 2010 within five months of their release, and plan to fully implement them, along with matching tests currently in development, by 2014-2015.

When meetings such as these have a tremendous impact on education policy, especially when they are funded with taxpayer money (from state dues and direct funding from the U.S. Department of Education), then the public has the right to attend if they so choose.

Heather Crossin, a mom and a tea party activist, Common Core critic and co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, inquired about attending, but was told no.

Indiana resident Heather Crossin, whose children attend schools implementing the Core, attempted to attend an October 2012 CCSSO meeting in her Indianapolis hometown. Crossin called Michele Parks, a CCSSO meeting planner, to see if she could attend. No, Parks said. Crossin asked to see a list of people on the Social Studies standards writing team: “I was told that was not available for public release,” Crossin said.

Ten weeks entailing dozens of emails and phone calls to at least six CCSSO spokesmen and personnel for access to the Indianapolis meeting or any others at last yielded an email to School Reform News from spokeswoman Kate Dando in December: “our meetings/sessions at our meetings are open to press really on a case by case basis,” she wrote.

Some reporters have attended some CCSSO meetings, usually on background, she said, which means they cannot directly quote what they hear. Why?

Why? Exactly… what do they have to hide?

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About the Author ()

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.

Comments (1)

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  1. Anne Gassel says:

    This feels a bit like local school board meetings where the public is merely tolerated as a spectator, rarely allowed to comment and never part of a dialogue on issues that will directly affect our children. It’s only slightly more egregious because we elected those people. No one elected the people writing the CCSS so there is even less accountability. Their statements show that they fully understand that independence.

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