By Karen Briske & Christina Leventis
State-led, state-led, no really it was state-led! How many times have “We the People” been told the Common Core State Standards c. 2010 was a state-led process? How many times have “We the People” been told the adoption of the standards were voluntary (which, of course, begs the question why would the federal government need to tell sovereign states they have the right to adopt something they created – but we digress)?
For the past year-and-a-half we, along with many other parents and concerned citizens, have been pondering this state-led initiative suddenly and coincidentally under-taken, voluntarily, by 45 states all at the same time. Why has the federal government and state leaders waved this blood red flag at us? We heard you the first time and we heard you the one thousandth time. We hear you still. We hear you, but we don’t believe you.
Without recreating the full narrative on the development of the standards by the five or six businessmen, under Achieve, commissioned by the NGA and CCSSO (who are heavily funded by the federal government and who currently hold the copyright to CCSS), we are simply going to lay out the chronological order of how our great state of Nevada came to be saddled with the Common Core State Standards c. 2010 that our teachers and parents played no role in:
May 20, 2009, Dr. Keith Rheault, Superintendent of Public Instruction, signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the NGA and CCSSO, “On behalf of Governor Jim Gibbons and the Nevada Department of Education…” (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_qGS09FFbRuWDhkaV9wbHRkaU0/edit?pli=1)
Dr. Rheault did not have Legislative approval to sign for Nevada. It is doubtful many, if any at all, members of Nevada’s Legislature were even aware of what was at work behind the scenes, in secret, with Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and the individual states at the time of this signing. (See Laurie H. Rogers Education News story on July 14, 2009: (http://www.educationnews.org/articles/common-core-standards-secretive-expensive-and-wrong.html
June 25, 2009, Dr. Keith Rheault, introduced the fact that the MOA had been executed on behalf of Nevada. In the minutes from the state board meeting Dr. Rheault states, “The intent of this initiative is to align state standards and assessments.” Rheault also said that he would, “hold town hall meetings in December for public input and appropriate input.” (http://doe.nv.gov/BoardEd/Meetings/2009/2009-06-25_Minutes_BOE.pdf)
Clearly this initiative was well underway and Nevada’s Superintendent and Governor were looking to take advantage of the end-product. We have yet to find minutes from any town hall meetings Dr. Rheault (may or may not have) held, nor have any been offered by the state board in the last four years.
November 17, 2009, Dr. Rheault, at the Legislative Committee on Education meeting, regarding the adoption of the Common Core Standards, said: “Nevada would have to remove some of the standards that are currently in place.” Dr. Rheault also pointed out that adoption of the common core standards was not voluntary for states applying for Race to the Top grants. http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Interim/75th2009/Minutes/Education/IM-Education-111709-10344.pdf
Clearly stated here is the fact that the standards that did belong to Nevada would be replaced with the Common Core Standards that came tied to the request for federal money.
April 6, 2014, Dale Erquiaga, Superintendent of Public Instruction, for the state of Nevada stated, in a Las Vegas Sun article, “he has yet to hear a substantive argument against the standards from Common Core critics. Most of the criticisms focus on the way the standards were developed — which Nevada could not control — and objectionable lesson plans, workbooks and textbooks that are being used in other states to teach Common Core material, he said.” http://lasvegassun.com/news/2014/apr/06/new-standards-education-dredge-old-apprehensions/
Mr. Erquiaga could not have stated it more succinctly – “Nevada could not control (the development of the standards)…”
We cannot imagine what more could be said on the subject of state-led. We may stop kicking this horse now – it’s dead.