It's a Little Late for a Political Discussion?

The Cherokee County School Board in Georgia recently had a discussion about whether or not to have a citizen committee study the Common Core State Standards – both the pros and cons. It was quickly shot down by the Board Chair and Superintendent (does this guy even have a vote? He shouldn't.). The Cherokee Tribune reports:


Board Chair Janet Read and Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo opposed the idea. Read reminded Marlow of the board’s three-hour board training session last week, where the board discussed school board member committees and reasons for not having them.

While the superintendent maintains his own staff committees, he has voiced strong opposition to these types of committees, since they often keep stakeholders from knowing all of the information at hand. Petruzielo said the policy came after a recommendation made over a decade ago by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the body that provides accreditation to many Georgia school districts, when the district faced accreditation probation.

“We just finished with board training where it was clear that the board does not have committees,” Petruzielo said. “I do not support the idea of a board committee.”

He also maintained his support for the new curriculum standards.

“Common Core is simply a statement of what kids should know and be able to do in order to function effectively in what has become a technologically rich and culturally diverse society,” said Petruzielo. “It is no longer acceptable for kids just to meet basic standards of expectation; it’s no longer OK to just trust that each teacher will decide what is important for kids to know. We’re in an international economy, our kids need to be prepared to compete with kids from around the world. To do that, Common Core standards ensure that, basically the ante will be upped. There will be far more rigorous curriculums, far more rigorous expectations.”

So far, 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Over the last two years, Cherokee County has piloted the Common Core program. The pilot is scheduled for completion by the 2013-14 school year.

The school board unanimously approved the Five-Year Strategic Plan in November, which included adhering to the Common Core standards. As a result of participating in Race to the Top, the school district has received $2.8 million in federal grant funding.

Frankly, it’s a little late in the game, I think, for the political discussion to be occurring about Common Core,” said Petruzielo. “The Common Core standards are a fundamental component of the Race to the Top initiative.” (emphasis mine)

First note, what pilot program? This is being implemented everywhere. Secondly, a little late in the game for a political discussion? That would be appropriate to say if we had actually been allowed to have one before these were implemented.