Sandra Stotsky, former Senior Associate Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts and Professor Emerita at the University of Arkansas, released a statement concerning the upcoming summit called by Florida Governor Rick Scott concerning the Common Core State Standards.
Stotsky also served on the Common Core validation committee for the English-Language Arts standards and refused to sign off on them.
Here is her full statement below:
I have been invited by parent groups in Florida to comment on Common Core’s English language arts standards using the format that Interim Commissioner Pamela Stewart chose to give them. Although Governor Scott requested meetings at which parents could express their concerns, she deliberately chose a method that in effect prevents discussion and an open forum. By telling parents that they can comment only one by one, and only on the particular standards in Common Core, in a 3-hour period of time, she is in effect spitting in their faces. Parents can also send in their individual comments by computer, a method that also prevents discussion. If this is how a Department of Education treats the parents of the children whose education this Department is supposed to improve, then there is no reason for Florida parents to support the existence of such a Department. It should be abolished by referendum.
I was a senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999 to 2003. At no time were critics of the Department’s draft documents treated as shabbily as Florida parents are now being treated. Public comment was regularly allowed at Board of Education meetings, and the Department held many meetings around the state when it was developing the Bay State’s own standards. And when criticism was received on drafts of standards documents, the Department staff courteously and publicly answered these criticisms. They acted as public servants, not as bureaucrats trying to foist their own untested ideas on other people’s children.
The Massachusetts Department of Education also held a large public meeting on Common Core’s standards to which the standards writers were invited. It was informative for the audience to hear Jason Zimba, the mathematics standards writer, indicate that Common Core’s math standards would not prepare high school students for STEM. I recommend that the Florida Department of Education hold a similar meeting and invite parents and teaching faculty at its own higher education institutions to attend and question Common Core’s standards writers.