Republican Chris Holbert, a member of the House Education Committee, introduced an amendment to Colorado House Bill 14-1336 also known as the “long bill” which establishes the state’s budget. The proposed amendment offered on March 27, 2014 would have removed 16.8 million dollars allocated for PARCC testing . Had it passed, it would have resulted in the intended effect of the “Colorado Mom’s Bill” killed earlier this year in the Senate Education Committee—delaying the Common Core aligned standardized tests for one year. The introduction of this amendment can be viewed at the 224-minute mark here:
While it’s no surprise the amendment failed, the elitist attitude of both Democrat and Republican legislators , whose comments insinuated that Colorado parents must be ignorant for not supporting the Common Core, stunned constituents around the state.
At approximately the 2:47:32 mark, Democrat Sue Schaffer states, “What we do have are called Colorado Academic Standards. We do not have core curriculum which is how the standards are taught.” (Come now, Representative Schaffer. Let’s call these standards for what they are. Common Core State Standards. These are copyrighted standards that Colorado signed up for sight unseen.) She continues, “There are some parents complaining that they can’t understand, they don’t know how to do the math or they don’t even know how to do the reading and the writing. Well, we said and we still say world class standards.” (Shame on you for calling your constituents’ communicating concerns about curriculum as complaining! And world class standards? When you have a Common Core validation committee member whose background includes serving as a mathematician with NASA refuse to sign off on the standards, they are far from world class.)
At around the 259:22 mark, Republican Carole Murray urges a no vote on the amendment for a third time. She infers the ignorance of parents by stating, “Well, I… I think that what parents are discovering is that there is such a thing as standards. And I think that most people don’t know the difference between standards and curriculum.” (Representative Murray, you sorely underestimate the intelligence of your constituents. We know the difference between standards and curriculum. Furthermore, we know that the standards drive the testing which then drives the curriculum. And these are standards that you may be personally profiting from—even if indirectly—because your husband works for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.)
But Murray doesn’t stop there. She then insults the states choosing to pull out of Common Core. “We should have standards and they should be high standards. And many of the… the states are going away from these because they’re hard. They… they took the first tests and their scores went down. Excuse me, is that what we want to do? Give up on it because it was hard? This is the United States of America! If it’s hard, we can do it. We’ll overcome it.” (No, excuse me. These states are moving away from the Common Core because they are opening their eyes to the fact that these are not quality standards. This is the United States of America! Some states do not want to be held hostage to expensive federal mandates and unproven standards as a condition for accepting Race to the Top funds. They realize that they can do better.)
“We’ve had teachers come in and talk to us in the education committee, who are excited about the fact that the complexity of their instruction has changed significantly as a result of the Colorado Academic Standards.” (Representative Murray, if these standards were so great, parents would be excited about them too. They want their kids to be challenged by high standards while developing a love for learning.)
“And I want kids to think and these standards and this test is all about teaching kids to think. It’s more than just two plus two or reading a sentence correctly. It’s challenging children and teachers to think.” (Actually, it coerces teachers to teach to the test, especially when their jobs depend on the scores. There is little to no incentive to teach beyond the test. Testing is not learning. It conditions children to give the answer the testing company wants. That doesn’t teach critical thinking.)
Colorado parents, it’s time to take these representatives to school. Let them know the problem is not that you don’t know how to do the math or reading or writing. The problem is the ridiculous way in which your kids are being forced to draw pictures in order to prove that 18 is less than 32. The problem is that your kids are no longer being taught place value, but instead are told to solve addition through decomposition. The problem is that the standards place developmentally inappropriate expectations on young children whose brains have not matured for the abstract thinking required in many word problems. Send them your children’s homework—not because it’s hard, but because it takes the most convoluted route to answer a simple question.
Here is Carole Murray’s contact info as listed on both her Web site and legislative page: [email protected]
Sue Schaffer and Carole Murray can also be reached by snail mail at: 200 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO 80203