By Ben Velderman
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Things got a little “rowdy” when 300 parents and taxpayers in the Conejo Valley Unified School District gathered for a community forum about Common Core.
The new, nationalized learning standards will take effect in the California district beginning this fall, and will be fully implemented in 45 other states for the 2014-15 school year.
Monday night’s meeting featured a panel of Common Core experts – both supporters and opponents – who presented their arguments and fielded questions from the audience.
“Crowd sentiment was overwhelmingly anti-Common Core,” writes George Miller, a blogger for the Ventura County Tea Party.
According to Miller, some community members questioned why the district was being asked to spend huge sums of money to implement learning standards that haven’t been field tested anywhere in the U.S.
Others expressed concerns over Common Core-related plans to collect a wide array of personal information on each student, purportedly to help personalize learning experiences for each child.
But the biggest question from audience members was why the high-performing district felt the need to scuttle their existing standards for Common Core’s unproven ones.
Actually, that question should be directed to the state officials who agreed to subject all California school districts to the Common Core initiative.
Audience members become so passionate in their discussion of Common Core that Conejo Valley Superintendent Jeff Baarstad chastised the crowd for being “rowdy,” according to Miller.
Panelist Tony Dolz, a school board candidate and founder of Concerned Parents of Conejo Valley, ended his comments by distributing “opt out” forms that parents can use to block their child from being involved in data collection and Common Core testing.
Dolz told audience members that attorneys with the United States Justice Foundation would aid any parents who attempted to remove their child from Common Core-related activities.
The forum was triggered by a recent Conejo Valley school board meeting during which board members discussed the possibility of “hiring a $200,000 yearly Common Core Coordinator,” Miller writes.
Panelist Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a Common Core opponent, told Miller that organizers and parents at Monday night’s forum were the most knowledgeable she’s seen yet.