BY LYNN TEGER
They say there is nothing like the power of a woman. If this is true, imagine how that power explodes exponentially when you are talking about the power of Warrior Moms all over the country who are concerned about the future of their children.
Last Saturday, a group called “Stop Common Core in New York State” held a four-hour conference with experts from all over the country to bring to light the issue of “Common Core,” a federal program originally adopted by 46 states around the country. If you ask most parents about Common Core, they will never have heard of its existence. Yet, it is being implemented in our schools.
Held at the Westchester Renaissance Hotel in Harrison, people from all over New York State, Connecticut and New Jersey traveled far distances to attend. The room was filled with about 150 people who stayed the for the entire four hours of the program.
Yvonne Gasperino, a mother from Westchester County started the movement here in New York when she read a New York Times article that alerted her to what was going on in the NY Public School system. After some initial research she began to realize that Common Core was not limited to New York City. Yvonne immediately transformed into a Warrior Mom, has tirelessly worked to educate the public and spent endless hours working on last Saturday’s conference. For Yvonne, this is just the beginning.
Two of the guest speakers included Renee Brady and Alisa Ellis, who also have transformed themselves as Warrior Moms.
Renee Brady was a public school teacher for nine years who ended up home schooling her children. Renee wants to know why no one was informed about the adoption of Common Core in their state. There were no debates and no public involvement when Utah decided to adopt Common Core. Common Core has already been adopted in New York State.
Renee decided to meet with her local school superintendent who informed her that his hands were tied; the program was adopted and there was nothing he could do about it. After many requests, Renee was finally given 15 minutes to give a presentation to the school board about her concerns. Although she has not been able to get Utah to withdraw, she was successful in getting her Republican Party to adopt a resolution against it.
Why are these mothers so upset about Common Core? By Nationalizing the education system, it centralizes power and mothers and teachers have very little input over their child’s education. It removes the parent/teacher voice. It’s about National standards and national testing. It’s a “one size fits all” program that does very little, if anything, to help children with special needs.
According to Renee, “Top down education programs diminish local control. Different children have different needs.” It’s teaching “to the test” and minimizes a child’s ability to use their critical thinking skills.
More alarming still is that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) originally implemented to protect the privacy of children, has been altered by the Department of Education to do just the opposite. The new FERPA rule permits a “biometric record” of your child which is a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual.
For example: fingerprints, retina and iris patterns, voice prints, DNA Sequence, facial characteristics and handwriting. Any legislative agency such as the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services and more, can now access all of this data about your child.
The State Longitudinal Data System came down through the Stimulus Bill. New York received a grant for about $20 million. Grants contain conditions. These conditions include tracking our children from birth until adulthood, through the workforce and even through the military system. Student individual data includes data such as daily attendance, suspensions, disciplinary issues and college readiness. None of this information will be kept private. Parents will be prohibited from opting out of the data mining system.
Al Graff, NYS Assemblyman, 5th Assembly District, who was in attendance at the conference, understands the seriousness of this issue. Assemblyman Graff has written Bill A-7994 to withdraw from Common Core and Race to the Top and is conducting statewide forums on the subject. To have a forum in our area, please call or write our local Senators to get them on board. To show your support for Assemblyman Graff’s bill visit: http://www.fixnyschools.com/
For more information and to tap into the power of Mother Warriors in New York State to withdraw from the Common Core program, please visit: http://StopCommonCoreinNewYork.com.