Parent-Teacher Workgroups Steamrolled by DESE Agenda

Sep 23, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY – Parents and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) came to blows as they began work on the development of Missouri’s standards for the public schools across the state as part of HB 1490 signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon in July of this year.

HB 1490 was supported by parents and citizens from across the state because the intent was to allow parents and teachers to work together to develop Missouri’s educational standards. Throughout the process of lobbying for HB 1490, parents and citizens sought to redress much of the Common Core Standards adopted by the Governor in June of 2009.

Regardless of the intent of HB 1490 to allow the groups involved to work together, that is not what happened on Monday when workgroups convened according to those attending including  Jill Carter, Toni Becker and Tonya Long.

The three women, appointed by House Speaker Tim Jones, informed SEMO TIMES that workgroups were greeted by binders containing the Common Core Standards and DESE-centric facilitators whose message towed the Department of Education line. Facilitators went so far as to make it clear to all workgroups that they were there to “review” the existing Common Core/Missouri Learning Standards already in place. HB 1490’s mandate to develop the standards with parents and teachers had been aborted by DESE who treated the meetings as strictly a formality.

Things turned from controversial to juvenile according to Toni Becker, a Secondary Science Workgroup member. Becker said “the facilitator brought out a ball and began to throw it to members of the group. A question was asked and the ball signaled the participant’s turn to answer the question posed,” said Becker.

Tonya Long, a member of the Elementary History/Government Standards Workgroup, said she was caught off guard when consensus was sought with a thumbs up and thumbs down approach among all adults when deciding whether or not a subject was to be discussed further. “It was strange to see a room full of very competent adults with their thumbs up in a meeting of such magnitude. We needed meaningful discussion, not silly games.”

Missouri parents and teachers have volunteered to have a meaningful role in the development of the standards that will shape the future of Missouri’s educational system, however DESE appears to have used day one of the meetings to press their Common Core agenda.

As more members are added in coming weeks and work continues on Missouri’s standards for education, it remains to be seen whether the mandates of HB 1490 will be carried out as legislated or if DESE steamrolls their common core agenda over the workgroup sessions.

    1. BoCoMoJ

      “Sarah Potter, a spokeswoman for DESE, said legislators were notified of the process the agency planned to take and that concerns were not raised at the time.”

      Another example of apathy. No one cares until a process is already underway, then they are suddenly filled with outrage. Everyone, except for the anti-CCSS fringe, knows these panels are simply a formality to meet the requirements of HB 1490.

      1. freetomatoes

        It was a completely lawless introduction into the public school system because it did not go through the legislative process. It is your uncaring, elitist attitude that shows the true heart behind it. It is STILL illegal.

  1. BoCoMoJ

    Did someone actually believe that moms appointed by conservative nut-bags would be handed a blank sheet of paper with the instructions, “Hey, write down whatever you like and we will go ahead and teach that to all Missouri students”? To whom does that sound reasonable?

    1. Guest

      According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, formal assessment is expected to take place in the 2014–2015 school year, which coincides with the projected implementation year for most states. THIS is that assessment. Are you saying that they should assess and implement themselves?

      1. BoCoMoJ

        The push might be bipartisan, but the State Board will not adopt standards that are different from the Common Core. Take that to the bank, friendo.

    2. Brian Becker

      My understanding of HB1490, they weren’t working on curriculum only standards and benchmarks.

      1. BoCoMoJ

        Standards define the content students will learn; as such, standards define what will be taught. Curriculum is 100% based on standards. Let’s not play a semantics game.

        These panels are advisory in nature. Anyone who believed that these appointed work groups would be crafting new standards was either a fool or seriously kidding himself. Sorry to have to be the one to break this obvious news.

        A large portion of these panels are people who know nothing about education outside their own attendance, and who have no pedagogical content expertise. That’s who should be setting education standards? Don’t make us laugh.

        The State Board of Education is only obligated to listen to the panels’ recommendations. The State Board is free to reject all such recommendations and adopt whatever learning standards they choose. The Common Core will be retained with few or no changes.

        1. Brian Becker

          First, it was tongue-in-cheek because CCSS has claimed for years it wasn’t curriculum, only standards.

          Second, name five educators who developed the Common Core Standards… you can’t because there weren’t.

          Having parents and teachers from our state, with vested interest in their children’s education, involved in the process, I’ll take that over a think tank in D.C. EVERY day.

          1. BoCoMoJ

            This is a list of people involved in the CCSS development. As you will see, it is absolutely chock full of educators.


            Missouri parents had opportunity to be “involved with process” when the State Board (your representatives in government) discussed and adopted the CCSS in public meetings ages ago (2010, I believe). Or does “involvement” mean apathy and non-participation in well-established and transparent civic processes and then throwing a tantrum years after the fact? Yeah, I thought so.

          2. Brian Becker

            Comparatively? Few “educators” when compared to “administrators” but the difference is even more staggering when you compare the Missouri math standards developed less than 10 years ago as part of the STEM initiative by a team of 500 mathematicians.

          3. BoCoMoJ

            Administrators are educators, genius.

            A committee of 500 will not produce a document of any quality. This is explains why the prior math standards were so ambiguous as to be useless to most teachers; the standards had been “wordsmithed” to death.

          4. BoCoMoJ

            Which part,specifically, did you find amusing? The part where I accurately claim that administrators are in fact certified/licensed educators? Or the part where I accurately claim that large groups produce watered-down compromise documents devoid of value?

  2. Brian Becker

    It’s marked as Editorial…we’ve made sure that’s highlighted now.

          1. Brian Becker

            Based on your username, maybe 1 year older than you, but old enough to know a dodge when I see it: Show me a non-fact, 64. #NewsPublisher63

  3. NewsWoman64

    Interesting that this reporter apparently didn’t talk with the Department of Education about the meetings. I guess one-sided reporting is easier.