Hopefully, as a writer who frequently enjoyed 'inheriting' ideas from others, Mr. Twain won't despise me too deeply for my turn of phrase. I even hope to think he'd agree! I can't imagine Huck Finn ever subjecting himself to something that made him just like everybody else - or doing anything that everyone else was doing - ie a one size fits all, common standard of education.
It is in this vein that I present to you a word-for-word, blow-by-blow of State Superintendent Janet Barresi's visit with the Wagner County GOP June 2013. This was written by a woman named Karen Cuellar - an Oklahoma home schooling mom.
I refuse to edit or manipulate in any way her original email. She hit this out of the ballpark - she needs no assistance. Please, read, pass on and become involved TODAY!
“I went to the Wagoner County GOP monthly meeting on Thursday night to see what Barresi could possibly say to defend or sell Common Core to the public. Luckily, this was a group of very informed, anti-common core voters who had done their research. She spent a good 30 minutes on “fake fluff” – really avoiding the details of Common Core and speaking in generalities on how great it was. I could tell the audience wasn’t falling for the usual politician talk.
We were asked to write questions down and submit them to be answered to keep the crowd under control since this is a very controversial topic.
The first question chosen was mine, and it was this: “Our two Republican Senators and Speaker Shannon have publicly come out against Common Core. The RNC and the Oklahoma state GOP both have added very specific language against Common Core to the party platforms. How do you reconcile that - running as a Republican, on a Republican ticket, when your stand is in direct opposition to our party platform?”
I think it caught her by surprise. She seemed uncomfortable, fumbling for an answer, and replied that the party platforms had language about “government intrusion” but not specifically Common Core. I held up a copy of both platforms and called her out on it. The RNC has 2 full pages that specifically name and deal with all of the aspects of Common Core, and our state platform has one paragraph, but also specifically names Common Core. I had copies of both.
She seemed irritated by that, and then continued down a path that had absolutely nothing to do with the party platform or the direct question I asked. I could tell the crowd noticed it, and was just as upset as I was that she didn’t answer the question.
There were several other questions pertaining to the reading parts of Common Core, specifically removing the Classical literature and replacing it with technical manuals. She said numerous times that the reading was optional, and only “suggested” reading material. She also said over and over that teachers have the choice to pick what they want their students to read.
She said Common Core would cut down on testing, give teachers and parents local control, and that every teacher she has spoken to LOVES it. She said she had not heard from one teacher in opposition to it. She said that teachers wrote the standards and there was no federal government involvement in writing them.
She also explained how teachers loved that little Billy could move from Oklahoma to another state and be on the exact same page once he arrived at his new home. He would not have to adjust, he could just pick up where he left off in the classroom. Really? That doesn’t sound like local control? That’s also in direct violation of our constitution – I honestly couldn’t tell if she was being willfully deceitful, or is truly that ignorant of her own pet project and the hypocrisy she speaks.
Another homeschooler asked how these standards would affect homeschoolers trying to get into college. She looked baffled, and said there wasn’t any effect on homeschoolers, why should there be? She looked around the room for answers as to why someone would ask this, so I chimed in.
I explained, as a homeschooler I won’t be teaching the Common Core curriculum to my children, therefore they would have difficulty passing the tests based on Common Core to get into college. She replied that Common Core was only “standards”, NOT CURRICULUM, (she said this many times) and said it has NOTHING to do with curriculum. I found that odd since several curriculum companies have come out with new editions of curriculum claiming to have “adjusted to the Common Core standards” so again, I’m not sure if she’s that ignorant, or is being deceitful about what is happening.
Every answer in my opinion was a lie, based on a list of facts I had gathered from several resources. I had several people come up to me after and thank me for standing up to her, and one said she’d like to go up to her and tell her directly that she didn’t believe a word that came out of her mouth. I agreed.
Sadly, I voted for this woman. I was ignorant of what was going on and did my basic duty to vote for the “R.” Never again. “R’s” aren’t always conservative and they don’t always follow the constitution. Republicans have completely abandoned shutting down the Department of Education. At one point, that was our goal. Not anymore - Now, RINO’s like her want to grow it bigger and keep throwing money at it (stolen from other members of society) while only lining corrupt politicians (like her) pockets with our hard earned money.
I’m tired of Republicans screaming about socialism and communism and then accepting it in Education. If you are against Obamacare, you should be against the Department of Education completely. Our constitution does not allow the federal government any power in this area, so why do we allow it and tolerate it? Why do we allow people like Barresi to come in and say she’s a conservative Republican and then destroy our constitution?
Either embrace it, return education to the state level to be decided upon and stop taking “incentives” from the government that keep us enslaved, or we will replace you with someone who will.
Barresi forgets that we are the masters – we tell her what we want and how. She seems to think it’s the other way around and she’s going to push Common Core through regardless of how we feel. I hope her decision to ignore Oklahomans and their opposition to Common Core costs her the job she has been sent to do. I hope we can replace her with a constitutional opponent that believes in restoring our framework rather than destroying it further."Amen Karen, Amen.
(Edited by breaking into paragraphs to make easier reading)