Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Interview With Lis Exon of OETA, Tulsa

I just today posted a blog about my conversation with Senator John Ford.  Senator Ford called me to ask my permission to give an OETA journalist my phone number so that we could do an interview.

I spoke with Lis Exon of OETA Tulsa yesterday.  She was quite nice, and very accommodating about the possibility of an interview, (as have all the media I've dealt with to this point at any rate).  We scheduled our time for this morning and the interview went off without a hitch.

Here's my takeaway.

First; I truly appreciate it when journalists make an effort to report both sides of an issue.  Heaven knows Common Core opponents have gotten the shaft in the media for years as most of the airtime on the issue has been a seemingly endless stream of propaganda devoted to the propagation of Bill Gates' messaging.  It hasn't been until recently - when parents have finally begun seeing the fruits of the Common Core labor in their school and have begun to speak out in droves - that our message has received any real attention from the mainstream media.  So, kudos to Lis for taking the time to beat the bushes.

Second; it was clear that Ms. Exon wanted information from parents.  She has asked several times now about when the next forum would be.  I'm sure she wants to interview parents, as some of the stories out there make some really great sound bites, but I also think she's interested in learning and here's why;

As we began the interview, Lis asked me to give a bit of history about ROPE, which I did.  Next, in a long question/statement that stated all Common Core 'talking points' as given fact, she asked me about our main concerns with the issue.

It was at this point I began attacking the '4 pillars of education reform', explaining where they came from and how our state was bound by FEDERAL edicts that gave our state unfunded mandates to provide a Common Core-based education to every student in the state.  I continued on to talk about how the Common Core are meshed with the A-F grading system and teacher accountability and even the State Longitudinal Database System and the federal money that came with that, after which she indicated to me she understood the complexities of the issue.

When I began to talk about the inequality of bringing ALL children to the same educational level, punishing those that are 'above the curve' (as Bill Whittle has said, handcuffing our best and brightest), she told me a story.  She said that as she was growing up, though she wasn't a math whiz, she had aptitude for writing and the arts, she was able to choose and be guided through a path into that career throughout her schooling.  I told her that was great and just what we all wanted - students to choose the career, or vocation, that suits them best.  It was unfortunate then, that with Common Core, the new Common Core tests and the invasive data collection, today's education elite want to - in essence - funnel kids into career and vocational paths depending upon test scores and surveys.

I then told her my story:  I had exceptional aptitude in writing and the arts when I was a young person - more than likely because my mother was an English teacher most of my entire life.  So great was my innate ability in English, that I tested out of all my college English.  Yet, instead of pursuing a degree in English, or the arts, I chose to educate myself to a Master's degree in BIOLOGY.  I wasn't good in mathematics either, but I forced myself to work very hard, overcoming my shortcomings in the language, and graduate with not one, but two degrees in a subject no one would ever have thought I could master, let alone manage.

"What happens to kids like me in a Common Core system?" I asked Lis.

Soon after, Lis thanked me for my time, but instead of hanging up quickly, she asked for more information and inquired again when there might be another Town Hall.

And so it was that the interview finally ended, but as the line went dead, I couldn't help but think the conversation wasn't.

Stand your ground.  Educate others.  It's the only way to win.