Are Billings, Montana school teachers being discouraged from speaking out about their true feelings on the new Common Core standards?
On the eve of a Common Core informational meeting in Billings, one teacher sent me copies of e-mails that are being sent to all staff at Billings Senior High School from a Lincoln Center employee and a department chair.
The teacher who e-mailed me preferred to remain anonymous, and added that teachers are apprehensive about raising their concerns with the Common Core standards in Billings:
BILLINGS TEACHER: I thought the message went too far, and I think a lot of “staff” are afraid to stand up for themselves…very unsettling.
(Note- a call was placed to the school district superintendent’s office. They referred me to the Common Core curriculum lead. Phone calls have not yet been returned. Also, any names/e-mails of teachers included in the e-mail traffic have been blacked out by me.)
The first e-mail was an update from Eric Feaver, the head of the MEA-MFT union which represents teachers and other public employees in Montana. It was apparently forwarded to the staff at Senior High School. Feaver was sharing this article in Politico which highlighted the big business backers of the Common Core standards.
Another e-mail from a department chair at Senior High encouraged teachers and staff to attend the Common Core meeting. The department chair added, “We really need to support the Curriculum Department and try to attend.” (Both emails below)
I asked the MEA-MFT’s Eric Feaver if his organization is encouraging teachers to speak out on the issue, regardless of how they feel.
His response to the story and the question:
MEA-MFT supports Montana’s Common Core Standards, right along with the Montana Board of Public Education, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana School Boards Association, Montana Rural Education Association, School Administrators of Montana, Montana Association of School Business Officials, Montana Teachers of the Year, Montana Presidential Science and Math Awardees . . . and on it goes.
Separately, The Daily Caller has this: Common Core gets AWFUL review in new study
Bad news for supporters of national education curriculum: States with education standards most closely aligned to Common Core fared worse on math tests than states with their own standards, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by the Brookings Institution, compared standardized test scores for all 50 states over the last five years. It found that states using education standards that are most dissimilar to Common Core tended to score the highest on math.
It should be noted that Brookings is a liberal-leaning think tank.
COPIES OF EMAILS SENT TO BILLINGS SENIOR HIGH STAFF
J. C. Kantorowicz – Great Falls
Friday, March 21, 2014 7:21 AM
If Eric Feaver and the teachers union support Common Core, you can be certain it is BAD! The worst thing to affect education in Montana is centralization of curriculum and standards under control of the NEA. While the concept of one standardized curriculum nationwide would be applauded by parents who change jobs and place of residence many times throughout their children’s formative years, it is to the standard of school districts with the lowest expectations…….. Not to those who excel.
As a former local school board chairman many decades ago, it was a constant fight to retain local control and management of our teachers and curriculum. At that time the largest schools in the county worked hard to accumulate all services and money into their districts to the detriment of the little schools within the county. Quality teachers were hard to come by due to our low student population and with it the money to pay decent salaries. Of course the County Superintendent of Schools supported the large school districts while the country schools fell further and further behind.