Gwinnett Residents Speak Out Against Common Core

A Gwinnett County School Board meeting Thursday night offered the opportunity for several district residents to criticize teaching materials and lesson plans they claim show the deficiencies of the Common Core educational standards. The Gwinnett Daily Post tells the story:

Ken Craft said he’s actively fought against Common Core for several years, and cited historical inaccuracies during the Revolutionary War in materials that were proposed for fourth graders. Ken Craft also disagreed with comparisons of the Arab Spring to the American Revolution.

He went on to question whether materials designed for an English class would better fit alongside social justice and called it obvious liberal bias.

“A lot of us have been criticized as tea baggers and what not, but it’s not a conspiracy if it’s true,” Ken Craft said. “And I believe Common Core is the problem here, or the way the books have been written to the standards. Again, I think the process is flawed. If these are the finalists, there is a problem somewhere.”

At the meeting, Craft’s wife Judy brought along a 23 page PowerPoint presentation to illustrate what she said was Marxism and Leninism being advocated in textbooks.

School board members said the concerns about the curriculum were being brought to the right place. Chairman Dan Seckinger said the School Board would be offering information on the topic in the near future, while board member Robert McClure mused about the wisdom of a common standard:

There are multiple issues, one is whether the intent of coming up with a common standard makes sense, on the surface of it, I think it makes a lot of sense, but also one has to ask whether what you give up for that is worth it,” he said. “I think that’s a philosophical issue that for me I’m still wrestling with very strongly, but I’m having some questions about which way I’ve been in the past. That’s something all the local School Boards will have to wrestle with across the country. How much are we willing to have somebody else’s input about what our children learn?”

Meanwhile, the Georgia House Federal Government’s Role in Education Study Committee wrapped up its final meeting at the State Capitol on Thursday. At that meeting, the question of where and how to regulate curriculum was discussed, according to the Gainesville Times. After Fulton County School Superintendent Robert Avossa claimed that control over the material taught to students should be regulated by the State School Board rather than the legislature, he found agreement from the committee’s Chair Brooks Coleman, who is also Chair of the House Education Committee, who said, “I personally don’t know that we should be legislating curriculum. But that’s just a statement.”

The committee is expected to issue a final report by the end of the month.


  1. Charlie says:

    Very first cited paragraph:

    “Ken Craft said he’s actively fought against Common Core for several years, and cited historical inaccuracies during the Revolutionary War in materials that were proposed for fourth graders…”

    I don’t want to trust the opinion of someone that has spent “several years” fighting something yet still doesn’t understand that there are no Common Core standards for social studies/history.

    Seriously, there remain a loud group of folks that will be railing against Common Core for perpetuity. It seems none of them are actually interested in learning what it actually is they find objectionable, much less propose solutions appropriate to their concerns.

    Meanwhile, the State School Board has proposed significant changes to the curriculum for Math (not the Common Core standards, that are about the result, not how we get there, i.e, the curriculum). That will likely address most of the legitimate concerns over the actual Common Core standards.

    • John Konop says:

      The reason people do not understand the facts are people like Bobloblaw are paid to BS for political gain…..But at the end they get a check and we all suffer….

  2. barrycdog says:

    I spoke out and voiced my opinion to the administrators. What my child came home with was unacceptable.

      • Charlie says:

        Catholic Schools (private!) have adopted Common Core. So have many others.

        Until you folks learn how to argue against actual problems within the public schools and continue to pass crap like the above among yourselves for affirmation, you’ll never actually make any improvements with public schools. And the private schools will continue to do what they need to educate their students, which in many if not most cases also means adopting Common Core standards.

        Congrats on finding a boogey man. Apologies for you not being able to distinguish what it is and isn’t after all this time, nor knowing where to begin to solve the problems of what Barry finds “unacceptable”.

        • Harry says:

          You assume too much. I don’t necessarily consider “Common Core” to be a bad thing. From what I understand it’s just a set of benchmarks which local districts adopt, and not a top-down federal mandated. To me, the only real benchmark is how successfully we in the US compete with other nations on academic outcomes, and how well we in Georgia compete with other states. We also have to understand that not all students will achieve the same standards.

          • Dr. Monica Henson says:

            Harry, Common Core isn’t a set of benchmarks, and it’s not adopted by local public school districts. It’s a set of standards by grade level, and state boards of education adopt it (or not). Public school curriculum is the purview of the state, contrary to the commonly accepted idea of “local control.” Local control applies to things like local property tax millage, hiring of personnel, and adding additional local items to the State Board of Education-approved requirements. For example, the SBOE sets the graduation requirements for high school seniors. Local school districts sometimes add extra credit requirements that seniors who live in their district must meet in order to graduate from their local high school, but a local board of education cannot eliminate any of the state requirements for graduation. Same with curriculum. Common Core originated with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and it’s based on the idea that a student in the first grade, in any state, should be learning the same basic concepts, and so on. It doesn’t dictate reading lists and requirements, it doesn’t mandate how to teach the concepts themselves, and there will not be any Obama cameras put into public school classrooms to make sure that teachers are teaching Chairman Mao’s writings (I actually got a question from a family member in Ohio who said that her pastor had warned of this from the pulpit and encouraged families to homeschool their children instead of sending them to public school).

            • Dr. Monica Henson says:

              Not all Catholic schools have adopted Common Core. Many of them see it and several other public school initiatives as counter to Catholic beliefs. I just wrapped up leading an AdvancED accreditation review of a Catholic school in Virginia that was loudly and proudly anti-Common Core.

  3. griftdrift says:

    Common Core insulted my town! Common Core insulted my son! Common Core insulted my authority! And that’s nothin’ but plain and simple old-fashioned communism.

  4. Bobloblaw says:

    Common Core is a scam just like every educational fad before it. Whether it was New Math in the 50s or Outcome Based Education in 90s. They are all frauds. School Choice is a fraud. We have had it for 20 years and there is not a shred of evidence it works. Charter Schools are a fraud. The problem isn’t too few teachers or teachers aren’t paid enough. The problem isn’t teachers unions. The problem is cultural. Americans don’t really want good schools or an educated population. If they did, they’d spend time with their kids rather than expecting the state to teach them everything. And oh yeah, the Dept of Education is a fraud too.

    • John Konop says:

      If you study the problem form a pragmatic non emotional level the biggest issue is the better countries in education track students based on aptitude….not one size fit all college prep track or out. The mission of schools should be gaining marketable job skills and or proper preparation for higher education after 12th grade. The irony of the Common Core debate is you have both sides debating on standards that would prepare all students for college. The bell curve tells us this is impossible based on IQ…nobody in the world can come even close…..btw school option programs have been very successful like joint enrollment, co- op, interneships, skill based certification programs…

    • Will Durant says:

      Does Harry actually read and comprehend the comments in the thread? Including the very first one by the PP Editor-In-Chief?

        • Will Durant says:

          You “report” with a link that has nothing to do with the subject at hand and ask a question that has already been answered because there are no Common Core Standards in Social Studies. It is a link to an unsigned blog entry on an anonymous website of a dubious nature.

          • Harry says:

            Substitute “Does” with “Will” in my question if you prefer. How would Common Core deal with or mandate such basic concepts as this?

            • Will Durant says:

              So you want to chase after a non-existent straw man just as we did a few months ago on your links from “conservative” websites regarding the non-existent reading lists?

  5. ArtfulDodger says:

    Any validity for the comments ended when it was said they came from the Kraft’s. They make the Tea Party see like liberals and have along history of objecting to what the GCPS does if it doesn’t hew the far right conservative line. Of course to someone from that mindset anything that doesn’t reflect the far right mind set must be Marxist and Leninist. Totally ignoring that centrist moderate teaching as is done in the schools presenting all sides is what actually happens.

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