Closed-Door CCSSO Common Core Meeting Sparks Backlash
Around the State
From Tuesday to Wednesday, the Council of Chief State School Officers will meet behind closed doors to discuss Common Core State Standards and ways states can provide assistance for an education system that “supports principal leadership” throughout the country.
The meeting, held in Orlando, heavily focuses on the shifting face of education during the implementation of Common Core. Around 230 participants from 37 states will attend the meeting, with teams of between four to six people representing state education agency staff, district staff and principals.
CCSSO and the National Governor’s Association are two nonprofits that worked to coordinate state involvement and adoption of Common Core. Forty-five states have signed on for Common Core, with many of them planning to have the standards fully implemented by the 2014-2015 academic year.
Common Core will not only change the way students learn, but it will also change the way teachers teach in the classroom and the way principals lead their schools. According to the meeting’s agenda, collaborative inquiry will help to “organize and bring coherence” to the core work of schools.
The two-day agenda is reminiscent of the education accountability summit held in August per the request of Gov. Rick Scott. Education agency staff, district staff and principals will help attendees strategize to organize feedback in order to help teachers improve their instruction.
The closed-door meeting has been the subject of some criticism from anti-Common Core groups around the state who say the meeting, which is not open to the public, goes directly against the organization’s pledge of transparency in Common Core.
In one of their "Myths vs. Facts" documents, the Foundation for Excellence in Education noted:
Both the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are made up of state leaders state governors and the education chiefs, who are accountable to their constituents. They meet together to learn best practices, discuss lessons learned, share information and research and collaborate. Parents can certainly influence these organizations by influencing their governor or Department of Education chief.
FSCCC expressed its dissatisfaction over the fact that the CCSSO meetings are closed off to members of the public. A location for the meeting is not given out in the agenda nor is it posted to the website.
“What are these people smoking? They were really proud that they got 2,000 parent comments on standards that are affecting over 100 million schoolchildren with only less than one quarter of 1 percent of those being published,” wrote FSCCC. “With that kind of parental involvement, how can citizens expect to influence mostly appointed officials and their minions that meet behind closed doors? If these awful standards and their top-down implementation did not so seriously affect our children and our nation's future, this rhetoric would be comical.”
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at Allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.