The second hearing in the Michigan Competitiveness Committee on HB 4192 was held on March 15. Bob Kefgen, Director of Government Relations for Michigan Secondary School Principals testified against the bill. During his remarks (archive here) Kefgen asked proponents of HB 4192 several direct questions that he claims he has not been given any answers. As a proponent of the bill, I’d like to take a few moments to answer them.
Kefgen’s questions are in bold and the reply follows,
Which of the Michigan standards they have a problem with?
We have a problem with ALL of the Common Core standards which some are now calling “Michigan standards,” the Next Generation Science Standards now called “Michigan Science Standards” and the pending adoption of the Michigan Social Studies based on the C3 Framework. Attached to each standard is a data code which tracks our children throughout their educational trajectory. Data collected on our children through these codes is driving the academic and career decisions of our children from cradle-to-career and violating their privacy. Remember it was Dr. Paul Salah who actually admitted in the first hearing on HB 4192 that Common Core is more than just standards.
Whether they participated in the original process in 2009-2010?
Common Core State Standards, otherwise known as National Standards, will be officially released tomorrow. All other previous content from the website has already been removed leaving a single message,”The Common Core State Standards will be available at this link Wednesday, June 2 at 10 a.m. Please check back at that time.”
Now it will be up to individual states to adopt the standards. With dollars in hand, the Obama administration is working overtime to get the states to “compete” for the money and to adopt the standards. Maryland has already decided to adopt them but Virginia has opted out. Time will tell what the others will do.
Whether they participated in the 17 hours of testimony that this body held about four years ago when Rep. Kelly headed a sub-committee to take testimony?
Whether they participated in the redevelopment of the state’s science standards?
Like the Common Core math and English Language Arts Standards, the states that adopt them do not own them. The Next Generation Science Standards have trademark and copyright restrictions. Also similar to Common Core, the NGSS process was completed behind the scenes and a collaborative effort managed by Achieve, Inc. Michigan is a “lead state” in the development of the standards.
Whether they are participating in the on-going process that Senator Colbeck is participating in on our state’s social studies standards?
“This has always been an internal process from the state ed dept to the schools, that now that we are seeing the wisdom of opening it up to parents, low-and-behold these are really solid comments.” (see related post: It’s a Republic, Ms. Weiser if you can keep it!)
The MDE and the State Board were finally in 2015 now seeing the wisdom of involving parents. That’s a stunning admission and significant to the question about where were people in this process! Public input was NOT a part of the process in adopting the Common Core or anything else for that matter. Despite this admission, the on-going process for social studies is NOT an open process. Attempts to engage Senator Colbeck regarding the standards especially as it relate to data codes and collection have not been successful. Further the State Board of Education considered grants for digital badges to be developed aligned to the new standards.
Mr. Kefgen, we are a part of the process and have been all along. We are at this point in supporting HB 4192 to repeal and replace because we have been shut out and silenced, not because we have been absent. The hearing that you participated on March 15 was no exception. There were many at the hearing on March 15 ready to testify in support of this bill but they were NOT given the chance because the selection of testimony was determined by the chair. We are not paid lobbyists or employees of the state. Most of us take time away from our “day job” to participate in the process and attend hearings. We will continue to be engaged to stop common core and removing Michigan students from the centralized P-20 workforce development system.