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Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Speaker says Common Core unconstitutional

Large crowd attends program at Parkway

By Amy Kronenberger

More than 150 residents, teachers and school officials from Mercer and Auglaize. . .

ROCKFORD - More than 150 residents, teachers and school officials from area districts met Monday at the Parkway school auditorium to learn more about Common Core and its effect on local schools.
Heidi Huber of Cincinnati told the crowd Common Core standards being implemented across the nation take educational control out of the hands of the state and local districts and places it solely with the federal government. She noted the standards were implemented without a vote from state legislators, local school boards, teachers or residents. She called Common Core unconstitutional.
"There is no role for the federal government in education in the Constitution; it was intentionally written that way," she said. "When you circumvent local governments, that's when you take central control."
Huber is the founder of Ohioans Against Common Core and has worked in school finance. She also has been affiliated with the tea party. She said the U.S. Constitution is under attack and to protect the republic, the people must educate themselves, speak out and work with their local and state governments to maintain personal freedom. Most of the group nodded in agreement.
The three top myths associated with Common Core are that the initiative was state led, the state maintains local control and student data are protected, Huber said. The U.S. Department of Education and the authors of Common Core copyrighted the program. The only way the Common Core name can be used is if the state adopts the federal policy 100 percent, she said.
If adopted, the federal government provides grants to fund it. However, to qualify for the grants, the state must meet the specific standards, Huber said.
"Whoever holds the pursestrings holds the authority and the power," she said. "Of course schools will take the money. That's like saying you don't have to pay taxes but be prepared for the consequences. No superintendent is going to put their district out on a fiscal limb."
Huber said when schools are results-based and students' success depends on the outcome of national assessment testing, the curriculum will follow the testing.
Parents in area districts have voiced concerns to their respective school boards and those in attendance at Monday's meeting did so again. They argue that the curriculum is politically driven and diminishes the importance of the family structure. They also said many of the approved reading texts were graphic in nature and not age-appropriate.
Huber agreed, saying only three recommended texts focus on the word family and all three are referring to homosexual marriages and stress that traditional families should not be the focus in society.
After the meeting, Parkway superintendent Greg Puthoff said he heard a lot from Huber that he never knew and will spend the coming weeks researching her presentation and discussing the matter with his staff and school board.
"I'm not saying I'm for or against it (Common Core)," he said. "I represent Parkway and I listen to Parkway people. You can't learn if you're for or against it unless you listen and learn."
Puthoff believes districts still have much local control. He said each year he and his staff are presented with texts from several different companies. The texts are read and a curriculum is chosen that best represents what Parkway wants to teach.
"All I've looked into, the (curriculum) pretty much looks the same," he said. "Talking to the teachers, we're doing what we've always done, teaching the same things."
During the presentation Huber said Common Core controls students through data mining. Data that began with a few general personal questions but has now expanded to almost 100 questions that include everything from eye color to the number of televisions a student has in his or her home.
"If you mine data, you control standards," she said. "It's all about equalizing."
Huber said a bill to repeal Common Core was recently introduced in Ohio. State Rep. Tony Burkley, R-Payne, who attended Monday's meeting, said he will vote to repeal the measure if it survives that long. He said a bill must maintain enough momentum to survive months of vetting and committee scrutiny before it ever makes it to vote. He encouraged residents and school officials at the meeting to help maintain that momentum by calling their representatives.
"I really didn't take a position (on Common Core) immediately; there wasn't a lot of information yet," he told the crowd. "But as more and more information came out, I became more and more concerned."
Many residents spoke out during the question and answer session Monday night, saying they wanted Common Core repealed because they are concerned it could be the gateway to communism and the destruction of the Constitution.
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