Liveblogging the OC Board of Education Common Core Debate

The OC Board of Education has called a special session to discussion that Tea Party bugbear, the Common Core standard.


6:00 Big Turnout.  Standing Room only. Roughy 200 citizens in attendance

6:05 David Boyd, District 2,  Starts with a comment explaining the premise used to call this special meeting is false. The board member who put this on the agenda claimed a “growing number” of public commenters objected to the Common Core.  A review of minutes shows this claim to be unsupported.  Boyd goes on to call the meeting a political stunt for the Tea Party.

6:10  Nine Public speakers.  Five support common core, three oppose. A ninth speaker submitted written comments but did not publicly state a viewpoint


6:30 Dr Clair Cavallaro, Dean of College of Educuation, CSU Fullerton.  One-third of CSU students need remedial work.  The common core is  based on sound research as a way improve that.

6:40 Celia Jaffe, Huntington Beach School Board, past Fourth District PTA president. Gave local context and examples of Common Core improving classroom outcomes.

6:50Dr. Glen Thomas  OC Davis  Board of Advisors, Former California Secretary of Education.  “California is a local control state”. The State sets the standards, but it’s up the local districts how to do that. Many press reports are inaccurate. For example, the local district decides when Algebra I is taught, and does not mandate data collection for the state.   Disputes that this was driven by the Feds. Points out when we started with this, it was all Pete Wilson appointees.  When the common core was adopted, the majority of appointees were by Schwarzenegger.

7:00 Glen Warren. Orange County Teacher of the Year . There are many gaps in student preparedness and information literacy. Common Core seeks to address this problem.  Teachers are excited about common core; gives several examples.

7:05 Robin Eubanks, Attorney, Author of Credentialed to Destroy: How and why Education Became a Weapon . Common Core sets national standards, including social and emotional learning goals.   Objects to standards affecting “values, attitudes, and expectations.” Common Core bad for special needs kids, and propaganda for folks with financial interests.

7:10 Hugh Hewitt. Harvard Grad, radio talk show host , Chapman Professor.   “Common Core can’t succeed if opposed by  more than 10% of the population.”   He feels this is a local control issue.  The 2012 Arne Duncan waiver was unconstitutional. Hugh appears to be lobbying the board file a lawsuit.

7:15 Dr. Gary Thompson, Early Life Child psychologist.  Kids from three to six need more play, less testing. Implies that Common Core is propaganda by folks with financial interests.

7:20  Lydia Gutierrez.  Coastal  San Pedro Neighborhood Council.  No evidence that Common Core works.  So shouldn’t be tried.  Claims common core will unfairly impact poor and minorities

7:30  District 5 Board Member 5th District Linda Lindholm.  Asks Glen Thomas, is there Evidence that  Common Core helps with STEM education?  Thomas Agrees that no evidence is in place to prove it’s better.   Thomas testifies that the program is developing.  The program  has set standards thus far, but is only now working curriculum.

(the anti-Common Core folks are noisy and having a hard time following the rules).

7:35 District 1 Bob Hammond yields time to John Bedell of the fourth district.   Bedell cross examination.  The testing is the same as before. States have opted out.   The plan was started before Obama was sworn in.   Schwarzenegger was part of the adoption.  Discussion of what the tests will contain.   The tests will have *capacity*  to gather all sorts of stuff,  no evidence this actually being done. Several of the panel members are concerned that Pearson has so much access to the process via the computer  adaptive testing and learning.

7:35 Bob Hammond.   Asking each panel member “if they support the constitution.”  Then ” would you enforce an unconstitutional law”  WTF?  Next, “does the Federal Government have a role in education under the constitution.” Hugh Hewitt, of all people, shuts this line question down with a firm “YES” including the Article 1 reference .

7:45  Asking each panelist in turn about “Smart Balance testing,” the new test instrument.

7:50 District 2  David Boyd, addressing Hugh Hewitt directly. Read a William Bennett statement in support of common core as “Sound Conservative Principals.”   Crossed swords with Hugh over the costs and appropriateness of a lawsuit. Boyd says it would cost a million dollars, Hewitt says law firms would take it “at risk”

8:10 Robin Eubanks: Common Core is using the principles used in Soviet Russia. “It’s cultural Marxism”

8:12 Hammond bangs on “How much will this cost.” No one has an answer. “Is this an unfunded mandate” Everyone, including Hugh Hewitt is baffled by the question. Then wants to know if the Common Core will  meet the University of California A-G admissions requirements.  Again, bafflement.  Celia Jaffe gamely tries to point out that it’s a silly question, after Glen Thomas points at that it’s up to the UCs to decide entrance requirements for themselves.

8:15  Ken Williams give Hugh Hewitt a softball question, so Hugh can read a statement laying out the basis for a lawsuit against Common Core on constitutional grounds.  And then,  prompts Hugh to talk about the  Bobby Jindal’s lawsuit.

8:20 Bedell asks, “what happens if a district says no.”   It goes to the County Board.  discussion wanders around.  Guiterrez says the curriculum guides have shrunk dramatically” [Sounds good to me]

What is it about anti-Common Core folks and the inability to follow the rules?   We’re all supposed to be quiet — these folks are acting like they’re an an Angels game. A vision-impaired person might think this crowd is over-whelmingly opposed to Common Core. It’s not.

8:30 Closing remarks.

Claire Cavallaro: Common Core is not a curriculum, nor a testing scheme.  It is raising the standards for math.  Local control is good. Common Core won’t undermine local control.

Celia Jaffe. Common Core math is looking for certain skills by a certain time, and require deeper understanding.  Have move some algebra concepts to younger age.  But that is because two concepts are deemed crucial.  Discussion of what information the state’s computer system does and does not track. Nothing about belief, or corneas.   The “waiver” was for No Child Left Act, not for Common Core.

Glenn Thomas. Common Core reading list includes the Bible and Shakespeare; the classics are still there. Welcoming all the input, including the folks who disagree

Glenn Warren.  Talks about how reducing the testing requirements under common core has made it easier to “improve our craft.” Gave examples of how failing math students did a great job learning how to program robots.

Robin Eubanks. Disputes that the waiver was only for No Child Left Behind. “The purpose of Common Core is to change the nature of American High Schools.” Common Core is a “bucket” for many Federal interventions.

Hugh Hewitt.  “I’m not opposed to the Common Core. I am opposed to Federalization of Education”.  Argues that local control has been lost.  “If we’re going to stop this, we have to stop this now.”  Wants the lawsuit, because Hugh claims that “Arne Duncan has taken control of this district”

Gary Thompson. “I don’t want test developers, teachers practicing their craft on our children.”  [uh, how else do they get better?] Seems to think Bill Gates will make a lot of money of this.  “The test is an experiment…given without informed consent.” Wants to know: where is the validating data for the test?

Lydia Gutierrez.   Objects to state-level curriculum determinations. Testifies that every computer interaction is tracked by student code that includes birthdate.  “Common Core is a theory licensed as standard and marketed as a product.” “Common Core is a product owned by the national governors association and CCOS.”


Next meeting on common core is Nov 17th. This will lead to a white paper.


About Tyler in Irvine

Twenty Year Irvine Resident. Native Texan and proud Longhorn. Pro-Choice Ron Paul supporter. "Do I contradict myself? ... then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman