The BLOG: Voices

The grassroots will stay the course for the sake of their children and grandchildren

Sadly, the petition to continue Common Core in the Bay State or to replace it by the state’s better pre-CC standards is not on the ballot for November 2016. But the 125,000 signatories of the Common Core petition have not disappeared from the ongoing education conversation. Parents are now reconsidering their next move.

The Gates Foundation distorted the democratic process by giving the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) funds to cover the use of high-paid lawyers at Foley Hoag for a lawsuit against the Attorney General for certifying the parents’ petition. Surprisingly, Foley Hoag gave Judge Margot Botsford of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) a flawed argument to use; it had already been used and rejected by the Attorney General’s office.

It is indeed extraordinary that Judge Botsford and her colleagues did not understand that releasing all test items used at every grade level tested not only was related to the transparency of the early MCAS tests but also was an integral part of the effectiveness of the early MCAS tests (1998-2007) and the professional development given to teachers at the time.

In my judgment as president of the Massachusetts chapter of U.S. Parent Involvement in Education (US PIE) — and as someone who witnessed the palpable anger of parents, teachers, and students when collecting hundreds of signatures for our petition — pressure needs to be put on existing organizations to curb the Gates Foundation’s influence on education and the drain on local taxpayers to support a testing infrastructure imposed on them by the current administration.

Our first step, therefore, is to eliminate all computer-based testing. It lowers kids’ scores in contrast to paper-and-pencil, it hurts low-income kids, it is extremely costly and unreliable, and it makes it too easy for bureaucrats to collect personal information from children that should remain private.

Above all, in every local school district, we need to talk about the collusion of private corporate interests and unelected bureaucrats paid by local and state taxpayers, but ultimately unaccountable to them.

Michael Gendre is president of the Massachusetts chapter of USPIE and author with Nicolas Sanchez of “Aligning Values and Politics—Empowerment versus Entitlement” (University Press of America, 2016).