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Common Core: Letter to Editor addresses Ringstaffs defense of standards

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2013 at 9:41 AM

BCN Editorial:

Mr Martin Ringstaff you are wrong on so many levels about Common Core. 

You have been delivered perhaps a federal, State, Haslam issued talking points and you are sticking to script.

You have the appearance of being a total puppet or useful idiot of the federally directed program called Common Core that is ultimately nationalizing our states and local school systems.

Your many blunders in the recent article in the banner speaks volumes of your ability to follow marching orders.

We the people, we the legislators, we our representatives did not “vote” for Common Core. 

In 2009,  President Obama, created a stimulus package with taxpayer dollars to “get the economy going”  and from that allocated around 4.3 billion or so for RTTT, Race To The Top.

You, the state and it’s many bureaucrats were asked to bid, jump through hoops to get this money, a sort of competition. Everyone likes competition, right?

The starting pistol sounded and the race to the top or bottom however you choose to look at it has started. 

You put your beat foot forward and several stages later you were awarded a federal grant of 501 million to initiate RTTT.

With only dollar signs in your eyes you forgot to look and see what was was inside this neatly wrapped package.

In fact, very few if any knew Common Core was tucked in it and gulped down by useful idiots only because the taste of money overpowered the urge to see it’s content. 

You accepted Common Core, sight unseen, because at the time of your acceptance, the Common Core standards had not even been completed and signed off when the check was written. Was this purposeful? I’ll let you decide.

Tucked neatly and discreetly inside was only the mention of new standards, very little mention of Common Core or what it entailed.

This was mainly because so many on the board that issues the standards of Common Core would not sign off on them because they were convinced they would not work and get the results desired.

Mr Martin Ringstaff, and Dawn Robinson you are wrong on so many levels.

I received this well written letter to the editor of Bradley County News and have elected print it’s content, unedited.

This encourages me greatly that many within our community are starting to awaken to what our county, city and state leaders are doing to our community and our children.

It is obvious to me and as our thorough research deepens we can clearly see who the puppets and useful idiots are of our federal government.

As the facts are exposed and the dust clears you can begin to see that many of our local city, county and state led representatives have their arms extended through the fog interlocking with the federal government as they attempt to nationalize our education and take over the minds of our children through indoctrination.

Let history be the marker and all involved be held accountable for this federal takeover of our state educational system.

When the chips fall, and they are crumbling fast, let these leftist stand alone with the blood soaked grant money they received for the minds of our children.

Allow me to finish with this thought in mind. Ponder these few questions, please.

Who is responsible for bringing this to Bradley County and our state?

What vote is Mr Ringstaff and Mrs Robinson talking about? Clearly, they assume that state legislators or an elected representative did vote on it, that did not happen. It was a bidding war for stimulus money. NO VOTE was cast that I am aware of by my State  Representative!

Who is vested in this endeavor? Clearly, adjusting the curriculum to the needs of big business makes me wander and guess to the extent of the Chamber of Commerces, a lap dog for the UN, involvement in this endeavor.

Is getting rid of reading literature and adjusting to reading of “technical manuals” going to keep the interest of our children and optimize their learning?

Will reducing our learning standards from the current  “135 to less than 50” Common Core Standards really going to heighten our learning experience?

Why are we not addressing parents in this issue? In the Banner article that started this conversation, Mr Ringstaff did not mention one time the parents and if I recall correctly he did not mention the students as it pertained to their well being. Something is rotten here and it does smell good.

Why are our concerns, many emails and phone calls not being returned when we are inquiring about Common Core.

I have seen one email  from Mr Ringstaff where he dismissed the revealed research as “propaganda” and an article to the Banner about his visit to the Rotary, a UN representative, an NGO or Non Governmental Organization of the United Nations.

I will complete my editorial here and ask you to read the words below very carefully and see the concern of this citizen, taxpayer who is very concerned about the direction that Mr Ringstaff and Mrs Robinson are taking our children in exchange for federal grant money.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Dear Martin Ringstaff and Dawn Robinson,

I read the article recently published in the Banner in which you addressed the Rotary Club on the subject of Common Core.

You paint a very positive picture for the future of education in Cleveland and all of Tennessee because of this new set of standards and the curriculum that will be brought in to align itself with these new standards. 

I have read many things on Common Core as well as other education systems that are being implemented around the country.

I am sure you would disagree with a lot of that analysis that I have studied and would just dismiss it off hand so I promise I won’t bother to argue my points using these sources. 

I find local officials are quick to be dismissive and not engage in debate because they don’t like the sources of information rather than deal with the substance of the information presented. I know this from experience. However my most typical response in none at all. This being the case, I will argue my points strictly from your own words as presented in this article.

The very first thing I noticed in this article is that the word “parent” is nowhere to be found; not even the slightest hint of a reference is ever brought into consideration.

It is very clear from my research (sorry I said I wasn’t going to do that) and from this article that parents are completely left out of this process and their consent was never sought in any of this. 

Who is in control and driving this? I can certainly refer to my research and rattle off the names of government agencies, think tanks, foundations and major corporations but that would violate the promise I made to you at the very beginning of this e-mail. To answer that question let’s refer to your article to provide the answer:

1. State Leadership Council. Who are they? Apparently there are 22 of you arguing details. Did we elect these people as our representatives? No we did not.         

According to this article, this group is charged with the task of “working through the transition” to Common Core so they are certainly not objective and independent.

2. K-12 Educators, College Educators. Again, a generic name to given to create the illusion of approval. 

I challenge you to have one of your teachers go to the Banner and make their own personal, stirring, passionate case for the need of Common Core from their own heart. 

On the other hand, I know several teachers who are at minimum shaking their heads and at maximum making plans to exit the profession because of what this represents. Concerning college “educators”; Are you really trying to tell me that literature professors are begging you to make students read  menus, technical manuals and speeches instead of Homer, Gibbon, Dickens, Longfellow, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Shakespeare? 

Are you telling me that math and science professors are begging you to strip away the already bare minimum content of Euclidean geometry and physical science classes to allow for more writing and critical thinking skills to be taught during that class time? 

3. Here is the best one that really gets me; Business leaders. This may be just me, but I do not care less about the opinions of business leaders as to what they think my child needs to learn in kindergarten. They have no right to dictate that we change our historic liberal arts education system into their own personnel workforce development racket. This is just another example of corporations transferring their costs (in this case it is employee training and development) to the taxpayer.

Don’t you see how the local school systems have been cheated out of money and made to go beg to the state and federal government for funding just for their very existence?

 Do you not understand that all the PILOT agreements/tax abatements to corporations and now the new tool of tax increment financing pose an ever increasing threat to our tax base and ultimately school funding? 

In this state, the school board has no voice on these decisions on whether to enter into these agreements.In some states you do. 

Do not believe the lie that the school portion of taxes is protected in these agreements. The city of Cleveland as well as the county have run up massive amounts of debt over the last 20 years. Ask these mayors, city council members, county commissioners and members of the local industrial development board why these agreements with corporations haven’t produced budget surpluses? I have asked them. They won’t answer me. Maybe they will answer you. (Warning: broken promise ahead!!) 

If you would like a copy of an NEA study on the effects of tax abatements on school funding, I would be happy to give that to you. 
Sorry, I got off topic. 

In summary, these corporations have taken our money to build their plants, buy their equipment, pay portions of their employees wages through tax credits and now they want to use our money and our K-12 and our universities to be their own personnel training grounds for equipment operators, quality technicians, and other general plant workers and supervisors? 

I say train your own workers with your own money and stay out of education which should belong and be accountable to parents and students alone.

You say “it is not a mandatory, nationally driven, “you have to do it or else” kind of situation”. Really? 

You would have me to believe that the federal government just handed Tennessee $501,000,000 with no strings attached??? 

There was nothing in the Race to the Top application process in which you agreed to implement these standards sight unseen? 

There was nothing that Lamar Alexander had to agree to in order to get us out of the consequences of not being able to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind? I need help to believe that but I am certainly willing to listen.

In closing I never really made the case for what is wrong with Common Core in and of itself? I will do that now.

– What you described is outcome based education principles. How will that help translate into the real world?

How would you like to be on the operating table and have an outcome based surgeon? Will you give them credit for 85% of the operation being done right? 

Would you get on a plane with an outcome based pilot? Would you give him a passing grade for missing the runway by only 200 yards?

How about outcome based dentistry? 

Outcome based accounting? 

I can go on but I hope you get my point: You are directing children toward mediocrity. 

When your aim is mediocrity you end up a total failure. We don’t accept this anywhere else, why do so in education?

– You are robbing the youngest student of the joy of learning at a time that they are the most teachable just for the sake of utilitarianism. They are not being taught anymore; They will now be trained and assessed. You will direct them toward a predetermined career path by an extremely early age when I personally would council a person to not ever worry about what you want to be before the end of your second year of college. Obviously we differ on that point.

– The removal of great books for “relevant” non-fiction. What is wrong with that? I am not a very smart person but let someone who is answer this question. 

In The Closing of the American Mind, By Dr. Allan Bloom he says these things that I pulled out that text:

“It is not merely the tradition that is lost when the voice of civilization elaborated over millennia has been stilled in this way. It is being itself that vanishes beyond the dissolving horizon”.

“As the awareness that we owed almost exclusively to literary genius falters, people become more alike, for want of knowing they can be otherwise”.

“Thus the failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency – the belief that the here and now is all there is.”

To all on this e-mail. You did not start us down this road. It has been going on a long time but I believe Common Core represents the final death nail in the coffin of our educational journey in our nation. 

Please consider these words and consider the ramifications of this system to future generations.

Thank you,

Rob Bower

Source of conversation: I encourage you to read this paper often as The Cleveland Daily Banner does an excellent job of covering the “happenings” in our community. Go to the stands and buy up multiple copies and give them to friends and families. Please use the Banner as a great source of information, then entertain your self and turn to BCN for the rest of the story.

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/22315165/article-Ringstaff–Common-Core–has-%E2%80%98awesome%E2%80%99-prospects

Please remember, all my posts, future and present, are my opinion based on facts and my research. I am simply using my first amendment rights to redress concerns with my elected reps, those appointed to represent me and my tax dollars they spend.

  1. If Common Core is so tightly linked with RTTT money, then how come the majority of states had implemented it before RTTT and President Obama’s presidency? Also, I have read you and others place blame on Governor Haslam for Common Core and RTTT, but wasn’t it his predecessor, Bredesen that signed off on RTTT? One more thing. I believe you and others are confused as to what Common Core is. CC creates a holistic approach to understanding content that is taught in the classroom. Students have to be able to give reason, through examples of how they arrived at an answer to a question (something you have a problem with in your writings). Common Core is NOT a socialistic, diabolical indoctrination of kids. Please respond to this. We do not know each other personally, but I have read these blogs for quite sometime and maybe one day we could get some coffee and discuss some differences we have.

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