State School Board Seeks to Stifle Public Comment on Common Core

By November 26, 2013Georgia
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The State Board of Education (SBOE), at the request of Gov. Deal, is putting into place a process in which to gather feedback on the Common Core standards. The details of the review process can be found in the document State Board Plan to address Governor’s request Regarding Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. The SBOE will be collecting feedback from experts who both oppose and support Common Core, teachers, parents and the concerned citizens. CWA of Georgia is very concerned about the restrictive nature of how comments will be collected from parents and citizens.

The SBOE is scheduling public hearings in each of the State Board member’s districts to review the Common Core standards (dates and times have yet to be determined). According to the Board document, this is the protocol a parent or concerned citizen who wishes to speak must follow:

Comments must be submitted in writing prior to the hearing.

If an individual wishes to speak in support of or against the standards as a whole, they will be limited to one minute.

Specific standard comments will be limited to three minutes during which time the speaker must state the standard: the specific issue regarding the standard; and any recommended changes or enhancements to the present standard.

CWA of Georgia is appalled that the Board would purposefully set in place such a restrictive process that seeks to stifle debate on this critical issue. I have testified before state legislative committees, a local school board, and the State School Board, and have never been required to submit my testimony in writing before testifying. Speaking before any committee or group of people can be very intimidating, so having such a requirement for the State Board hearings gives the appearance of wanting to discourage concerned parents and citizens from giving important feedback on the Common Core.

I have written to the Board chair requesting that the State Board reconsider how they will conduct the open comment portion of the public hearings. Click here to read the letter.

Action Item:
Please contact Board Chair Barbara Hampton by phone (404-657-7410) or e-mail, and ask her to remove the overtly restrictive process for open comments at the upcoming public hearings. Citizens of Georgia should not be bullied into silence by an unelected State Board of Education.