Thursday, October 24, 2013

Welcome to UnCommon California's Blog!

Like many parents in California, up until about a month ago, we had not heard much about Common Core.

However, a month later and after a lot of research, here we are.  We are not professional education experts.  We are not professional bloggers.  We are not politicians.  We do not have ulterior motives or an agenda.

We are like many of you... parents who care about their children's education and who have become very concerned with the changes taking place in our local school and other schools across the nation.  It now seems to us that the education of an entire generation of kids is at stake.

We hope to raise awareness of the problems with Common Core, especially as it relates to our schools in California.  We speak from the perspective of parents, but we highly value the opinions of many others, including the experts, school board members, administration, teachers and many others impacted by Common Core.  This cause is growing rapidly and has only recently reached California.

We will also strive to present a non-partisan perspective.  You can tell how big an issue is when you have folks from opposite ends of the political spectrum coming out against Common Core.  We welcome Democrats, Republicans and those across the political spectrum.  We also welcome those who usually abstain from politics.  We are willing to listen to all sides of this issue.  We have views on various topics and issues, but we strive to be focused on THIS issue of Common Core and encourage others to do the same.

We believe that, when all the facts come out about Common Core--how California got into it in the first place, how it compares with the existing California Content Standards, how it comes with decreases in child privacy protections--parents will want something better for our California kids.  They will also wonder why it took so long for them to find out about it and what went wrong along the way to get us in the predicament in which we find ourselves.

Our goals are simple and straightforward, but critically important. Accomplishing them will not be easy.  We ask for your help and we seek to join other causes like ours around California and the nation.  The forces working against us are great.

We will strive to work with parents, teachers, school communities, other groups and local and state governments around California to:

1). Raise awareness of all aspects of Common Core: how it came about, how it compares to other options (including existing California Content Standards), how it removes local and state control over education, how it is part of an effort to reduce child privacy protections, and other key aspects;

2). Reverse Common Core adoption by petitioning the Governor, state and/or local legislatures, the California Department of Education, the California Superintendent of Schools and local schools across California.  Further, to encourage California and each school to retain the rigorous and proven California Content Standards and STAR test;

3). Encourage California officials, working collaboratively and closely with parents and educators in local school districts, to revise and improve existing California Content Standards and the STAR test to make them even better--surpassing the quality of others available.  We should do so in a fair and open process, with ample opportunity and time for debate and public input.  There is no reason California schools cannot have the very best standards, curricula, teachers, tests, technologies and students in the nation.

4). Petition Congress and/or the courts to reverse the so-called "amendments" made by the U.S. Department of Education to reduce the child privacy protections contained in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Further, to petition California government bodies to repeal or amend various state statutes, such as SBX5 1, which also reduce child privacy protections.  Also to petition California legislature and our Governor to enact new and more stringent child privacy protection legislation.

Our California kids are not "common."  They are unique, special and exceptional.  They deserve better than Common Core and they do not deserve to have their lives monitored or their privacy infringed.  We need education that fits our kids--education that is uncommon and exceptional.

Welcome to UnCommon California.  We hope you will join us.  Thank you for your support!

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