On Thursday, September 19, the Baltimore County Public Schools held a public meeting for parents to learn about the Common Core, a new set of standards resulting in a new curriculum that many school districts have adopted first, and explained after.
During the meeting, one father became frustrated with the method in which questions were being handled, and stood to ask his own question.
When the school officials were unable to quiet him, they had a security guard forcibly remove him from the room. He was subsequently arrested for second degree assault and disturbing a school operation. Both charges include hefty fines and the possibility of time in jail.
A Public Meeting to Answer Questions on the Common Core
The format for the public meeting did not allow for parents to stand and address questions directly to the school officials. Instead, they were to write their questions on cards and submit them. During this hour and a half long forum, parents listened to a number of individuals discuss how “great” the common core will be, and then had some parent questions answered.
The meeting was designed to inform parents of major changes to the curriculum and standards as outlined by the New Common Core. Many parents had concerns and want to have some serious questions answered. Instead of answering questions, however, the school officials picked only a handful of questions submitted, and glossed over issues, even going so far as to edit the questions parents submitted.
For example, when a Anne Miller submitted a question asking about data collected on their children and whether parents can opt out, the question was edited to exclude whether or not parents have the right to opt out.
Robert Small, the father removed from the meeting and subsequently arrested, was not the only parent to speak out of turn, shouting questions. The difference was that he stood and refused to allow officials and security to silence him. Here is a video taken during the meeting of the incident:
Parents’ Role in the Education of their Children
What role should a parent take in the education of their children? Should a parent be concerned and ask the hard questions? When those questions are not answered, should parents sit down and silently allow the schools to continue without challenge? Or should parents stand up, ask the hard questions and risk being arrested for it?
A parent is in the position of caring for their children’s wellbeing. This includes being active and involved in their education. While the schools are tasked with educating children, they should not be left to do so while ignoring parent’s concerns. Instead, school officials and teachers need to stand up and answer the hard questions. If the answers are not acceptable, then changes need to be made.
What Can You Do if You Have Concerns About the Common Core?
First, as parents, you need to educate yourselves. Learn what the Common Core is all about. Look at everything that your child brings home from School. Ask to see text books and read them carefully. Request parent-teacher conferences; include the Principal and ask specific questions about methods and strategies used in the classroom. Attend school board meetings and ask questions. Write letters with your questions and concerns and send them to your local school officials and your state governor. Whatever you do, do not stop asking questions. It is important for parents to know that if they are not happy with something, they do not have to sit and be quiet.
Don’t forget, Decoded Parenting is here to answer the tough questions too – don’t hesitate to submit an Ask the Expert question if there’s something you don’t understand about the Common Core.
Bowie, Liz. Parent arrested at forum after protesting use of common core. (2013). Baltimore Sun. Accessed on September 22, 2013.
Red Maryland Network. Parent Arrested for Questioning Common Core. (2013). Accessed on September 22, 2013.
Malkin, Michelle. “Parent’s, you need to question these people!:” Shock video of dad arrested at school meeting after challenging Common Core. (2013). Accessed September 22, 2013.© Copyright 2013 Jennifer Wagaman, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Parenting