Sandra Stotsky was one of the authors of the Massachusetts learning standards in English Language Arts – widely thought to be the best in the nation – and was a member of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Validation Committee, though she has been critical of the final versions as being deficient. David Coleman and Jason Zimba, working under a contract with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were the primary authors of the standards, despite the fact neither man had ever taught in grades K-12 or written K-12 standards. Subsequently; the Common Core were aggressively promoted by Arne Duncan through “Race to the Top” and have now been adopted by 44 states. I asked Prof. Stotsky if parents were members of any of the Common Core committees that provided feedback:
Regarding parents, none were ever involved to my knowledge on any CCSSI [Common Core State Standards Initiative] committee. I kept noting (especially while on the MA Board of Education) that parents were always missing from committees that logically should have included them first (always noting that we needed parents from PTO’s, not the PTA, which in MA represents only about 6% of the parents in the state).
What struck me when I first saw the CCSSI lists of committee members was that there were almost no high school teachers of math or English, or college-level instructors of either on these lists–and here was a project to develop college-readiness standards, supposedly. The exclusion of the two teaching groups most relevant to CCSSI’s explicit goal was my first tip-off that CCSSI had a different agenda.
Mainly testing people and a few employees of Achieve and America’s Choice were on these committees. The media never commented on such peculiar committee membership. After my complaints on the Validation Committee, one or two high school teachers were added. But Jim Milgram remained the only mathematician in this group, and I was the only one who understood ELA standards-writing.