VACAVILLE — The Solano County Office of Education isn’t participating in a Vacaville town hall Wednesday about new Common Core state standards put in place in California schools this year.
It’s because the state has already approved the standards, the county superintendent says.
“That is really a political question that was answered by the state,” Jay Speck said of the merits of Common Core.
The state Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010. This year’s state budget provides $1.2 billion for local school districts to implement Common Core.
The two-hour panel discussion conducted by CA Common Core Concerns, parents and citizens who say they want to educate people about lasting impacts the standards will have, begins at 7 p.m. in the Ulatis Community Center in Vacaville. A brochure for the town hall asks of the Common Core state standards, “Are they good or bad for our children’s education?”
Colleen Britton of Common Core Concerns said the state program will mean a loss of local control and that the county Office of Education should be represented at the town hall.
“They owe it the people of the county,” said Britton, a retired teacher.
Williamson Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Wendy Hart, a member of the Alpine School District Board of Education, Utah’s largest, are among the speakers at the town hall, she said.
Superintendent Speck said local school districts set curriculum and instruction to meet state standards. He said a parent night about Common Core occurred last year at the county Office of Education and about 25 people attended.
Speck said the new state standards are intended to emphasize critical thinking by students rather than their repeating facts back in bubbles on standardized tests.
Britton said every school board member and superintendent in Solano County has been invited to the town hall. She said the state presents Common Core as a set of educational standards that local school districts can adopt.
“It’s voluntary – with their hands around your throat,” Britton said of the state.
She said the state Department of Education was invited to attend the Vacaville town hall as well, but also declined. A representative of the state agency could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The Ulatis Community Center is located at 1000 Ulatis Drive.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.