‘Taxpaying citizen’ Barr joins chorus against Common Core
by Jon Gillooly
June 28, 2013 12:31 AM | 4332 views | 21 21 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Congressional candidate Bob Barr stepped to the lectern as ‘a taxpaying citizen of Cobb’ to take his shots against Common Core. <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Congressional candidate Bob Barr stepped to the lectern as ‘a taxpaying citizen of Cobb’ to take his shots against Common Core.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — During the public comment portion of the Cobb Board of Education meeting Thursday, former Congressman Bob Barr of Smyrna blasted the controversial Common Core standards as a packed room of supporters cheered.

The audience waving signs denouncing Common Core and wore T-shirts opposing the adoption of textbooks aligned with the standards, which they believe will cause the federalization of education and loss of local control.

Barr described himself as a long-time taxpaying Cobb citizen, and “also somebody who has seen the jaws of the federal leviathan close up in a number of capacities.”

Barr made his comments in the wake of the board’s April decision to reject a $7.5 million purchase of math textbooks affiliated with Common Core standards.

Barr, who is running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), said those who advocate for Common Core claim it’s not really controlled by the federal government or that it’s not really driven by federal monies or that it’s going to protect the privacy of Cobb students.

“The fact of the matter is it is a federal program,” Barr said. “It is a program that ultimately is driven by money coming in, the lure of that money is something that the federal government is very good at, luring entities in order to perpetuate the other ‘C’ in Common Core and that is ‘control.’ So I would simply urge all of you this evening being as concerned I know as all of us in the room are with obtaining the very, very best education for our students to consider extremely carefully the nature of this program not just directly but indirectly and what at its core it really is, and that is increasing federal control and consequently reducing your and our control over the education of our students.”

Following the board’s vote to reject the textbooks in April, a May 28 email blast from Michelle Mikes, Cobb’s math supervisor for grades six-12 — with the subject line “share with your department” — urged recipients to make sure administrators, teachers and parents knew the board voted against using SPLOST III funds to buy the math textbooks.

“So, there will not be any new resources at all for at least the next six years,” Mikes inaccurately wrote, going on to erroneously add that math funds could be used instead to build “a playground or something of that sort.” Mikes also urged recipients to attend the next board meeting and speak during the public comment period.

As her email spread throughout Cobb County, board Chairman Randy Scamihorn directed Superintendent Michael Hinojosa to correct the record June 12. Hinojosa agreed at the same meeting that he would do so in a matter of a few days, although it took him nearly two weeks to make good on his promise.

Jan Barton of Marietta, another speaker Thursday night, thanked the board members who voted against the textbook purchases.

“We are also here to say that we are very disappointed that, in our opinion, our Cobb district staff attempted to undermine the decisions when they lobbied Cobb teachers and parents to push to order those same textbooks,” Barton said.

Susan Stanton of Kennesaw also thanked the board.

“The administrative personnel should be ashamed of their behavior to do an end run around the board,” Stanton said. “Mr. Hinojosa has lived down to our expectations.”

Rob Cunningham of Marietta was another speaker who praised the board.

“To ask Randy and this board or for anyone to ask you to take up an unproven risk, or worse to adopt new math standards that arguably lower our children’s proficiency by two to three grade levels, hampers us internationally,” Cunningham said. “Given the howls of despair and the enormous pressure tactics from promoters of Common Core, I think for everybody in this room, we thank you for your courage, we thank you for your placing courage over expediency and prudence over politics.”

Tanya Diddy of Marietta identified herself as the state director for Concerned Women for America.

“This is a large chunk of change to be throwing on what I consider a dying initiative,” Diddy said of the $7.5 million textbook purchase. Diddy said Common Core will soon be left in the dustbin of history like so many education fads.

“It’s a cut flower, and I think it’s to our best interest to slow down the process and look at resources that will help teachers in the classroom, but not spend every penny that we have because this initiative is going to go away, and we want to have money ready to be put on learning resources next year when we have more options. I hope next year we can stand here and say Georgia finally has control of our education authority again.”

In all, 16 residents spoke out against Common Core. But a few Common Core supporters, four of them, spoke in favor. Among the Common Core supporters was Carol Lawrence, who described herself as a Cobb math teacher who was on the math textbook adoption committee.

“My main concern is how folks say ‘thank you for not purchasing textbooks,’” Lawrence told the board. “You’ve got to understand what those children are going to be up against without a teacher who has resources. That’s the thing that’s boggling my mind.”

Lawrence said she loves Common Core.

“Common Core builds a fantastic mathematical foundation in a way that (Georgia Performance Standards) did not address,” she said. “A teacher has to come up with so much content and, without the resources, what are these kids going to do? I don’t understand. These kids need resources. Their future, our future really does depend on it.”

Following the comments, Scamihorn thanked the speakers.

“We as a board and certainly the chair is working closely with the superintendent, Dr. Hinojosa. His staff is still diligently working, researching information, and we are not going to leave our math teachers and certainly our children in the lurch,” Scamihorn said. “We will find a solution for this.”

The State Committee of the Georgia Republican Party adopted a resolution Saturday that recommends the state withdraw from participation in the Common Core standards and the national tests that are tied to them.

It also asks the Legislature to prohibit state officials from entering into any agreements that would cede local control over education to the federal government.

Comments
(21)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Just Wait
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June 28, 2013
Bob Barr has joined this fight for one reason, to garner the votes of those standing on the edge of the earth shouting back at the rest of us "the government is trying to take over your lives." How much more of this polarizing grandstanding will it take before this country has it's second civil war?
Southern Patriot
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June 30, 2013
A second War of Seccession may not be such a bad idea. The Federals won't stop unless they are forced to stop. Lincolnites were dangerous in 1861 and are just as dangerous today, even if they do go by a different name....OBAMITES.
Other Side
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June 28, 2013
Its unfortunate but politics are a huge part of public education. You ask where are the facts that Common Core is bad. I guess the fact that Professor Milgram refused to sign off on CC math standards isn't enough for u.

I would ask u where are the facts, studies or transparency that support Common Core. Mass. was also suckered into signing on to Common Core along with 43 other states. Do we really want people with a vested interest ie making money setting the standards for our children's education? I am not talking about teachers who are in the middle. I am speaking about the Gates Foundation, educational textbook companies who will make billions off Common Core

Hey Other Side
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June 29, 2013
Specifically, what standards are inferior??? Adding fractions??
Math Teacher
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June 28, 2013
We have brought up many times with our board members that teachers without "adequate" resources is a boat without a rudder. The boat san still be moved with oars, but it would make more sense to have a rudder to help with direction. Teachers work very hard to educate our students, but proper resources that were chosen by the panel of Math teachers would help tremendously. Our Math teachers will work very hard to make sure that our students get what they need to succeed. Carol Lawrence as well as the others spoke very well about the Issue of needing resources, not really about Common Core. Common Core is the curriculum looking at the end, but teachers fill in whatever skill is needed to teach that standard. For instance, to teach Volume of a cylinder, you have to teach about Pi. Speakers at the meeting made a reference about not teaching about Pi in Common Core. Put down your signs and get into the classroom and see what the Common Core Curriculum is all about.
Atl. Conservative
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June 28, 2013
Mr. Barr, what the heck are you talking about being "a long-time taxpaying Cobb citizen" ??!!!!

You have not paid school taxes in years! The Bob Barr family has taken advantage of your senior citizen exemption for quite some time.

Your exaggerations are funny and entertaining but the 11th Congressional seat in House is far too important to give to someone who constantly looking for a microphone.
Meeting Attender
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June 28, 2013
We have brought up many times with our board members that teachers without "adequate" resources is a boat without a rudder. The boat san still be moved with oars, but it would make more sense to have a rudder to help with direction. Teachers work very hard to educate our students, but proper resources that were chosen by the panel of Math teachers would help tremendously. Our Math teachers will work very hard to make sure that our students get what they need to succeed. Carol Lawrence as well as the others spoke very well about the Issue of needing resources, not really about Common Core. Common Core is the curriculum looking at the end, but teachers fill in whatever skill is needed to teach that standard. For instance, to teach Volume of a cylinder, you have to teach about Pi. Speakers at the meeting made a reference about not teaching about Pi in Common Core. Put down your signs and get into the classroom and see what the Common Core Curriculum is all about.
Agree with Attender
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June 29, 2013
The experts are in the classroom: not the board educrats or one professor!
Watcher...
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June 28, 2013
Carol Lawrence, “A teacher has to come up with so much content and, without the resources, what are these kids going to do? I don’t understand. These kids need resources..."

May I suggest that Ms. Lawrence review past year's VERY BEST content and resources and develop "Best Practices" for the 2013-2014 School Year.

Student performance and scores my be impacted favorably.
Watcher...
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June 28, 2013
I meant to add: I'll bet that Ms. Lawrence is a great Teacher!
Sick of Watcher
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June 29, 2013
The math teachers are so much wiser than the non-educators that are posting. They know that the math standards are here to stay and they could care less if the words "common core" are associated with them. Student achievement is their goal-not politics!
rjsnh
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June 28, 2013
Barr is again showing why he is the wrong choice to represent us. And, while no one loves the spotlight more than he does (he simply cannot wait to start appearing on cable news regularly again), this is the least important quality we need in our elected representatives. He represents the past. Lets move forward, not backwards in our thinking AND in our representatives.
nothing but politics
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June 28, 2013
Can we hear some examples of specific issues with Common Core or is this just anther tea party talking point so politicians can get elected? So far the latter seems to be the case.
Freedom-watcher
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July 02, 2013
There are many specific examples: Data mining, budget woes, lack of transparency / accountability, to name just a few; check out stopcommoncore.com or pick up a flyer that we are getting out to parents this summer to raise awareness of disturbing facts.

Georgia voters soundly defeated T-Splost, when they learned the FACTS of the bill and this Common Core will suffer the same fate when the truth becomes known.
@ Freedom-watcher
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July 04, 2013
Hello... Bueller! Bueller!

Where were you in 2010 when the state board of education adopted the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards?

Must have skipped school that day and all of the days preceding the adoption.
Who is the Real BARR
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June 28, 2013
More than a little strange actions from a candidate who claims to be running for Congress. Is Mr. Bob Barr running for the school board (who has NO say over the adoption of common core) or the state assembly (who can influence the adoption of common core). Being an strong advocate of the 2nd amendment, I would have thought Bob Bar - the Libertarian errrr new and improved conservative - would have known about going off half cocked. D
FROM TEXAS
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June 28, 2013
Barr is the only one to back in this race if the employees of Lockheed Martin have any sense they will back him as well. Common Core is nothing more than more UN Agenda 21 mantra. All these federal programs are all about this and the ARC is the regional Mafia Don to keep everything in line with their hidden agenda the ARC can stop any zoning in any county. Common core is one more nail in the school coffin the liberals are brain washing your kids and programing them to Obamanites.
Cobbmomof2
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June 28, 2013
@From Texas, honey, you need to stop listening to Alex Jones. Your paranoid ranting is NOT helping your case against Common Core.
Funny Stuff !
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June 28, 2013
Many of the Common Core critics told the CCSD board to look at what is happening in Massachusetts...

"Use the same textbooks."

"Do what Massachusetts is doing."

Critics must have skipped their homework assignment. IF they had done their homework, they would know Massachusetts adopted Common Core.

Can't make this stuff up!
SW Gal
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June 28, 2013
"Can't make this stuff up." No, but proponents of BAD Common Core standards try to do so! The reference to Massachusetts is accurate. Perhaps you missed the statement in "prior years" before the Federal Government drove inferior standards such as No Child Left Behind and, now Common Core. Prior to that point, Massachusetts had high standards with among the best results in the world. We urge the Cobb County School Board to give our teachers and students the BEST resources and books, and NOT inferior, expensive, wasteful Common Core Standards Math Textbooks which will be obsolete once all the remaining states pull out of Common Core. You can FOLLOW the MONEY and realize why the proponents are pushing these particular textbooks (any free trips, dinners or other goodies?). There are much better resources. We want our teachers to have EXCELLENT resources we do not have to throw away next year when our state withdraws from inferior and dangerous, unproven, untested, a product which is NOT research-based - Common Core. Thank you Cobb Bd. of Educ. for NOT throwing taxpayer money away on $7.5 MILLION of "white elephants." James Milgram, the national math expert on the original Common Core committee refused to sign of CC because the standards are inferior, placing our children at least 2 years BEHIND leading international standards. Is that what we want for our children, the COMMON low standard? Or do we want to achieve HIGHER standards?
To SW Gal
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June 29, 2013
"There are much better resources"...have you shared these as an alternative? And, anyone can be called "a math expert"-one professor is who you basing your opinion on? How is math dangerous??? Too funny!
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