Textbooks rejected: Board votes against books tied to Common Core
by Lindsay Field
April 26, 2013 12:45 AM | 16617 views | 49 49 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joe Dendy, chairman of the Cobb Republican Party, speaks out against the Common Core program at a recent Cobb School Board meeting.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Joe Dendy, chairman of the Cobb Republican Party, speaks out against the Common Core program at a recent Cobb School Board meeting.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
Powder Springs resident Richard Gruetter addresses the school board.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Powder Springs resident Richard Gruetter addresses the school board.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow

A spirited crowd applauded and cheered as the Cobb County School Board voted down a request by the district to purchase $7.5 million in math resources for next school year.

The board was considering buying more than 73,000 math materials, which included teaching booklets, hardback books and online resources for students in kindergarten through 12th grades, to be bought with SPLOST III funds. This purchase fell in line with the state’s adoption of the Core Curriculum Standards in 2010.

The agenda items were listed as two separate items — one for elementary and middle school students and the second for high school students — and the board spent about two hours discussing them.

Board members who voted against buying the materials were Kathleen Angelucci, Tim Stultz, Randy Scamihorn and Brad Wheeler.

Angelucci questioned the purchases because of their association with Common Core Standards, a curriculum that has been adopted by 45 states nationally.

She argued that many states are looking at getting rid of these standards for a number of reasons, and Georgia legislators were looking at doing the same with the introduction of House Bill 167, which was withdrawn this past session.

“I have on good authority that it will be introduced,” she told her colleagues.

Angelucci and many others in the audience who addressed the board during public comments asking the them not to approve the materials, also said they were concerned about the federal government curtailing how states educate their children.

Scott Sweeney, who voted in favor of the purchases along with David Banks and David Morgan, agreed that he had “serious, serious concerns” about the intrusion of federal government but was also worried about the district “hanging its hat” on Georgia politicians withdrawing the curriculum next year.

Aside from many comments made by individual board members, they also had an opportunity to ask Cobb Schools Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause a number of questions about the purchase.

Scamihorn asked if Common Core changed the way teachers taught math. Krause answered by saying it tweaks their lesson plans and content while making the subject more rigorous for students and potentially improving student achievement.

He also asked if Common Core was “dumbing down” Cobb’s curriculum.

She simply replied “no.”

Sweeney and Banks also asked Krause what would happen if Common Core hadn’t been adopted by the state and if these materials were what Cobb Schools would still want to use in the classrooms.

Krause responded with a “yes.”

This specific response is what led Banks to his decision favoring the purchase.

“In my opinion, regardless of Common Core, by not providing up-to-date textbooks, it puts our students at a disadvantage for the next year and possibly the next two to three years,” he said. “We haven’t really accomplished anything for the students.”

He also argued that Common Core is “nothing new” and reminded the public that it was adopted by the state three years ago and that teachers began implementing the curriculum at the beginning of this school year.

There was also some back and forth among board members as to whether this item could come back up for another vote.

Angelucci stated that according to board policy, if the majority of the board votes for or against something, that is their vote and it shouldn’t be revisited.

But Scamihorn said he would like to study the potential purchase a little further and anticipates putting it back up for approval in the next month or two.

 

Comments
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Why now
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April 28, 2013
Where was the outrage over NCLB. You talk about government involvement in schools. That was the worse yet. Where were all of you three years ago when the this came up in the state? Lets try something in this county for longer than 6 months before tossing it out like old trash.
Quite Concerned
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April 28, 2013
Thank you Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Banks and Mr. Morgan for getting this one right.

Shame on Angelucci and Stultz who should know better and also on Wheeler and Scamihorn who've turned their backs on the teachers they once call colleagues.

Because of the latter's decision, math teachers have not been provided with the tools they need. They will also come out of pocket to pay for materials they feel they need.

Great move during this budget cycle.

Just how much will it cost all math class teachers to build their materials this year? Too much !!!!!

This needs to be reconsidered or it will probably cost more teaching positions.
MS Math Teacher
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April 28, 2013
I am also just as upset as you are! We need these books to help our students and parents! I am so upset that we are back to no resources to support learning in our classroom. The books for the middle school level were books the students could write in with foldables, lessons that are broken down that anyone could understand, practice, labs, inquiry based learning, and more. The books also came with online resources for the students. The online resource that came with them had tutor videos, online practice and more. Please LOOK THEM UP!!! For the middle school level they are the GLENCOE COMMON CORE 2013 textbooks! Please look at them!!!

I am so sad that my parents and students will never know what a great textbook they missed out on!
ccteach
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April 27, 2013
I am a Cobb County teacher and work very hard to provide the best mathematics instruction for my students. It is so hard to teach 177 days without a curriculum guiding...and I really DON'T mean that I want a workbook/worksheets provided to keep my little ones busy. I absolutely love math and love teaching it...I want some hands-on, meaningful lessons...problem solving, individual/partner/guided math group investigations for lasting, enduring understandings...the Pearson products do just that. After reading the news @ breakfast this morning, I realized that I will have to spend my own money to have that teacher edition to support my good teaching...I, and others in my building and system, have worked so hard this year to provide the children in our classes with good math instruction without a curriculum to support...Thank you Mr. Banks for realizing that support is needed.
Mary Kay Bacallao
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April 27, 2013
The NCTM Principles and Standards, published in 1989, are more rigorous than the Common Core Curriculum Standards. They are national math standards that include the principles of problem solving, reasoning and proof, mathematical connections, technology and communication. They are exactly what we need here in Georgia. The Common Core has not been piloted or tested. The first state to implement it, Kentucky, saw math scores drop and the achievement gap widen. Standards do nothing, teachers and students do. We need textbooks. We do not need textbooks aligned to the Common Core. We need textbooks aligned to the NCTM Standards and Principles because those standards ARE research based. Thank you Cobb County School Board! You made the right decision.
Not the MGMAYOR
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April 27, 2013
Everyone on here has the wrong approach:

Common Core = Common; we should embrace it and say that's easy because we are doing that and much more.

The Cobb GOP Chairman diminishes his office by participating in this debate.

Richard Greuter diminishes the debate by showing it is really the T-Party that opposes it.

The T-Party needs a retirement party.
Here we go again...
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April 26, 2013
This reminds me of when our board made national news for putting stickers in the science textbooks that called evolution “a theory, not a fact." Subsequently, a federal judge ordered the stickers removed since it was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Reminder - the county paid workers to affix the stickers and then had to pay to have them removed. We are looking pretty stupid once more - the Common Core curriculum is already being taught in our classrooms - they have now just hurt teachers again by not giving them the resources they need to teach. Great job Cobb County School Board!
marlougar@gmail.com
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April 26, 2013
It was to my understanding that Common Core is supposed to get classroom instruction and learning back to "old school"-pardon the pun. Common Core lessons are to get students to start thinking and assessing what is being taught. After so many years of multiple choice tests, I thought it was a good idea for students to go back to thinking about what is being taught and to be able to break down a subject question explain how they got answers. It seems that with Common Core tests focused on open ended questions and students having to literally solve problems and show their work would be a good thing instead of just marking A,B,C,or D.
anonymous
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April 26, 2013
And we're textbooks in the SPLOST plans? Are they considered classrooms now?
@ anonymous
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April 27, 2013
Yes... The SPLOST III Resolution called for:

...Replacing, purchasing, upgrading or supplementing capital equipment including, but not limited to, ...BOOKS
educated resident
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April 26, 2013
Tea Party politics does not belong on our school system. Our kids are more important than being against everything the Federal Government supports.
canampatriot
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April 26, 2013
Clearly, you need to be mored informed on these issues involving Common Core Educated Resident. If you were part of a country wide forum discussing them you would be aware that the majority of the complaints come from concerned parents. Let us not chase the red herring instead lets question what truly is in the best interest of the child.
Cobb Citizen
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April 26, 2013
This board is as crazy as ever...now the Tea Party is chiming in! Cobb GOP=ignorance at it's finest!
hs math teacher
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April 26, 2013
This vote means I have no usable materials for my classroom. The books available to high school freshmen are the old math 1 books. The majority of material we are required to teach are not in this book. The possibility of simply using these old books is out of the question.

The high school math teachers are very resourceful at creating awesome materials for their students. I applaud the efforts of all these teachers and the fantastic materials they are willing to share with other schools.

While these may not be the best textbooks for Cobb County, I have a problem with the possibility of not having any usable books for the next six years. I have frustrated parents because there are no books or other curriculum resources available to send home with their student. I do not want six more years of frustrated parents that feel helpless and unable to help their students at home.

I hope we can find a solution, stop drastically changing the curriculum every few years, and get back to the business of teaching are children and getting them ready for the future.

Too Funny
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April 26, 2013
Just so we're clear.

The Board voted down a more rigorousness math curriculum which intended to make Georgia's students more nationally competitive but because the federal government was involved that was considered a "bad" thing? Well done you dolts.

The Tea Party morons in this county are becoming insufferable...
Too funny
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April 26, 2013
Yeah - I know, when you call someone a moron, it's best to proofread your post. Haha!
Belmont Mom
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April 26, 2013
Educate yourself on common core. You Alinsky ridicule without substance won't work anymore. Stick to facts not name calling. Here are two links to start:

http://www.stopcommoncore.com

http://www.patrioticmoms.com/1/post/2012/12/reclaim-local-control-of-education-now.html

Charie
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April 26, 2013
I suggest you check out the Constitution and amendments. What the federal government may do is listed there. All else is left to the states and individual citizens. You apparently have never read the Constitution so it behooves you to be more circumspect in who you are calling morons and dolts.
Too funny
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April 26, 2013
What is with you freaks and Alinsky? Is that a Glenn Beck thing? Those links don't tell me anything substantive. They do however spout a bunch of "we need local control" nonsense which is typically right wing crazy code for we want to teach creationism as science and David Barton nonsense as American history, etc.
Educrat
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April 26, 2013
Scamihorn, Wheeler, Angelucci & Stultz just placed a heavier burden on Cobb's teachers who will now have to develop their own lesson plans & materials to align with what Georgia has adopted. The costs will come out of the operations budget and as Sweeney pointed out last evening... their decision increases the budget deficit and potentially costs more teaching positions.

Brilliant!

When asked how many people reviewed and made the text book recommendation, Krause stated at least 100 teachers.

The board majority turned its back on those teachers and interestingly they have no back up plan. No alternative recommendation was offered by any board member as a text book replacement.

Krause stated that though the recommended text books align with the Common Core, they would still recommend the same books if Common Core was off the table.

When a discussion surfaced about reconsideration, Angelucci stated that the board had decided... Hysterically hypocritical since she didn't exercise the same logic/restraint with the calendar.
REality Check
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May 07, 2013
MY goodness! a School teacher developing their own lesson plans? The HORROR...smh..
Watcher...
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April 26, 2013
The two "Common Core" votes last night were not about textbooks.

The real issue is much deeper.

Thanks to Ms. Angelucci, Mr. Stultz, Mr. Scamihorn and Mr. Wheeler.

Kennesaw Resident
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April 26, 2013
AMEN!
Just Wait
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April 26, 2013
I don't know what everyone is so happy about. Judging by the rankings, both Cobb County and Georgia aren't doing so well with local control. However, paranoia is getting all "A's."
cobbmombof2
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April 26, 2013
You are exactly right. The Fox News crowd is all atwitter because the education department is trying to level the playing field for students in all states. There are no national guidelines regarding the presentation of materials except for the common core. Currently if a child moves between states using common core there is continuity in the education process. Previously a child could miss an entire section of reading, math or language arts due to time frames or districts not even teaching certain aspects. Parents don't like Common Core because it teaches children WHY 2 2=4, instead of teaching only the rubric like we were taught. When children understand WHY it works that way they can apply the reasoning to other areas and learn related concepts faster. If parents took the time to educate themselves regarding their child's education instead of listening to TV talking heads they could make reasonable informed decisions. I agree with several previous posters, if you don't pay the school taxes, shut up, we don't care about your opinion.
@just wait
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April 26, 2013
Totally agree with you. What we've been doing in Georgia hasn't worked, but trying anything new is not an option b/c it's progressive and liberal. This state will never improve the quality of its education because too many people are rooted in the belief that we can be fine if we just pretend it's still 1952.
Old timer
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April 26, 2013
Common Core will not provide a great education. Many of your really ought to look at the standards.
cobbmomof2
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April 26, 2013
Old Timer I am very familiar with the standards, I have numerous copies of varied grade levels. Please specify which sections don't meet your standards.
Lassiter Kell
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April 26, 2013
I is a proud graduate of Cobb Kounty hi skool. Everyone no the faderal gubmint are bad. Thank yu mister Dendy for standing up for are state's rites!!!
Cobb Taxpayer
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April 26, 2013
You is so funni!
hard push for 50
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April 26, 2013
49th in education and working hard for that 50th slot. Why do we even need books?
Laurel Rae Harmon
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April 26, 2013
I applaud the Board for voting down the purchase of the Common Core materials. Cobb County teachers and students should have the materials they need to foster great education, Common Core is not great education. Let's do what is best for the teachers to educate and for students to learn.
Cobbmomof2
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April 26, 2013
Ms. Harmon since you project yourself as being well informed regarding Common Core and education in general, what do you suggest to foster great education? Specifics please.
Laurel Rae Hamom
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April 26, 2013
@Cobbmomof2

Since you asked so sweetly:

Assessment driven by data and the GPS

Culturally relevant pedagogy in lesson/delivery

Technology driven instruction/assessment

Family engagement opportunites beyond the school

Inclusive education with L.R.E. in mind

ESOL equity with mastery of primary language 1st

Literacy focus in ALL subject areas

Differentiation to address all learning styles

See, that wasn't difficult!

@ Laurel Rae Harmon
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April 26, 2013
It seems those who shared your opinion were organized well enough to be heard, yet no one offered a solution other than delay.

More than 100 teachers decided which text books would be best for Cobb's students.

What is your specific text book recommendation that will guide Cobb's students to higher scores on state mandated tests that coincidentally are aligned with Common Core?

Your group had enough energy to make their complaints, but apparently not enough experience or energy to suggest solutions other than delay.

Teachers need materials - if not these text books, which?
An Educator
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April 26, 2013
@ Cobbmomof2, there is much that can be done besides Common Core.

Common Core is not the answer.
Inconsequential
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April 26, 2013
HAHAHAH!!! Silly fools, common core isn't going to matter. Nothing will matter. 40 students in a room means NOBODY WINS.
Cobbmomof2
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April 27, 2013
Assessment driven by data was put in place by NCLB.

As for LRE, children with IEPs must spend 80% of their day in general education, whether it is in their particular best interest or not.

Literacy focus? Reading and writing are part of all the standards adopted by Georgia, currently there are Reading, Language Arts and Math standards. Georgia is still using the old science and social studies standards. Students being able to give a written explanation for how they determined the correct function and application in a math problem carries more weight than if they correctly solved the problem.

There are no lessons with Common Core, it is simply standards. Teachers are free to use whatever lesson they like to deliver the content of the standard. Your argument about culturally relevant pedagogy doesn't apply to Common Core since it is standards, not lessons.

And your argument for technology driven instruction is another old one. Cobb County has included the use of technology as part of teacher assessments for several years. You many not like it but technology is here to stay.

Differentiation? Students have performance activities based upon their individual abilities, not a cookie cutter activity for the entire class. Reading is based upon current level, which hopefully is ever increasing, and math stations are leveled for ability. It is up to individual teachers to differentiate, if you aren't seeing it within your child's classroom it is a teacher issue, not a standard issue.

Family engagement? Again, no connection to standards. The only possible complaint I can see about family engagement is the method of presenting information has changed from the time parents were in school. At the elementary level the students are no longer given a multiplication table and told to memorize it or only shown the algorithm to solve a math fact, in fact, the algorithm is no longer taught. Instead children are shown methods to solve number sentences and real live word problems using varied strategies. Strategies they are then able to apply to higher order thinking problems. Students are also able to develop their higher order thinking, something that wasn't taught in school when many parents were attending.

The biggest difference between Common Core and the old Georgia State Standards is children are taught to think for themselves. They don't just regurgitate facts that are quickly forgotten. They make connections between historical events, delve deeper in books to look for connections, word meaning is more important than word spelling, knowing why 2 2=4 is more important than being able to solve.

I do understand that children being taught to think for themselves and question is scary for some people, because those children grow to become adults who think for themselves and question instead of accepting everything they are told.
the good ole boys
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April 26, 2013
Thank goodness that we now have some board members with backbone. Thank you Kathy A. for asking the tough questions, doing your homework on issues, and doing what is right. I am so disappointed with Scott Weanie right now. No backbone, and Banks, he is a constant distraction for this board. Also, kudos to Randy Scamihorn for guiding this board right now. Glad that I do not have kids in Cobb Schools right now, too bad more parents aren't aware of what is going on.
joe smith
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July 16, 2013
Confirm the education of the Board members and you will be surprised at the dishonesty. Some lack any relevant education needed for the decisions they make. I know that one has not been honest.
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