OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Common Core’

Anaheim City School District’s First Robocall to Palm Lane Elementary School Parents – Full Recording & Transcript

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 8, 2015

Anaheim City School DistrictMuch has been made about the content of the robocalls from the Anaheim City School District (ACSD) to Palm Lane Elementary School parents regarding the effort to utilize the Parent Trigger Law (officially the Parent Empowerment Act) to convert Palm Lane into a charter school.

Oddly in all the controversy about whether ACSD was informing Palm Lane parents or lobbying Palm Lane parents, no one has provided the full audio nor the full text of any of the robocalls.  So for the first time for public consumption since the initial robocall was made, OC Political publishes the first robocall here.

From time to time, OC Political leaves it to our readers to read/listen to the original source rather than filtering it through our analysis.  This will be one of those cases, so other than noting below the differences between the recording and the original script, we leave it to you, our readers, to listen/read for yourselves what the first robocall from ACSD to Palm Lane parents said.

In response to a request from OC Political, ACSD provided a 97-second recording of their robocall to Palm Lane parents on December 9, 2014, when the petition process was heating up but before the petitions were submitted.

Here’s the audio of the robocall:

 

Here’s the transcript of the robocall:

Good evening parents,

This is Linda Wagner, Superintendent of the Anaheim City School District.

Providing the highest quality education possible for your students is our highest priority. Recently, it has been reported to us that there are people in our community who have been paid by an organization to gather parent signatures for a petition that could completely change the way some of our schools are run. What they may not be telling you is that signing the petition could change our schools in dramatic ways.

If they wish to do so, the law allows parents to sign petitions that cause one of several things to happen.  The petition could cause your child’s school to become a charter school; it could force the closure of a school; and it could result in a complete change in the faculty and the staff of the school. If you are truly interested in changing your school, including perhaps new teachers and staff, we do not want to discourage you from signing the petition. We would ask, however, that you read what you are signing and be careful about allowing aggressive petition gatherers to pressure you in to signing a document without all of the facts.

We have not and will not advocate on either side of this issue.

While we do not control communications from either side on this issue, we remain committed to offering a clear and fact-based presentation of all information to our parents, so that you can make the very best decision for your child.

We are proud of the well-rounded education we provide our students. Our programs integrating technology, engineering, robotics, mathematics and critical thinking are preparing our students for college and careers.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us anytime at (714) 517-7510.

While any script will vary from the way a call is actually recorded (slight ad libs or minor differences from the speaker not reading the script word-for-word while recording), there is one odd, substantive deviation regarding Common Core. The original script had: “Anaheim City School District teachers are prepared and focused on teaching new national standards designed to help students think deeply, apply their learnings successfully, and be well prepared prepare for a bright and promising future.”  For whatever reason, Superintendent Wagner left this sentence from the script out when she recorded the call.

The only other noticeable changes were the swapping of two of the last three paragraphs (including the one that originally contained the omitted sentence), the longer introduction, and Wagner’s increased use of the first person (we) instead of the script’s original third person (the Anaheim City School District).  Wagner also corrected a few grammatical errors in the script.

Here is the original script for the December 9, 2014 robocall, as provided to OC Political by the Anaheim City School District:

Dear Parents,

Providing the highest quality education possible for your students is our highest priority. Recently, it has been reported to us that there are people in our community who have been paid by an organization to gather parent signatures for a petition that could completely change the way some of our schools are run. What they may not be telling you is that signing the petition could change our schools in dramatic ways.

If they wish to do so, the law allows parents to sign petitions that cause one of several things to happen.  The petition could cause your child’s school to become a charter school; it could force the closure of a school; and it could result in a complete change in the faculty and staff of the school. If you are truly interested in changing your school, including perhaps new teachers and staff, we do not want to discourage you from signing the petition. We would ask, however, that you read what you are signing and be careful about allowing aggressive petition gatherers to pressure you in to signing a document without all of the facts.

We have not and will not advocate on either side of this issue.

The Anaheim City School District is proud of the well-rounded education we provide our students. Our programs integrating technology, engineering, robotics, mathematics and critical thinking are preparing our students for college and careers. Anaheim City School District teachers are prepared and focused on teaching new national standards designed to help students think deeply, apply their learnings successfully, and be well prepared prepare for a bright and promising future.

While we do not control the communications from either side on this issue, we remain committed to offering a clear and fact based presentation of all of the information to our parents, so that you can make the best decision for their child.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us anytime at (714) 517-7510.

Posted in Anaheim City School District | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

OC Board of Education to Consider Charter School Application

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 17, 2015

OCBESealIn what should be a rather lengthy meeting, the Orange County Board of Education will be meeting today to consider a number of lengthy items.

First on their discussion calendar is Item J-1, which is the application of the College and Career Preparatory Academy (CCPA) for a charter school.  The staff report recommends approval of the charter school.  The CCPA charter school application is the second request and the first direct application to the Orange County Board of Education since the election of Trustee Linda Lindholm last year.  Four months ago, the Vista Heritage Charter Middle School won 5-0 approval from the Orange County Board of Education when it appealed a 4-1 denial by the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of education (Trustee Ceci Iglesias was the sole vote at SAUSD in favor of Vista Heritage).

Lindholm’s victory over eight-term incumbent Liz Parker marked a critical shift for the County Board of Education.  Parker who voted for charter school petitions once in a blue moon led a Board majority that rarely approved charter school petitions.  Orange County’s hostility to charter schools was bizarre considering our neighboring counties all had many times more charter schools (even when adjusting for population) and the pro-charter school stance of the majority of Orange County residents.

Trustee Ken Williams, elected in 1996, has a voting record generally supportive of charter schools.  Trustee Robert Hammond, elected in 2012, has a voting record consistently supportive of charter schools.  Between 2012-2014, Williams and Hammond often found themselves on the losing ends of 3-2 votes on charter school applications.  Lindholm’s victory in unseating Liz Parker shifted the Board to a pro-charter school majority.  To their credits, Trustees Jack Bedell and David Boyd, along with the Orange County Department of Education staff, recognized the sea change delivered by the voters.  Staff reports for both Vista Heritage and CCPA have recommended approval of the charter schools.  Bedell and Boyd joined a unanimous vote in favor of Vista Heritage’s application and are expected to join a unanimous vote for CCPA.

As the Orange County Register noted:

While California is a nationwide leader in both the number and growth of charter schools and students attending them, Orange County is lagging. The state, according to a recent National Alliance for Public Charter Schools study, welcomed in nearly 90 new charter schools this academic year, giving a total of 1,184 – an amount nearly double that of the next-closest state in line, Florida, home to only 653.

Statewide, the study puts estimated enrollment at almost 550,000 students.

Orange County has only 16 charters – two of them limited to what is called “nonclassroom based” study, where less than 80 percent of instruction is onsite. Los Angeles County, meanwhile, has 355 charter schools. The Inland Empire has 63.

We are, in other words, remarkably deficient in providing educational choice.

Item J-3 is a “Statement Regarding the Common Core Math Standards” drafted by Trustees Lindholm and Bedell.

At 12:30 PM, Item G-4 will be a public hearing regarding the Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.  (Oddly, the actual text of the budget was not part of the agenda packet online.)

 

Posted in Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

County Board of Education to Discuss Controversial Common Core Curriculum, AB 1266

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 13, 2013

OCBESealThe Orange County Board of Education has agendized a discussion of the controversial Common Core curriculum for its meeting this morning.  Under the information items proposed by Board members, the Board has the following on its agenda:

Board Policy 100-2 – All
Common Core – Boyd/All
Brown Act – Boyd
Williams’ OC Register Editorial – Boyd
Oath of Office – Boyd/Parker
AB1266 Resolution – Hammond

(Boyd is Board President David Boyd, who represents the 2nd District.  Hammond is Robert Hammond, who represents the 1st District.  Williams is Ken Williams, who represents the 3rd District.  Parker is Elizabeth Parker, who represents the 5th District.  The only member not mentioned on the list is Jack Bedell, who represents the 4th District.  The district lines roughly follow those of the Supervisorial districts with a few exceptions, including a gerrymander to split the City of Costa Mesa, where both Boyd and Parker reside.  A map of the districts is available here.)

Related to the Common Core discussion, the County Board of Education has also agendized a discussion on this OC Register op-ed on Common Core by conservative Board Member Dr. Ken Williams.  (The Williams op-ed is one of the rare articles that is not behind the OC Register paywall.)  Here are excerpts of the Williams op-ed:

As Obamacare implementation is the subject of national headlines, also in 2014, an equivalent tsunami will occur in America with a controversial national education curriculum arriving in our schools and classrooms. For practical purposes, it transforms and adversely impacts classrooms and removes parents and locally elected school board members from governing schools in their community.

Common Core is a one-size-fits-all program. It was paid for by the federal government – against federal laws that prohibit Washington from establishing national educational standards, testing and curriculum.

It’s similar to the current national health care debate. Common Core’s stealthy implementation by the Obama administration, national and state educational organizations and state governments keep parents and taxpayers in the dark.

Originally, 46 states voluntarily adopted Common Core with federal funding “Race-to-the-Top” grants. Conservative states such as Alaska, Nebraska, Virginia and Texas declined to adopt the standards. As opposition increased across the country, Indiana and Michigan recently dropped out under public or legislative pressure.

Here in California, Common Core was adopted by the State Board of Education in August 2010. A main objection to Common Core is it circumvents the ideals and concept of “local control.” In reality, an unelected, governor appointed, 11-member state board of education, decides without substantive debate. Local boards have little input or ability to change curriculum.

Local control of education has been hijacked specifically by unelected officials holding the purse strings in Sacramento; and in general by the federal government and national education organizations. Common Core dismisses the idealism of local control of education by parents, teachers and school boards laid out in the Northwest Ordinance by our founding fathers; it “dumbs down” academic standards; and huge financial costs are born by taxpayers to implement a national curriculum that is unfunded, and has never been tested or proven.

In today’s paper, the OC Register editorial board noted (sorry, this one is behind the paywall):

[Lance Izumi, director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute] warned that state schools will shift in 2014 “from the rigorous state standards to less-rigorous Common Core standards. This is a sharp turn backward.” Common Core is a national program, sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, to standardize school curricula nationwide. In California, for example, that means pushing the algebra requirement from eighth grade to ninth grade.

The Board will also be discussing AB 1266, which is described by the Privacy for All Students campaign (the effort to overturn AB 1266) as “a bill recently enacted by the California Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The legislation creates the right of elementary and secondary school students to use sensitive sex-segregated school facilities such as showers, restrooms and locker rooms based on the student’s perceived gender identity rather than their actual sex. It’s the only legislation of this kind to have ever been enacted in the country.”

The County Board of Education traditionally met on Thursdays, but moved their meetings to Wednesdays, effective with their previous meeting.  They’re scheduled to meet at 8 AM today in their Board room at 200 Kalmus Drive in Costa Mesa.

Posted in Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »