More than 100 parents and their children marched around the South Carolina Department of Education building and then rallied outside it to demand an end to Common Core Standards in the state's schools.
Part of the protest was for parents to keep their children out of school on Monday.
Common Core Standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers as a way to make sure that children in different states were learning the same things at the same time, to make them competitive in college and for jobs and internationally.
45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core Standards. But even though it was the states that developed Common Core, the federal government is involved through the U.S. Department of Education and some funding incentives.
That worries parents like Tina Wilson, who came to the rally with her four children all the way from Myrtle Beach. "There was certainly no teacher involvement, no parent involvement, no local district involvement. It's just a major overstep of power, in my opinion," she says.
One of the points of contention about Common Core is who actually came up with the standards. Opponents say that it was Washington-based lobbying groups funded by Bill Gates. But a list of the members of the committees that came up with the standards, which cover only math and English, contain classroom teachers, college professors, and educational standard specialists.
One of the speakers at the anti-Common Core rally was Dr. Duke Pesta, who travels the country fighting against Common Core. He told the crowd that the committee created to validate the standards, to make sure they do what they're supposed to, was made up of special interest groups, not educators.
He told the crowd, "They brought in one math and one English professor to validate Common Core and, as you know, neither one of them would sign onto it."
But the list of members of the Validation Committee actually includes three K-12 classroom teachers, 2 K-12 principals and a district superintendent, plus 16 college professors.
However, he is correct that two of those professors, Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality, University of Arkansas, and James Milgram, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, refused to validate the standards and have since been speaking out against them.
Peg Luksik, a former teacher who also once worked at the U.S. Department of Education reviewing education reforms, told the crowd of protesters, "The problem with Common Core is in order to make the core common the first thing you have to do is move the bar all the way down to the bottom where the most common achievement level can reach it."
But while she says the standards have been lowered, children are doing worse on tests and getting worse grades. She says that's because the Common Core Standards are not developmentally appropriate. For example, instead of simply teaching that 2+2=4, children are asked to explain why 2+2=4. She says children at that age don't think in abstract terms like that, they become frustrated.
Tina Wilson says, "I have a friend who's a local elementary school teacher in Myrtle Beach and she's says that the kids are miserable. They're miserable in it and they're learning very early on to hate school."
But the United Federation of Teachers says that the Common Core Standards are developmentally appropriate and the group supports Common Core, so clearly not all teachers are opponents.
The protesters are calling on South Carolina lawmakers to pass either of two bills already at the Statehouse that would repeal Common Core in the state.
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