The motivation behind creating this blog is stemming from shock. I was shocked at my ignorance of what goes on at the federal level when it comes to education. As an educator I was ashamed that I did not fully understand how decisions are made, and how the U.S. Department of Education affects teachers.
I just finished my 4th year as a public school teacher. This was my 3rd year teaching in Green River, Wyoming. I taught 5th grade, and also taught 6th grade language arts this past 2012-2013 school year. Prior to applying to Sweetwater School District #2, I taught 1st grade in the Alpine School District, at Harvest Elementary in Saratoga Springs, Utah. I chose to apply to teach in the school district I grew up in and graduated from. I knew that Wyoming schools offered more freedom and opportunities to both their students and teachers. I know that my love of education and my path to becoming a teacher was fostered in part by the wonderful experience I had growing up in our great state of Wyoming. I wanted my own children (2 girls and 1 boy) to have the same opportunities as well, with small class sizes, money for field trips, technology, and all those things that come with a strong local community and state that puts education first.
I attended a Wyoming Department of Education training for the ELA (English Language Arts) Common Core Standards in July, prior to starting the 2012/2013 school year. I came to this training knowing only that Wyoming, along with 45 others states, were choosing to adopt the standards fully by 2015. The WDE presenters were suggesting we use some of the methods I had been trained to use in Utah and had previously used while teaching there. Since our state and district benchmarks would not be fully aligned with textbooks, curriculum, and testing until 2015, I wanted to get a head start.
I looked into what my former colleagues were doing in Utah. This is when I discovered the movement that 2 Moms from Utah and Christel Swasey have been a HUGE part of. I was FLOORED! I had no idea that there was a different train of thought, let a lone a movement against the implementation of Common Core. This peaked my curiosity and caused me to do some researching. I quickly realized how ignorant I really was about our country’s education system and how the Department of Education affects what happens in our schools. It was truly ignorance on my part, as I only saw how things happened on a local level and never really thought about the effects of national legislation on a small town in Wyoming.
I spent months researching the history behind common core and following several blogs and websites that gave more insight and a different view than just the basic information I could get off of the Common Core Standards website. When I saw that the anti-common core movement was moving across the nation I knew it was time to speak with some of my fellow colleagues and see if they too were aware. I was also concerned about an Opt-Out form that can be found at the Truth in American Education website. I feel as teachers we need to educate ourselves on what is happening in surrounding states. We need to be prepared to speak with parents about what could be potential concerns they bring to us.
Above is a link to the REST of the story and the Gag Order I was placed under. I submitted my experience to Truth in American Education. I want to share with others my experience. I was prevented by my administrator from sharing my concerns/opinions about common core. I wrote my story anonymously as I was still under contract with the school district. I didn’t want to make my colleagues go under any more scrutiny than they had, or would be, associated with me. I resigned a week before school was out for the summer.
Christel Swasey also wrote a blog post elaborating on the story written by Shane Vander Hart from Truth in American Education. PLEASE read this so you can understand my motivation to include other educators in our fight against the Common Core Standards Initiative.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! Whether you are a parent, teacher, concerned citizen, or just curious, please take some time to do your own research! I will do my best to keep this blog updated and full of resources for you to study and use. Form your own opinion! Share it with others!