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Tea Party Forum for TUSD Candidates focuses on Common Core

Tea Party Forum for TUSD Candidates focuses on Common Core

TUSD board candidates Jennifer Carter, Deborah Martin, and Tami Hamill-Muniz respond to questions submitted by audience members at the Turlock Tea Party forum on Wednesday.

POSTED October 17, 2013 7:32 p.m.

Common Core State Standard initiatives continue to take center stage as the Turlock Unified School District candidates convened for a forum hosted by the Turlock Tea Party on Wednesday evening.


The forum drew in three of the five candidates running for spots on the TUSD board. Deborah Martin was present as well as incumbent Tami Hamill-Muniz. Both are running for Area 2. Jennifer Carter, a candidate for Area 6 was present, but her opponent Joe Lewis was not present. Bob Weaver, who is running unopposed for Area 4 did not attend the forum.


The scope of issues addressed how much responsibility should be placed on students’ guardians versus the schools. Subject matter included whether schools should serve three meals a day and how important it is to teach American history through the constitution test and flag salute each school day.


When asked about Common Core, all three candidates voiced that they are in favor of the new standards.


In September the TUSD Board of Directors approved a $2.7 million spending plan for the implementation of Common Core. With standards created to be relevant to the real world to help students be successful in college and careers, the new program is being met with contention.


Several questions were directed to Hamill-Muniz as the only incumbent and witness to the district’s implementation of the new standards.


“Common Core is going to allow teachers flexibility. They won’t be so worried about meeting a schedule, they can pace their class appropriately,” Hamill-Muniz said.


Martin and Carter agreed, citing that the individualized approach will allow teachers to cater to the students’ needs at varying levels.

Carter said her own children, who have different learning styles and study habits, have been through the current system and she is glad to see that Common Core will liberate students of different aptitudes from being forced into the same box.


The Tea Party as a whole has voiced opposition against the implementation of Common Core. Members at the forum cited the intensified data collection of student information that states are required to collect as a serious concern. Information collected would include students’ religion, parental politics, medical information, and more.


According to the Common Core Standards website, implementing the Common Core standards does not require data collection. Assessing students and the resulting data is up to the discretion of each state and is separate from the Common Core standards.


When the candidates were asked how they felt about data mining all three denied having any extensive knowledge. They did confirm though that they are used to having to provide background information each year for their children. 


“I don’t think it is the school’s place to collect information on mental illness or guns in the home, but I’m not unused to filling out information on my kids,” Carter said.


Hamill-Muniz added that the efforts may be futile because, “if you’re living in a situation where there are drugs, I don’t think that parents are going to be honest when filling that out.” 



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