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Coalition speaks out against Common Core
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As the Turlock Unified School District prepares to implement Common Core Standards in classrooms throughout the district, a group titled Citizens of Stanislaus County Against Common Core Coalition has formed to educate parents about what they say are adverse effects of the new standards.

In September the TUSD Board of Directors approved a $2.7 million spending plan for the implementation of Common Core Standards. The one time funds are part of the 2012-2013 State budget to support the district’s transition to Common Core. All California schools are set to implement Common Core starting with the 2014-2015 school year.

TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto is calling it the biggest paradigm shift in education that he has witnessed in 35 years.

Da Marto says it is a more individualized approach that is shifting the focal point from teaching and putting it instead on student learning habits.

“A change of this magnitude cannot be done by one person or one group. There needs to be collaboration between the schools and the parents,” Da Marto said.

While Turlock schools prepare for the transition to Common Core, members of the coalition against the standards want to educate local parents about possible problems.

Angela Weinzinger, president of the Travis Unified School Board and a parent with three children in the California school system, feels that the new standards will breed issues in the classroom and at home.

 “I’ve spoken to parents whose children are already completing Common Core homework in other states. The kids are struggling and so are the parents. It bothers me to think that kids will go to school feeling frustrated and not get to experience the joy of learning,” Weinzinger said.

Pat Bicknill, a speech therapist for 34 years and coordinator of the CSACC, finds the standards too idealistic and calls it a one-size-fits-all approach.

Bicknill and Weinzinger are both concerned about the lack of local government control.

“Classroom teachers and districts are the best people to determine how students are doing,” Weinzinger said.

The CSCACC will be holding a public forum from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Thursday at the Double Tree Hotel in Modesto. The event will feature a panel of experts that will provide a host of perspectives and break down the legislative and privacy issues surrounding the new implementation.

“I hope the parents come, because this is for them,” Bicknill said.

Admission is free and no reservation is required.