Unimpressed by information presented by Carroll County Public Schools regarding the Common Core State Standards, three Carroll County Commissioners have said they support a county sponsored forum presenting what they described as the counter argument to Common Core.
County Commissioners Dave Roush, Robin Frazier, and Richard Rothschild said Oct. 10 that they would support the county sponsoring such a forum.
Rothschild said the county should also consider paying for what he described as "Common Core experts" to be flown in from out of state to present at the forum.
"Of course it's appropriate," Rothschild said when asked if the county should pay for such a forum. "When we have a difficult issue to navigate that has a profound effect on the future of our children, we have the affirmative responsibility to get as much information as possible."
Rothschild did not estimate a cost to the county for hosting the forum, but added that the experts he is considering were either involved with the creation of the standards or the validation committees, which were tasked with reviewing the standards.
He did not specify whether the county would pay for speaking costs or just cover travel and or lodging expenses for the presenters.
The Common Core State Standards are education standards required by state law that are intended to increase student performance in math and language arts. Maryland is one of 45 states along with the District of Columbia to adopt the standards.
The common core is currently instilled in all grades within Carroll County Public Schools to varying degrees, according to Margaret Pfaff, Director of Curriculum and Instructional Resources.
Beginning this year, the math curriculum at the elementary and middle schools have fully transitioned to the common core, while some high school math courses are still in the process of transitioning. High school English courses are completely transitioned, while the elementary and middle school English and language arts courses are on ongoing process, according to Pfaff.
Rothschild, who said Carroll County Public Schools representatives would be invited to participate, added that this is not meant to be an attack on the county school system.
Although not on their weekly agenda, the county commissioners discussed the topic of a common core forum for roughly 20 minutes near the end of the board's weekly meeting.
County Commissioners Doug Howard and Haven Shoemaker indicated that they would be against the board sponsoring a forum.
Howard, who has formed a citizen study group to examine concerns and the impact of the Common Core curriculum on county students, said the forum has the potential to just be a political event.
"If we're going to take a couple hour forum one night and try to address all this, we're not going to do this issue justice," he said.
Howard added that he believes the proposed forum would add more confusion to the discussion.
Howard's study group has already met once and meetings of the group are expected to be open to the public before a report is released by Jan. 1.
At the board's Sept. 26 meeting, commissioners voted against forming an official work group of the board to study the impact and effects of Common Core on education autonomy in Carroll.
Frazier and Rothschild were the only two commissioners supporting the measure.
Although the commissioners do not have a consensus on hosting the forum, Rothschild said he was confident it will go on as scheduled Nov. 4.
In a news release sent Oct. 8 Carroll Values Educational Freedom and Excellence announced it had tentatively scheduled a forum for Nov. 4 at Carroll Community College beginning a 7 p.m.
Carroll Values Educational Freedom and Excellence is a "small, but growing" group of parents concerned about the effects of the Common Core State Standards, according to Linda Pallay, one of its members.
The group is not associated with Carroll Values Education, a parent advocacy group formed earlier this year.
The commissioners are expected to again discuss the potential of hosting a forum at the board's Oct. 17 meeting.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun