Howard PTA continues work on Common Core after arrest of president's husband

The Ellicott City man arrested after speaking out against a new set of academic guidelines last week might have become the poster child for anti-Common Core sentiment across the country, but his wife is the president of an organization that has yet to take an official stance on the new scholastic reform.

Charges against Robert Small, who is married to PTA Council of Howard County President Christina Delmont-Small, were dropped four days after he protested the Common Core at a forum in Towson Sept. 19. His arrest drew national attention to the region, and to the Common Core.

But the PTA Council of Howard County isn't worried about negative backlash, or the leadership of Delmont-Small.

"We're not concerned about this," said PTACHC Executive Vice President Reginald Avery. "Christina is her own person, separate from her husband, and both she and we want to look at both the good and the bad of the Common Core."

Despite Small's opposition to the Common Core, no one to Avery's knowledge has requested Delmont-Small recuse herself from her position. Delmont-Small declined to comment for this story.

Though the Maryland PTA Council has approved of the new curriculum standards — the organization was a co-sponsor of the Towson forum — the Howard organization has yet to take a position on the Common Core.

"Right now, we're wait-and-see," Avery said. "We have questions and concerns. We want to understand the Common Core before we come out with a position."

To that end, the PTA Council of Howard County is organizing its own forum on the Common Core, to be held this fall. Several forums sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland PTA Council have taken place in the region, but none were scheduled for Howard County.

A date for the local forum has not been set, Avery said, but State Superintendent Lillian Lowery has agreed to come and speak once a date is confirmed.

The organization has been planning the forum for about a month and a half, Avery said — long before Small's arrest last week.

"The intent of forum is to make sure that we have the pros and cons of Common Core," Avery said. "We want an explanation that debunks any rumors, and an idea of what it is and what it is not. We think that's the reasonable approach."

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