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County spent $434 on Common Core forum

A study group examining new federal education standards being implemented in Carroll County schools will develop recommendations in December, more than a month after the recent Common Core forum.
Earlier this month, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners hosted a forum at Carroll Community College in Westminster to delve into the issues surrounding the Common Core state standards, which is a federal initiative adopted by the state that establishes a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics.
Forum speakers included a math professor at the University of Maryland College Park, a member of the National Common Core Validation Committee, an education administration assistant professor at Seton Hall University, a senior faculty member of the Common Core Institute and an associate professor emeritus in the University of Maryland's Mathematics Department.
Ted Zaleski, director of the county's Department of Management and Budget, said the county spent $434.93 on the forum. The money, Zaleski said, was used for travel reimbursement and food for the speakers. The $434.93 to have the forum was taken from the budget of the Carroll County Commissioners' Office.
Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, said the board members ran as fiscal conservatives, so it makes sense that the commissioners put on a forum with so little money. Rothschild said he was proud that the forum was done on a "shoestring budget."
The forum, he said, was a great opportunity for parents to hear different perspectives on the Common Core standards. Parents learned that there are pros and cons to the new education standards, he said.
"If anything, this forum encouraged people to get more data," he said.
Commissioner Doug Howard, who created the nine-person study group, said he doesn't think a lot of new, useful information came out of the forum.
"The problem was that there was so much conflicting information at the forum itself," said Howard, R-District 5. "I don't think it cleared anything up. I think it just made things a little bit more confusing."
The study group is piecing together information about different components of Common Core. Howard said he plans to have study group recommendations created and brought to the board of commissioners and the Carroll County delegations to the Maryland General Assembly in December.
The new education standards, Howard said, were approved by the legislature, so the local delegations need to be involved.
There is no way, he said, that the General Assembly should have signed off on implementing the new curriculum so quickly.
A number of standards have already been implemented in Carroll County Public Schools.
"The idea of implementing this kind of [curriculum] change in this kind of time frame is crazy," Howard said. "Parents are frustrated. Teachers are frustrated. You just can't do something like this in two or three years."
Rothschild said his next step is to stop the implementation of new science standards, which he said are based on unproven scientific premises. For example, the new science standards assume that mankind is the major force behind global warming.
"Why this is a problem, is because government uses global warming to scare children so that they will support turning increasing control of their lives over to the government," Rothschild said. "And that is unacceptable to me."

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