Commissioner Virginia Barry Should Step Down and Stop Thwarting Public Scrutiny of her Department
State participation in Common Core must be ended due to the State’s complete failure of process, namely a process that failed to encourage public participation but rather operated outside of public scrutiny and behind closed doors.
From the onset the public was never properly informed that the State was about to “adopt” the Common Core State Standards. No effort was made to insure public participation. Even the former NH Board of Education Chair John Lyons said the felt that the Standards were being “shoved down our throats.”
The Commissioner of Education utilized an unauthorized “extended cabinet” of five federally funded Regional Liaisons to implement the Standards across the state. Her cabinet members met secretly with school district administrators on a monthly basis behind the backs of taxpayers and their representatives on school boards. How can the Commissioner justify implementing such costly, sweeping and transformative programs in our Districts without public discussion or even meeting minutes for the public to review and inspect?
Concerned parents have been unable to obtain answers to their questions regarding these Standards. Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry has publicly denied that the Standards were ever “adopted,” suggesting rather that they were merely “endorsed” by her Department, a distinction without a difference. After misrepresenting the truth to the public, she testified to the House Education Committee that the public is “misinformed.” This is hardly the behavior the public expects from one of its public servants.
Parents worry that the Department is overreaching its authority by creating a Division of Instruction without statutory authority and making other provisions which compromise the rights of the people and laws of our state. Yet the Commissioner opposes any public scrutiny, or study, of her Department’s actions under recently submitted legislation, HB 1397.
It’s time for the Commissioner of Education to step down. The public needs a Commissioner who is accessible to the people and willing to provide full transparency of the Department.
HB 1508 is needed to terminate the State’s role in the implementation of Common Core Standards. This bill would allow Districts to implement Common Core with public discussion and local involvement in the process.