12-11-2013 News

As the Manchester School District continues to gear up for the development of T-MAS, The Manchester Academic Standards, it has released the names of fifty nine of the sixty teachers who will actually do the work.  Girard at Large made the request on November twenty ninth and received a preliminary list with fifty seven names on Monday, December ninth.  Assistant Superintendent David Ryan sent a follow up yesterday with all but one of the names included, which we have published with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.  In discussion with Superintendent Debra Livingston on Monday, she said while the district is still working out the details of the process by which the standards will be brought forward, she believed that the proposed standards would be available to the public as they worked their way through the school board’s committee system.  She was also hopeful that timelines would allow for public hearing sspecifically on the proposed standards prior to being brought to the board for adoption.  Controversy has raged over the level of transparency deemed appropriate in this matter.  Opponents of Common Core have split into two camps with one group demanding what they call observational transparency, the ability to be in the room with the teachers as they actually do the work of developing the standards.  The other is content with using the public committee process, so long as there is ample time for the public to review and comment on proposed standards.  Girard at Large still has several requests for information pending on this matter before the district, including a list of the nearly one hundred teachers who worked to develop the Common Core aligned curricular guides which, despite not being adopted by the school board, were distributed to teachers for use this school year and a list of those involved in recommending the adoption of the disastrous Everyday Math curriculum so they can be cross referenced with the current group to understand whether or not there will truly be fresh eyes on the issue or a cast of the usual suspects whose recommendations may be tainted by their past involvement with district efforts.  We will continue to request information we believe is needed to truly understand this effort and release what we get and what we don’t.  (Here is the membership of the Standards Coordinating Committee (DSCC) that will oversee the standards development.)

Just a news note while we’re on the topic, The Kansas State Board of Education became the latest to ditch the Smarter Balanced Common Core test, choosing instead to work with The University of Kansas to develop its own statewide test.  We’ve linked to the story and hope that someone somewhere will begin to question the New Hampshire Board of Education about their insistence on using this test, despite the fact that it doesn’t seem to meet the criteria set forth by state law for use by the state.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

The Merrimack Police Department is warning against a rise in scam phone calls that are sweeping through the town and probably through the region.  Community Service Officer Robert Kelleher says if you get a phone call from Microsoft asking you to access information on your computer, don’t give any information out, unless of course you want the data there hijacked.  Kelleher says residents are also reporting calls from Delta Community Credit Union, ATM International Credit Settlement and Directorate of International Payment.  Those scams claim you’re entitled to funds from a bank settlement after a big meeting in Switzerland and for the low low price of two hundred to three hundred and fifty dollars, they’ll send you a special ATM card accessing your settlement funds.  Bottom line, says Kelleher, unless your absolutely certain who you’re talking to, don’t give any personal or other information over the phone.

Hooksett School Board Member John Lyscars is turning up the heat against a long term tuition contract with Pinkerton Academy that will require the town to guarantee the attendance of seventy five incoming freshman students for each of the first five years then mandate that ninety percent of the town’s incoming high school students attend the school.  He’s warning parents with third graders and younger that means they won’t have the choices that slightly more than half of the town’s students will have for the next five years.  He also echoed concerns raised by School Board Vice Chair David Pearl at and after the special meeting with some Pinkerton trustees questioning whether or not Pinkerton wants ninety percent of the incoming freshman class or 90% of all Hooksett’s public high school students.  The board’s pro-Pinkerton only majority, who has led the charge in what we are now calling The Bogus Journey, voted to continue negotiations with Pinkerton despite public comments rejecting the ninety percent mandate in the hope that a deal can be worked out before their December seventeenth meeting.  Lyscars has asked Pinkerton’s administration to work with the board to develop a short term Memorandum of Understanding instead of a long term tuition contract so the details can be worked out over time, not under pressure from artificial deadlines.  Meanwhile, parents in town have not been allowed to choose where they want to send their kids for their freshman year, which is causing a lot of stress in town.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead.