Ann Marie Banfield


This week the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted against HB 1508 which would have terminated Common Core (CCSS) in New Hampshire.  What would have happened?  New Hampshire could have reverted back to the old State Standards that were developed under Governor Lynch.  However, according to New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry, the State New Hampshire Math Standards were graded at a D- by the Fordham Institute.

Instead of working as a Department to elevate New Hampshire Standards to a world-class level, this D- was acceptable until the Federal Government began offering Race to the Top Grant money.   It seems that in order to get our Department of Education to make improvements to academic standards, we need the Federal Government to offer us money and waivers from No Child Left Behind.  That begs the question, where is the leadership from our current Governor on all of this?

What did New Hampshire end up with?  We are still using “minimum” academic standards since those who support Common Core acknowledge the Common Core Standards still do not reach the level of excellence other states were using prior to the release of the CCSS.   In other words we went from minimum standards to minimum standards.  This is what we are supposed to get excited about as parents and taxpayers.

Speaking of taxpayers, after all of the money spent aligning curriculum and professional development to the old D- standards, we are now going to spend more money on curriculum and professional development to meet new “minimum” standards.   Since New Hampshire failed to receive Race to the Top Grant money local taxpayers now have to fund this reform effort.

We are told this is all voluntary.  Schools don’t have to use the “minimum” CCSS but they are going to test students with a Common Core Assessment.  Yes, you read that right.  Schools do not have to participate but they will be judged and teachers can be evaluated on a Common Core Assessment.  That kind of negates the claim this is all “voluntary”.

During the hearing before the House Education Committee, Rep. Mel Myler (D) mentioned organizations that support the CCSS Math Standards.  After all, if an organization dedicated to math education in America endorses the CCSS Math Standards, should we then object?  The answer is YES.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) endorsed the CCSS Math Standards.  In this blog by a Medford, MA Superintendent, he says, “In mathematics the standards rely on the recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics…

How can anyone argue with the NCTM endorsement and recommendation?  First you need to know the history of the NCTM and their contribution to math illiteracy in this country.  A historical look at the NCTM, explained by Prof. Cliff Mass at the University of Washington, shows objective evidence that the NCTM contributed to declining literacy in math education.

I testified before the New Hampshire House Education Committee and submitted this information in my testimony.  The members of the Committee were informed with the problems from the NCTM prior to voting on HB 1508 and still chose to vote against the many parents who supported terminating Common Core.

During the lengthy floor debate, Rep. Myler (D) argued in favor of the Common Core Standards and opposed HB 1508.  He mentioned organizations supporting Common Core like the NCTM as a reason to support Common Core.  However he never mentioned the information I presented to him and the Committee during the hearings.

It’s important to know the connection between the NCTM and the Common Core Math Standards.  Parents are seeing confusing math in their “Common Core” aligned homework assignments and are genuinely concerned about the quality of math education their children are receiving.  This kind of information could help them better understand the serious damage that can be done to their children academically if the quality of the math program follows the fuzzy math that has been recommended by the NCTM in the past.

School Board members need to know important information like this in order to make good decisions at the local level.  Since our own elected Representatives and NH DOE are failing to bring this information to the public, it’s important that everyone do the research on Common Core.  If we continue down this path in New Hampshire, the damage done to our children could be irreversible.  It’s critical that everyone research Common Core and become more involved by demanding something better.

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Ann Marie Banfield began volunteering as Cornerstone’s Education Liaison in 2009.  As an education researcher and activist.   She took her decade long research on education to Concord to lobby on behalf of parental rights and literacy.  Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education.  She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio.   Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Bedford, NH