In 2010 when the Common Core standards were adopted, few parents and teachers knew about this latest national education reform. Since then, there has been a growing number of parents and teachers opposing to the Common Core Standards and they have been making their voices heard.
New Hampshire is no exception.
Parents never asked for any of this. Instead this was another top-down reform developed by central planners that included dumbed down, developmentally inappropriate standards and fads like Outcome Based Education, that had been proven failures in the past.
Now that parents across the country are mobilizing efforts to derail what is turning into a national disaster, the battle lines have been drawn. The bureaucrats and elitists against parents.
Moms have mobilized efforts to opt their children out of the Common Core assessments and have been successful in those efforts. It’s making the reformers develop other strategies to “beat back” those pesky moms.
A few years ago U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, disparaged moms across the country when he told a group of state schools superintendents that he, “found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Eduction, Virginia Barry, during testimony before the New Hampshire House Education also made demeaning comments towards moms when she referred to them as, “Small, Loud and misinformed individuals.”
It appears that if you care about your child’s education and you dare to challenge the status quo, you will be “beaten back.”
The latest effort to “beat back” parents is coming from Reaching Higher NH. Some of these people are the same unelected bureaucrats who continually disparage parents and ignore their concerns. From opposing pro-parental rights legislation, to fighting against parents who want better quality standards, several of the people involved with Reaching Higher NH are the same ones who stand firmly against parents and teachers throughout New Hampshire.
This was highlighted in a recent letter from one mom in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Angela Pont. Pont wrote a scathing review on this new organization and their potential conflict of interest. I’ve posted the letter below.
Her letter exposes what Reaching Higher NH is all about, BEATING BACK PARENTS. This seems to be the strategy from the U.S. Secretary of Education to Commissioner Barry to Higher Education NH, as you will read below.
This front organization set up to “beat back parents” in order to facilitate federal reforms in our local schools, stands in direct opposition to parents who want a better quality education for their children.
You should know who they are:
Tom Raffio, Chair of the NH Board of Education
Bill Duncan, member of the NH Board of Education
Board of Directors
It has come to my attention that there is a new group called Reaching Higher New Hampshire, which is part of yet another Federal initiative (https://www.whitehouse.gov/reach-higher). Reaching Higher refers to itself as a bipartisan group with people of diverse backgrounds whose goal is to provide information on education policy to the community and support public education. It seems to me after further investigation that their primary objective may be to suppress any opposition to their education reform agenda.
Here is a list of the Board of Directors from Reaching Higher New Hampshire:
After researching some of the board members, I noted that there could be direct conflicts of interest for many who sit on this board and I question whether they can speak objectively about New Hampshire Education Policies.
Here are a few of the Reaching Higher board members and their affiliations and the grant money given to these affiliations by the Gates Foundation (taken from the Gates Foundation website):
Mark Joyce, Executive Director, NH School Administrator’s Association
Gates Foundation grant to the US School Administrator’s Association.
David Juvet, Senior Vice President, Business and Industry Association of NH
(NH Chamber of Commerce) (2013-2015) Gates Foundation grant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce- $5,612,158.
Pawn Nitichan, Executive Director, City Year of NH
Gates Foundation grant to City Year (2009 and before-2015) $2,393,450.
Scott McGilvray, President, National Education Association (NEA), NH Chapter
Gates Foundation grant to the NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education-(2011-2015)-$3,636,497.
The Gates Foundation has poured over $200 million dollars into the Common Core initiative. It has also given grant money to many organizations across the political, educational and business spectrum to promote Common Core Standards and speak to the opposition.
As far as I can see, the only parent representation in the Reaching Higher organization is from the NH PTA. This could be another conflict of interest as the National Parent and Teacher Association received $2,660,422 from the Gates Foundation to “educate” communities about Common Core Standards.
In the job description for the Executive Director position for Reaching Higher, NH it states that “we have been active legislatively” and that “when this legislative session ends, we will have beaten back all anti-standards and anti-testing legislation”. In essence they are saying that they have beaten back concerned moms and dads and other citizens, who through their representatives, put forth bills to protect their children from these education experiments and data collection schemes.
Parents do not have millions of dollars and the organization to fight this kind of power. What we do have are the “loud” voices of grassroots citizens made up of parents, grandparents, teachers and community members who are genuinely concerned about the Federal and Corporate takeover of education in America. We want to protect our children from being guinea pigs in the latest education reform fad. We want to protect students and teachers from unfair standardized testing. We want to preserve local control of education policy, where the teachers and parents are involved in the process. We, the parents and citizens, also have our elected officials who hopefully represent the people not the special interests.
When organizations like Reaching Higher come to Concord with the latest teaching methods, education reforms and education bills, I hope you will keep in mind these potential conflicts of interest and try to determine whom these entities are actually representing. Please protect the students, teachers, parents and taxpayers of New Hampshire.
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