Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao announces that she will run for Georgia State School Superintendent

Speech delivered to the State House Republican Caucus, December 6, 2013

Common Core, What It Is and What It Isn’t

It is an educational straight jacket.

This straight jacket ties us in to lower standards.

It prevents students from reaching their full potential. 

It is not legislation.

It is propped up by legislation.

It is a well-orchestrated attack on our educational freedom.

It is an attack on all students.

Why?

Students are no longer permitted to progress at their own rate.

Students must think about math in specific ways, as prescribed in the standards. 

It is an attack on parents.

It eliminates school choice options for parents, because every public and charter school offers the same program, Common Core.

Parents have no say in when, how or what their children are exposed to in school

It is an attack on teachers

Teachers cannot change anything about the common core.  If common core doesn’t work, they are bound by copyright laws to silence. 

The copyright reads,

“The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) hereby grant a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute, and display the Common Core State Standards for purposes that support the Common Core State Standards Initiative.”

If a teacher finds an error, pointing that error out is a violation of the copyright agreement.  Teachers may not use the standards to show why they don’t support the standards.

In addition, “NGA Center and CCSSO reserve the right to release the Common Core State Standards under different license terms or to stop distributing the Common Core State Standards at any time…”

The CC State standards are provided for free… for how long?  When will the terms change?  We don’t know.  Why adopt standards that we don’t own, can’t change, that can disappear at any time?

It is an attack on teachers. Their performance evaluations are tied to student performance on common core tests.  Teachers are discouraged from meeting the needs of students functioning below or beyond grade level, because only grade level specific skills are tested.   CC at the high school level only includes algebra 1 and 2 and geometry.  Skills previously taught at the elementary level are moved back for every student. 

Common Core math in Georgia is integrated.  Utah is the only other state with integrated CC math.  If students move to any other state with CC math, they lose a half year of instruction at the high school level.  Articulation with private schools is difficult. 

Our best teachers are leaving, because they are under attack. 

The Common Core is an attack on Taxpayers.

Taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for the common core.  Georgia taxpayers did not approve these programs but recent changes in rules have nailed down Common Core’s implementation. 

Common Core is an attack on School Board Members

Fayette County’s Superintendent said he would be implementing the common core because he does not look good in orange.  As a school board member, I voted against common core textbooks, they were inadequate.  The motion passed, the books were purchased.  Teachers wanted resources. The only textbooks available were correlated with common core.  According to Georgia Statute 20-2-49, school board members   “…should be characterized and treated differently from other elected offices where the primary duty is independently to represent constituent views.”     I am elected by citizens; don’t you think my primary duty should be to represent their views?  According to the new rules, my main duty is to maintain accreditation.  Here’s the problem with that new rule: Our accreditation agency was recently purchased by AdvancED, an unaccountable newly formed organization that accredits school districts in all 50 states and 65 foreign countries, without a single elected official.  What about our citizens? 

Common Core is an attack on Colleges of Education. 

According to Rule 505-3-.01, Schools and colleges of education were required to implement the CCGPS this fall.  In 2015, we will be required to incorporate the Core Teaching Strategies.  NONE of these new programs have a record of success.  But, according to the PSC rule, we are required to implement them.  Certification will be based on the results of these new common core tests.   The tests are not reliable or valid.  CCRPI scores are not accurate measures. 

Common Core is an attack on colleges of education so that we will prepare teachers to teach in government controlled schools.   Nobody can get ahead, nobody can be left behind.  Nobody asked for this, but everybody is forced to do it.  That is Common Core.

Closing:

If legislation could solve problems, No Child Left Behind would have been a success.  If more money could solve the problems, APS would be our top performing school district. 

Let’s stop the common core attack and get us going in the right direction.  Georgia can be number 1 in education, and I have a plan to make it happen. 

If I was the State School Superintendent, I would:

Step 1:  Scrap the CCRPI because it is not accurate, reliable or valid. According to Proverbs 20:10, “Differing weights and varying measures-both are detestable to the Lord.”  The CRCT was not designed to measure progress and the bonus points that use differing weights and varying measures invalidate the school rating scores. 

Step 2:  In order to satisfy the requirements of No Child Left Behind and help our teachers, we need to administer placement tests for reading, math, and writing. We can gauge progress with placement tests across grade levels. 

Step 3:  Review the analysis of Dr. Sandra Stotsky for ELA and my analysis of the math standards to select standards that are competitive.  Provide recommended standards as targets and measure progress toward meeting the standards over several grade bands. 

Step 4:  Return control of schools to local school boards.  They are much better acquainted with the needs and desires of the parents and community.  Let them make as many decisions as possible. 

For these reasons, I have decided to run for State School Superintendent.   I will make your jobs easier and improve education in Georgia as we work together.   We can turn it around and come out ahead of other states and countries.  By the wisdom and grace that God provides, we can increase parental and community involvement, keep our top notch teachers and school leaders, implement useful testing models, and select well researched competitive standards, because our students are capable of so much more than what Common Core requires. 

Previous Campaign Speeches for School Board

1. Why are you running for Fayette County School Board and what are your qualifications for this office?

Hi, I’m Mary Kay Bacallao. I have been paying close attention to the Fayette County School Board for the past 8 years. I read just about every article written about the school board in that time frame.


I have been, and am now working in education as a full professor at Mercer University who clearly understands how to prepare our college-bound students, as well as students who will pursue other career paths.
 
I bring conservative values to education, finance, and a sound organization to meet our standards for the next four years and beyond.


Twenty four years of practical experience in math, science and technology education and a doctorate in educational leadership equip me with the background knowledge needed to make wise, well thought out, and sound decisions for our school system.
 
If you elect me as a school board member, my three goals will be to enact zero based budgeting, support and strengthen our teaching force, and vote for sound policies based on conservative principles.   Thank you.

 

2. What are the challenges facing the Fayette County school budget and how should they be addressed?

The school board approved a budget for next year with 177 million in expenditures and 163 million in revenue. Next year, our fund balance is projected to be around 800,000. The current plan expends 14 million in reserves.


In times past, we have actually had to borrow money from SunTrust to pay our teachers. That doesn’t give anyone any confidence. We want to have confidence in the financial decisions of the school board and spending our reserves does not instill financial confidence-- especially since we don’t know the budget details.


If elected, I would ensure that an Excel Spreadsheet of every item spent in the budget was made public. I will join with others on the board and support zero based budgeting.  Not just going by what has been spent in the past but looking at the budget in a whole new light, making sure that all the expenditures are in line with our mission: Excellence in education for all our students.  

3. What should be the role of technology in the classrooms and why is it important to the future of Fayette County?

We need to prepare our students to live in a world filled with technology. Technology should be used to make teaching and learning more efficient and more effective. The internet can be a source of real world data for math, primary source documents for social studies, online collaboration for literacy or virtual experiments for science.

 

Computers should be used to store digital portfolios of student work projects such as digital stories or documentaries. I support Interactive teacher and student presentation tools and electronic response systems for assessment.


I would like our teachers and students to be on the cutting edge, creatively producing new educational applications of technology, instead of passively consuming technologies designed by others. If elected, I will vote for policies on the Fayette County School Board that advance the effective and efficient use of technology for increased thinking and learning.

Red Coat Day

Red Coat Day

Stop Common Core Press Conference

Sharron Angle with Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao

Campaign for the Fayette County School Board

Campaign for Academic Freedom, 2014

Education Liberty Award