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Warner man forms political committee opposing Common Core

After spending months researching the Common Core education standards, one New Hampshire grandfather is taking a formal stand against what he believes are mediocre standards developed by groups with no accountability to voters.

Joseph Mendola of Warner filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office recently to start a political action committee called “Grandparents and Parents Opposed to Common Core.” His mission, stated in the forms, is “to explain to the public why Common Core is wrong for our students.” Mendola, an investment real estate broker, has two grandchildren in New Hampshire public schools and had three of his own children go through the system. Donations to his PAC will go toward informational mailings and outreach to parents and school boards.

The Common Core is a set of educational standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia that is intended to better prepare U.S. students for college and careers. New Hampshire’s State Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, a decision that was met with little notice and minimal opposition for several years. But now, as schools begin implementing the standards in preparation for Common Core-aligned tests in 2015, opposition groups are becoming louder in the state and nationwide.

Mendola doesn’t like that the standards were developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, then adopted by the state board, which isn’t an elected body. Furthermore, he thinks the federal government inappropriately pressured states to adopt the standards by incentivizing them with grant money. (In order to receive funds through Race to the Top, an initiative of the Obama administration, states must have “college and career ready standards,” though not necessarily Common Core.) Mendola is a general critic of the U.S. Department of Education, which he said has eroded the quality of public education since its creation in 1979.

On the content of the standards, Mendola doesn’t believe they’re strong enough to make U.S. students competitive with their international peers, which is a goal of the standards. All of these concerns align with those of opposition groups nationwide and in New Hampshire, including Cornerstone Action, which has vocally opposed Common Core. Mendola was a Cornerstone board member five years ago, but said this effort is not connected directly to Cornerstone.

Proponents of Common Core, from school administrators to officials in the state department of education, say fears about the loss of local control are misplaced. The Common Core is a set of uniform standards, but how to implement it and what curricula to use is up to schools and teachers, they say. The rigor of these standards, they say, will help U.S. students compete on a global stage.

The Legislature has debated aspects of Common Core a few times since its adoption in 2010, but efforts to roll it back have been unsuccessful so far. The next legislative session, which begins in January, will see at least a half-dozen Common Core-related bills, ranging from delaying the new tests to repealing the law entirely. Mendola said he plans to speak with lawmakers.

By forming a PAC, Mendola can solicit donations for his outreach activities. He made a presentation opposing Common Core to Manchester’s school board earlier this fall and plans to talk to other groups and send out mailings. Grandparents and Parents Opposed to Common Core is an issue-oriented PAC, which means it won’t spend money on ads or activities related to a specific candidate. Even though Common Core is working its way into classrooms, Mendola said he thinks many teachers and parents still don’t understand it fully.

“(Parents) just have no idea what Common Core is about, and the teachers have just a glimpse of what they think it’s about,” he said.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3390 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Legacy Comments16

This is the takeover of education by progressives....it shoul be called "Obamacore". One history text talks about the United States being "imperialist" and taking land iunjustly from native Americans and from Mexico. Not just a mention but the "core" of the discussion.

This man is a licensed real estate broker but maybe he slept in a Holiday Inn last night. It is one thing to say you don't agree with Common Core, but to say that people whose business is education and parents don't understand it fully but he does, is the height of arrogance.

The height of arrogance is a dope smoking community organizer who becomes president and then passes a healthcare law which egatively influence my existing health insurance plan by taxing me and my employor ( Cadiilac plan) because it's beyond what the common folk should be allowed have.....and then exempts himself and family from the same law.

He did cocaine as well. I like the "common folk" comment while the Obamas are 'movin' on up', getting their piece of t he pie. Obama is like Jefferson, George that is.

"Common folk"? Where do you come from? Merry old England? He didn't "become" President. He was elected. Twice. "My, me, my"

Yes, he fooled the people twice. He lied about Obamacare and just out today, 8 inside sources revealed that the EPA and other agencies were told to shelve their most aggressive new rules and regulations until after the election.

Common Core: The Obamacare of Education, Common Core or common failure? Families pull kids out of class, Common Core advocates say, in effect: "If you like your local curriculum, you can keep it. Period." If you believe this, your credulity is impervious to evidence. And you probably are a progressive. , According to the government’s new Common Core education standards, the Gettysburg Address must be taught without mentioning the Civil War and explaining why President Lincoln was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania., A Textbook That Should Live in Infamy: The Common Core Assaults World War II, American education´s race to the bottom, Is this Common Core math question the worst math question in human history?....... To get more informed Google any of those HEADLINES:

"The Student Achievement Partners instructions tell teachers to, “Refrain from giving background context or substantial instructional guidance at the outset…This close reading approach forces students to rely exclusively on the text…and levels the playing field for all students as the seek to comprehend Lincoln’s address.” Did you miss the part where it says "at the outset?" Without researching further it seems pretty clear to me that all they are doing is asking students to read it out of context first.... and that they will fill in the background afterward.

Here is the main thing about Common Core. It uses a technique where your given the answer and then asked to work backward to the question. An example is the answers to assignments in math books. The odd or even answers are given. I did much better in high school by working the problem backwards, so did a lot of my friends I went to school with. In a lot of cases, this gives a better insight to the problem being able to be solved. That said, I noticed in high school that some schools taught a curriculums that were more advanced than other schools. Case and point, when I transferred to a new school, I was 2 years ahead in math from where I was from my old school. Had Common Core been in place, I would have had a seamless transition to my new school's curriculum instead of being ahead and getting into trouble in my classes because I was "bored".

Maybe you were two years ahead because the new school was two years behind? There are all kinds of reasons why they might be two years behind: a militant teachers union, too many short bus kids.... The list goes on.

The school I transferred to was two years behind because of the curriculum taught at the time. That was the main reason. And for your information the school I transferred from, in your words, " too many short bus kids " were enrolled. So you really have no clue as to what your saying.

Yes Crank, because we all know that ALL bad things about education are the fault of teachers but NONE of the good things are because of them. And as far those "short bus kids" you mention . . . the reason there's "too many of them" is because of republicans. Look it up.

This also will kill educational innovation and is based on treating every student as if they have the same ability.

That is the failed NCLB act

So where is your outrage for the unfunded and failed NCLB signed by Bush Jr?

you mean Murder Liberal Ted Kennedy's personal baby legislation?

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