Representative May responds to post

Representative May responded to our post below on the issues she expressed with the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education, and I thought it was worth bringing up to a top level post for discussion. (No changes to the text, but I did add some paragraph formatting to the text for readability):

    1. Liz May
      I can’t believe I’m on a “Blog” but since it was brought to my email box I’ve decided to respond and use my “Real” name.
      The State of South Dakota along with the rest of the country wanted out of “No Child Left Behind” The Feds. offered a RTT Grant that States could apply for. South Dakota applied for the RTT Grant with no guarantees that they would receive it. Upon applyiing for the grant they were required to entered into a contract for CCSS. South Dakota DID NOT receive the RTT Grant, but now were required to implement CCSS. With the implementation of CCSS it came at a high cost. Since there was no money that came through the RTT Grant the state was now on the hook to pay for the updates. These facts were held back from the citizens of SD.
      I’ve been asking for 3 years “What the financial consequences are for implementation of CCSS to no avail.”Fast forward to 2015 Legislative Session and SB53. The Gov. and Dept. of Education had no intentions nor could they pay for the technology and assessments without political consequences. So what they did is used SB53 to pass the cost on to the local districts.
      You might wonder why would any legislator support such a move. Well, they wrote the bill to include the technology/assessments and to get the votes needed they threw the sparsity into the bill. Legislators that had areas of sparsity in their district were scared that they would loose the funding. Sparsity had always been part of the Cutler/Gabriel Formula. That’s the background on CCSS adoption so let’s move on to the arguement. Under CCSS teachers can use 15% of outside material (not associated with CCSS) in the classroom.
      The problem with using outside material or teaching in a different manner is CC is based on the results for SBAC. (Teachers are evaluted based on SBAC results) If you were a teacher would you add material or alternative’s to adding 2+2 that students will not be tested on? See that’s the problem, teachers are not allowed to deviate away from the curriculum without suffering the consequences of retaliation. Local school boards have no other alternative in what standards, curriculum and assessments they use. There is currently only 3 text book companies and they all align to CCSS.
      So the idea that CCSS is a free, transparent and locally controlled way to educate is a fadrication sold to you by none other than Bill Gates, unelected bureaucrats and companies that are making millions of dollars of the backs of our chilldren.
      On a side note, schools districts such as Rapid City who are under financial distress/loosing teachers are a direct result of the technology/assessment mandates. The money they’re asking for is not for teacher pay. The taxpayers are once again required to pay for something that is unproven and our children are being used as guinea pigs. This new Blue Ribbon Taskforce is an affront to everything we stand for in South Dakota. The new “rules” handed out to legislators in an email from the governor’s office should spark outrage all across the state. In South Dakota the legislature is tasked with in my view the most important job of any society, The education of our children.
      However, in recent years, the bureaucrats, along with the full cooperation of the education committee chairs, have shut elected official and the public out of the discussion.
      Only those who are willing to submit to the executive branches’ mandates without question are given any voice. I I ran to serve the citizens of District 27 and all citizens of South Dakota. I was not elected by bureaucrats and the Governor. The way legislators are push aside is nothing short of draconian.
      As citizens, you don’t have to agree with my ideas on education. The issue at play here is that if you find my policy prescriptions ineffective you have recourse as is your God given right. Get me out of office. However, our current administration has found the silly notion of elected officials to be cumbersome and an obstacle to their current agenda.

Read the original text here.

54 thoughts on “Representative May responds to post”

  1. Three comments:

    1). All “inside baseball.” Complaining about process is like the U.S. Open golfers complaining about the course.

    2). Getting substantive rationale against the specifics of Common Core is harder than getting the President to admit he might have made a mistake.

    3). Why do legislators think they have to be heard in these public hearings? Can’t the people talk? Don’t Legislators have their own listening meetings? Don’t legislators have law making authority?

        1. Hey Pat, for some reason the above comment wasn’t immediately posted and also didn’t show up as “in moderation” when I submitted it. That’s why I posted the links again below.

          You’re welcome to remove both that comment and this one if you’d like.

            1. I’ve posted three links. All three articles have Anthony Cody’s name in the byline, but if you read the third carefully, you’ll see that it was actually written by Paul Thomas.

  2. Thank you Representative May for opposing more government as usual in our SD Legislature!

    Not sure why it is so hard for some moderates to understand why Republicans oppose CCSS so much. It’s more govt pushed by Leftists who use that govt control to push the Left’s agenda in our schools. It’s everything Republicans ideologically oppose by nature.

    Give them hell Rep May and don’t back down!

    1. “Not sure why it is so hard for some moderates to understand why Republicans oppose CCSS so much”=— Then why don’t y”all back up your opposition with facts that can be discussed instead of repeating meaningless sound-bytes?

      1. You mean sound-bytes like “teachers can teach whatever they want in the classroom.” Hog wash, my dear.

  3. I’m not sure why CC opponents have such a hard time actually identifying a standard that they disagree with or one that some how promotes a liberal agenda. When pushed to answer, they usually say that its the testing that’s the problem and not the standards. But adopting CC did nothing to change the number of tests that students take or the fact that teachers and schools are judged based upon the results of standardized tests. Before CC we had state standards that teachers had to comply with and we had standardized tests, and we have the same afterwards.

    And Rep. May, where did you get the idea that teachers can use 15% of “outside material?” I’m aware of no such limitation on what they can use.

    1. Republicans oppose CCSS because it is a blatant takeover of our education by the Left!

      Why is it those pushing this crap cannot show any track record of success of CCSS? Because it is an unproven program! What morons implement a massive change in national education without first testing to see if the program works?

      You people act like teaching people the basics of education is brand new and needs to be reinvented! The real truth is in what I saw Mr Jones write several days ago. It’s not about teaching children a good base education which they can build upon as the children go on in life to the paths THEY chose. It is about teaching them what sects of society believe they should be taught to advance their agendas in (Left) politics, or as he stated, to prepare them the way Chamber of Commerce types believe they should be taught to fit into a business model.

      CCSS is the opposite of local control and the opposite of a limited government Republican ideology. It is reminiscent of the type of programs Communists used to indoctrinate and educate their serfs/citizens into the positions the State wanted them.

      1. You said nothing that can actually be defined. Give facts as to why cons. oppose CC… Can you do that?

    2. Testimony presented to the House Education Committee by Sec. of Education Dr. Melody Schopp.

      1. How about you in your own words give us 2-3 claims made about CC by Melody Schopp.?….I see this all the time, those opposed to CC will never provide specific reasons for that opposition that can be confirmed or denied.

        If you are going to use Schoop as your source to oppose CC please give some specific reasons she is right in her opinion.

  4. Maybe one of those textbooks could explain the difference between “loose” and “lose” to the good Rep while we’re at it.

    1. This coming from someone who doesn’t capitalize their initials or properly abbreviate representative?

      You really showed her..

      1. Ah, but, there is allowed a great deal of license in a nom de plume, don’t you think? At least so thought Hamilton, Jay and the rest of the authors of minor works like the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, etc. They somehow managed to use literate English, though I have to make allowances for Rep. May’s busy schedule. No doubt forming the Nation was not so burdensome a task as is defending the taxpayers of District 27.

  5. interesting: the state was required to implement Common Core standards in order to apply for a Race to the Top grant, which wasn’t granted.
    Ok. We got suckered.

    So the Blue Ribbon task force is all about how to come up with the money to implement the Common core standards because we didn’t get the race to the top money we thought we were going to get to pay for it.

    If we don’t implement the common core standards as we contracted to do, will the Feds refuse to give us the race to the top money they aren’t going to give us anyway?

  6. Why do we even worry about the federal education money ? The federal carrot has already destroyed our schools budgets . They suck us in with subsidized programs that sometimes work . The school districts hire staff , buy books & supplies to implement those programs . Then after a few years the federal dollars ,the carrots , are taken away. This is when they bring out the sticks , mandates & bribery , so the districts end up not discontinuing the programs & firing the staff . All the social engineering programs should be dumped and parents held responsible to raise and provide food , clothing and shelter for their children . If problem students do not want to conform to the rules expel them . Put the school staff back in charge of the school . Students must earn a passing grade . Do not pass a student so you don’t hurt their feelings . Our kids have enough friends you parents and teachers need to parent and teach . I could rant on forever but that’s enough for today .

    1. You should quit voting for the funding if you really feel that way, Rep. Verchio. Put your money where your mouth is for once.

  7. I respect Liz May’s comment here but it’s also like Troy said “Inside baseball.”

    I’m not a big fan of the Governor’s office on many issues and henchmen but you can’t just complain on the margins.

  8. So how do you propose to come up with the Race to the Top grant the state didn’t get?

    You know, locking yourself into a contract with the federal government because it makes you eligible to apply for a grant you probably won’t get is sort of like buying raffle tickets.
    Your odds are probably better playing slot machines.
    Perhaps the Blue Ribbon Task Force should just take our education money and try to double it at a casino.

  9. 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004, all addressing funding or teacher pay.
    Answers to some of the questions/critics
    MarkN: Testimony given to the House Education Committee by Dr. Melody Schopp Legislative Session 2015

    mhs: I deeply apologize for mispelling “Lose” I could tell you were supportive up that point. I’ll try to never let that happen again, because you are right, being busy is not an excuse. This “Blogging” is frustrating because I’m not foresure if I should call you “Mam” or “Sir” so from now on I’d appreciate some courage on your behalf to use your full name. It’ll make the conversation go more smoothly for both of us.

  10. re: agreeing to adopt ccss as a condition to even apply for rtt – – there is a nasty strain in this state’s bureaucracy, similar to the national bureaucracy i suppose, that doesn’t trust mere elected officials and non-bureaucrats with the secret machinery of the technocracy. i’d look for the root of the acceptance of a ccss requirement right in the education department, and of course our main liason to the federal government, LABOR AND REGULATION. nowhere else.

  11. Is there supposed to be a link to Melody Schopp’s testimony regarding Common Core?

    I do know that teachers have complained to her and asked her to come observe their classrooms regarding Common Core and testing issues, but she refuses to do it.

    And I am tired of those proponents who say I must come up with a specific standard I don’t like, while their support of CC is vague at best, i.e. “Mathematics is the building block to logic and philosophy. It is the means to order and understand relationship of things, put them in perspective, and determine materiality.” Huh?

    1. The trouble with stating that “teachers have complained” is that complaining is what teachers do best. If you’ve been to a legislative coffee or crackerbarrel you’ve seen the histrionics. Nobody appreciates them. None of us understand how awful it is to work bankers’ hours, in climate controlled environments, on the front end of a child, having nights, weekends and holidays off. They hate their jobs and they’re only in it to help the children.
      Teachers are the reason I will never run for office, because I would be telling the teachers things like “if you hate your job so much why don’t you raise cattle?” Or “maybe you’d be happier pulling calves and milking cows?” Stuff like that,

      1. Nights? Weekends? Holidays off? Miss Beal, if you plan to take that much time off, you will not be offered a contract next year in my district. The laws in South Dakota make it very easy to dismiss a teacher that is sub-par with documented cause.

        Good teachers work late hours correcting papers, contacting parents, volunteering for programs that in many states would be school funded and constant professional development.

        You speak as though teachers have it easy. Take away CCSS and testing, what about my special needs students (of which none have the accommodations in the same subjects), the child whose parents are divorcing, the child that comes with suspicious bruises that I report (again), the child who is bullied, the approximately 25% of my students that come to school hungry, the child who doesn’t know if Dad will be sober enough to sign his permission slip for the field trip tonight and still has his name called at the morning meeting, the child who needed a better coat this winter so I went and bought one, but told him it was an anonymous gift, and the child that is too quiet for me to learn his or her struggles, yet, but I am still, tirelessly trying to find a way for all of then to be reading at grade level by the end of the year and (at least) know their math facts through 12.

        Miss Beal, we are not endlessly complaining, we want you to understand reality of education. It is not a complaint that we get to see a child wanting to go to recess because she has a warm coat. It is not a complaint that I need to personally walk a permission slip to a child’s house so that I can very kindly ask if he can come with his class to the zoo. It is not a complaint to modify reading groups so that kids finally learn to read multisyllabic words. It is our job. We want you to see our value and appreciate what we do rather than constantly condemn us for doing our best for your kids everyday.

      2. When I said that teachers complain, my point is not about their salaries this time. My point is that if they are being asked to teach and to test using Common Core and tests that do NOT accomplish anything, and that if they complain to the state Dept of Ed that it is not working, the Dept of Ed should have a responsibility to take these complaints seriously. After all, isn’t the Dept of Ed supposed to be looking out for the students and their learning, and if something is obviously not working in the classroom according to the teachers in the classroom, shouldn’t they at least visit the classroom and see for themselves? But obviously all they care about is making sure that Common Core, the new “new math,” is implemented and being able to say how great it is, even when they know there are problems.

  12. And now we realize that the “public” meetings were run according to the Delphi Technique. Google it. Exactly how these meetings of the Blue Ribbon Task Force are being run to achieve the desired outcome. I wish I would have known about this before I attended that task force meeting.

  13. The first step in solving a problem is to correctly identify the problem. And apparently, the problem is that we don’t have the money to implement CCCS.

    Have I got that right?

    Let’s drop the pros and cons of CCCS and focus on the problem: we don’t have the money.

  14. Springer,

    The reason YOU have to come up with a rationale to disagree is you are the one asserting Common Core is bad.
    I have said I have read them and they are rational and an improvement over the current standard. You admit you haven’t read them. This is an attempt to shift the burden of proof (logic fallacy).

    Give me a standard you disagree with and we can discuss. I stand behind all the Math Standards. Out of the literally hundreds of standards or cumulative for a grade, it shouldn’t be hard to pick one. Maybe you will identify one that should be tweaked. Unless of course you have a comprehensive alternative and we can discuss the relative merits.

    Otherwise, you are just opposing something for no articulated reason making discussion impossible.

    1. I obviously will never change your mind, Troy, and you will never change mine and many others. You state that I have not read the standards. I have read them and they are generalizations. I disagree with the WAY math is taught via Common Core, and that is a definite argument. I am not against standards, never have been, and never will be. I disagree with the WAY that CC says math has to be taught. You say the method is up to the teacher; well, according to the standards it is not. They are to use “fuzzy” math to get to the same answer as I get when adding 2+2=4. This is my complaint. If you don’t like it or understand it, that’s your problem, not mine and not many of the others who disagree with CC.

      1. Face it, we’ve all been either the beneficiaries or the victims of the endless experimentation in teaching methods. The fight over teaching reading via phonics vs endless other failed ideas has been raging since my mom taught her first 3rd grade class in 1951. My own lousy math skills are a direct result of “new math” methods (remember “sets” everybody?) that were the rage in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Springer’s “fuzzy math” comment is dead on point with my own painful experience.

        Troy buddy, the method may indeed be up to the teacher, but, when the entire establishment moves towards a certain method, it’s difficult to resist, whether it be education, business, politics or the designated hitter.

      2. I understand what you are advocating- only teaching arithmetic in elementary school and not introducing concepts and techniques critical to higher levels of mathematics.

        What is inevitable to such an approach is a lack of preparation to move to a higher level. That is unacceptable to me and I will not submit to Ludditism.

      3. ” I disagree with the WAY that CC says math has to be taught. ”

        How can you disagree with something that does not exist?

        You’re wrong. You’re 100% WRONG.

        The CC standards state NOTHING about HOW a topic/concept is to be taught. There are NO CC mandate or recommendations or suggestions on how a “simple problem” should be taught.

        You’re confusing METHODs with content/standards

        You haven’t a clue.

        You’re insulting yourself and embarrassing yourself.

        I challenge you: QUOTE the CC standard(s) that require a “simple problem” be ” taught a confusing manner .

        QUOTE IT. CITE IT.

    2. Dr. James Milgram of Stanford was selected as the only mathematics expert on the validation committee for common core. He voted not to imp!ement them. He stated that much of the problem is what is missing in the standards. He says it is not possible to teach high school physics using common core math. Google Milgram and common core and read some of his writing.

      Then do the same with Dr Sandra Stotsky who was the he ELA expert on the validation committee. She also refused to approve them and has published numerous papers explaining her reasons.

      I spent a couple of days with Dr. Stotsky and she makes a very compellingly case. She was responsible for the standards in MA and has gone so far as to write ELA standards and has made them available for anyone to use free of charge.

      You can accept or reject their writings, but do us all a favor and read their reasons for rejecting the common core.

    3. There is a ton of info. out there with the facts about CC, that is exactly the reason they will NOT provide any specifics…They know their claims can be debunked within minutes

  15. All the opponents of Common Core have to do to get the point across is have any voter/taxpayer of this state sit until they complete ten of the math questions given to eight year old students. Make the voters take that test before they vote and we’d have a conservative Governor in South Dakota in 2018.

  16. Anonymous 7:54:

    Wow. Adults who struggle with 2nd grade math probably also need someone to read the ballot to the as well.

  17. With all due respect, arguments against education standards would be better received if better spelling, grammar and punctuation were used. Oh, and please don’t use ‘blogs’ as an excuse.

  18. Has anyone been with someone who figured out a Math problem fast and asked, “you did you do that?” And, then when after explained, either respond with “I never knew you could do it that way” or “I don’t understand what you did.”

    If so, you are good at arithmetic but bad at Math.

    The difference is the person good at math learned multiple solution techniques in third grade (not just the simplest) and later learned when complexity is added, the more complex technique makes solving the proble simple, quick, and less opportunity for error.

    Now, the “simple method” applied to the more complex situation is at best cumbersome and many times unworkable. Plus, having multiple techniques, give one a chance to “check” one’s work. If two techniques give same answer, you know you have the right answer.

    Arithmetic is dealing with the finite. Mathematics introduces relations and functions to deal with variables. Suddenly things aren’t finite and the simple method doesn’t work. The reason to introduce a complex method when learning the simple method is it gives confidence in complex method when “seeing” it isn’t clear (ie 2+2=4) but the complex method is necessary. At minimum, the student know the complex method knows it gives the right answer. Later, when they have to use it, there is no impediment to using and learning its application because there is doubt it gets the right result.

    My guess (at least based on my conversations) many of the visceral parental reaction to the “complexity” or “confusing methods” is somehow related to the introduction of sets. We don’t “need” them to solve simple math problems (just add/subtract or multiply/divide and we are done). However, they are the first step to moving into Math and use of variables. Suddenly, a student that hasn’t mastered sets as they moved through elementary school can’t do the first computations in Math, Math is too hard, and they drop out of taking more Math.

    Thus, you have students who likely won’t succeed in business school, can’t be registered nurses, advanced welders, or a host of other careers. All because they never got past arithmetic.

    1. Sorry, but we in my generation included doctors, nurses, chemists, lab technicians, engineers, and a host of other math related careers. And somehow we did it without Common Core math. Boy, we must have been really smart!!!

  19. Ree,

    I agree. That is interesting. Ken Santema raises awareness of issues which the Task Force should read to optimize their effort as well as the role of participants who choose to participate.


    Yes, we didn’t have Common Core but they were introduced higher math methods/techniques in elementary school.

    Since I can’t get you to give me a particular objection to Common Core, only give “arguments” which indicate you only want Arithmetic taught in elementary school (just use the simple method) and utilize the logic fallacy of “proof by assertion” Common Core is bad with no substantive argument beyond you don’t like it, I have no choice but to believe you think it unnecessary for such undergirdings to advanced Math to be introduced in elementary school.

    Before No Child Left Behind, these were part of the standards/curriculum in Math classes. However, they were deemed “too hard” for the children left behind and cut out/reduced in prominence. Common Core Math is a legitimate response to the mistake that was NCLB.

    1. If these were deemed too hard for those left behind before NCLB, then how is reintroducing them under a different guise any different? What about the kids that just can’t get fuzzy math; are they held back until they get it? I’ve given you my objections to CC math, and you have given me no reason to like it except that it will improve critical thinking ability or something like that, with no results to prove that; it’s just as much a generalized opinion as my objection to fuzzy math. Meanwhile the kids are being used as guinea pigs in hopes that this new CC math is the answer to our lagging behind other countries in education.

  20. Springer,

    Great question. NCLB’s principle is similar to the attitude “give every child a ribbon” for their self-esteem. Thus, any principle which couldn’t be grasped by the ENTIRE class was deleted from the curriculum under the guise those who can handle it in 3rd grade can learn it in later Math courses (not elementary arithmetic) when those who couldn’t grasp it weeded themselves out by not taking Math classes. The problem of this approach was suddenly inundating students with all these new methods in 7th & 8th grade Math classes. Many who had aptitude levels to be successful in Math were deeming they “weren’t good at Math” and failing to go on in high school beyond the minimum or struggled greater than in previous generations.

    Common Core isn’t something new as much as it is going back to what we did before NCLB and “giving every kid an A” to protect their self-esteem. NCLB didn’t ask the question “are we laying the building blocks for future success?” but instead “are we making more kids to feel good about themselves today?” without regard to future success. Students were guinea pigs with NCLB. Correcting NCLB doesn’t make them guinea pigs.

    Since I can’t get you to tell me a single example of a standard you think wrong, how about you give me a single example of what you are calling “fuzzy math.” Give me a chance to justify it’s merits.

    I’ve asked this question of others and what I get is actually nothing more than introduction of math (vs. arithmetic) principles/methods/techniques to elementary kids. As I said before most are related to introduction of concepts regarding Sets but I just thought of another-principles and techniques of rounding. Anyway, just give me ONE example of what you think is fuzzy math and shouldn’t be taught where/when it is or if you think it should be excluded all-together.

    I don’t deny these standards are rigorous. I don’t deny they are hard for some. I guess I’m just not afraid to challenge our kids to succeed at Math instead of pretending to tell them arithmetic is Math and they are all great.

  21. Following are two articles regarding Common Core that explain why people are not in favor of this. I will never change Troy’s opinion on this, but maybe some others will read these and at least get some insight into the reason people do not think this is the right way to go for our children’s education.

  22. Ree and Charlie,

    Great post and link. I think they give an opportunity for consensus on some matters so we can work on mitigating differences. I’m going to try to find time to write a post which gives an opportunity to have a narrower discussion where differences are more acute.

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