Shelton state reps help force public hearing on Common Core in schools

State Reps. Larry Miller and Jason Perillo, both of whom represent parts of Shelton, joined other House Republican lawmakers in filing a petition to force the legislature’s Education Committee to hold a public hearing on bills related to teacher evaluations and the Common Core curriculum.

Democrats, who control the legislature’s education panel, have refused to consider House Republican proposals that would call for the creation of a subcommittee of classroom teachers to discuss the evaluation program and another that would delay the implementation of Common Core, according to a press release from Miller and Perillo.

But House Republicans, through a legislative petition process, forced a public hearing.

Miller: Local input is needed

“You wouldn’t think that we would have to fight to get the voices of thousands of parents and teachers heard,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, that’s just what we had to do.

“I am hopeful that now we will have a full and open hearing on all aspects of Common Core, and that we will finally get local input on this top-down mandate on our school systems,” Miller said.

Perillo: Listen to parents, educators

Perillo said Common Core involves “a massive, sweeping set of changes,” and therefore parents and educators “deserve to have their voices heard before its implementation.

“The stubborn refusal of Democratic leadership on the Education Committee to have a hearing on this proposal has given us no other option but to force the matter through a petition,” he said.

“Common Core was put in place without any public input by fiat,” Perillo said. “Now parents, administrators and teachers will be able to be heard, and I hope our colleagues across the aisle develop an interest in listening between now and then.”

Initiatives have raised concerns

The simultaneous implementation of Common Core and the teacher evaluation program has proven to be a potent storm for school districts throughout the state, according to the two Republicans.

They said paperwork, data collection, and assessments have pushed educators farther away the fundamentals of teaching.

Education Committee leaders, despite growing concern from educators and parents, organized an informational forum on the topics that would give only invited speakers the opportunity to participate, the GOP legislators said.

Republicans propose two bills

The legislature’s petition process required 51 House legislators to sign petitions for each of the two bills.

Aside from creating a subcommittee of teachers, proposed Bill No. 5331: An Act Concerning the Implementation of the Revisions to the PEAC Guidelines, would reduce the number of formal classroom evaluations to one per year, streamline data management, and enable the exclusion of student scores on statewide mastery tests from factoring into a teacher’s evaluation.

Proposed Bill No. 5078: An Act Imposing a Moratorium on the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards, would require the state Department of Education to investigate the impact of implementing the standards and prevent the department from spending appropriated money on putting the curriculum in place pending the investigation’s results.