Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School Super Supposedly Stifled Common Core Discussion

Mark Callahan's daughter attends Battle Creek Elementary School in Salem, Oregon. Callahan has expressed concerns regarding elements of the Common Core Curriculum and has worked to inform others on the issues and sections of the program that concern him.

According to some, the superintendent of the Salem-Keizer Public School District, Oregon School District 24J, Ms. Sandy Husk, may have called Mr. Callahan directly at approximately 2:25pm PST on Nov. 12, 2013. According to Callahan, Husk told him that he was not allowed to discuss Common Core at any meeting of the Parent-Teacher Organization or other functions connected with any school in her district. She went so far as to threaten to have him physically removed should he broach the subject.

Also according to Callahan, Husk stated that discussing Common Core at the local level was a virtual waste of time, since it is part of Oregon State law and not local policy.

Mark Callahan stated that he felt that he was singled out and threatened. He found the personal call to be one rife with intimidation, not one of reasonable discourse that would support free and open discussion.

Mr. Callahan felt so strongly that he posted this to Mark Levin's official Facebook page:

"Just received a phone call, 11/12/13, at 2:25pm, Pacific Time from Sandy Husk, the Superintendent of Salem-Keizer School District, stating that I was not to talk about my opposition to Common Core at parent meetings at my daughters' elementary school, Battle Creek Elementary School in Salem, OR. She stated that if I did, I would be removed from the meeting. This came across as a threat to me. I stated to her that I have every right as a parent to speak up. She stated that it is Oregon state law, and that there is nothing that they can do about it at the local school level or even the school district level. She promptly blew me off at the end of our conversation, and hung up. We have got to stop Common Core, sooner rather than later."

Husk is an academic. Her resume lists several diplomas and accolades Ranging from a BS from the University of Georgia to post-doctoral work with Harvard University. However, if Mr. Callahan's account is true, it appears she missed her Eighth Grade Civics lessons on the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment.  

Mr. Callahan, like all parents and citizens, has the inalienable right to freely speak out on any government policy with which he disagrees. He also has the right to freely assemble and discuss those issues. Furthermore, he has the right to petition the government, be it a local school board, a state legislature, or the federal government, with a redress of grievances. All of those are protected by the First Amendment.

The First Amendment does no grant these rights. They are inherent to being an adult human being. The amendment is a prohibition of any government, local through federal, to infringe or impede upon those inalienable rights.

Ms. Husk is a government employee. By our system of government, that means she is an employee of those taxpaying parents whose children attend schools in that district. She is not an authority figure over those parents. She works for them. Somebody, perhaps some power-trip induced by anti-constitutional indoctrination, lied and told her otherwise.

Common Core is an initiative to federalize the public school system, placing it under a federal bureaucracy and subject to national standards. That is in direct opposition to the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, which forbids the federal government from acting outside of its explicitly enumerated responsibilities and authorities.

Salem-Keizer is the second largest district in the state. Quashing the discussion in a district this size amounts to nothing less than preventing the discussion from ever reaching the state level. This is the level .where the discussion must happen in order for people to be adequately informed of all perspectives of the issues.

Mr. Callahan has a right to address issues that directly impact him, his children, their school, his community, and the school district. Even if Common Core is a state level law, the discussion must start at the local levels, where the rubber meets the road. It is where it impacts parents, students and teachers that it must be addressed.  From there, should the same problems impact several communities across the state, the message can be addressed at the state level. Quashing the conversation and discussion at that local level is nothing less than unconstitutional, therefore illegal. The only reason to do so is in an attempt to keep parents from being informed on what their children are being taught and to what standards, thereby denying them their lawful voice in such decisions.

If Ms. Husk has true concerns in support of Common Core, a better and more legal course of action would be to address them, openly, with parents. It would be to invite the discussion and allow people to be informed and make up their own minds.

In fact, the district's policy seems to reflect advocating that very activity. If so, and Ms. Husk did call Callahan and tell him he could not address issues and concerns with Common Core, then she violated that same district policy

Should Ms. Husk have done as Mr. Callahan claimed, the only logical reason is that she fears other parents will discover the truth and work to stop Common Core in her district. If Common Core is the "magic bean" that will reform public schools and place the US back on top of the world, academically, then why would Husk fear the discussion?

That appears to make her "mission statement" appear completely hypocritical:

"I am focused on a process of continuous improvement in our school district by implementing a strategic plan designed to promote quality assurance. I am trying to bring best practices from the business world to our school district and to use them for the benefit of our students. My efforts are all geared toward putting into practice the things that will ultimately provide better service for our kids." – Superintendent Sandy Husk

So far, Dr. Husk has not responded to any requests for common or clarification from us or from David L. Darnell Per usual, we are open to any reasonable response she may have and to her side of the story.

Of course, this led to other questions:

Here is the contact information for Dr. Husk, should any concerned parents wish to address her concerning Common Core, inquire an answer concerning the legitimacy of Mr. Callahan's allegation, or remind Husk of her role as a public employee:

Sandy Husk
P.O. Box 12024
Salem, OR 97309-0024
503-399-3001 (phone)
503-399-5579 (fax)
Should parents in the Salem, OR area wish to address the school board in regards to the allegations of thug-like intimidation tactics used by their employees, the contact information for the Salem-Keizer School Board is available here.  Perhaps an investigation would shed some light on the truth.