Oklahoma mom fighting Common Core

10/15/13. Owasso mom fighting Common Core. Michelle Linn, fox23.com

“Children in kindergarten being exposed to sex education, and fourth graders being taught the Five Pillars of Islam, those are just some of the concerns a group of parents have about new Common Core standards being implemented in Oklahoma schools.

Kristal Picolet handed out flyers at an Owasso school board meeting Monday night, sharing those concerns.

“I said I cannot knowingly sleep at night and have any peace if this is what’s going to happen to an exceptional school district like Owasso,” said Picolet.

Picolet lived in Colorado three years ago, when that state rolled out Common Core standards.

“It was frustrating as a parent to watch your child come home absolutely hating school, being completely devastated, feeling like a failure,” Picolet said.

She told FOX23 News her children, who attend Barnes Elementary in Owasso, started bringing home materials that she recognized immediately as Common Core-based curriculum. That’s when she knew she had to fight.

Two weeks ago she formed the Facebook group: Owasso AGAINST Common Core. She also printed flyers to inform parents about the way the standards are changing. She and her husband handed out information at soccer games and football games.

Monday night Picolet spoke to a large crowd at the Owasso School Board Meeting. She was given 10 minutes to make her argument against Common Core standards, but her remarks lasted 26 minutes. Audience members gave her a standing ovation.

Teachers and administrators might not like everything about the new standards, either, but it’s state law. Owasso Assistant Superintendent David Hall tells us Governor Brad Henry signed them into law in 2010 and they will roll out in the next school year.

He agrees with Picolet that the standards are not perfect, but disputes arguments that Common Core standards will expose students to inappropriate sexual material.

“I don’t see that anywhere in the standards. I don’t really believe it’s there,” said Hall.

Hall says the biggest flaw with Common Core standards is that they take away all local control.

“All of it came from outside the state’s borders,” Hall said.

But he says Common Core standards are not all bad.

“What we see out of it is just a greater depth of knowledge being required of our students. Our teachers are to teach to a greater depth of knowledge. I don’t know that that’s a negative thing at all,” Hall said.

He emphasized that students will no longer be expected to fill in multiple choice “A”, “B” or “C” bubbles. Instead, they’ll be expected to infer, to predict, to analyze, and to compare and contrast.

He admits there will be growing pains.

“The states where it’s been implemented and tested, there was a very large drop in the performance of the students on standardized exams,” Hall said.

It’s something Picolet says she can’t just sit by and watch happen to students in her community.

“We are a city of character, we are not a city of average. Owasso cares about our schools. We have exceptional schools and Common Core was created for low-performing schools,” said Picolet.

She is urging parents across Green Country to unite to fight these standards.

“We need to start demanding reform from our legislators,” she said.

And Hall says it’s not too late.

“The remedies for parents would be to lobby the legislature to get changes made, and the Governor’s office, because make no mistake about it, she’s a big part of it, too,” Hall said.

Picolet plans to hold town hall meetings over the next few months. She hopes to inspire every parent in Green Country to call their state legislator before the 2014 session begins, and urge them to block Common Core standards from taking effect in Oklahoma.”

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