HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – In an impassioned address to the Huntsville City School Board Tuesday night, parent and activist Anson Knowles lambasted district leaders for propagating support for Common Core Standards.
“Per the letter of the law, I respectfully request that this board perform their due diligence and affirm this flier is indeed political,” said Knowles, referring to a flier distributed to students that aimed to debunk misinformation about the standards, and urge parents to contact their legislators to show support for Common Core.
“The goal of this flier is to drive a wedge between legislators and their constituents by creating a social image that any opinions against the Common Core Standards are foolish,” said Knowles.
However, district leaders were unapologetic, gaining support from former State Board of Education member Mary Jane Caylor.
“I do not consider Common Core issue to be a political issue unless someone makes it a political issue, nor do I believe it should be a divisive issue,” said Dr. Caylor.
Superintendent Casey Wardysnki defended the flier, having received approval to distribute it from not only legal advisers, but Alabama State Superintendent Tommy Bice.
Dr. Wardynski echoed that Common Core is all about success in education, not a political agenda.
“If we were to move away from Common Core or College and Career Readiness standards we’d essentially be saying we are moving away from things we know are aligned with student success in their first year and things colleges care about and things that lead students to scholarships,” said Wardynski.
The board members also referred to prior instances when the district requested parents vote for a 6.5 mil tax renewal, as evidence that petitioning parents is nothing new.
“I congratulate you for what you’re doing. I implore you to go out, and not to have to defend yourself. You have nothing to defend yourself for,” said Caylor.
Knowles said he was disappointed in the boards’ position, but would continue to fight against what he sees as the district’s political agenda.