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House Interim Study on Common Core: Nov.

05, 2013 Howard Houchen Statement

Rep. Gus Blackwell: At this time were going to ask the only person who got up earlier than I did to leave. Howardhow do you pronounce your last name? Houchen.

Howard Houchen: Im going to try to be real quick, I know were running very short on time. First of all, thank you Representative Gus Blackwell for calling this House Interim Study. Thank you Representative Kern for calling the previous House Interim Study and for being here all day for this one, so thank you very much and its nice that you want to hear from the parents and you want to hear from the administrators, superintendents, and the principals because it seems as if our own Oklahoma State Department of Education does not want to do that. I do want to introduce my youngest son, this is Jared and yes, he is in public school, in the 7th Grade, at Hugo Middle School and they are not out todayI took him out and I get to do that two more times then I get to receive a letter from the District Attorney thank you very much, Oklahoma Legislature. He can learn more critical thinking skills and gain more knowledge here than he probably would there but, anyway, I digress. I am a very staunch supporter of public schools. I am told I was instrumental in helping my local school district, in Hugo, pass only its third school bond issue in the history of Hugo Public Schools. The first one was in 1906 with the second one being in 1969. Weve kind of had a problem with passing bonds in Hugo but we were able to do this, this last time, and it was for one point four million dollars and you would have thought we were asking people for billions of dollars. I bring this up for a reason because earlier, I cant remember who was talking about it yes I do, it was Brian Daley and he was discussing Bond Issues around the state. One the problems I have with Common Core yes, we have an estimate but guess what? It didnt come from the state on how much this implementation of Common Core is going to cost. So, we have some serious bond problems in many of the rural areas when were talking about coming up with the money to pursue this. We have NO idea how much this is going to cost. I think we had some estimate from the Pioneer Institute or something that is guessing it is going to cost something like two hundred million but, stillisnt that the purview of the Oklahoma State Department of Education? Shouldnt they be able to come up with an estimate to how much this is going to cost? Thats among one of my first problems.

Rep. Blackwell: Well, actually they did and in Representative Kerns Study we were told it would never cost a dime then, in March, at a meeting, the State Superintendent stated that it shouldnt cost more than sixteen to seventeen thousand dollars. In this budget I think at least five million was earmarked for Common Core so

Howard Houchen: Thats just it, so we still do not have an estimate. To go back, in Representative Kerns Interim Study, the Superintendent of Education walked in, after a presentation that laid out a lot of the information you are getting here today, and stated: :Youre entitled to your own opinion but youre really not entitled to your own facts. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think that its pretty easy to see that in the intervening time, from then to now, including all the presenters today, and all the factual information Yes, she was right but its turned around. She may be entitled to her opinion, as well as the State Department of Education, but they are not entitled to their own facts. The facts are on the side of the anti-common core push in the State of Oklahoma, they are not on the side of the State Department of Education and the Executive Branch. How will this affect my son? Im going to be a hundred percent honest with you: My oldest son graduated in 2012, its not to affect him one bit. Hows it going to affect my youngest? Its really not going to affect him a lot and Im going to tell you why its not going to affect him. Because he was given a Multidimensional Sentence Completion Exercise. This is used for psychological evaluations, yallin school. Jared recognized that there is something just not quite right about this and he brings it home. I look at it and throw a hissy-fit. Needless to say, the company that was responsible for this is no longer in business with public schools in Hugo, Oklahoma.I can assure that, that was ended. But, he recognizes any type of data collection activity, believe it or not. On multiple occasions, Jared please confirm: Have you declined to fill out anything at school since then?

Jared Houchen: Yes, several

Howard Houchen: Yep, youre dadgum right he has. So, Im not that concerned but what I am concerned about is ALL the other children in public school. Im a huge supporter of public school. I want there to be public schools from now on. I want my kids-kids, my grandchildren, my great-great grandchildren to go to public schools. Is there any way you can put the quote from Jong Xiao back up on the screen? Thats O.K., Ill do my best to remember it and well get back that in just a minute. Anyway, she talked about the idea that youre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts well, that assessment was a little bit off in my opinion. She also states that she and the Oklahoma State Department of Education has trouble finding Superintendents, Teachers, Administrators, and Parents who are against this push for Common Core. Im beginning to question her ability to assess anything if shes having problems like this. In my neck of the woods, hmmmDonna Anderson left, were from southeastern Oklahoma. It takes me three and half hours to get up here. My other southeast Oklahoma friend left too, from down in Idabel. But, they (common core opponents of common core) are thick down there! And, you get to asking around, over these past several years, theyre thick all over Oklahoma. Administrators, Teachers, Superintendents, Parents. There are areas, Pushmataha Countyschool districts that are organically, naturally, growing anti-common core groups. Not because of what me, or Jenni White, or Representative Kern, or anybody else is doing. Its because they recognize something is wrong. Im asking the Legislature to listen to these people. Were not crazy. I think weve pretty well proven that. The guy from Hillsdale College, Newman (supposed be Moore), hes one of my heros. I feel honored to be able to speak after he was on video here. The whole idea of this centralized planning and control of our education system is a great idea there is no one who will ever convince me that this is not what it is and we have an Executive Branch telling us: Well, it the

Law of the Land. You gotta be kidding me! We have an Attorney General in this State that is fighting the Law of the Land right now, Obamacare. We have an Executive Branch that is telling us: Its the Law of the Landyou Superintendents, you Administrators, you teachersmake it work. Not: Were going to give you something to work with. No: You make it work. Thats notoh, by-the-way: Its not becoming of Oklahomans to criticize something like that. I got news for yathats what makes Oklahomans great. Were not afraid to criticize. And, if something is wrong, there is no questioning of anything coming from the Executive: Is it good policy or is it bad policy? Is it a good law or a bad law? No. Its the Law of the Land, you have to abide by it. We see through that, it is bad policy. The reason I wanted to put that quote up there, and Im going to be real quick here. I failed to mention, I am one of those very fortunate individuals. I attended elementary school prior to there being established a U.S. Department of Education. I also attended private school overseas; Medan International School. I substitute taught at an International School in Johannesburg South Africa, Im a registered substitute teacher I passed the background check, Im government certified here in Oklahoma at Hugo High School. I very familiar with PISA (Pogramme for International Student Assessment) and how the nonaggregated and aggregated numbers produce different pictures. Folks, in American schools overseas, people are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in those home countries to get their kids into those American schools. Our system is not broken. It is because it is an American curriculum. That is whythat is proof system is not broken. Yes, we need tinkering around the edges in certain schoolscertain districts. I can agree with that one hundred percent but the American way of how we traditionally teach our children works and we are the envy of the world. For our Executive to sit there and tell us they are going to foist this central planning and control education system upon us and down our throats? It is not going to work. Now Im going to close with this because there has been some great metaphors and analogies presented today and Jared and I came up with this one this morning. There is an episode of Sponge Bob Squarepants where Sponge Bob yall familiar with Sponge Bob? Sponge Bob made the Immaculate Krabby Patty. It was the best Krabby Patty ever made. It was perfect and he carried it around forever. Well, this thing started rotting. But, he could see it because he created it and every time he would look at it through his eyes there was this almost Holy Glow coming from the Krabby Patty. Everyone else was noticing that something was wrong, that it was rotting. Its attracting flies, its growing hair. It was getting to the point it had maggots coming out of the Krabby Patty it was NASTY, MAN! But, the way he looked at it it was AWESOME! Finally his friends made him see. There was a still picture, perfectly drawn, and it showed this really, really nasty piece of junk. The metaphor is this: Weve got common core the bun and weve got the meat. Weve got the condiments: The P through 21, the Pre-K through 20 or 21, whatever theyre calling it. The cradle to grave data system. The A through F Grading system. ALL of this makes this great, so called wonderful, centrally planned education reform in the State of Oklahoma it is THAT Krabby Patty and we noticed it real early but the folks that are bringing it to us still think it is this miraculous, Immaculate, piece of work and its not. Its got maggots on it, its rotten, it stinks, and it wreaks, there is an odor, an Aristocratic air coming from the Executive and that is what we dont like about this. We dont want it shoved down our throats and folks understand this. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you legislature. We expect action on this, not only from the House. We want it to go to the Senate and if the Governor wants to veto itmake her. Thank You.