Parent questions teachings under common core

By Candice Monhollan Temporary President Dominic Perigo, Jr., swears in board members Doug Stirling, Kendra LaCosta, Joseph Meola, Heather Schaen and Janis Reynolds.

The words “common core” are being heard throughout the area as districts are implementing these new standards, including the Kennett Consolidated School District.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The idea behind it is to have a common understanding of what students are expected to learn.

The standards are expected to give the knowledge and skills students should have within their school career from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Sounds like a good thing, right?

Not to parent Angie John, who took to the podium at the board’s Dec. 2 meeting to voice her opinion on what her children are learning under the common core courses.

“The thing that really bothers me is when I saw a common core book,” John said. “I was very disturbed about a lot of the things I found in this book.”

John feels there are words or phrases in the textbooks which should not be taught to children. She said she would have her children learn it because it was part of the course, but tell them they could never speak it.

She cited one example of a simile found in the book: “The woman’s face looked wrinkled as an old paper bag.”

“I showed this to my mom and she was very offended,” John said. “She said if her grandchildren ever said anything like that, they would be smacked across the face and would be in trouble.”

John spoke with Kennett Middle School principal John Carr about it and even he agreed the students were not permitted to make such comments in the hallway, she said.

After reading through the book, John contacted the publishers and they said they would review through everything and determine if they want to take the books off the shelves.

“The things that are in this book are [also] inaccurate history and inaccurate government,” John said.

When she wasn’t sure, she turned to a friend who was an expert in the field and he pointed out those mistakes to her.

John took all of this to Carr and he informed her to bring everything to light to the board.

“It’s embarrassing for me to say [to my son], ‘Go to school, bring your schoolwork home and please, after you read it [and] take the test, please forget about it – you’re not allowed to say these things,’” John said. “It’s also a little mentally abusive to tell a child to learn this … then please forget it because it’s immoral.”

Board changeover

Now that the 2013 elections are over, it was time for the school board to welcome in a new face and change the leadership.

Sworn in by temporary-President Dominic Perigo, Jr. were Doug Stirling in Region A, Kendra LaCosta and Joseph Meola of Region B and Janis Reynolds and Heather Schaen of Region C. Out of those five, only LaCosta was new to the board.

Stirling’s one-year term as board president also came to an end and a unanimous decision was made to vote Schaen as the new president and Stirling was voted in as the new vice president.

Outsourcing benefits

The board approved, contingent on a legal review by the district’s solicitor, a contract between the district and Reschini Agency on outsourcing a portion of employee benefits administration.

The contract is the outcome of the retirement of the current benefits coordinator in the district and instead of filling the position, it was decided to eliminate it and go with Reschini Agency on Jan. 1, 2014.

At the moment, Reschini Agency is already providing third-party administrative services for the self-insured medical and prescription insurance programs and the contract will just be expanding their services to include COBRA administration, enrollment maintenance and retiree billing, among other things.

This initiative will save the district roughly $60,000 per year.

Coaches and concussions

With the growing concerns over concussions in high school athletes, the P.I.A.A. is instituting a new coaching education course to promote safety and it will be mandatory for all coaches in 2016.

Food and turkey drives

On Nov. 25, Kennett High has their annual Turkey Drive and they collected 60 frozen turkeys to give to families in need for Thanksgiving.

Along the same lines, the Humanitarian Club held a canned food drive and for three weeks. The original goal was to collect 2,400 cans, but they surpassed that with over 3,000.

The following personnel changes were approved by the Kennett Consolidated School District board at the Dec. 2 meeting:

Resignations:

Brenda Jones, food service, Kennett High.

Leaves:

Colleen Allen, guidance counselor, Kennett High on maternity/child-rearing leave.

Kristy Lanzetti, first grade, Greenwood Elementary on an extension to maternity/child-rearing leave.

Employments:

Catherine Painter, special education, Bancroft Elementary.

Laura Raffaele, elementary instrumental music.

Janet Lopez Magana, part-time food service:

Substitutes:

Jessica Benatti

Devin Buchanan

Bernadette Driscoll

Diane Judge

Julie Pagonyi

Julia Steiner

About the Author

Candice Monhollan

Candice Monhollan is a 2012 Temple University graduate. She loves to cover sports, especially hockey. She enjoys marching with the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps and has a love of U.S. military history, which includes reenacting. Reach the author at cmonhollan@dailylocal.com .

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