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Sibson Gets Graves to Agree: Common Core Bad!

Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves usually flacks for whatever the state wants. But at last night's Mitchell school board meeting, he threw arch-conservative opponents of the dreaded Common Core standards a bone:

During the meeting’s public commentary segment, Mitchell resident Steve Sibson expressed concern about the pending statewide adoption of common core curriculum standards.

“It’s my belief that common core is not about the quality of education, but the control of our kids,” Sibson said.

“Common core is not the way to go,” agreed Graves, who said the district is being forced into preparing curricula to meet the new standards. Graves said after the meeting the move to common core standards in math, English and other subjects in the future is a move toward a federal curriculum [Ross Dolan, "Mitchell School Board OKs Nearly $25 Million 2013-14 Budget," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2013.07.08].

Holy cow! The lines on Common Core we hear from school superintendents usually range between safe parroting of the state Department of Education's bunnies-farting-rainbows talking points to perhaps a fatalistic shrug at carrying out state mandates. But here's Dr. Graves saying Common Core is bad and moves exactly in the oppressive, power-usurping direction the Common Core opponents say it will. Kudos, Joe!

Our man Sibby then offered to bring his gun to school:

On another subject, Sibson also noted a new state law allows school districts to appoint armed security sentinels. Sibson offered his services as a school sentinel. Sibson offered to become trained for the volunteer duty at his own expense.

The board made no comment on the offer [Dolan, 2013.07.08].

Sibby with a gun in school—yeah, that'll raise your insurance rates.


  1. Bill Dithmer 2013.07.09

    Don't take your guns to school Sib
    Leave your guns at home Steve
    Don't take your guns to school

    The Blindman

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.07.09

    MJL, would SDEA's support explain Dr. Graves's opposition? ;-)

  3. MJL 2013.07.09

    That would be my guess Corey.

  4. Donald Pay 2013.07.09

    I can't figure this Graves guy out, except he seems like something of a tinfoil hat crank. South Dakota is last in education quality, according to Education Week. Even ALEC lists South Dakota down in 38th place. Graves, or course, supported the education "deforms" proposed by Daugaard, and opposed by the public. These "deforms" were mostly standard righty boilerplate, and useless to improving education

    Look, there are two things here. Standards, upon which local districts can model curriculum, are necessary. South Dakota already has standards, as do most states. Where the Common Core standards are tougher, adopt them. Where SD standards are better, keep the SD standard. Pretty eff-ing simple, and there's no loss of local control.

    So, I'm all for standards, but the testing is different, and should be opposed. It's not about control of students. That's nonsense. What it's about is using money wisely for education of students, and not siphoning money to outside testing corporations and consultants (which was what HB 1234 was all about).

    I think Graves just wants to find a way to siphon money to some pet education consultants, rather than do his job. If he'd do his job he would look at the Common Core standards and the State Standards to select good curriculum, and help teachers implement it.

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