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Tomorrow, the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Committee on Common Core State Standards will hold a two-hour public hearing on implementation of Common Core state standards.  For those who are planning to speak or attend the hearing, this week’s CommenTerry is for you.

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Speaking directly to our elected officials is a privilege that citizens often take for granted.  Article 1, Section 12 of the North Carolina Constitution declares,

The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated.

So, if you signed up (or will sign up) to talk to the LRC Committee on Common Core State Standards tomorrow and are not part of a secret political society, congratulations and thank you.

Here are ten things to remember:

1.     Follow the written and stated rules established by the committee chairs.  The Committee on Common Core State Standards published the following guidelines:

  • On-line registrants will need to check-in at the hearing site prior to the start of the hearing. Slots for on-line registrants who do not check-in prior to the start of the hearing will be released to on-site registrants.
  • Speakers will have up to 2 minutes for presentation to the Committee.
  • Speakers will be called according to the order of registration. The presiding chair reserves the right to re-order the speakers, in order to provide the committee with a full spectrum of opinion and ideas.
  • Speakers who have registered may elect to allow another individual to speak in their place at check-in if both parties are physically present at the hearing site. Substitutions and yielding of time to other parties will not be permitted after the start of the hearing.

Committee chairs will likely offer additional instructions at the public hearing.

2.     Your first two comments? First, identify yourself.  Second, thank the committee for listening to your concerns. 

3.     You will have two minutes and only two minutes.  Therefore, prepare a two-minute presentation.  My recommendation is that speakers should have no more than three topics, discuss each for around 30 seconds, and spend your final 30 seconds summarizing your points.  As Winston Churchill said, "A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest."

4.     Two minutes goes faster than you think, but deliberately stretching your presentation past two minutes is disrespectful to your fellow speakers and the committee.  If you have more to say, folks will be recording comments and statements outside of the legislative office building.

5.     Speaking of respect, turn off all electronic devices and remain quiet during each public comment.

6.     Present arguments, facts, and personal anecdotes in a coherent manner.  Talk to legislators, not at them.  Avoid personal attacks, name-calling, preaching, or political commentary.

7.     Remember that legislators are looking for solutions to problems caused by the adoption and implementation of Common Core.  Although tempting, do not stray off topic.

8.     Also remember that those solutions must be subject to the authority of the N.C. General Assembly.

9.     Don’t get arrested.  This isn’t a Moral Monday rally.

10.  Whether you support or dislike Common Core, do not be hesitant to follow up with legislators and like-minded folks.

I likely neglected to list a few key suggestions, so the bottom line is this — good luck and may the force be with you.

Facts and Stats

Materials for all LRC Committee on Common Core State Standards meetings are available here

Education Acronym of the Week

LRC — Legislative Research Commission

Quote of the Week

"The LRC Study Committee on Common Core State Standards shall comprehensively study both current and suggested curriculum standards in K-12 education in the State. The study may include the efficacy of the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS") and potential financial, educational, and legal impacts on the State. The Committee shall focus on the questions of cost and benefits of any existing or proposed curriculum standards and whether those standards will directly and positively affect educational outcomes in the State. The Committee may study any other issues pertinent to this study."

– Authorization of Legislative Research Commission Joint Study Committee

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