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My LWV Speech and Debate of Common Core

November 22, 2013

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, I had the opportunity to speak to members and guests of the Baton Rouge group, Leaders With Vision, regarding my experience with and research writings on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). My speech and debate partner was retired St. Tammany teacher and fellow blogger/activist Lee Barrios. Barrios and I debated against two individuals who support CCSS: Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) Vice President for Public Policy Stephanie Desselle and Stand for Children (SFC) Parent Leader Wiley Brazier.

Each of the four of us were allowed seven minutes to speak. Barrios spoke first, then Desselles. I was third (minute 23 in the youtube video below), and Brazier closed. After each of us spoke, we addressed audience questions for the next hour.

If you are able to devote an hour and a half to watching the debate, it is very interesting and enlightening (a smidge of “tongue in cheek” here) from start to finish.  However, if you have limited time, you may wish to skip to the hour mark and watch Desselles talk about the “tens of thousands of educators” involved in developing Common Core and Barrios’s subsequent rebuttal.

Another interesting, briefer view involves watching Barrios’ opening speech (she spoke first) about ten errors of CCSS then forwarding to 1:18:30 to hear an audience question asking Desselles to rebut Barrios’ ten errors. (Desselles accuses “a union” of “planting” the question.)

I was able to speak a few times. The event was definitely worth my while, and I appreciate Leaders With Vision inviting me.

An aside: Just for fun, see how “reform-adept” you are as you read about who sits on both the national SFC and Louisiana-based CABL boards of directors. Can you connect the reformer dots?

From → Common Core

  1. jonpelto permalink

    Great, great, great job! Can’t wait to watch the whole video – we need to make sure that as many people as possible see this. It provides a perfect example of the real difference between those who understand and those who refuse to allow the facts and truth get in the way of their preconceived corporate education reform industry opinions.

    • Thank you, Jon. I value your compliment.

      I was happy to learn that the event was to be filmed. That is where the power is.

  2. carey permalink

    this guy wiley’s rebuttal to lee at the end reflects the doublespeak agenda of the common core proponents. he either misunderstood what lee was saying about poverty’s affecting student’s learning, or was deliberately trying to distort her message that teachers can never be the sole influence over the educational success of children; environment as well as family have as much or even more affect on a child’s learning experience.

  3. ira shor permalink

    Would love to view video of the debate, great chance to listen to you, but I can’t click open the video, no button to make it start…best, ira

  4. ira shor permalink

    OOPS! A button arrow just appeared! Magic! I clicked it…ira

  5. Bookworm23 permalink

    Desselles exudes condescension.

  6. Debbie Sachs permalink

    WOW! So inspiring to watch two passionate educators clearly articulating the problems with this entire CCSSI. Thank you both – Mercedes and Lee for being advocates for our children and educating the public on this education reform tragedy.

    I do have to admit that I was floored by Mrs. Deselles’ statements on the tens of thousands of educators(naming not one), all of the research done (citing none) with respect to CCSSI, but without getting too personal – her body language throughout this entire debate said it all.

    • Debbie, there is more comedy to Desselles’ statement about “tens of thousands of educators involved” in CCSS development: As if to bring home her point, she says that in Louisiana, even THREE teachers were involved in CCSS.


      Right after Desselles made the comment about three Louisiana teachers being involved with CCSS, someone from the audience shouted, “What are their names?”

      Desselles did not even name the supposed “three.”

  7. Susan Muchmore permalink

    Stephanie Deselles’ is a study in body language…cell phone, head shaking…and then she bails in the end. The irony is telling.

  8. Great video! You and Lee Barrios gave rational and concise points that clearly demonstrated why you think CCSS is the wrong path forward for public education. The other two had only sloppy, mushy hard-to-follow platitudes on why we should all love CCSS.
    I come from Nebraska, one of the few states that have not accepted CCSS, but I predict a fight going forward to force the acceptance of CCSS. Your Blog WILL help in our efforts to block CCSS. Thank you!

  9. Debbie Sachs permalink


  10. Hello Mercedes,
    We have not had the chance to meet yet, but I thoroughly enjoy your blog and your arguments made during the luncheon. I have spent the better part of today dissecting the luncheon and the particularly bad debate by Stephanie Desselle. I wanted to share those with you from my own blog.

    Please keep fighting. We’re both 22 years veterans who have the kids’ best interests at heart.

    In camaraderie, Vincent P. Barras

  11. HOW can they keep using stand for children reps as their proponent? The money trail is so obvious!

    You did a great job, as did Lee! Thank you for all you do! Someone should tell mr brazier that I am one mom now not sending my best and brightest children to school! I’m homeschooling and they won’t be going back anytime soon….maybe in high school if I can be sure they get you Mercedes!

  12. I’ll share as usual on I hope one day we can meet Mercedes. 🙂

  13. FYI -my ten points were derived from a blog by our fellow public Ed advocate and teacher from California Anthony Cody. The union attack is ever present when you have no other defense.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. My LWV Speech and Debate of Common Core | The Education Report - your source for education news, updated all day
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  5. What Common Core Looks Like In Desperation | Dr. Rich Swier
  6. Question: Which Louisiana Teachers Wrote Common Core? | Dr. Rich Swier

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