Are we sowing seeds of unity in our war against the Core?
Are we sowing seeds of unity in our war against the Core?

Today’s anti CCSS warrior riddle is simply this: Are we so busy fighting the Common Core Machine, we’ve turned our angst towards each other? Let’s find out!

Warrior Burnout, Warrior WannaBes, and the Know-it-alls:

Let’s be honest…people are weird. Especially when they are trying to organize and become united in a purpose. For those of us fighting Common Core, our purpose SHOULD be preserving our freedom to choose what type of education is best for our students without federal overreach. However, the longer I’m in this battle the more I see division among the united front. This is bad  of news. No team can be effective if there’s dissension among the ‘ranks’.

See if you recognize any of the following situations:
You’ve met to discuss how to talk to your school board or district and someone walks away feeling worse than when they arrived. The reasons why they leave feeling worse can be vary, but the results are the same: I took my time and energy to come and what I had to say wasn’t valued. OUCH

You’re leading the meeting that has been advertised as an ‘informational session about CCSS’ in your area and the guests start correcting you. EMBARRASSING FOR EVERYONE

You’re the first time guest at an anti CCSS meeting and you know some of the people, but feel so overwhelmed by all the name dropping (of which you know about 2 people mentioned) that you begin to feel you’ve wasted your time and this battle is  just not worth it. UGH

You’ve lead for so long in fighting CCSS you just want some help, but all you hear is “You’re so great at it..you keep it up.” To which you counter that with, ‘No, come help me.’ Nine times out of 10, you still are at it…and with no new help. WEARY

My warriors, do any of the above situations make for a great united front against our true adversary? NO! What the situations above show is that we’ve not really given our all to the task at hand…ending Common Core in every way it has overtaken our lives.

By behaving in the ways shown above, we are allowing the pressure to get to us. In our thirst for credible evidence we immediately want to dismiss anything about CCSS that doesn’t come with a pedigree and at least 5 cited sources. (I realize, as I hope you do, that is not a literal example). What does that make our goal? That the war can wait while we have to have proof that CCSS is wrong? That its agenda is un-American? We have the proof! Let’s not get so caught up in the ‘where you’d get that’ that we throw the CCSS Machine a victory…by us getting so weary, we turn on each other.

What Can We Do?:

It has been my experience in leadership that in order to stay focused on your goals, the following actions need to be in constant check:
1) Is the leader leading well?  You can spot a good leader by their honesty, their humility, their willingness to walk along with you if you need it, their ability to point you in the direction of others when they do not have the answers, and their ability to keep your group centered on the task of defeating CCSS.

2) As a team member: are you being honest, humble, working well with others, completing all that’s been asked of you to do? If you are researching, are you using reliable sources, including the links, documents, etc. so that others in the group can access it for themselves?

3) As a group: are you meeting regularly? Is communication good? How has the Standard Procedure for any business you have to conduct been laid out? Is it being followed? Is there any dialogue set up for when there is a disagreement so that every walks away feeling valued?

4) Has the group set up a statement of purpose, a mission statement, or a value proclamation? If you have, great! If not, you should. Keep it in front of your members all the time. An example for a good grassroots purpose statement is this:

We, the members of Johnny’s anti Common Core Group determine to be united in our actions. We will choose to fight against the Standards and all that they stand for. We will choose to not fight among ourselves in order to accomplish our goal.

Why This Matters:

Like a family, no organized group will survive well if planning and purpose are not present and always in motion. Taking the time to organize the efforts of your group, especially when a statement of purpose is created, means the group is agreeing what the purpose is. We have enough ‘leaders’ trying to make us dance to their tune, why would we do likewise in our anti CC warrior groups?

Now, I know WHY organized groups hit snags…especially where our students are involved. It’s because we care what happens to them. If you can’t agree on anything else, start there. You care.

Things to Remember:

In this war, each of us has a unique talent we can use to bring down the CCSS Machine. Let’s help each other by allowing those talents to be offered freely.

In other words, let the person gifted in research, conduct it. The researcher may not be a public speaker, but your group has a person who adores it, have them share the researcher’s findings. When presented, IF you have credibility questions, ask them politely. Don’t correct a person who’s leading with “What you did wrong in your presentation is _____________.” Behavior like that shows narrow mindedness and an ability to not want to work with others. IF you believe information to be inaccurate, speak in private. All of us are busy, no one has time for a sour puss warrior.

Keep in mind, humans make mistakes. It doesn’t mean the end of the war. It simply means grace needs to be applied, as well as forgiveness. Leaders should never ask their team to do something they will not or cannot do. That rule of thumb has been one I’ve used in every leadership position I’ve held. It’s a classic one. If a team member makes a mistake in fighting CCSS, fine. If a leader does, fine. No one person is more important in the war..we are all VALUABLE. Just like when we were kids, admit the mistake, learn from it, and move on.

Not every famous person fighting CCSS is worth listening to. Just like, not every ‘Joe blow citizen’ is either. Why would I say this? Frankly, not 100% of the people fighting CCSS will like me..or you. That’s just life. After all the research that has been conducted in fighting CCSS, we’ve been able to watch and see which famous warriors are credible and trust-worthy.

But, are we so sold out to them, that we forget the everyday, not so famous, warrior can be JUST as credible and trust-worthy? Don’t be blinded..truth is truth, no matter who it is who delivers it.

One Last Thought:

Yes, time is moving quickly in this war. Tempers will flare, passions will be at fever pitch. In our haste, let’s purpose to preserve the united front we’ve worked so hard to present to the supportive side. Let’s not give a hint of chinks in the armor. We know what they’ll do with it..ram a sword an ‘inch wide and a mile deep’ through us.

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