The National Pulse

Common Core Math Publisher Sues Parent for Opposing Curriculum

According to a local report, the publisher of a controversial Common Core math curriculum used in the Wake County, N.C., public school district (WCPSS) is suing an individual parent for “libel and slander” as well as “tortuous interference” for vocally criticizing the district’s use of the curriculum he says has harmed the education of his son and many other students in the district. The Utah-based publisher, Mathematics Vision Project (MVP), claims that parent Blain Dillard acted with “reckless disregard” that has harmed the company, while Dillard claims he is “innocent of all allegations and can defend each and every point made in the summons.”

According to the report:

MVP attorney Joseph Shapiro told WRAL News the company “believes in and supports public discourse, especially relating to the education of our children. Society has, however, placed limits on public discourse. One of those limits is a restriction against false statements. MVP’s legal action against Mr. Dillard is an effort to preserve these boundaries and maintain the civility, dignity, and productiveness of public discourse.”

The lawsuit claims Dillard “commenced a crusade against MVP” and “acted with reckless disregard” as he knowingly made false and defamatory statements with the intent to harm MVP’s reputation. The company wants a jury trial and is seeking damages for Dillard’s “defamatory statements” and “intentional interference” with the company’s business.

Dillard has spoken at numerous Wake County Board of Education meetings and with the news media about his dislike of MVP, which he says caused his 10th grade son to go from being an A and B math student to failing the subject in a short time period.

In addition to his public comments, Dillard created a websiteblog and Facebook group dedicated to sharing his criticisms of the program and the Wake County Public School System’s use of it. He has also filed numerous public records requests to get information and has emailed math teachers in both Wake County and Utah to get their thoughts on the program.

In an email Tuesday, Dillard said MVP’s lawsuit “is an attempt at intimidation and bullying to silence my and other parents’ free speech advocating for our children’s education.” Dillard’s supporters have created a GoFundMe [] page to raise money for his defense against MVP.

The curriculum teaches by the “discovery method” instead of proven teacher-led direct instruction. Group projects are frequently employed.

According to the GoFundMe page, Dillard explains that he created a website, blog, and a Facebook group that now has over 1,400 members analyzing data about the effectiveness or lack thereof of the MVP program. Over 400 students in the Wake County district walked out of class in protest over the curriculum. Sixteen parents, including Dillard, filed a formal complaint with the WCPSS that was dismissed because a district-led review panel praised the curriculum. However, the board voted unanimously to review the findings of that panel contained in an appeal of the complaint of one parent, which they did in closed-door session that will be discussed publicly and voted on by the board on this week.

The reaction to the lawsuit by parent activists and experts across the nation has been swift and condemning of both MVP and WCPSS. Tom Loveless, formerly head of the Brown Center at the left-of-center Brookings Institution, said in a tweet:

JR Wilson at the Underground Parent said:

Is the Parent Voice being heard in Wake County? Will the parents be successful in getting the kind of education they want for this children?

Good for those parents in Wake County and in other places across the country that are persistent in having their voice heard with regard to the education and upbringing of their children.

Anne Gassel at the Missouri Education Watchdog properly noted that this lawsuit represents the possibility of a coming “World War” between parents and the education industrial complex over what happens to their children:

The message to parents in MVP’s lawsuit is, “You have no say in what we are going to do to your children. Speak up and we will destroy you.”

When an education business goes after an individual parent for claims about the effects of its product on children, claims which can easily be proved true, in an effort to save its contract with the school district, we may be witnessing the newest assassination attempt that could spark an all-out war in public schools over who has the ultimate say about what happens inside the buildings and to the children.

The time is likely here when parents will not be able to stay uninvolved. This case and the parents’ rights case discussed last week are just two of the latest examples. If you have not already, gird for battle to protect the hearts and minds of your children.

Photo credit: Bryon Lippincott via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Karen R. Effrem, MD

Dr. Karen Effrem and her husband have three children. She is trained as a pediatrician and serves as national education issues chairman for Eagle Forum and president of Education Liberty Watch.

  • I am in Oklahoma. I am a parent of 2 who also have struggled with common core. I have reviewed it. This system ruins our children’s ability to use common sense. It is time we get rid of it. I stand behind htis father. I really hope and pray this Sparks a movement to remove this and the issues with the other subjects common core curriculum has effected. The stupidity of this program is overwhelming. Parents are not dumb. Although so many are second guessing themselves this program gets rid of all common sense. When every question on a page could possibly be a part of another questions answer it’s wrong. I don’t care if they say 2+3=9 , it never will.

  • “This case and the parents’ rights case discussed last week are just two of the latest examples. If you have not already, gird for battle to protect the hearts and minds of your children”

    The two cases have nothing to do with each other. The MVP case is a clear abuse of power. The case you discussed last week is an attempt by an absentee parent (who was accused of abuse) to claim parental rights years after the child left home. You are being dishonest.

    ” gird for battle to protect the hearts and minds of your children””
    Given your silence when faced with children enduring the torture of so-called “conversion therapy”, Karen Old Girl is in no moral position to claim concern for the well-being of children. She is part of the problem.

    • Well, at least you recognize one “clear abuse of power” dealing with the MVP case. Here are a few facts to clarify your rather tortured logic about the Calgary statement:
      1) You yourself said in the comments, “I agree with you. From all accounts, Minnesota’s “emancipation” laws have led to poor decisions by the state’s agencies and thus need clarification. Due process indeed.”
      2) Accusations of abuse are not the same as findings of abuse. You have yet to produce one word of documentation that any court found this mother abusive and that it was the reason for the emancipation or that she even had a hearing to discuss those accusations.
      3) You still have never produced any word of writing of mine regarding conversion therapy.

    • Karen Old Girl reflects again! Get a grip Old Gal–I agreed with someone else’s comments. Not you.

      1) Mommy Dearest hasn’t been in her daughter’s life for years. You don’t dispute this. Absentee mother only decides she is a parent when she disapproves of a medical procedure the daughter wants two months before her 18th birthday. .The daughter left when she was 15. I believe the daughter’s accusations of abuse. You believe the absentee mother’s comments,-probably because you want to exploit this troubled family for political reasons.
      2) You refuse to condemn torturing children with heinious so-called conversion therapy. You keep dodging the issue. Why?
      3) You have no moral authority to claim concern for the well-being of children. Do you support molesting the minds of children with conversion therapy?

    • Common core 2.0. Teachers moderate groups working on math problems. No more teaching with examples and textbooks. Learning aids are available for purchase though and most kids who can afford have tutors.

      Concept is Learn by doing. The strongest at math find help on the internet to complete homework and teach themselves. The weakest at math get left behind or carried along blindly by default of group getting an answer.

      The kids hate it. Parents are afraid to speak out or get sued.

    • It is so much worse than that. I have followed my children’s homework. For example when we learned math every question stood alone, in this program question 1 could be added to question 6 and divided by question 9 to come up with the answer they are looking for. It is no wonder children are failing. In this program you have to figure it out without directions. It’s not right.