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April 26, 2015 - Communiqué on Contributors: Mary Calamia

Mary Calamia

Don't mess with Mary Calamia. 

Not only does she know what she's talking about when it comes to the Common Core State Standards, she's outspoken, articulate, and doesn't mince words.

It was video of Mary's testimony before the New York State Assembly Minority Education Committee Forum on Common Core and Race to the Top that brought her to the attention of Common Ground on Common Core's editor Kirsten Lombard. "She was clear as a bell," notes Lombard. "I knew I had to try to secure an essay from her for the book, because her firsthand experience and perspective as a social worker was not only powerful but also highly credible."

Mary's essay in the book draws on the same testimony, but expands it significantly, giving readers a profoundly troubling view of the emotional and psychological damage Common Core and high-stakes assessments are doing to students. 

A remarkable blend of compassion and fierceness, Mary is a licensed social worker (LCSW, CASAC), based in Stony Brook, New York and treating children, adolescents, and adults from more than 20 different school districts on Long Island. In working with her most vulnerable clients, Mary leverages the assistance of Jack, a labrador retriever, who makes the therapeutic environment feel safer and friendlier. 

Mary has been fighting Common Core in New York State since she first began to see its effects on her clients. For the last three years or more, she has been front and center in the grassroots movement to push back against the controversial reform initiative. Keenly watchful, Mary has helped to expose various conflicts of interest and hypocrisies. A few months ago, for example, a tweet she shared went positively viral when she noted fine print on MSNBC's website about Gates Foundation funding of Common Core-related reporting.

What a gift to have someone as concerned, insightful, and fearless as Mary--such a strong advocate for students, parents, and teachers alike--active in the battle to restore true education.

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