Archive for June 2012

Utah “wins” waiver from No Child Left Behind, forcing us into Common Core program   11 comments

You can read for yourself what Utah agreed to, in requesting a federal waiver from the law called No Child Left Behind, which was a restrictive and unpopular federal educational mandate. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/ut.pdf

Today, Utah received a “yes” answer about the NCLB waiver, from the U.S. Dept. of Education. We got the NCLB waiver, so we are released from following its mandates, but that means we have to abide by common standards. Common Core.

I’d rather be saddled with NCLB than Common Core because the mandating tentacles of Common Core are further reaching, and the standards are not amendable by us. At least we used to have local control over our educational standards before Common Core.

 

 

Common Core Science Implements U.N. Directives For Host Countries Via Microsoft   4 comments

   

 Will Utah adopt Common Core Science? 

If so, we can expect an over-emphasis on “sustainable development,” “climate change,” and “environmental awareness” that will marginalize traditional academic science in favor of United Nations-inspired “sustainability” science.  We can also expect a continued degrading of local control. 

Utah, like most of the states in this nation, adopted the Common Core math and English standards without any sort of public vetting or a vote.  The Utah State Superintendent and State School Board is still marching forward at top speed, having implemented Common Core’s preschool, math, English, the SBAC common nationalized testing system, and P-20 /SLDS citizen tracking systems, so there’s no reason to think we won’t add Common Core Science, unless there’s a huge public outcry against it. http://utahnsagainstcommoncore.com

Why would  it be a huge mistake to add the Common Core Science?

Common Core Science Standards will be aligned  with the environmental agenda-driven “science” promoted by the United Nations. 

   The United Nations’ UNESCO, via the funding tool of Microsoft and Bill Gates, is attempting to call the shots on what will be taught in U.S. schools, and it’s going to be “environmental awareness,” not honest academic science.  Here’s  how we know:

1.   MICROSOFT PROMISED TO PUSH THE UNITED NATIONS’ EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES –AND UNESCO’s CONSTITUTION– WORLDWIDE:  

Read for yourself.  Bill Gates’ company, Microsoft, in its 26-page Cooperation Agreement document with UNESCO (The United Nations Education branch) shows Gates giving support and money to promote the U.N.’s “programmes”  in host countries like the USA.  That PDF is here:  http://www.eagleforum.org/links/UNESCO-MS.pdf .

The document states:

“UNESCO’s intention is to mobilise partners from civil society and in particular from the private sector to achieve its strategic goals and programme priorities…. Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO’s Constitution and intends to contribute…” (page 2, Cooperation Agreement.)

2.  WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT THE U.N.’S EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES THAT BILL GATES/MICROSOFT PUSH?

Priority “programmes” are outlined on the U.N.’s website: http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=17673&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html  –Highlights include:

“Programme Priorities for UNESCO’s Five Major Programmes Approved Programme and Budget for 2010-2011

…Supporting the achievement of Education for All… Providing global and regional leadership in education…Policies and capacity-building in science, technology and innovation for sustainable development and …sustainable management.”  http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=17673&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

To me, the honor and trust of “providing regional leadership in education” belongs to my local school board, parents, principals and teachers.  Not to UNESCO/the U.N.

In Chapter 25 of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, as well, the U.N. website states that countries should use preexisting systems, formal and informal educational methods, to mandate that global citizens learn the importance of environmental issues.  This is the agenda of the Common Core science, in American schools.

   Further explanation of the children/education/environmental agenda of Gates and the U.N.: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_25.shtml  That site states:

Children in sustainable development:

Basis for action:

25.12. Children not only will inherit the responsibility of looking after the Earth… They are also highly aware supporters of environmental thinkingchildren need to be  taken fully into account in the participatory process on environment and  development in order to safeguard the future sustainability…

ensure that  education reflects… and   incorporates the concepts of environmental awareness and sustainable  development throughout the curricula;  … include youth and youth non-governmental  organizations to develop educational and awareness programmes  specifically targeted to the youth population on critical issues  pertaining to youth… use formal and  non-formal educational methods to reach a maximum audience  …media, non-governmental organizations, businesses and other organizations should assist… “

http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_25.shtml

3.  HOW HAS BILL GATES KEPT MICROSOFT’S PROMISE TO PUSH THOSE U.N. OBJECTIVES?

His own grant-giving website states that he gave about $25 million to the CCSSO to promote Common Core, but $9 million of that was specific to environmental propaganda:

“Purpose: to continue in [CCSSO's] its leadership role on Common Core State Standards, to continue work on an effective teaching agenda that seeks to move the ‘middle’ group of states farther along the EET policy agenda, and… publicize access to emerging research on resource reallocation…”*

EET, Earth Exploration Toolkit, is heavy on climate change and environmental awareness.  EET’s suggested colleagues’ webinar topic for teacherss’ professional development, climate change, is here: http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/eet_interactive.html

A word search in the EET chapter headings from the EET text, gives 43 matches for “climate change” and 43 matches for “ozone,” while it gives 1 match for astronomy, 3 matches for biology, no matches for zoology, and 8 matches for chemistry.

*(the meaning of mandated “resource reallocation” = state/global control of lands, or communism).

The EPIC Lawsuit Against the U.S. Dept. of Education – This will be affecting old people too   Leave a comment

I got to talk with Khalia Barnes today about the legal action her company, EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has taken against the U.S. Department of Education. 

Ms. Barnes said that they’ve had no press. No press!  The U.S. Department of Education is being sued for stepping outside the bounds of their statutory authority and making regulatory changes to FERPA, a Congressionally written law from 1974, and nobody thinks it’s newsworthy?  This affects us all, now and for years and years and years to come.  It matters, people.  Strange that this is not in the news.

Also not newsworthy, apparently:  Ms. Barnes told me that if FERPA regulatory changes don’t get overturned by the judge over this case (when it’s completed in October 2012) then it’s not just kids who will be exposed to massive privacy intrusions.  It’s every single citizen, regardless of age, who ever attended a college or university that keeps educational records, so long as that institution has accepted federal funding, which most have.  So the kid-tracking now affects all ages. 

– Unless EPIC wins the suit!  I’m going to be following the EPIC webpage and lawsuit very closely.

Who Funded and Promoted Common Core? Hint: It wasn’t the states themselves.   1 comment

  1.  Bill Gates paid the National PTA (Parents and Teachers Association) a million bucks to promote Common Core in 2009, before the Common Core Standards had ever been written or released –in 2010.  (It is like getting married before you meet your spouse.  So reasonable a thing to do with the educational future of the entire nation.)  But ah, the PTA– how brilliant of Gates.  And no wonder we all seem to believe Common Core is such a good thing, like bake sales and pajama day. http://www.pta.org/3723.htm  and http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/parenting&id=7147532

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/pages/national-parent-teacher-association-common-core-standards-091202.aspx

  2. Bill Gates paid the Council of Chief School Officers $9 million in 2011, to promote Common Core and the EET policy agenda (environmental climate change per U.N. guidance) http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/eet_interactive.html  and  http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Grants-2011/Pages/Council-of-Chief-State-School-Officers-OPP1033998.aspx  He also paid the CCSSO in 2010 and in 2009, nearing a total of several tens of millions to create the Common Core system.

  3.  Bill Gates paid the National Governor’s Association $3 million to promote Common Core. http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Grants-2008/Pages/National-Governors-Association-Center-for-Best-Practices-OPP50433.aspx

  4. Bill Gates paid the NCEE (National Center of Education and the Economy– Marc Tucker’s NCEE) http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Grants-2009/Pages/National-Center-on-Education-the-Economy-OPPCR028.aspx  to promote Common Core exams.

  5. The U.S. Department of Education paid $4.35 BILLION DOLLARS –our tax money– to push Common Core, to promote and incentivize states’ adoption of Common Core, via RTTT (Race to the Top) grants. But we never got to vote on Common Core. No one did.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/fact-sheet-race-topThis is money they could have spent on legitimate public education– teacher salaries, textbooks, school buses, etc.

  6.  The U.S. Department of Education spent $100 BILLION DOLLARS of our tax money to “drive key school reforms” which include the building of state SLDS systems (citizen-tracking databases) and the promotion of the network-system called the Common Core Initiative.  Utah received over $9 million to build that tracking database.  http://nces.ed.gov/programs/SLDS/fy09arra_announcement.asp and here’s the reference for the $100 billion .http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/DPC_Education_Report.pdf

 

A Deep Look at the Forces Behind Common Core   Leave a comment

A college student’s well referenced research paper about the funders and promoters of Common Core.

The Arne Duncan Plan: Rob Kids of the Opportunity to Ever Change Or Improve Academic Path   Leave a comment

Arne Duncan says he needs to control children via data-driven decisions.  This data will be collected via the Common Core testing system: 

“… so that every child knows on every step of their educational trajectory what they’re going to do.”

THIS IS NOT GOOD.  Children don’t always know what they want to be when they grow up.  Some children make huge mistakes. We don’t want them over-guided and over-tracked.  Let kids be kids.  Let people make up their minds as they go along!  No tracking and pushing, please, Mr. Secretary of Education Duncan.

“You should know in fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth grade what your strengths are, what you weaknesses are.”  Yikes! No way!

and:

 “We have to be transparent about our data.” 

This statement explains so much: why he wrote the Cooperative Agreement that triangulates the data Common Core tests will collect under his watchful eye; why he rewrote FERPA regulations without authority or Congressional oversight, why he paid for states to create SLDS systems to track citizens, why he’s happy about our P-20 tracking councils… What he really means is, YOU have to be transparent about YOUR data; give it to Big Brother.

http://www.ed.gov/blog/2009/06/excepts-from-secretary-arne-duncan%E2%80%99s-remarks-at-the-national-press-club/

NEW UTAH STATE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE APPOINTEES   1 comment

I feel sick to my stomach.

KSL put out the list of the new appointees to the Utah State School Board and included on the list is the wicked witch, Leslie Castle.

District 1: Alan Shakespear and Tami Pyfer

• District 4: Bruce Davis and David Thomas

• District 7: Carlton Getz and Leslie Castle

• District 8: Christopher Williams and Jennifer Johnson

• District 10: David Crandall and Nina Welker

• District 11: Jefferson Moss and Sergio Vasquez

• District 12: Dixie Allen and Wendy Simmerman

• District 13: Ken Parkinson and Mark Openshaw

• District 15: Barbara Corry and Bette Arial

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=20992068

I am not using the term “wicked witch” lightly.  This is the person who pushes the anti-liberty values of Common Core and who literally said in an email to me that she knows equality, not freedom, is the driving force of the U.S. Constitution.

She lied.  She emailed all the board, saying that I had never even been a teacher, so no one should listen to me at all.  This is silly, because why shouldn’t the board listen, even if I was only a concerned parent?  But anyway.  All this was after I’d given her my up-to-date teacher licensing information, and after I had invited her to contact all the principals and university administrators who had ever worked with me and under whom I had taught.

I even had parents of former students write to her. They all defended my truthfulness.

She ignored it all and kept saying her lies to the rest of the school board.

WHY?  Because I was calling the board on their misrepresentation of Common Core!  I wrote a four page rebuttal to their flier (Fact v. fiction about Common Core) and she wanted it all discredited. http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/DOCS/coreStandardsPamphlet.aspx  (their flier, which is without references)

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/correcting-the-usoes-facts-education-without-representation/  (my rebuttal with references)

She really tormented me (for questioning the board’s adoption of Common Core). I had to ask for an official reprimand to be given to her, and an unofficial electronic restraining order because she was so mean, dishonest, and attacking.  After I asked for that official reprimand of her treatment of me, she quit attacking me.

Many people wrote to our Governor on my behalf, asking him not to re-appoint her.  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/governor-herbert-please-do-not-re-appoint-leslie-castle-to-utahs-state-school-board/

I submitted pages of emails exchanged between me and Ms. Castle, to show what kind of character Leslie Castle is.

But Governor Herbert still re-appointed her as a school board candidate.

I do feel sick.  So many other good, good people were candidates for her position.

I wish I understood our Governor.  He must have some reason.

Working Around the Fact that Common Core Math Dumbs Down Our Kids   Leave a comment

I am happy that James Judd is the new director of human resources at Wasatch School District because he is an open-minded man. He took over two hours yesterday, to listen and to discuss the possibility of writing a more parent-friendly, “fed-wary” FERPA policy, and he also discussed the Common Core math sequence with me and four of my mom/teacher friends.

The sad news: he explained why my daughter lwas taught nothing in her 9th grade Common Core math this year.

There is “a bubble” of repetition, he said, for 6th graders and 9th graders.  This is because Algebra I used to be taught to 8th graders before Common Core came, and now it’s taught to 9th graders.  Yes, you read that right.  (See the mathematician’s review that explains this in detail –pg 14 and 26-28)  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf

The same repeater “bubble” thing happens for the 6th grade kids, with their 6th grade Common Core math.  So Mr. Judd freedly admitted that for these groups of kids, Common Core just repeats a year of math.  That’s the implementation process of Common Core.  It makes me wonder how long it will take before parents start screaming.  Why did we never get to vote whether or not we’d do Common Core?  Why are we all forced to dumb our kids down? And when is the truth going to be publicized by the USOE or the USSB or the Dept. of Education or the CCSSO or the National Governor’s Association?

I wish the State School Board would have been more honest with us.  I wish instead of sending out fliers claiming increased rigor and higher standards, http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/DOCS/coreStandardsPamphlet.aspx

—they would have admitted that for many kids, Common Core math is going to be a step down.  Equality doesn’t always mean a step up.

I’m going to write to the local and state school boards about this.   Board@schools.utah.gov

Will you?

Here’s the email for the Utah state school board again: Board@schools.utah.gov

Why EPIC is Suing the Department of Education –and Why They Should Win   Leave a comment

The U.S. Department of Education has been sued.

EPIC (The Electronic Privacy Information Center) sued the Dept. of Education– for 30+ reasons.  Good reasons.  Read them!  http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/EPIC-FERPA-Complaint.pdf

EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

The lawsuit is happening under the Administrative Procedure Act and says the Dept. of Education exceeded its statutory authority and acted out of accordance with law.

EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

The Department of Education has answered the suit:

http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/ED-FERPA-Answer.pdf

The Dept. of Education doesn’t defend itself very well in the above link/answer.  The Dept. of Ed doesn’t even claim it did act in accordance with law.  The Dept. of Education just replied that that EPIC “lacks standing to bring these claims.”  Oh, what a weak answer.  So the claims are right, but EPIC can’t be the one to say so?  HELLO, Congress, where are you?!

Congress wrote FERPA in the 1970s.  We need Congress to defend this family privacy law now.  The reasons that Congress and the State of Utah created strong FERPA policies in the first place were wise and wonderful.

I spoke with Marc Rotenberg, Esquire, today, from EPIC.  He told me that they are working through August on briefs and that I could get more information on the lawsuit from Khalia Barnes, the point person on this case.

I will keep you posted when I hear from her.

Until then, let me share what I do know so far, about the reasons that EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) is suing the federal government over the new Jan. 2012 FERPA regulatory changes.

This interesting document http://epic.org/privacy/student/EPIC_FERPA_Comments.pdf  was submitted by EPIC, when the new FERPA regulations were just a proposal last year –before the Obama-Duncan administration made the federal FERPA regulatory changes in January 2012, without Congressional approval or knowledge.  This document is also a succinct explanation of what’s wrong with Obama-Duncan (executive branch) changing FERPA regulations without getting Congress to approve it and make it a real law, rather than just an unapproved regulation.

http://epic.org/privacy/student/EPIC_FERPA_Comments.pdf

It says:

On I.D. Numbers:

“Congress has explicitly limited ‘directory information’ to: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.

The agency proposes to add student ID numbers.”

On the unlawful release of student data:

Congress “prohibits the nonconsensual release of students’ educational records, including the ‘personally identifiable information contained therein.’ Congress imposed this ‘direct obligation’ under the law ‘to protect the privacy of [student] records by preventing unauthorized access by third parties.’ Congress also provided specific exemptions in FERPA.The ED’s proposals expand a number of FERPA’s exemptions, reinterpreting the statutory terms “authorized representative,” “education program,” and “directory information.”

These proposals remove affirmative legal duties for state and local educational facilities to protect private student data.

On SLDS tracking (State Longitudinal Data Systems) tracking:

“Congress has yet to alter its stance on FERPA legislative safeguards, a prerequisite for the agency’s tracking of ‘soft data’ and other non-academic characteristics, charting them with SLDS, and sharing the results with non-academic institutions.”

On redefining terms that used to protect us:

The agency aims to stretch the term “authorized representatives” past its breaking point, designating non-governmental actors as “representatives” of state educational institutions… authorized representatives would not be under the direct control of the educational authorities that provide them access to private student data.”

On allowing almost anyone to call themselves an educational program with rights to access data:

The new FERPA regulations … [now call] …”educational programs” any single “program” that is principally engaged in the provision of education, including, but not limited to early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, regardless of whether the program is administered by an education authority.

Foreshadowing the ED’s lax enforcement of this provision, the agency provides an example that fails even to fall within its own expansive list: “[f]or example, in many States, State-level health and human services departments administer early childhood education programs, including early intervention programs.

On effectively forcing parents of sick children to give up their privacy rights:

For parents struggling to meet the needs of developmentally disadvantaged child during an economic recession, these regulations would present a Hobson’s choice: forego government assistance that can help your child or expose intimate information about the child, and furthermore your entire “living situation,” to any number of newly appointed and barely regulated “authorized representatives.” The agency states that “education may begin before kindergarten and may involve learning outside of postsecondary institutions.”

In conclusion, the EPIC comments said:

Proper interpretations of FERPA would, at a minimum: (1) recognize the clearly stated and legally binding intent Congress expressed in FERPA that prioritizes the protection of student data and restricts uses for non-academic purposes; (2) restrict “authorized representatives” to regulated entities that are under direct agency control via Congress’s FERPA funding sanctions; (3) propose only specific expansions of “educational programs” that are justified by recent educational developments and solely engaged in educational purposes; and (4) precede any expansion of third party access to student information with a comprehensive security assessment that doing so will not alter any baseline risk of identity theft, student re-identification, or unlawful disclosure of sensitive student data. EPIC anticipates the agency’s specific and substantive responses to each of these proposals. The current NPRM is contrary to law, exceeds the scope of the agency’s rulemaking authority, and should be withdrawn.

http://epic.org/privacy/student/EPIC_FERPA_Comments.pdf

It’s voting day! (–Is it a sin not to vote? Yep.)   1 comment

    We voted today, my husband and I.  We voted for the same people, all except for the Presidential Republican Nominee.  I’ll let you guess which one of us voted for Mitt Romney and which one of us voted for Ron Paul.  :)

We both voted for Dan Liljenquist because, for all the good Hatch has done, Orrin Hatch has not been fiscally conservative in his voting record.

 

The Reyes/Swallow question was very hard for us.

    We were torn.  We liked the conservatism, feistiness and passion of Reyes.  We like the anti-pornography legistlation and the anti-violence and pro-educational freedom views of Swallow.  We ended up going with Swallow.

Thank God for voting.  What a great blessing!

Here are some strong (religious) reasons to vote:  (And yes, it is a sin not to vote, if you are able to vote.)

“[B]ut in politics as in everything else we want to know the will of God, and then to do it.” — John Taylor (Journal of Discourses 11:355)

“I testify that wickedness is rapidly  expanding in every segment of our society.   It is more highly organized,  more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before.   Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing.   A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all  lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and  control over America and the entire world.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1988 Oct)

“And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.  And that law of the land which is constitutional,  supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and  privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.  Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.  I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.  Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.  Wherefore, honest  men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise  men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than  these cometh of evil.” — God (D&C 98:4-10)

“According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.  Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.  And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” — God (D&C 101:77-80)

“We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.  We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.  We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers  and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will  administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld  by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.” — The Church (D&C 134:1-3)

“We engage in the election the same as in any other principle: you are  to vote for good men, and if you do not do this it is a sin: to vote for  wicked men, it would be sin.  Choose the good and refuse the evil.  Men  of false principles have preyed upon us like wolves upon helpless lambs.   Damn the rod of tyranny; curse it.  Let every man use his liberties  according to the Constitution.  Don’t fear man or devil; electioneer with  all people, male and female, and exhort them to do the thing that is  right.  We want a President of the U. S., not a party President, but a  President of the whole people; for a party President disfranchises the  opposite party.  Have a President who will maintain every man in his  rights.” — Hyrum Smith (History of the Church 6:323)

“All  men are, or ought to be free, possessing unalienable rights, and   the  high and noble qualifications of the laws of nature and of    self-preservation, to think, and act, and say as they please, while they    maintain a due respect to the rights and privileges of all other    creatures, infringing upon none.” — Joseph Smith Jr. (History of the    Church 5:156)

“I teach the people correct principles and they govern themselves.” — Joseph Smith Jr. (Journal of Discourses 10:58)

“I will tell you whom we will vote for: we will vote for the man who will  sustain the principles of civil and religious liberty, the man who  knows the most and who has the best heart and brain for a statesman; and  we do not care a farthing whether he is a whig, a democrat, a  barnburner, a republican, a new light or anything else.  These are our  politics.” — Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses 13:149)

“I want to say to every man,  the Constitution of the United States, as  formed by our fathers, was  dictated, was revealed, was put into their  hearts by the Almighty, who  sits enthroned in the midst of the heavens;  although unknown to them, it  was dictated by the revelations of Jesus  Christ, and I tell you in the  name of Jesus Christ, it is as good as I  could ask for.” — Brigham  Young (public speech, 1850 Jul 14)

“As we have progressed the mist has been removed, and in relation to these matters, the Elders of Israel begin to understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious, and to seek to know and comprehend the social and political interests of man, and to learn and be able to teach that which would be best calculated to promote the interest of the world.” — John Taylor (Journal of Discourses 9:340)

“Do you not think that we need revelations about government as much as anything else?  I think we do.  I think we need God to dictate to us as much in our national and social affairs as in church matters.” — John Taylor (Journal of Discourses 15:175)

Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have  another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the  free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom and the  rights of man.” — John Taylor (Journal of Discourses 23:63)

“Taking this nation as an example, all laws that are proper and correct, and all obligations entered into which are not violative of the Constitution should be kept inviolate.  But if they are violative of the Constitution, then the compact between the rulers and the ruled is broken and the obligation ceases to be binding.” — John Taylor (Journal of Discourses 26:350)

“We  believe in honesty, morality and purity, in freedom and loyalty to our  country; but when they enact tyrannical laws, forbidding us the free  exercise of our religion, we cannot submit.   God is greater than the  United States.   And when the Government conflicts with Heaven, we will  be ranged under the banner of heaven and against the government.” –  John Taylor (public speech, 1880 Jan 06)

“The laws of Heaven command us not to uphold and sustain men, except they  are good men, who will sustain the Constitution of our country; and we  are fulfilling the revelations in this respect as in many others, and we  are carrying out the requirements of the Constitution of the United  States.” — Wilford Woodruff (Journal of Discourses 7:104)

“The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of freedom; the gospel of the Son of God is the gospel of liberty.” — Joseph F. Smith (Deseret News, 1867 Mar 02)

“The Lord Almighty requires this people to observe the laws of the land, to be subject to ‘the powers that be,’ so far as they abide by the fundamental principles of good government,  but he will hold them responsible if they will pass unconstitutional  measures and frame unjust and proscriptive laws, as did Nebuchadnezzar  and Darius, in relation to the three Hebrew children and Daniel.  If  lawmakers have a mind to violate their oath, break their covenants and  their faith with the people, and depart from the provisions of the  constitution, where is the law, human or divine, which binds me, as  an individual, to outwardly and openly proclaim my acceptance of their  acts?” — Joseph F. Smith (Conference Report, 1882 Apr)

“To our Church members we say: Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation, the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.  Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about.  The United Order will be established by the Lord in his own due time and in accordance with the regular prescribed order of the Church.” — First Presidency (Improvement Era, 1936 Aug)

“A man may act as his conscience dictates so long as he does not infringe  upon the rights of others.  That is the spirit of true democracy, and  all government by the Priesthood should be actuated by that same high  motive.” — David O. McKay (Conference Report, 1938 Oct)

“Next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in this world  upon which the Church should be more united that in upholding and  defending the Constitution of the United States.” — David O. McKay (Conference Report, 1939 Oct)

“[T]he Church has not found it possible to follow along the lines  of the present general tendency in the matter of property rights, taxes,  the curtailment of rights and liberties of the people, nor in general  the economic policies of what is termed the ‘New Deal.’” — First Presidency (Letter to U.S. Treasury, 1941 Sep 30)

“[W]e do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense.” — First Presidency (Letter to U.S. Treasury, 1941 Sep 30)

“[T]his much we feel we can definitely say, that unless the people of America forsake the sins and the errors,  political and otherwise, of which they are now guilty and return to the  practice of the great fundamental principles of Christianity, and of  Constitutional government, there will be no exaltation for them  spiritually, and politically we shall lose our liberty and free  institutions.” — First Presidency (Letter to U.S. Treasury, 1941 Sep 30)

“We again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it.  The same political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other parts of the world are at work amongst us in America.  The proponents thereof are seeking to undermine our own form of government and to set up instead one of the forms of dictatorships now flourishing in other lands.  These revolutionists are using a technique that is as old as the human race—a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery and then enslave them.  They suit their approaches to the particular group they seek to deceive.  Among the Latter-day Saints they speak of their philosophy and their plans under it as an ushering in of the United Order.  Communism and all other similar isms bear no relationship whatever to the United Order.  They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, ‘according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs,’ and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the United Order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs.  Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it.  Latter-day Saints can not be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies.  They will prove snares to their feet.” — First Presidency (Conference Report, 1942 Apr)

“I still say there are conditions when entrance into war is justifiable  and when a Christian nation may, without violation of principles, take  up arms against an opposing force.  Such a condition is not however a  real or fancied insult given from one nation to another.  When this  occurs proper reparation may be made by mutual understanding, apology or  by arbitration.  Neither is there justifiable cause found in a desire or  even a need for territorial expansion.  The taking of territory implies  the subjugation of the weak by the strong which is the application of  the jungle law.  Nor is war justified in the enforcement of a new order  of government or even to impel others to a particular form of worship,  however eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be.   There are however two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man  to enter—mind you I say enter, not begin—a war.  First an attempt to  dominate and deprive another of his free agency.  Second, loyalty to his  government.  Possibly there is a third, namely, defense of a weak nation  that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.” — David O. McKay (Conference Report, 1942 Apr)

“Today, our duty transcends party allegiance; our duty today is  allegiance to the Constitution as it was given to us by the Lord.” — J. Reuben Clark Jr. (Conference Report, 1942 Oct)

“For America has a destiny—a destiny to conquer the world—not by force of arms, not by purchase and favor, for these conquests wash away, but by high purpose, by unselfish effort, by uplifting achievement, by a course of Christian living; a conquest that shall leave every nation free to move out to its own destiny; a conquest that shall bring, through the workings of our own example, the blessings of freedom and liberty to every people, without restraint or imposition or compulsion from us; a conquest that shall weld the whole earth together in one great brotherhood in a reign of mutual patience, forbearance, and charity, in a reign of peace to which we shall lead all others by the persuasion of our own righteous example.” — J. Reuben Clark Jr. (public speech, 1944 Feb 24)

“The Gadianton Robbers from the Book of Mormon are loose among us.   The  King-men, and women, are running our government.   And, worst of all, we  are blindly electing them, or appointing them so they can continue to  destroy the things we cherish most.” — John A. Widtsoe (Conference  Report, 1944 Apr)

“All through the last political campaign they were saying, ‘Why doesn’t   the Church tell us how we should vote?’  If the Church had done that,  we  would have a lot of Democrats or Republicans who would have wanted  to  apostatize. . . . When they would ask me who to vote for in the  coming  election, I would tell them to read Mosiah 29 and Section 134 of  the  Doctrine and Covenants, pray about that, and any Latter-day Saint  could  know who to vote for in any given election.  It is just as simple  as  that.” — Harold B. Lee (BYU speech, 1961 Apr 19)

“No  true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a  communist or support programs leading in that direction.  These evil  philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus  Christ.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1961 Oct)

“Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is  God’s greatest gift to man.” — David O. McKay (Improvement Era, 1962  Feb)

“However, above all else, strive to support good and conscientious  candidates, of either party, who are aware of the great dangers inherent  in Communism, and who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the  tradition of our Founding Fathers.  They should also pledge their sincere  fealty to our way of liberty—a liberty which aims at the preservation  of both personal and property rights.  Study the issues, analyze the  candidates on these grounds, and then exercise your franchise as free  men and women.  Never be found guilty of exchanging your birthright for a  mess of pottage!” — David O. McKay (Conference Report, 1962 Oct)

“Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution.  Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.  The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church.  And have we elders been warned?  Yes, we have.  And have we elders been given the guide lines?  Yes indeed, we have.  And besides, if the Church should ever inaugurate a program, who do you think would be in the forefront to get it moving?  It would not be those who were sitting on the sidelines prior to that time or those who were appeasing the enemy.  It would be those choice spirits who, not waiting to be ‘commanded in all things,’ used their own free will, the counsel of the prophets and the Spirit of the Lord as guidelines and who entered the battle ‘in a good cause’ and brought to pass much righteousness in freedom’s cause.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1965 Apr)

“The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed.  We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.” — David O. McKay (Conference Report, 1966 Apr)

“In spite of the scriptural evidence and the counsel of modern-day  prophets during the past more than 100 years, there are still some who  seem to feel we have no responsibility to safeguard and strengthen our  precious God-given freedom.  There are some who apparently feel that the  fight for freedom is separate from the gospel.  They express it in  several ways but it generally boils down to this: Just live the gospel;  there’s no need to get involved in trying to save freedom and the  Constitution or to stop Communism.  Of course, this is dangerous reasoning, because in reality you cannot  fully live the gospel without working to save freedom and the  Constitution, and to stop Communism.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1966 Oct)

“The function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, and anything more or less than this is usurpation and oppression.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1968 Apr)

“There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign  policy.  It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of  our national independence.  Nothing in the Constitution grants that the  President shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world  leader.  He’s our executive; he’s on our payroll, in necessary; he’s  supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations.   Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the  United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life  of other countries, to ‘uplift’ their cultures, to bolster their  economies, to feed their peoples or even to defend them against their  enemies.” — Ezra Taft Benson (public speech, 1968 Jun 21)

“Yes, within the Church today there are tares among the wheat and  wolves within the flock.  As President Clark stated, ‘The ravening wolves  are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any  others, are clothed in sheep’s clothing because they wear the  habiliments of the priesthood. . . . We should be careful of them. . .  .’  The wolves amongst our flock are more numerous and devious today than when President Clark made this statement.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1969 Apr)

“Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to  the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret  combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to  peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out  the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy.  There is no conspiracy  theory in the Book of Mormon—it is a conspiracy fact.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1972 Apr)

“Unless we as citizens of this nation forsake our sins, political and  otherwise, and return to the fundamental principles of Christianity and  of constitutional government, we will lose our political liberties, our  free institutions, and will stand in jeopardy before God of losing our  exaltation.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1976 Apr)

“We  are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of  preparing for the coming of the Lord.   When enemies rise up, we commit  vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships,  planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and  deliverance.   When threatened, we become antienemy instead of  pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and  call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true  patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching: ‘Love your enemies, bless  them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them  which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the  children of your Father which is in heaven.’” –  Spencer W. Kimball (First Presidency Message, 1976 Jun)

“Unfortunately, we as a nation have apostatized in various degrees from  different Constitutional principles as proclaimed by the inspired  founders.  We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith  when he said: ‘Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling  to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon  the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation  shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very  verge of destruction.’  For  centuries our forefathers suffered and sacrificed that we might be the  recipients of the blessings of freedom.  If they were willing to  sacrifice so much to establish us as a free people, should we not be  willing to do the same to maintain that freedom for ourselves and for  future generations?  Only in  this foreordained land, under its God-inspired Constitution and the  resulting environment of freedom, was it possible to have established  the restored church.  It is our responsibility to see that this freedom  is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the  future.” — Ezra Taft Benson (Conference Report, 1987 Oct)

“Wherever it is found and however it is expressed, the Golden Rule  encompasses the moral code of the kingdom of God.  It forbids  interference by one with the rights of another.  It is equally binding  upon nations, associations, and individuals.” — Russell M. Nelson (Conference Report, 2002 Oct)

How would a stronger school district FERPA policy keep my children safer?   Leave a comment

The 2012 Wasatch School Board, Wasatch County, Utah

http://www.wasatch.edu//site/Default.aspx?PageID=5282

The Wasatch School Board seem well intentioned, but they also seem to lack an understanding of the importance of having a strong local FERPA policy.  They dismissed the many parental comments they received last month;  Ms. Gappmayer wrote a new policy that deleted all mention of parental consent, and that turned a blind eye to the newly re-defined terms and regulations that have gotten the Obama-Duncan administration in trouble.  The executive branch, with its FERPA regulations (not FERPA laws) has brought upon itself:

1) being out of favor with Congress, and

2) being sued –by EPIC (The Electronic Privacy Information Center), who sued them for good reasons outlined below. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/EPIC-FERPA-Complaint.pdf - link to the lawsuit

http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html - link to reasons for the lawsuit

I have little faith that our board will listen this month.  “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the truth,” seems to be their mode of operation.

I heard one of them on the Impact show on the local radio, saying, “We take childrens’ privacy very, very seriously,” and I think that school board member believed his own good intentions would protect our kids, even without putting that good intention into writing in the policy, and even knowing that one day, this school board will be long gone and whatever’s not in writing won’t be a guaranteed policy.

(Incidentally, have you seen even one parent lobbying to try to get the board to loosen parental control in favor of federal and other agencies getting access to kids’ data? Not a one!  So why the board still favors the side of Obama-Duncan over the combined wills of the U.S. Congress, local parents, and Utah State’s FERPA, is a real mystery.)

I was told that I am the only person who they’ve heard from this month.

So, if you happen to care about your kids being tracked and judged for life by agencies that include the federal government, if you want to have a voice in your children’s privacy, please write to them.  This month, we are asked to write to the much more transparent and willing-to-talk-face-to-face (thank you !) James Judd, who has replaced Vicci Gappmayer this month.

His email address is:  james.judd@wasatch.edu

Here’s what’s going on.  There are two teams that are fighting over FERPA nationally:

1 - On the “Looser Privacy Law –in Favor of Agencies’ Access to Kids’ Data” is one group: the executive branch of the federal government, led by Obama and Arne Duncan.

 

TEAM LOOSEN PRIVACY:  DUNCAN OBAMA (executive branch)

2 – On the side called “Stronger Privacy Law –in Favor of Parental Consent Requirements for Access to Kids’ Data” is: a)  the U.S. Congress, which is also a federal government branch; b) Utah State’s FERPA law and c) most concerned parents in Wasatch County, according to the many who wrote to the board last month.

  

TEAM STRENGTHEN PRIVACY : U.S. CONGRESS/UTAH STATE/HEBER VALLEY PARENTS

So it is impossible for Wasatch County to be in compliance with both Congressional FERPA law/State FERPA/local parental wishes AND the executive federal FERPA regulatory wishes of Obama/Duncan,  but our district doesn’t seem to even comprehend that.  They also don’t seem to understand that executive regulations are less legally binding than Congressional laws.  Proof:

The current, out-for- 30-day-review and public comment policy goes like this:

I. It is the policy of Wasatch County School District to comply with the laws of Utah and the United States in storing, maintaining and releasing student records.

II. Each year district administrators will provide training to employees regarding protecting student personal information and records to insure compliance with the law.

This policy doesn’t include the so-important protections that the district has verbally assured us they do practice; things like not giving out students’ personally identifiable information to companies, agencies, or businesses without parental consent; things like giving out student academic data in aggregate (group) form, rather than by name, gender, ethnicity, etc., even when it’s going to the state.

This policy makes the false assumption in part I that the laws of the United States are in harmony with the laws of the State of Utah.  It also makes the false assumption that the laws and the regulations of the United States concerning FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) are in harmony.

How do you comply with laws that do not agree with each other?  You can’t do it. That’s why this policy is weak and meaningless.

The creator(s) of this too-short policy seem not to understand that we live in  a Constitutional America, where a system of checks and balances means that power is shared; power is not seated solely at the top, as it is in a dictatorship or a kingdom.  We share power because it’s wiser that way and our inspired founders knew it.

While the federal government may try to assume more power than it legally has (oh yes!), it’s still illegal and unconstitutional for them to do so, and states fight them, like sibling rivals, all the time.  That fight is healthy.  It is necessary.

The relationship between states and feds is a sibling rivalry, a healthy struggle to share and balance power, not a parent-child or king-serf relationship.  Similarly, the relationship between the executive branch (Obama-Duncan) and the Congress is a sibling relationship, not a parent-child or king-serf relationship.  So when there are disagreements– whether they be between state v. federal or between executive versus legislative, you absolutely cannot say things like “we have to obey the federal government” and make any sense to anyone.  You would be wise to wait until they’ve settled the disagreement, and in the meantime, have a policy that YOU feel good about.

The Wasatch School Board has, in effect, chosen to side with the bully sibling rather than choosing to side with the sibling that stands for greater privacy, greater protectiveness of children, and greater freedom:  the Congressional side, and the Utah State side.  But why?  They did not have to do this.  It makes no sense.  And 5/6 of the school board will not, under any circumstance, respond to an email from the public.  Nor will they allow even 2 minutes of public commentaries at each board meeting (as the Utah State School Board allows).  They might be siding with the Obama-Duncan team because they, too, enjoy the idea of dictatorship and superiority and separation from the general public who elected them (but who most likely will be booting them out, when elections roll around again).

What are the reasons that EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) is suing the federal government over the new FERPA regulatory changes?  And what are the reasons that Congress and the State of Utah created strong FERPA policies in the first place?  These are things to look at when aiming to create a strong local district FERPA policy.

This interesting document http://epic.org/privacy/student/EPIC_FERPA_Comments.pdf  was submitted by EPIC, when the new FERPA regulations were just a proposal last year –before the Obama-Duncan administration made the federal FERPA regulatory changes in January 2012, without Congressional approval or knowledge.  This document is also a succinct explanation of what’s wrong with Obama-Duncan (executive branch) changing FERPA regulations without getting Congress to approve it and make it a real law, rather than just an unapproved regulation.

http://epic.org/privacy/student/EPIC_FERPA_Comments.pdf

It says:

On I.D. Numbers:

“Congress has explicitly limited ‘directory information’ to: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.

The agency proposes to add student ID numbers.”

On the unlawful release of student data:

Congress “prohibits the nonconsensual release of students’ educational records, including the ‘personally identifiable information contained therein.’ Congress imposed this ‘direct obligation’ under the law ‘to protect the privacy of [student] records by preventing unauthorized access by third parties.’ Congress also provided specific exemptions in FERPA.The ED’s proposals expand a number of FERPA’s exemptions, reinterpreting the statutory terms “authorized representative,” “education program,” and “directory information.”

 These proposals remove affirmative legal duties for state and local educational facilities to protect private student data.

On SLDS tracking (State Longitudinal Data Systems) tracking:

“Congress has yet to alter its stance on FERPA legislative safeguards, a prerequisite for the agency’s tracking of ‘soft data’ and other non-academic characteristics, charting them with SLDS, and sharing the results with non-academic institutions.”

On redefining terms that used to protect us:

The agency aims to stretch the term “authorized representatives” past its breaking point, designating non-governmental actors as “representatives” of state educational institutions… authorized representatives would not be under the direct control of the educational authorities that provide them access to private student data.”

On allowing almost anyone to call themselves an educational program with rights to access data: 

The new FERPA regulations … [now call] …”educational programs” any single “program” that is principally engaged in the provision of education, including, but not limited to early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, regardless of whether the program is administered by an education authority.

Foreshadowing the ED’s lax enforcement of this provision, the agency provides an example that fails even to fall within its own expansive list: “[f]or example, in many States, State-level health and human services departments administer early childhood education programs, including early intervention programs.

On effectively forcing parents of sick children to give up their privacy rights:

For parents struggling to meet the needs of developmentally disadvantaged child during an economic recession, these regulations would present a Hobson’s choice: forego government assistance that can help your child or expose intimate information about the child, and furthermore your entire “living situation,” to any number of newly appointed and barely regulated “authorized representatives.” The agency states that “education may begin before kindergarten and may involve learning outside of postsecondary institutions.”

In conclusion, the EPIC comments say:

Proper interpretations of FERPA would, at a minimum: (1) recognize the clearly stated and legally binding intent Congress expressed in FERPA that prioritizes the protection of student data and restricts uses for non-academic purposes; (2) restrict “authorized representatives” to regulated entities that are under direct agency control via Congress’s FERPA funding sanctions; (3) propose only specific expansions of “educational programs” that are justified by recent educational developments and solely engaged in educational purposes; and (4) precede any expansion of third party access to student information with a comprehensive security assessment that doing so will not alter any baseline risk of identity theft, student re-identification, or unlawful disclosure of sensitive student data. EPIC anticipates the agency’s specific and substantive responses to each of these proposals. The current NPRM is contrary to law, exceeds the scope of the agency’s rulemaking authority, and should be withdrawn.

http://epic.org/privacy/student/EPIC_FERPA_Comments.pdf

It’s important to keep in mind that Utah State Superintendent Larry Shumway, an authority over the local school board, gave a letter dated May 11, 2012 to all superintendents at an Association meeting regarding local districts revising FERPA policies.

The letter states, “ the new regulations allow but do not require LEA’s to change some aspects of local board policy related to student records.”  He continued, “we recommend that LEA’s proceed carefully, if at all with such changes.  A lawsuit has already been filed in the state of Washington challenging the regulation changes.”

 It has been confirmed by the state Superintendent that the need to be incompliance with the federal regulation is NOT necessary and he even went so far as to caution districts from proceeding with local changes.

I hope our local board will consider all these things very carefully before they vote on the new FERPA policy of this district.

Christel Swasey

SB10 Utah’s Latest Education Bill   Leave a comment

http://www.myuea.org/politics_legislation/uea_under_the_dome/under_the_dome_archive/2012_week_one_january_23-27.aspx

The Utah Educator’s Association has a blog that covers educational issues.  Unfortunately, nobody there is looking out for issues of liberty and freedom, as we are on this blog.  So, for those who haven’t been following SB10, Utah’s soon-to-be-voted upon education bill, here are a few letters between me and a legislator.

 

Aaron,

 

Thank you for writing back.  To answer your three issues:

 

Does the local or federal government have any business using taxpayers’ money to mandate that every child takes the ACT regardless of the wishes of his/her parents?

 

ACT and other high stakes exams have existed for decades, yes, but they were not presided over by the architect of the Common Core ever before.He will keep the push for nationalized education going stronger and stronger.http://www.act.org/commoncore/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/education/david-coleman-to-lead-college-board.html

 

David Coleman, the main architect of Common Core, and now the president of the College Board who has partnered ACT with Common Core, happens to be a potty-mouthed non-teacher with ideas like “let’s slash classic literature in favor of info-texts” and “let’s tell children that nobody cares what they think, and so we’re not doing personal narratives anymore.” http://theline.edublogs.org/2011/11/02/common-core-director-to-you-no-one-gives-a-st-what-you-think-or-feel/

 

Yes, really .The ACT is going to change very rapidly over the next few years because of its Common Core alignment.

 

My solution and recommendation is to drop SB10 and allow parents, students and districts to determine whether they will use the ACT, SAT or something else.  Mandate nothing; fund teacher raises and district textbook needs instead.

Why?

David O. McKay, a great Utah educator, suggested that a fundamental principle is free agency, which may be a measuring rod by which the actions of men, of organizations, of nations may be judged.

Judging SB10 by the principle of free agency, it appears that SB10: Removes a child’s (and a parent’s) agency to choose a     career track, based on high-stakes testing. Forces taxpayers to pay the ACT, which     has never been done before. Puts children’s future at the mercy of any bad     elementary school teacher who may not have prepared a highly intelligent     child properly for a high-stakes test that then put that child on a track     for a low-level “differentiated diploma” that would remain on     that individual’s record for life. Puts the government, rather than individuals, more     firmly in the driver’s seat. Dovetails into UNESCO’s agency-limiting goals for inter-governmental     tracking and top-down “guidance” [control] of people through the     instrumentality of education. http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=42579&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html     and http://www.worldcat.org/title/towards-world-understanding/oclc/06322964

 

And:

 

1. Differentiated diplomas may discourage students from staying in school if they either fail or barely pass the graduation exam orhaven’t taken advanced level courses because they know they will be ineligible to receive a higher-level diploma.

2.There’s a dishonesty about permanently labeling student diplomas based on test performances, rather than their 12 years of academic work.

3.If diplomas are differentiated based on graduation exams, attaching diploma endorsements to performance on tests increases the stakes of already high-stakes tests.

4.  There is minimal research affirming the efficacy or value of differentiated diplomas and their affect on student achievement, employment, or participation in postsecondary education. http://drs.dadeschools.net/InformationCapsules/IC0701.pdf

 

We cannot assume this bill will help students compete better. We can assume it will “guide” and track them via governmental, rather than teacher and parental, input.

 

The funding solution is to give taxpayers and districts the freedom and the money individually to let them make the call.

 

If SB10 slides under the radar without the public being informed or asked for their input, as Common Core and the free preschool program has done, it’s just one more violation of the spirit of citizen-based sovereignty in this state.

 

 

 

Thanks for listening. I do appreciate your open dialogue.

 

Christel

 

 

 

Hi Christel,

 

Three comments:

 

1)     In my view SB 10 was good legislation to remove a test (UBISCET) that provided no tangible assessment value or guidance for students and replace it with recognized/proven exams (ACT and ASVAB) used by ALL colleges and universities today to establish college and career readiness.

 

2)     Tying this SB 10 and the effort to improve high-stakes testing to the Common Core effort is illogical to me.  ACT and other high stakes exams have existed for decades. While they are nationally accepted high stakes exams, there is no logic to the idea that moving to ACT tests is evidence of Common Core take overs of our public education system by the federal government or other entities.

 

3)     You outline concerns and fears about the risks of high stakes tests but you give no solutions or recommendations on what we should instead.  The ACT, ASVAB, and SAT are well recognized and established testing standards with millions of data points showing how these test results tie back to academic potential and career readiness.  You know that we use them in our state regularly.  SB 10 provides a funding solution so every student can take one of these tests and see where they stand in their Jr. year and then make decisions on what to do and how to get ready for their future.  How does this hurt our children or our teachers? What’s the alternative?

 

The bottom line for me is this:  US and Global businesses want to hire kids with industry credentials and/or recognized university degrees. The providers of these degrees/credentials look to high stakes testing standards to compare and differentiate the tens of thousands of applicants they receive.  If we are not willing to compete in this environment because we are afraid of our kids will be mislabeled, or our teachers will be stressed, then we will suffer the economic consequences of falling behind in a very competitive world.

 

Thoughts?

 

Aaron

 

From: Christel S [mailto:212christel@gmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 4:27 PM To: ckearl@utah.gov; Christel S Subject: SB10 = Continued Mislabeling of Children as Failures

 

Dear Utah Leaders,

 

 

Please do what you can to stop SB10.

 

Education reform is out of control and SB10 is part of that flood of errors, supported by Arne Duncan-styled educational socialists but not by common sense nor by  parents and educators. At the very least, this bill needs public vetting.

 

Topping the flood of educational reform errors, and leading the philosophy of SB10 isCommon Core, an unfunded national mandate that slid under the radar without public discussion, which never had a cost analysis, never went to a vote, was never consulted upon by any group of teachers, parents, taxpayers or legislators, and was passed by three individuals in our state (our Governor, State Board Member Debra Robers, and Superintendent Shumway).  To fully understand Common Core,  I urge you to read Governor Rick Perry’s rejection of it, which included a $3 billion estimated implementation price tag and the loss of state sovereignty. http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-DuncanArne201001130344.pdf

 

It now forces thousands of teachers and students into what amounts to a communist educational system.  How can I use the word communist?  Under Common Core, every Utah child, regardless of ability, is required to meet a certain standard, as if a newborn can be forced to walk.  Every Utah child, regardless of ability, is prevented from achieving above that standard, as if a racehorse should be made to stroll.  Common Core is nationalized, educational lockstep.  The standards have claimed to be state-led, but in reality have been handed down like a law from outside Utah, have been financially incentivized by the executive branch, and are unamendable, as verified by Carol Lear, top lawyer at the USOE. (Email communication, April 2012)

 

Not only that, the standards themselves are terribly flawed; to be brief: they diminish the amount of classic literature that isallowable in English classrooms. They discourage or eliminate high school calculus. They retard the exposure of Algebra I from 8th grade to 9th grade.  The list of errors in the Common Core standards themselves is long, but isnot as important as the ever-so-important fact that the standards have cut off our educationalliberties and state sovereignty over eduation.  How?

 

By the time Common Core is implemented in 2015, our own Utah Core Standards will be utterly irrelevant.  I verified this fact with the test developer, WestEd. http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-wested-and-why-should-you-care/ “In order for this [testing] system to have a real impact within a state, the state will need to adopt the Common Core State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards.)” -April 2012 statement fromWestEd Assessments and Standards Senior Research Associate Christyan Mitchell, Ph.D.

 

And we have zero voice in any sort of amendment for the common standards.  They are locked out of our reach, under copyright. http://www.corestandards.org/terms-of-use

 

Yet, when updates and changes come, as they inevitably will, we will beforced to obey them, regardless of agreement or disagreement, regardless of values that may be introduced that we are opposed to, all because of overhasty adoption of the standards that had not even been written yet, when we agreed to them in hopes of getting a grant that we never even got (Race to the Top).

 

The top-down governmental control of education worsens with SB10.  SB10 is just a pea in the pod with Common Core and its no-soaring-allowed-in-school philosophy.

 

In SB10, differentiated diplomas and high-stakes testing are promoted.  This is a mistake.  Students are increasingly seen as “human capital,” rather than living beings, while they are forced by high stakes tests into tracks they cannot easily change out of, and are then labeled for life, perhaps inaccurately, by the high-stakes tests that place them in the tracks that lead to the differentiated diplomas.  How can thistest-centric system be good for us?  It’s certainly good for those who benefit financially from Utah taxpayers’ contributions to their testing systems.  It’s good for a few politicians who hope to prove themselves via “data driven decision making” but is it good for our children?  No, no, no.

 

High-stakes testing and differentiated diplomas de-professionalize teaching, create teacher burnout, fail to close the achievement gap, stress out and burn out students, cause less teaching to happen (teaching to the test = less teaching) and cause less learning to happen (teaching to the test = less learning).

 

Have we learned nothing from the failure of NCLB?  Basing so much on one or two tests is just wrong.  The most important things cannot be measured that way, but need human interaction from caring teachers.  Creativity in our students will decline as high stakes tests and differentiated diplomas become the norm.

 

The mislabeling of many children as mediocre or as failures will continue.

 

Please do not support SB10.

 

Christel Lane Swasey

Stay Home Mother, Teacher, Adjunct Professor, Patriot

Heber City, Utah

http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com

http://utahnsagainstcommoncore.com

Anti-Liberty Plan For American Education: Full Text of the Letter From Marc Tucker to Hillary Clinton   9 comments

This letter, from Marc Tucker to Hillary Clinton (written a decade ago, long before “governors and educators and individual states came up with” the idea of Common Core) –shows the plan of elite politicians to overtake individual state sovereignty of education.  This letter is part of the Congressional Record.  It really was sent by Marc Tucker to Hillary Clinton.  It really does outline a plan to take over American education and turn it into a control system. And it’s really coming true, in the form of Common Core Education. 

Marc Tucker 

  

Hillary Clinton

11 November 1992

Hillary Clinton

The Governor’s Mansion

1800 Canter Street

Little Rock, AR 72206

Dear Hillary:

I still cannot believe you won. But utter delight that you did pervades all the circles in which I move. I met last Wednesday in David Rockefeller’s office with him, John Sculley, Dave Barram and David Haselkorn. It was a great celebration. Both John and David R. were more expansive than I have ever seen them — literally radiating happiness. My own view and theirs is that this country has seized its last chance. I am fond of quoting Winston Churchill to the effect that “America always does the right thing — after it has exhausted all the alternatives.” This election, more than anything else in my experience, proves his point.

The subject we were discussing was what you and Bill should do now about education, training and labor market policy. Following that meeting, I chaired another in Washington on the same topic. Those present at the second meeting included Tim Barnicle, Dave Barram, Mike Cohen, David Hornbeck, Hilary Pennington, Andy Plattner, Lauren Resnick, Betsy Brown Ruzzi, Bob Schwartz, Mike Smith and Bill Spring. Shirley Malcom, Ray Marshall and Susan McGuire were also invited. Though these three were not able to be present at last week’s meeting, they have all contributed by telephone to the ideas that follow. Ira Magaziner was also invited to this meeting.

Our purpose in these meetings was to propose concrete actions that the Clinton administration could take — between now and the inauguration, in the first 100 days and beyond. The result, from where I sit, was really exciting. We took a very large leap forward in terms of how to advance the agenda on which you and we have all been working — a practical plan for putting all the major components of the system in place within four years, by the time Bill has to run again.

I take personal responsibility for what follows. Though I believe everyone involved in the planning effort is in broad agreement, they may not all agree on the details. You should also be aware that, although the plan comes from a group closely associated with the National Center on Education and the Economy, there was no practical way to poll our whole Board on this plan in the time available. It represents, then, not a proposal from our Center, but the best thinking of the group I have named.

We think the great opportunity you have is to remold the entire American system for human resources development, almost all of the current components of which were put in place before World War II. The danger is that each of the ideas that Bill advanced in the campaign in the area of education and training could be translated individually in the ordinary course of governing into a legislative proposal and enacted as a program. This is the plan of least resistance. But it will lead to these programs being grafted onto the present system, not to a new system, and the opportunity will have been lost. If this sense of time and place is correct, it is essential that the administration’s efforts be guided by a consistent vision of what it wants to accomplish in the field of human resource development, with respect both to choice of key officials and the program.

What follows comes in three places:

First, a vision of the kind of national — not federal — human resources development system the nation could have. This is interwoven with a new approach to governing that should inform that vision. What is essential is that we create a seamless web of opportunities, to develop one’s skills that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone — young and old, poor and rich, worker and full-time student. It needs to be a system driven by client needs (not agency regulations or the needs of the organization providing the services), guided by clear standards that define the stages of the system for the people who progress through it, and regulated on the basis of outcomes that providers produce for their clients, not inputs into the system.

Second, a proposed legislative agenda you can use to implement this vision. We propose four high priority packages that will enable you to move quickly on the campaign promises:

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  1. The first would use your proposal for an apprenticeship system as the keystone of a strategy for putting a whole new postsecondary training system in place. That system would incorporate your proposal for reforming postsecondary education finance. It contains what we think is a powerful idea for rolling out and scaling up the whole new human resources system nationwide over the next four years, using the (renamed) apprenticeship ideas as the entering wedge.
  2. The second would combine initiatives on dislocated workers, a rebuilt employment service and a new system of labor market boards to offer the Clinton administration’s employment securityprogram, built on the best practices anywhere in the world. This is the backbone of a system for assuring adult workers in our society that they need never again watch with dismay as their jobs disappear and their chances of ever getting a good job again go with them.
  3. The third would concentrate on the overwhelming problems of our inner cities, combining elements of the first and second packages into a special program to greatly raise the work-related skills of the people trapped in the core of our great cities.
  4. The fourth would enable you to take advantage of legislation on which Congress has already been working to advance the elementary and secondary reform agenda.

The other major proposal we offer has to do with government organization for the human resources agenda. While we share your reservations about the hazards involved in bringing reorganization proposals to the Congress, we believe that the one we have come up with minimizes those drawbacks while creating an opportunity for the new administration to move like lightning to implement its human resources development proposals. We hope you can consider the merits of this idea quickly, because, if you decide to go with it or something like it, it will greatly affect the nature of the offers you make to prospective cabinet members.

The Vision

We take the proposals Bill put before the country in the campaign to be utterly consistent with the ideas advanced in America’s Choice, the school restructuring agenda first stated in A Nation Prepared, and later incorporated in the work of the National Alliance for Restructuring Education, and the elaboration of this view that Ray and I tried to capture in our book, Thinking for a Living. Taken together, we think these ideas constitute a consistent vision for a new human resources development system for the United States. I have tried to capture the essence of that vision below.

An Economic Strategy Based on Skill Development
  • The economy’s strength is derived from a whole population as skilled as any in the world, working in workplaces organized to take maximum advantage of the skills those people have to offer.
  • A seamless system of unending skill development that begins in the home with the very young and continues through school, postsecondary education and the workplace.
The Schools
  • Clear national standards of performance in general education (the knowledge and skills that everyone is expected to hold in common) are set to the level of the best achieving nations in the world for students of 16, and public schools are expected to bring all but the most severely handicapped up to that standard. Students get a certificate when they meet this standard, allowing them to go on to the next stage of their education. Though the standards are set to international benchmarks, they are distinctly American, reflecting our needs and values.
  • We have a national system of education in which curriculum, pedagogy, examinations, and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to the national standards, but which provides for substantial variance among states, districts, and schools on these matters. This new system of linked standards, curriculum, and pedagogy will abandon the American tracking system, combining high academic standards with the ability to apply what one knows to real world problems and qualifying all students for a lifetime of learning in the postsecondary system and at work.
  • We have a system that rewards students who meet the national standards with further education and good jobs, providing them a strong incentive to work hard in school.
  • Our public school systems are reorganized to free up school professionals to make the key decisions about how to use all the available resources to bring students up to the standards. Most of the federal, state, district and union rules and regulations that now restrict school professionals’ ability to make these decisions are swept away, though strong measures are in place to make sure that vulnerable populations get the help they need. School professionals are paid at a level comparable to that of other professionals, but they are expected to put in a full year, to spend whatever time it takes to do the job and to be fully accountable for the results of their work. The federal, state and local governments provide the time, staff development resources, technology and other support needed for them to do the job. Nothing less than a wholly restructured school system can possibly bring all of our students up to the standards only a few have been expected to meet up to now.
  • There is a real — aggressive — program of public choice in our schools, rather than the flaccid version that is widespread now.
  • All students are guaranteed that they will have a fair shot at reaching the standards: that is, that whether they make it or not depends on the effort they are willing to make, and nothing else. School delivery standards are in place to make sure this happens. These standards have the same status in the system as the new student performance standards, assuring that the quality of instruction is high everywhere, but they are fashioned so as not to constitute a new bureaucratic nightmare.
Postsecondary Education and Work Skills
  • All students who meet the new national standards for general education are entitled to the equivalent of three more years of free additional education. We would have the federal and state governments match funds to guarantee one free year of college education to everyone who meets the new national standards for general education. So a student who meets the standard at 16 would be entitled to two free years of high school and one of college. Loans, which can be forgiven for public service, are available for additional education beyond that. National standards for sub-baccalaureate college-level professional and technical degrees and certificates will be established with the participation of employers, labor and higher education. These programs will include both academic study and structured on-the-job training. Eighty percent or more of American high school graduates will be expected to get some form of college degree, though most of them less than a baccalaureate. These new professional and technical certificates and degrees typically are won within three years of acquiring the general education certificate, so, for most postsecondary students, college will be free. These professional and technical degree programs will be designed to link to programs leading to the baccalaureate degree and higher degrees. There will be no dead ends in this system. Everyone who meets the general education standard will be able to go to some form of college, being able to borrow all the money they need to do so, beyond the first free year.

(This idea of post-secondary professional and technical certificates captures all of the essentials of the apprenticeship idea, while offering none of its drawbacks (see below). But it also makes it clear that those engaged in apprentice-style programs are getting more than narrow training; they are continuing their education for other purposes as well, and building a base for more education later. Clearly, this idea redefines college. Proprietary schools, employers and community-based organizations will want to offer these programs, as well as community colleges and four-year institutions, but these new entrants will have to be accredited if they are to qualify to offer the programs.)

  • Employers are not required to provide slots for the structured on-the-job training component of the program but many do so, because they get first access to the most accomplished graduates of these programs, and they can use these programs to introduce the trainees to their own values and way of doing things.
  • The system of skill standards for technical and professional degrees is the same for students just coming out of high school and for adults in the workforce. It is progressive, in the sense that certificates and degrees for entry level jobs lead to further professional and technical education programs at higher levels. Just as in the case of the system for the schools, though the standards are the same everywhere (leading to maximum mobility for students),the curricula can vary widely and programs can be custom designed to fit the needs of full-time and part-time students with very different requirements. Government grant and loan programs are available on the same terms to full-time and part-time students, as long as the programs in which they are enrolled are designed to lead to certificates and degrees defined by the system of professional and technical standards.
  • The national system of professional and technical standards is designed much like the multistate bar, which provides a national core around which the states can specify additional standards that meet their unique needs. There are national standards and exams for no more than 20 broad occupational areas, each of which can lead to many occupations in a number of related industries. Students who qualify in any one of these areas have the broad skills required by a whole family of occupations, and most are sufficiently skilled to enter the workforce immediately, with further occupation-specific skills provided by their union or employer. Industry and occupational groups can voluntarily create standards building on these broad standards for their own needs, as can the states. Students entering the system are first introduced to very broad occupational groups, narrowing over time to concentrate on acquiring the skills needed for a cluster of occupations. This modular system provides for the initiative of particular states and industries while at the same time providing for mobility across states and occupations by reducing the time and cost entailed in moving from one occupation to another. In this way, a balance is established between the kinds of generic skills needed to function effectively in high performance work organizations and the skills needed to continue learning quickly and well through a lifetime of work, on the one hand, and the specific skills needed to perform at a high level in a particular occupation on the other.
  • Institutions receiving grant and loan funds under this system are required to provide information to the public and to government agencies in a uniform format. This information covers enrollment by program, costs and success rates for students of different backgrounds and characteristics, and career outcomes for those students, thereby enabling students to make informed choices among institutions based on cost and performance. Loan defaults are reduced to a level close to zero, both because programs that do not deliver what they promise are not selected by prospective students and because the new postsecondary loan system uses the IRS to collect what is owed from salaries and wages as they are earned.

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Education and Training for Employed and Unemployed Adults
  • The national system of skills standards establishes the basis for the development of a coherent, unified training system. That system can be accessed by students coming out of high school, employed adults who want to improve their prospects, unemployed adults who are dislocated and others who lack the basic skills required to get out of poverty. But it is all the same system. There are no longer any parts of it that are exclusively for the disadvantaged,though special measures are taken to make sure that the disadvantaged are served. It is a system for everyone, just as all the parts of the system already described are for everyone. So the people who take advantage of this system are not marked by it as damaged goods. The skills they acquire are world class, clear and defined in part by the employers who will make decisions about hiring and advancement.
  • The new general education standard becomes the target for all basic education programs, both for school dropouts and adults. Achieving that standard is the prerequisite for enrollment in all professional and technical degree programs. A wide range of agencies and institutions offer programs leading to the general education certificate, including high schools, dropout recovery centers, adult education centers, community colleges, prisons and employers. These programs are tailored to the needs of the people who enroll in them. All the programs receiving government grant or loan funds that come with dropouts and adults for enrollment in programs preparing students to meet the general education standard must release the same kind of data required of the postsecondary institutions on enrollment, program description, cost and success rates. Reports are produced for each institution and for the system as a whole showing differential success rates for each major demographic group.
  • The system is funded in four different ways, all providing access to the same or a similar set of services. School dropouts below the age of 21 are entitled to the same amount of funding from the same sources that they would have been entitled to had they stayed in school. Dislocated workers are funded by the federal government through the federal programs for that purpose and by state unemployment insurance funds. The chronically unemployed are funded by federal and state funds established for that purpose. Employed people can access the system through the requirement that their employers spend an amount equal to 1-1/2 percent of their salary and wage bill on training leading to national skill certification. People in prison could get reductions in their sentences by meeting the general education standard in a program provided by the prison system. Any of these groups can also use the funds in their individual training account, if they have any, the balances in their grant entitlement or their access to the student loan fund.
Labor Market Systems
  • The Employment Service is greatly upgraded and separated from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. All available front-line jobs — whether public or private — must be listed in it by law. (This provision must be carefully designed to make sure that employers will not be subject to employment suits based on the data produced by this system — if they are subject to such suits, they will not participate.) All trainees in the system looking for work are entitled to be listed in it without a fee. So it is no longer a system just for the poor and unskilled, but for everyone. The system is fully computerized. It lists not only job openings and job seekers (with their qualifications) but also all the institutions in the labor market area offering programs leading to the general education certificate and those offering programs leading to the professional and technical college degrees and certificates, along with all the relevant data about the costs, characteristics and performance of those programs — for everyone and for special populations. Counselors are available to any citizen to help them assess their needs, plan a program and finance it, and, once they are trained, to find an opening.
  • A system of labor market boards is established at the local, state and federal levels to coordinate the systems for job training, postsecondary professional and technical education, adult basic education, job matching and counseling. The rebuilt Employment Service is supervised by these boards. The system’s clients no longer have to go from agency to agency filling out separate applications for separate programs. It is all taken care of at the local labor market board office by one counselor accessing the integrated computer-based program, which makes it possible for the counselor to determine eligibility for all relevant programs at once, plan a program with the client and assemble the necessary funding from all the available sources. The same system will enable counselor and client to array all the relevant program providers side by side, assess their relative costs and performance records and determine which providers are best able to meet the client’s needs based on performance.
Some Common Features
  • Throughout, the object is to have a performance- and client-oriented system, to encourage local creativity and responsibility by getting local people to commit to high goals and organize to achieve them, sweeping away as much of the rules, regulations and bureaucracy that are in their way as possible, provided that they are making real progress against their goals. For this to work, the standards at every level of the system have to be clear; every client has to know what they have to accomplish in order to get what they want out of the system. The service providers have to be supported in the task of getting their clients to the finish line and rewarded when they are making real progress toward that goal. We would sweep away means-tested programs, because they stigmatize their recipients and alienate the public, replacing them with programs that are for everyone, but also work for the disadvantaged. We would replace rules defining inputs with rules defining outcomes and the rewards for achieving them. This means, among other things, permitting local people to combine as many federal programs as they see fit, provided that the intended beneficiaries are progressing toward the right outcomes (there are now 23 separate federal programs for dislocated workers!). We would make individuals, their families and whole communities the unit of service, not agencies, programs and projects. Wherever possible, we would have service providers compete with one another for funds that come with the client, in an environment in which the client has good information about the cost and performance record of the competing providers. Dealing with public agencies — whether they are schools or the employment service — should be more like dealing with Federal Express than with the old Post Office.

This vision, as I pointed out above, is consistent with everything Bill proposed as a candidate. But it goes beyond those proposals, extending them from ideas for new programs to a comprehensive vision of how they can be used as building blocks for a whole new system. But this vision is very complex, will take a long time to sell, and will have to be revised many times along the way. The right way to think about it is as an internal working document that forms the background for a plan, not the plan itself. One would want to make sure that the specific actions of the new administration were designed, in a general way, to advance this agenda as it evolved, while not committing anyone to the details, which would change over time.

Everything that follows is cast in the frame of strategies for bringing the new system into being, not as a pilot program, not as a few demonstrations to be swept aside in another administration, but everywhere, as the new way of doing business.

In the sections that follow, we break these goals down into their main components and propose an action plan for each.

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Major Components of the Program

The preceding section presented a vision of the system we have in mind chronologically from the point of view of an individual served by it. Here we reverse the order, starting with descriptions of program components designed to serve adults, and working our way down to the very young.

HIGH SKILLS FOR ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS PROGRAM

Developing System Standards

  • Create National Board for Professional and Technical Standards. Board is private not-for-profit chartered by Congress. Charter specifies broad membership composed of leading figures from higher education, business, labor, government and advocacy groups. Board can receive appropriated funds from Congress, private foundations, individuals, and corporations. Neither Congress nor the executive branch can dictate the standards set by the Board. But the Board is required to report annually to the President and the Congress in order to provide for public accountability. It is also directed to work collaboratively with the states and cities involved in the Collaborative Design and Development Program (see below) in the development of the standards.
  • Charter specifies that the National Board will set broad performance standards (not time-in-the-seat standards or course standards) for college-level Professional and Technical certificates and degrees in not more than 20 areas and develops performance examinations for each. The Board is required to set broad standards of the kind described in the vision statement above and is not permitted to simply reify the narrow standards that characterize many occupations now. (More than 2,000 standards currently exist, many for licensed occupations — these are not the kinds of standards we have in mind.) It also specifies that the programs leading to these certificates and degrees will combine time in the classroom with time at the work-site in structured on-the-job training. The standards assume the existence of (high school level) general education standards set by others. The new standards and exams are meant to be supplemented by the states and by individual industries and occupations. Board is responsible for administering the exam system and continually updating the standards and exams.

Legislation creating the Board is sent to the Congress in the first six months of the administration, imposing a deadline for creating the standards and the exams within three years of passage of the legislation.

Commentary:

The proposal reframes the Clinton apprenticeship proposal as a college program and establishes a mechanism for setting the standards for the program. The unions are adamantly opposed to broad based apprenticeship programs by that name. Focus groups conducted by JFF and others show that parents everywhere want their kids to go to college, not to be shunted aside into a non-college apprenticeship “vocational” program. By requiring these programs to be a combination of classroom instruction and structured OJT, and creating a standard-setting board that includes employers and labor, all the objectives of the apprenticeship idea are achieved, while at the same time assuring much broader support for the idea, as well as a guarantee that the program will not become too narrowly focussed on particular occupations. It also ties the Clinton apprenticeship idea to the Clinton college funding proposal in a seamless web. Charging the Board with creating not more than 20 certificate or degree categories establishes a balance between the need to create one national system on the one hand with the need to avoid creating a cumbersome and rigid national bureaucracy on the other. This approach provides lots of latitude for individual industry groups, professional groups and state authorities to establish their own standards, while at the same time avoiding the chaos that would surely occur if they were the only source of standards. The bill establishing the Board should also authorize the executive branch to make grants to industry groups, professional societies, occupational groups and states to develop standards and exams. Our assumption is that the system we are proposing will be managed so as to encourage the states to combine the last two years of high school and the first two years of community college into three year programs leading to college degrees and certificates. Proprietary institutions, employers and community-based organizations could also offer these programs, but they would have to be accredited to offer these college-level programs. Eventually, students getting their general education certificates might go directly to community college or to another form of college, but the new system should not require that.

Collaborative Design and Development Program

The object is to create a single comprehensive system for professional and technical education that meets the requirements of everyone from high school students to skilled dislocated workers, from the hard core unemployed to employed adults who want to improve their prospects. Creating such a system means sweeping aside countless programs, building new ones, combining funding authorities, changing deeply embedded institutional structures, and so on. The question is how to get from where we are to where we want to be. Trying to ram it down everyone’s throat would engender overwhelming opposition. Our idea is to draft legislation that would offer an opportunity for those states — and selected large cities — that are excited about this set of ideas to come forward and join with each other and with the federal government in an alliance to do the necessary design work and actually deliver the needed services on a fast track. The legislation would require the executive branch to establish a competitive grant program for these states and cities and to engage a group of organizations to offer technical assistance to the expanding set of states and cities engaged in designing and implementing the new system. This is not the usual large scale experiment, nor is it a demonstration program. A highly regarded precedent exists for this approach in the National Science Foundation’s SSI program. As soon as the first set of states is engaged, another set would be invited to participate, until most or all the states are involved. It is a collaborative design, rollout and scale-up program. It is intended to parallel the work of the National Board for College Professional and Technical Standards, so that the states and cities (and all their partners) would be able to implement the new standards as soon as they become available, although they would be delivering services on a large scale before that happened. Thus, major parts of the whole system would be in operation in a majority of the states within three years from the passage of the initial legislation. Inclusion of selected large cities in this design is not an afterthought. We believe that what we are proposing here for the cities is the necessary complement to a large scale job-creation program for the cities. Skill development will not work if there are no jobs, but job development will not work without a determined effort to improve the skills of city residents. This is the skill development component.

  • Participants
    • volunteer states, counterpart initiative for cities.
    • 15 states, 15 cities selected to begin in first year. 15 more in each successive year.
    • 5 year grants (on the order of $20 million per year to each state, lower amounts to the cities) given to each, with specific goals to be achieved by the third year, including program elements in place (e.g., upgraded employment service), number of people enrolled in new professional and technical programs and so on.
    • a core set of High Performance Work Organization firms willing to participate in standard setting and to offer training slots and mentors.
  • Criteria for Selection
    • strategies for enriching existing co-op, tech prep and other programs to meet the criteria.
    • commitment to implementing new general education standard in legislation.
    • commitment to implementing the new Technical and Professional skills standards for college.
    • commitment to developing an outcome- and performance-based system for human resources development system.
    • commitment to new role for employment service.
    • commitment to join with others in national design and implementation activity.
  • Clients
    • young adults entering workforce.
    • dislocated workers.
    • long-term unemployed.
    • employed who want to upgrade skills.
  • Program Components
    • institute own version of state and local labor market boards. Local labor market boards to involve leading employers, labor representatives, educators and advocacy group leaders in running the redesigned employment service, running intake system for all clients, counseling all clients, maintaining the information system that will make the vendor market efficient and organizing employers to provide job experience and training slots for school youth and adult trainees.
    • rebuild employment service as a primary function of labor market boards.
    • develop programs to bring dropouts and illiterates up to general education certificate standard. Organize local alternative providers, firms to provide alternative education, counseling, job experience and placement services to these clients.
    • develop programs for dislocated workers and hard-core unemployed (see below).
    • develop city- and state-wide programs to combine the last two years of high school and the first two years of colleges into three-year programs after acquisition of the general education certificate to culminate in college certificates and degrees. These programs should combine academics and structured on-the-job training.
    • develop uniform reporting system for providers, requiring them to provide information in that format on characteristics of clients, their success rates by program, and the costs of those programs. Develop computer-based system for combining this data at local labor market board offices with employment data from the stateso that counselors and clients can look at programs offered by colleges and other vendors in terms of cost, client characteristics, program design, and outcomes. Including subsequent employment histories for graduates.
    • design all programs around the forthcoming general education standards and the standards to be developed by the National Board for College Professional and Technical Standards.
    • create statewide program of technical assistance to firms on high performance work organization and help them develop quality programs for participants in Technical and Professional certificate and degree programs. (It is essential that these programs be high quality, nonbureaucratic and voluntary for the firms.)
    • participate with other states and the national technical assistance program in the national alliance effort to exchange information and assistance among all participants.

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  • National technical assistance to participants
    • executive branch authorized to compete opportunity to provide the following services (probably using a Request For Qualifications):
    • state-of-the art assistance to the states and cities related to the principal program components (e.g., work reorganization, training, basic literacy, funding systems, apprenticeship systems, large scale data management systems, training systems for the HR professionals who make the whole system work, etc.). A number of organizations would be funded. Each would be expected to provide information and direct assistance to the states and cities involved, and to coordinate their efforts with one another.
    • it is essential that the technical assistance function include a major professional development component to make sure the key people in the states and cities upon whom success depends have the resources available to develop the high skills required. Some of the funds for this function should be provided directly to the states and cities, some to the technical assistance agency.
    • coordination of the design and implementation activities of the whole consortium, document results, prepare reports, etc. One organization would be funded to perform this function.

    Dislocated Workers Program

    • new legislation would permit combining all dislocated workers programs at redesigned employment service office. Clients would, in effect, receive vouchers for education and training in amounts determined by the benefits for which they qualify. Employment service case managers would qualify client worker for benefits and assist the client in the selection of education and training programs offered by provider institutions. Any provider institutions that receive funds derived from dislocated worker programs are required to provide information on costs and performance of programs in uniform format described above. This consolidated and voucherized dislocated workers program would operate nationwide. It would be integrated with Collaborative Design and Development Program in those states and cities in which that program functioned. It would be built around the general education certificate and the Professional and Technical Certificate and Degree Program as soon as those standards were in place. In this way, programs for dislocated workers would be progressively and fully integrated with the rest of the national education and training system.

    Levy-Grant System

    • this is the part of the system that provides funds for currently employed people to improve their skills. Ideally, it should specifically provide means whereby front-line workers can earn their general education credential (if they do not already have one) and acquire Professional and Technical Certificates and degrees in fields of their choosing.
    • everything we have heard indicates virtually universal opposition in the employer community to the proposal for a 1-1/2% levy on employers for training to support the costs associated with employed workers gaining these skills, whatever the levy is called. We propose that Bill take a leaf out of the German book. One of the most important reasons that large German employers offer apprenticeship slots to German youngsters is that they fear, with good reason, that if they don’t volunteer to do so, the law will require it. Bill could gather a group of leading executives and business organization leaders, and tell them straight out that he will hold back on submitting legislation to require a training levy, provided that they commit themselves to a drive to get employers to get their average expenditures on front-line employee training up to 2% of front-line employee salaries and wages within two years. If they have not done so within that time, then he will expect their support when he submits legislation requiring the training levy. He could do the same thing with respect to slots for structured on-the-job training.

    College Loan/Public Service Program

    • we presume that this program is being designed by others and so have not attended to it. From everything we know about it, however, it is entirely compatible with the rest of what is proposed here. What is, of course, especially relevant here, is that our reconceptualization of the apprenticeship proposal as a college-level education program, combined with our proposal that everyone who gets the general education credential be entitled to a free year of higher education (combined federal and state funds) will have a decided impact on the calculations of cost for the college loan/public service program.

    Assistance for Dropouts are the Long-Term Unemployed

    • the problem of upgrading the skills of high school dropouts and the adult hard core unemployed is especially difficult. It is also at the heart of the problem of our inner cities. All the evidence indicates that what is needed is something with all the important characteristics of a non-residential Job Corps-like program. The problem with the Job Corps is that it is operated directly by the federal government and is therefore not embedded at all in the infrastructure of local communities. The way to solve this problem is to create a new urban program that is locally — not federally — organized and administered, but which must operate in a way that uses something like the federal standards for contracting for Job Corps services. In this way, local employers, neighborhood organizations and other local service providers could meet the need, but requiring local authorities to use the federal standards would assure high quality results. Programs for high school dropouts and the hard-core unemployed would probably have to be separately organized, though the services provided would be much the same. Federal funds would be offered on a matching basis with state and local funds for this purpose. These programs should be fully integrated with the revitalized employment service. The local labor market board would be the local authority responsible for receiving the funds and contracting with providers for the services. It would provide diagnostic, placement and testing services. We would eliminate the targeted jobs credit and use the money now spent on that program to finance these operations. Funds can also be used from the JOBS program in the welfare reform act. This will not be sufficient, however, because there is currently no federal money available to meet the needs of hard-core unemployed males (mostly Black) and so new monies will have to be appropriated for the purpose.

    Commentary:

    As you know very well, the High Skills, Competitive Workforce Act sponsored by Senators Kennedy and Hatfield and Congressmen Gephardt and Regula provides a ready-made vehicle for advancing many of the ideas we have outlined. To foster a good working relationship with the Congress, we suggest that, to the extent possible, the framework of these companion bills be used to frame the President’s proposals. You may not know that we have put together a large group of representatives of Washington-based organizations to come to a consensus around the ideas in America’s Choice. They are full of energy and very committed to this joint effort. If they are made part of the process of framing the legislative proposals, they can be expected to be strong support for them when they arrive on the Hill. As you think about the assembly of these ideas into specific legislative proposals, you may also want to take into account the packaging ideas that come later in this letter.

    ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION PROGRAM

    The situation with respect to elementary and secondary education is very different from adult education and training. In the latter case, a new vision and a whole new structure is required. In the former, there is increasing acceptance of a new vision and structure among the public at large, within the relevant professional groups and in Congress. There is also a lot of existing activity on which to build. So we confine ourselves here to describing some of those activities that can be used to launch the Clinton education program.

    Standard Setting

    Legislation to accelerate the process of national standard setting in education was contained in the conference report on S.2 and HR 4323 that was defeated on a recent cloture vote. Solid majorities were behind the legislation in both houses of Congress. While some of us would quarrel with a few of the details, we think the new administration should support the early reintroduction of this legislation with whatever changes it thinks fit. This legislation does not establish a national body to create a national examination system. We think that is the right choice for now.

    [Page: E1824]

    Systemic Chance in Public Education

    The conference report on S.2 and HR 4323 also contained a comprehensive program to support systemic change in public education. Here again, some of us would quibble with some of the particulars, but we believe that the administration’s objectives would be well served by endorsing the resubmission of this legislation, modified as it sees fit.

    Federal Programs for the Disadvantaged

    The established federal education programs for the disadvantaged need to be thoroughly overhauled to reflect an emphasis on results for the students rather than compliance with the regulations. A national commission on Chapter 1, the largest of these programs, chaired by David Hornbeck, has designed a radically new version of this legislation, with the active participation of many of the advocacy groups. Other groups have been similarly engaged. We think the new administration should quickly endorse the work of the national commission and introduce its proposals early next year. It is unlikely that this legislation will pass before the deadline — two years away — for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but early endorsement of this new approach by the administration will send a strong signal to the Congress and will greatly affect the climate in which other parts of the act will be considered.

    Public Choice Technology, Integrated Health and Human Services, Curriculum Resources, High Performance Management, Professional Development and Research and Development

    The restructuring of the schools that is envisioned in S.2 and HR 4323 is not likely to succeed unless the schools have a lot of information about how to do it and real assistance in getting it done. The areas in which this help is needed are suggested by the heading of this section. One of the most cost-effective things the federal government could do is to provide support for research, development and technical assistance of the schools on these topics. The new Secretary of Education should be directed to propose a strategy for doing just that, on a scale sufficient to the need. Existing programs of research, development and assistance should be examined as possible sources of funds for these purposes. Professional development is a special case. To build the restructured system will require an enormous amount of professional development and the time in which professionals can take advantage of such a resource. Both cost a lot of money. One of the priorities for the new education secretary should be the development of strategies for dealing with these problems. But here, as elsewhere, there are some existing programs in the Department of Education whose funds can be redirected for this purpose, programs that are not currently informed by the goals that we have spelled out. Much of what we have in mind here can be accomplished through the reauthorization of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Legislation for that reauthorization was prepared for the last session of Congress, but did not pass. That legislation was informed by a deep distrust of the Republican administration, rather than the vision put forward by the Clinton campaign, but that can and should be remedied on the next round.

    Early Childhood Education

    The president-elect has committed himself to a great expansion in the funding of Head Start. We agree. But the design of the program should be changed to reflect several important requirements. The quality of professional preparation for the people who staff these programs is very low and there are no standards that apply to their employment. The same kind of standard setting we have called for in the rest of this plan should inform the approach to this program. Early childhood education should be combined with quality day care to provide wrap-around programs that enable working parents to drop off their children at the beginning of the workday and pick them up at the end. Full funding for the very poor should be combined with matching funds to extend the tuition paid by middle class parents to make sure that these programs are not officially segregated by income. The growth of the program should be phased in, rather than done all at once, so that quality problems can be addressed along the way, based on developing examples of best practice. These and other related issues need to be addressed, in our judgment, before the new administration commits itself on the specific form of increased support for Head Start.

    Putting the package together:

    Here we remind you of what we said at the beginning of this letter about timing the legislative agenda. We propose that you assemble the ideas just described into four high priority packages that will enable you to move quickly on the campaign promises:

    1. The first would use your proposal for an apprenticeship system as the keystone of the strategy for putting the whole new postsecondary training system in place. It would consist of the proposal for postsecondary standards, the Collaborative Design and Development proposal, the technical assistance proposal and the postsecondary education finance proposal.
    2. The second would combine the initiatives on dislocated workers, the rebuilt employment service and the new system of labor market boards as the Clinton administration’s employment security program, built on the best practices anywhere in the world. This is the backbone of a system for assuring adult workers in our society that they need never again watch with dismay as their jobs disappear and their chances of ever getting a good job again go with them.
    3. The third would concentrate on the overwhelming problems of our inner cities, combining most of the elements of the first and second packages into a special program to greatly raise the work-related skills of the people trapped in the core of our great cities.
    4. The fourth would enable you to take advantage of legislation on which Congress has already been working to advance the elementary and secondary reform agenda. It would combine the successor to HR 4323 and S.2 (incorporating the systemic reforms agenda and the board for student performance standards), with the proposal for revamping Chapter 1.

    Organizing the Executive Branch for Human Resouces Development

    The issue here is how to organize the federal government to make sure that the new system is actually built as a seamless web in the field, where it counts, and that program gets a fast start with a first-rate team behind it.

    We propose, first, that the President appoint a National Council on Human Resources Development. It would consist of the relevant key White House officials, cabinet members and members of Congress. It would also include a small number of governors, educators, business executives, labor leaders and advocates for minorities and the poor. It would be established in such a way as to assure continuity of membership across administrations, so that the consensus it forges will outlast any one administration. It would be charged with recommending broad policy on a national system of human resources development to the President and the Congress, assessing the effectiveness and promise of current programs and proposing new ones. It would be staffed by senior officials on the Domestic Policy Council staff of the President.

    Second, we propose that a new agency be created, the National Institute for Learning, Work and Service. Creation of this agency would signal instantly the new administration’s commitment to putting the continuing education and training of the `forgotten half’ on a par with the preparation of those who have historically been given the resources to go to ‘college,’ and to integrate the two systems, not with a view to dragging down the present system and those it serves, but rather to make good on the promise that everyone will have access to the kind of education that only a small minority have had access to up to now. To this agency would be assigned the functions now performed by the assistant secretary for employment and training, the assistant secretary for vocational education and the assistant secretary for higher education. The agency would be staffed by people specifically recruited from all over the country for the purpose. The staff would be small, high powered and able to move quickly to implement the policy initiatives of the new President in the field of human resources development.

    The closest existing model to what we have in mind is the National Science Board and the National Science Foundation, with the Council in the place of the Board and the Institute in the place of the Foundation. But our council would be advisory, whereas the Board is governing. If you do not like the idea of a permanent Council, you might consider the idea of a temporary President’s Task Force, constituted much as the Council would be.

    In this scheme, the Department of Education would be free to focus on putting the new student performance standards in place and managing the programs that will take the leadership in the national restructuring of the schools. Much of the financing and disbursement functions of the higher education program would move to the Treasury Department, leaving the higher education staff in the new Institute to focus on matters of substance.

    In any case, as you can see, we believe that some extraordinary measure well short of actually merging the departments of labor and education is required to move the new agenda with dispatch.

    Getting Consensus on the Vision

    Radical changes in attitudes, values and beliefs are required to move any combination of these agendas. The federal government will have little direct leverage on many of the actors involved. For much of what must be done, a new, broad consensus will be required. What role can the new administration play in forging that consensus and how should it go about doing it?

    At the narrowest level, the agenda cannot be moved unless there is agreement among the governors, the President and the Congress. Bill’s role at the Charlottesville summit leads naturally to a reconvening of that group, perhaps with the addition of key members of Congress and others.

    But we think that having an early summit on the subject of the whole human resources agenda would be risky, for many reasons. Better to build on Bill’s enormous success during the campaign with national talk shows, in school gymnasiums and the bus trips. He could start on the consensus-building progress this way, taking his message directly to the public, while submitting his legislative agenda and working it on the Hill. After six months or so, when the public has warmed to the ideas and the legislative packages are about to get into hearings, then you might consider some form of summit, broadened to include not only the governors, but also key members of Congress and others whose support and influence are important. This way, Bill can be sure that the agenda is his, and he can go into it with a groundswell of support behind him.

    •     •     •

    That’s it. None of us doubt that you have thought long and hard about many of these things and have probably gone way beyond what we have laid out in many areas. But we hope that there is something here that you can use. We would, of course, be very happy to flesh out these ideas at greater length and work with anyone you choose to make them fit the work that you have been doing.

    Very best wishes from all of us to you and Bill.

    [signed: Marc]

    Marc Tucker

    END

The Common Core Lie –And How it Got Believed   Leave a comment

   

In a nutshell, here’s the lie:  Educational standards have been so painfully low that adopting nationalized education via Common Core is the only or best way to improve education.  The truth follows below.  Let’s learn from history and fix our error, before it’s too late.

The article below was posted today on http://utahnsagainstcommoncore.com   and I wanted to post it here as well, because the links to historical events, legal documents and the timeline of Common Core adoption is so important to those of us who want so badly to reclaim our educational freedom.  I added the pictures.

 

The Common Core Lie     

by Oak Norton

   “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”      – Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda

The Statement

“The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).” – www.corestandards.org

 

The Truth

The evidence shows that powerful and influential people and organizations have collaborated to create a global education system http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/about-us/how-we-work/programme/  that will track our children and move them toward a global perspective that seeks to erase state and individual sovereignty.

The Facts

In 1988, Marc Tucker became the president of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE). He joined up with Hillary Clinton, Mario Cuomo, and Ira Magaziner to get states to move away from local control of their schools and migrate to national standards. (link)

In 1992, Mr. Tucker wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton congratulating her on Bill Clinton’s presidential win. He included in his letter ideas for radical education reform. He stated the goal is “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same systems for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.” (link)

Tucker’s ambitious plan was implemented in three laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act Opportunities Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) called “Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994.” (link)

In 2004, Microsoft (Bill Gates) contracted with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to fulfill part of UNESCO’S Millennium Campaign Goals—universal education and education for a global economy. (link) The largest roadblock to creating a universal education system was the United States since each state has its own education standards and systems.

  In 2005, Bill Gates funded the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce—created by Tucker. States begin adopting its education reform initiative, “Tough Choices or Tough Times.” In 2008, Utah’s Governor Huntsman touted it (see video in link below) and joined with 5 other states (Massachusetts, Delaware, Arizona, New Mexico, and New Hampshire) who adopted it in order to “reinvent their educational systems.” (link)

  In 2008, the Gates Foundation, along with two other foundations, created Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for American education standards. (link 1) (link 2)

Also in 2008, the Gates Foundation funds the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)

  The member of mention is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which developed UNESCO’s Millennium Declaration—partnering with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. (link) The report states on page 37: “While states must take the lead, the federal government can help. And the federal government can do that best by playing an enabling role grounded in a new vision for the historic state-federal partnership in education.” (link) Gates also funded $2.2 million to the National Governor’s Association to advocate for a common state education system. (link)

   In 2009, Marc Tucker wrote a chapter in the book “Change Wars: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change.” One chapter was called International Benchmarking as a Lever for Policy Reform. The book says the UN’s OECD launched the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2000 to monitor the outcomes of education. (link)

In April, 2009, Gates Foundation members, along with a few dozen others, participated in a Washington conference and produced “Smart Options: Investing the Recovery Funds for Student Success.” These ideas were funded by the 2008 Stimulus (ARRA-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and supported Race to the Top. Priority 1: Develop Common American Standards—also called Career-Ready Standards—in most states by January 2012. (link)

  Among the requirements states had to agree to in applying for Race to the Top funds (rounds 1 and 2), were adopting yet-unwritten Common Core standards, becoming a member in one of the assessment consortia, and adopting a P-20 longitudinal database

to track student information including confidential biometric information. (link) (page 4 defines biometric)

        In the summer of 2009, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Governors Association, and ACHIEVE, Inc. agree to partner on a common core standards project. (link) The Gates Foundation funds this effort starting in 2009, and through 2011, with over $20 million (Pmt 1, Pmt 2, Pmt 3, Pmt 4)

The federal government is barred from creating national standards (G.E.P.A. law and 9th and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution) so they allowed this orchestration to happen and committed to funding other elements of the takeover.

   In the fall of 2009, the U.S. Dept. of Education signaled it would fund $360M for summative assessments aligned to Common Core Standards and began planning meetings. Two consortia begin competing for this funding: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). States begin adopting Common Core Standards and joined one of the consortia in order to receive No Child Left Behind waivers from the U.S. Department of Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. (link) Since the federal government is funding the assessments, they now had a “stakeholders” right to the data provided by those assessments which would be stored in state longitudinal database systems (SLDS). SLDS would now contain information previously protected by HIPAA due to regulation changes by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (link)

Thus the federal government would receive access to educational, medical, and biometric data almost in direct fulfillment of Mark Tucker’s desired cradle to grave database.

  In October 2009, the Gates Foundation gave the Thomas B. Fordham Institute $1 million to review the Common Core standards. (link) The Fordham group has traditionally reviewed state standards and unremarkably gave Common Core high marks (link). The Common Core Validation Committee did not all give high marks to these new standards.

 Also in this time frame, the Gates Foundation donated $1.5 million to Mark Tucker’s NCEE organization. (link)

  In December 2009, the Gates Foundation paid the National PTA $1 million to mobilize the PTA for Common Core Standards. (link 1)(link 2)

  In June, 2010, the National Governors Association and State Education Chiefs launched Common State Academic Standards. (link)

In April 2011, the SBAC Overview Curriculum and Assessment Conference issued a report stating that governing member states must adopt Common Core by Dec. 31, 2011. (link 1)

In September 2011, Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced “Today, I promise you that [the Department of Education] will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society… We must advance the sustainability movement through education… Education and sustainability are the keys to our economic future-and our ecological future.” (link) Sustainability is a key buzzword for the U.N. Agenda 21 movement which the UNESCO/Gates 2004 contract are ultimately aiming for.

In November 2011, the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) education task force developed model legislation calling for the demise of the Common Core Standards, but shelved it after receiving a $376,635 grant from the Gates Foundation. (link)

  Bill Gates also speaks at the November G20 Summit in Cannes and issued his report, “Innovation With Impact: Financing 21st Century Development” stating, “My report will address the financing needed to achieve maximum progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and to make faster progress on development over the next decade.” (link)

In 2012, states not on Common Core and not meeting the Annual Yearly Progress requirements of NCLB petition congress for relief. Lawmakers working on options were undercut when the Obama White House circumvented Congress to grant waivers from NCLB if states adopted Common Core. (link)

  In February 2012, the Utah State Office of Education issued a press release that they had partnered with Choice Solutions to implement the required longitudinal database system as the P-20W to track all students in the state from preschool, through age 20, and into the workforce. (link) This same month the USOE filed its waiver application to get out of No Child Left Behind and stated they would “fully adopt Common Core as written” as one of their commitments. (link pg. 30, 34, 132)

  Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott stated that the common standards movement amounted to a “desire for a federal takeover of public education.”(link) and Governor Rick Perry’s Common Core rejection letter cited a $3 billion implementation, better state standards, and loss of state control over education, as Texas’ reasons for not adopting the standards. (link)

Now, additional states (who originally signed on), including Massachusetts, Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina and Virginia, are expressing concerns about the common standards initiative. (link)

Gov. Nikki Haley just signed a letter supporting legislation in South Carolina to block CCSS implementation stating, “South Carolina shouldn’t relinquish control to a consensus of states any more than the federal government.” (link)

The SBAC calls the standards requirements federal and States must get the U.S. Department of Education’s approval to exit the SBAC. (link)

  Larry Shumway, Utah State Superintendent, a member of the CCSSO Board of Directors, a member of the Board of Directors at West Ed which is the project management partner for SBAC assessments, recommends Utah retain its relationship as a governing member of the SBAC (thus forcing Utah to use their tests).

  However, after the Utah legislature took steps to potentially force the state into reconsidering Common Core, the Superintendent wrote Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, asserting our state’s rights to use these standards any way we choose. (link) The letter was written to reassure the legislature that this wasn’t a federal takeover. Sec. Duncan affirmed this position in a written letter back to Superintendent Shumway (link). This letter contradicted the mandatory language used in  Duncan’s “Cooperative Agreement” document http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

That document demands that SBAC and PARCC “foster synchronization” of consortia tests and share data with the Dept. of Education, as data must be given to the Dept. of Education “on an ongoing basis.” (link)

In a March 6, radio interview with Utah talk show host Rod Arquette, Mr. Shumway stated the reason for writing the letter as, “…I’m bothered by things I hear the secretary [Duncan] say in speeches and the President say in speeches where they take credit for these [Common Core] standards. And I’m bothered by the Department of Education making requirements that are associated with these standards.” (link)

Wait a minute, Mr. Shumway…if these are state-led, state-controlled standards, why would there be a need to write to Secretary Duncan, rather than to the National Governors’ Association or CCSSO, groups said to be in control of Common Core? Why would the Dept. of Education be making requirements tied to the common standards?  Why are the standards non-amendable by us, copyrighted by the NGA? (link) And why is the Gates Foundation now funding biometric devices capable of assessing student interest in a lesson? (link)

The list of questions could go on and on, yet there is little doubt that given the evidence, the Common Core Standards Initiative was not initated by any state-led effort of the NGA and CCSSO.  Regardless of who first initiated it, clearly, it was incentivized by the Department of Education.  It was clearly also promoted, funded, and propelled by the Gates Foundation in order to bring about a global education system in accordance with its agreement with UNESCO.

Common Core has been in the works for decades and the various components associated with it were just waiting for the standards to push through in order to activate the network of organizations that would unconstitutionally take over state freedoms over education.

To see where Common Core fits into the scheme of related programs that make up the globalization of education, check out ROPE (Restoring Oklahoma Public Education)  Read ROPE’s full document(s) here. http://www.restoreokpubliceducation.com/

Special thanks to the many people involved in digging this information up. Much work has been done by people all around the country to put this information together and help follow the money trail. Please do your part now in passing this information on to everyone you know so they can be educated about what the Common Core Initiative is really all about.

VOTE THIS WEEK   Leave a comment

http://vote.utah.gov/

To find out where and when to vote, click the above link.  Please don’t vote for anyone who is wishy-washy about whether or not they are for or against the Common Core nationalized education movement.  It’s an issue of liberty.  It’s an issue of being able to amend our own educational standards on our own power, or being minions to a nationalized, unamendable system copyrighted by the NGA.  Don’t fall for the “we need better education” sob story.  It’s a bigger sob story to have no freedom!  Standards, we can write ourselves and improve sky high, if we are free!

Cooperative Agreement (Between Arne Duncan of the Dept. of Ed and Utah, via the SBAC and Washington, Utah’s fiscal agent)   Leave a comment

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

Teachers and Mothers Against Common Core (Video)   Leave a comment

Alisa, Renee and I speak out about our opposition to Common Core.

The U.S. Constitution protects people all over the world   Leave a comment

The U.S. Constitution protects people all over the world

Dallin H. Oaks said, “There is need for public praise of our constitutions and their principles. A rising generation of influential opinion makers seems to place a lesser value on the United States Constitution. An example of that was related to me by a recent law graduate. In a panel discussion at the Harvard Law School, a professor of constitutional law criticized the United States Constitution in harsh terms. Another faculty panelist speculated that if his colleague’s criticisms were valid we might as well just take our written constitution and “roll it and smoke it.” That kind of disdain for our national constitution is more than concerning.

The United States Constitution is the oldest written national constitution still in use. It has served Americans well, enhancing freedom and prosperity during the changing conditions of more than 200 years. Frequently copied, it has become the United States’ most important export. After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions,  and the United States Constitution was a model for all of them. Consequently, if we abandon or weaken its fundamental principles, we betray our own national ideals and we also weaken our global neighbors.”http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/fundamentals-of-our-constitutions-elder-dallin-h-oaks

He also said:  “the Lord established the United States Constitution by wise men whom he raised up for that very purpose (D&C 101:80). The Lord also declared that this constitution “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh” (D&C 101:77)  …In 1833, when almost all people in the world were still ruled by kings or tyrants, few could see how the infant United States Constitution could be divinely designed ‘for the rights and protection of all flesh.’ Today, 176 years after that revelation, almost every nation in the world has adopted a written constitution, and the United States Constitution profoundly influenced all of them. Truly, this nation’s most important export is its constitution, whose great principles stand as a model ‘for the rights and protection of all flesh.’ ”  http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/oaks-religious-freedom

Click here for a view of the beautiful, inspired document itself:

http://www.usconstitution.net/i_cpage1.html  (the original, beautiful U.S. Constitution)

Yes, your child can opt out of standardized testing   4 comments

Common Core nationalized tests are to be implemented on our kids in 2014-2015 in Utah –unless we can talk our Governor and State School Board into getting us out of Common Core.

This will be overtesting in action.  Overtesting does not benefit children.  http://testcritic.homestead.com/files/standardized_tests.html

It does, however, benefit test writers, technology-for-test seller, politicians, and textbook writershttp://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/standardized-tests/florida-education-chief-outrag.html

Ever thought about that?

There is a growing movement (not growing fast enough to suit me) against the surging overtesting of our kids that is happening for political and financial gain.  http://unitedoptout.com/ 

All the talk about “data-driven decision making” http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm

–is so much blah, blah, blah to teachers who want to teach for the joy of teaching and learning and seeing children bloom, not to prove some politician’s point.  Or to children who just want to learn, to play, and to be kids!

Did you know that you have the right to opt out?  This year, I didn’t let my public schools test my kids.  They still get to attend next year. There was even one teacher who offered an alternative math test (just for her) that wasn’t a standardized, massive, kid-tracking test that would be sent to the P-20 council and the state and federal government.

Yes, you can opt out of testing.   http://unitedoptout.com/

An anonymous California teacher’s blog on overtesting says:  http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/

    “Six weeks of mind numbing, stomach wrenching, enormously boring, enthusiasm sucking, test preparation.  Six whole weeks stressing kids out while denying them access to a real education where their natural curiosity and ability to think critically has been sorely eliminated – along with social studies, science, music, art, recess, etc.

 
I looked at the terminology on the board and thought, wow!  Just. Wow!!!  I also thought, Are You $#*#%#*^#*# Kidding Me really???  Srsly!  I’ll bet if I asked any non-sixth grade teacher in the room, including our principal, no one, I mean NO one, could define all of those terms.  I’d be willing to bet NO one at the district office could define those terms.  Our local school board couldn’t.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Kopp, Geoffrey Canada, Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein, and even Oprah couldn’t define those terms.  Yet our SIXTH GRADERS are supposed to be able to know these terms and apply that knowledge on the State test? Why?  I mean, seriously, why?  Who came up with the ludicrous idea that this was grade level appropriate material, let alone relevant to sixth graders?
 
All I can say is, “#$*#*%*#$* is #*#**%##* up!”  Totally.  This year has been the most frustrating in my entire career.  I am sick of District and State generated test data.  I’m sick of test prep.  I’m sick of testing.  Yes, even kindergarten teachers are now testing our children into oblivion. (More about that in an upcoming post.)  I’m disgusted by the reward parties for children who have made the grade, so to speak.  I weep for all those kids who NEVER get to attend any of the special events because they couldn’t make the grade no matter how hard they tried.  My stomach clenches when I think about walking into the multipurpose room at the beginning of the next school year.  Will I see the NAMES and SCORES of the kids who scored Proficient or Advanced on the State test posted on the walls for all to see, AGAIN? Will we spend $6,000 on Accelerated Reader when we spend $0 on new books for our library?
 
The only good thing about having furlough days for the third year in a row is that it means that I have five fewer days to put up with this #*$&@.  Class sizes continue to rise.  Testing continues to increase.  More mandates that do nothing to help kids learn proliferate. Really, people, I can’t possibly take any more meds than I am currently taking.”
 http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/

What Teachers and Police Have In Common – by Diane Ravitch   Leave a comment

by Diane Ravitch  http://dianeravitch.net/2012/06/20/how-are-police-like-teachers-these-days/

…What is the primary goal of education? To assure that the younger generation is prepared in mind, character and body to assume the responsibilities of citizenship in our society. But what are the goals of education in a data-driven environment? To raise test scores, by whatever means necessary. This is akin to setting a quota for felony arrests for police or directing them that the crime statistics must go down.

Here we see a restatement of Campbell’s Law. When the stakes are high, people will not only forget the goals of their activity but the measure itself becomes corrupted. Thus, the data that are generated–whether by police or teachers–become meaningless because of the pressure applied to get them. In effect, we are paying people bonuses to generate good news that is not true. The good news is not true, the data are not trustworthy, the measures are no longer useful, and we are not achieving the purposes of policing or teaching. It’s what you might call a lose-lose.

But it does have certain benefits. It creates new industries for those who love counting and measuring and reporting. It creates new work for the consultants who will tell you how to reach your targets. It provides a rationale for endless workshops and professional development and study groups, all of which divert even more time from the original goals. It creates new work for the experts who will opine about better ways to reach the targets. And it gives bragging rights to the politicians who think they accomplished something.

Texas Governor’s Anti-Common Core Epistle to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan   1 comment

http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-DuncanArne201001130344.pdf  

 

Office of the Governor

Rick Perry

Governor

 

January 13, 2010

 

The Honorable Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW, #7E-247

Washington, D.C. 20202

 

Dear Secretary Duncan:

 

Texas is a national leader in education reform and student achievement.  Through our college and career-ready standards and assessments, strong school accountability and a focus on educator development, we have created an education system that prepares our students for success after graduation.

Despite our accomplishments, in order to submit an application that is preferred by the U.S. Department of Education for Race to the Top (RTTT), Texas would have to commit to funding ongoing costs and to the adoption of national curriculum standards and tests.

I will not commit Texas taxpayers to unfunded federal obligations or to the adoption of unproven, cost-prohibitive national curriculum standards and tests.  RTTT would amount to as little as $75 per student in one-time funding, yet the cost to Texas taxpayers to implement national standards and assessments could be up to an estimated $3 billion.

In the interest of preserving our state sovereignty over matters concerning education and shielding local schools from unwarranted federal intrusion into local district decision-making, Texas will not be submitting an application for RTTT funds.

The RTTT application penalizes those states that will not commit “fiscal, political and human capital resources of the state to continue, after the period of [RTTT] funding has ended, those reforms funded under the grant.” This provision would ultimately cost local school districts and Texas taxpayers billions of dollars.

RTTT also effectively mandates adoption of unproven and yet-to-be-completed national curriculum standards being developed through the Common Core Initiative, as well as yet-to-be-developed national tests.  States agreeing to adopt these national curriculum standards would be hamstrung from adopting their own, more comprehensive standards.

For example, if national standards were to mandate that students must learn 10 math principles, Texas would be specifically prohibited from requiring students to learn 12 math principles. Prohibiting states from adopting more comprehensive and rigorous curriculum standards at a time when our nation’s students are preparing to compete in an increasingly vast global marketplace is counterproductive. Placing such limitations on states also undercuts the very competition that results in higher standards for all.

Adopting national standards and tests would also require the purchase of new textbooks, assessments and professional development tools, costing Texas taxpayers an estimated $ 3 billion, on top of the billions of dollars Texas has already invested in developing our strong standards. In a state with 4.7 million students, this amounts to more than $635 per student, many times what Texas is eligible to receive under the U.S. Department of Education’s RTTT funding guidelines.

Texas was one of the first states to adopt college- and career-ready standards and assessments. In 2006, building on past reforms, Texas passed groundbreaking legislation requiring the alignment of the state’s educational system– including standards, assessments, textbooks, graduation requirements and professional development. In April of 2007, I established the Commission for a College Ready Texas which partnered education and business leaders from across the state to assist  with standards development. Texas’ college- and career-ready standards were created through a collaborative effort that included the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and state and national education and business leaders, all with input from members of the public. The standards were then adopted by our elected State Board of Education. Our efforts ensured that our curriculum standards were vertically aligned, starting in kindergarten and progressing through graduation. In contrast, national curriculum standards are being adopted through a process conducted by unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups in Washington, D.C.

While several aspects of RTTT mirror Texas’ education record, it is noteworthy that Texas did all of this in the interest of providing Texas students a bright future, not due to mandates from the U.S. Department of Education.

Results show that Texas’ education reforms are working. As Texas has continually raised the bar for students and increased accountability for schools, both the number of campuses and the number of students meeting our higher standards continue to grow. Based on 2009 state testing, Texas’ minority and economically disadvantaged students achieved higher scores than in 2008.

The 2009 mathematics NAEP exam results confirmed that Texas’ 8th grade African-American students performed the best in the nation, and the dropout rate declined for students in every demographic, while graduation and completion rates improved. Additionally, Texas’ attrition rate, considered the most inclusive measure for counting dropouts, has declined for the past 10 years.

Texas is well-positioned to continue progressing under the watchful eyes of Texas citizens, and we will build upon our successful record of education reform. I firmly believe that states like Texas, working with local educators, employees and citizens, are best suited to determine the curriculum standards for their students– not the federal government.  I also believe that Texas citizens, not federal employees, are best suited to set the education agenda and spending priorities that are right for Texas and our future.

Texas remains committed to improving our public schools and to building on our successful education reforms.  We believe that education policies, curriculum and standards should be determined in Texas, not in Washington, D.C.

Sincerely,

 

Rick Perry

Governor

RP:mtp

Outside the Box – California teacher against Common Core   2 comments

I stumbled upon “Outside the Box,” another blog of another teacher who can’t stand Common Core.  I will have to start keeping a list of blog links to teachers nationally who don’t believe the Common Core propaganda and who don’t want Common Core telling them what to do.  It’s here: http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/

This teacher is so mad –and so funny– that I have to repost part of her/his blog post here:

  

outside the box

where public education needs to happen. ~ musings from a highly-qualified, highly-effective, credentialed, enormously pissed off teacher… and sometimes i’ve just gotta use my outside voice.

 
 Friday, June 15, 2012

my opinion of the common crap standards? do they really want to know?

 
Recently, my school district sent out a survey to teachers asking for input on the Common Crap Core National $tate $tandard$. The district has hand-picked a Common Core $tate $tandard$ Implementation Steering Committee to represent teachers and allow for transparency. Sadly, what my district tends to do is only select teachers who will passively, yet enthusiastically, suck down whatever Kool-Aid the district puts before them. If one is an advocate for doing what’s best for kids as opposed to corporations, well, don’t sit around waiting for a call to join a committee. And let me be clear: its not that my district evil, its just that they think they don’t have a choice, so they cowardly roll over and accept the truly bad ideas being shoved down from on high. Then the dominoes continue to fall as administrators push these bad ideas on teachers who are then expected to push them onto our students. This circle-of-educational-life truly sucks. No Hakuna Matatas from me. I’m seeing problems everywhere and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be going away any time soon.
So, though I doubt it will garner anything more than an eye roll and maybe an Oh, she’s the developmental one… followed by yet another eye roll, here’s my response to the survey:
 
Common Core $tate $tandards $urvey
 
1.  What are you particularly excited about regarding the transition to CC$$?
·    Is this a trick question? (I really wanted to say Are you     #%!*$#%    kidding me? but I’m trying to be somewhat professional.)
·    And BTW – Most teachers don’t even know what the CC$ are or how they will impact our students and our profession.
 
2. What obstacles or issues do you foresee?
·      Continued de-professionalization of teaching
·      Teacher burnout from over a decade of top down mandates that have yet to close the achievement gap.
·      Continued student burnout. 
·      Increased stress experienced by children, teachers and school districts due to increased high-stakes testing.
·      Continued mislabeling of children as failures because they are not developmentally ready to master the standards.
·      A further narrowing of the curriculum
 
3. What essential questions do you have regarding the $tandard$ or the transition?
 
·      Why are only TK and K having to implement the CC$ in the 2012-13 school year? (Though I’d vote for NO one implementing them next year, or any year, for that matter!)
 
·      Implementing the CC$ will be co$tly (follow the money): more profe$$ional development; more high-$take te$t$; more technology; new textbook$, etc. How can there be adequate funding for implementing all aspects of the CC$ when we are experiencing continued budgetary crises?
 
·      The CC$ will require substantially more high-$take$ te$ting (Stephen Krashen predicts that testing will increase 20 fold.)
o   More high-stakes testing = less teaching. 
o   More high-stakes testing = more teaching to the test.
o   How are we going to protect our students from such abuse?
 
·      The CC$ were NOT developed by classroom teachers or child development experts. We will still be in a ‘one size fits all’, test-centric environment, expecting ALL children to learn and master standards at the same pace.  How will this benefit our children?
 
·      Will our curricula become even more narrowed? (Hint: Yes)
 
·      Will our curricula become even MORE test focused? (Hint: Yes)
 
·      And, yes, are the CC$ developmentally appropriate at any grade level? (They aren’t at my grade level and they go against best practices based on rigorous, peer-reviewed research.)
 
·      The CC$ diminishes the importance of fiction and personal narrative writing. Coleman, a leading idiot author and smarmy architect of the CC$, expressed his view of personal narrative quite succinctly: “[A]s you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu6lin88YXU
Coleman is not an educator. Bill Gates, who bank rolled the CC$, is not an educator. Are we comfortable implementing standards that were determined by non-educators?
 
·      Have we learned nothing from the failure of NCLB? Basing everything on one test score is lunacy. The most important things cannot be measured. Creativity in American students is declining. Duncan, Gates and Obama would never submit their own children to these mandates. Why are they submitting ours?
 
·      Will the CC$ eventually be challenged in the courts as a violation of federal law that prohibits the federal government from imposing a national curriculum on our nation’s schools?
 
·      How will implementing the CC$ close the achievement gap? Please be specific and cite peer-reviewed research to support your argument.
 
Interesting links addressing the CC$:
 
NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure?
 
 

 

HOW TO CONTACT UTAH SCHOOL BOARD, UTAH GOVERNOR AND LEADERS   Leave a comment

Please contact our governor and his education advisors. They need to know what the voice of the people is on the subject of education reform.  These issues do not go to a vote. Nobody in Utah has ever voted on whether or not we should be in the Common Core movement. 

But these people hold the power to get us out:

      

Utah Governor Herbert:  http://governor.utah.gov/goca/form_governor.html

Utah Education Director: ckearl@utah.gov

Utah School Superintendent:  larry.shumway@schools.utah.gov

Utah State School Board: Board@schools.utah.gov

Your local school board:  http://www.onlineutah.com/schooldistricts.shtml

Be that one person whose voice is heard joining the many across our nation that still believe in individual rights.

Take a high-heeled stand-up moment for freedom.

It’s None of the Government’s Business – Part II – by Christel Swasey   1 comment

Before CNN reported on the federal government’s tracking of children (http://youtu.be/EkwN-cwC810) few people were aware that longitudinal databases had been built with federal grant money in every state to provide tracking data for state P-20 councils.  Or that P-20 councils even existed.

But they do exist.  Yes, even Utah has a P-20 Workforce.

As CNN’s Brooke Baldwin reported, “The Department of Education: recently taking steps to make it easier for states to share the personal information of fellow students– information like where they live, where they were born, how old they are, but also information like: how often they’re absent from school, how many extracurriculars they participate in, and –how much do they weigh?  The Department of Education says this is all an effort to help improve education programs across the country, but as you can imagine, not everyone is thrilled about that.”

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin also interviewed Lisa Snell, Director of Education and Child Welfare at the Reason Foundation, who said, “It gives new meaning to the idea that you would have a permanent record as a student –and anything that happened to you in fifth grade… someone could get access to that personal information…It tracks things like disciplinary issues…whether you became a single mother, so there’s just a lot of sensitive information, and the idea of moving toward putting it all in one place so that lots of different agencies have access to it, you know is scary… They collect a lot of information that has no relevance to student achievement…The more information sharing that goes on without the consent of the parents, the more likely it is that information gets into the wrong hands.”

Others have started talking about the ongoing and increasing (and Constitutionally unjustifiable) federal information raid. Glenn Beck did a segment called “EnjoyYour Privacy While You Can” that’s worth watching.  http://www.glennbeck.com/2012/05/01/enjoy-your-privacy-while-you-can/

The Chicago Tribune discussed privacy invasions on citizens by the government:  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-12-24/business/0112240048_1_applied-digital-solutions-chips-cyborg-citizen

Jane Robbins wrote that “The department’s eagerness to get control of all this information is almost  palpable. But current federal law prohibits a nationwide student database and  strictly limits disclosure of a student’s personal information. So the  department has determined that it can overcome the legal obstacles by simply  bypassing Congress and essentially rewriting the federal privacy statute.” http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/how_the_feds_are_tracking_your_kid_xC6wecT8ZidCAzfqegB6hL#ixzz1yHCmGECU

Research on citizens is done all the time by universities and other legitimate research groups.  If done with consent (including of course parental consent) –it can, of course, be beneficial.  But too much governmental surveillance of citizens –especially when it isn’t done by consent– turns into a dangerous privacy threat.

At what point does  new educational research begin to look andfeel more like citizen surveillance?

When laws and technology are changing simultaneously to enable government and educational data sharing to become very easy and consent-free, and when citizens aren’t speaking up to maintain their rights of privacy.

We have, for decades, had laws such as FERPA (Family Education Rights Privacy Act)  to guard privacy and to determine where to set the fine line between legitimate research and illegitimate research.  But these laws are under attack.  The dept. of education changed FERPA regulations without Congressional approval in January 2012.

http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=5aa4af34-8e67-4f42-8e6b-fe801c512c7a

This loosened parental authority over children’s data in favor of federal ease of access.  Freedoms and rights are truly under silent attack under the huge, bureaucratic umbrella of recent educational assessment reforms promoted by the Obama Administration, including mega testing and mega data-collection oversight by multiple federal agencies; also including the creation of P-20 councils across the nation that report to other agencies, giving dis-aggregated, personal data about our children without parental knowledge or consent.

Learn about our local and federal governmental research agencies so you can determine for yourself whether any cross the fine line between legitimate and illegitimate research.

  Utah Superintendent Larry Shumway, and a few other Utahns, sit on the governing board of WestEd.  http://www.wested.org/cs/we/print/docs/we/board.htm, WestEd is also referred to as  WestRegional Lab, a division of TheNational Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/west/board.asp

The NCES, WestEd’s parent organization, defines itself as  “the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.”   http://nces.ed.gov/

The  parent organization of NCES, WestEd’s grandparent, is the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which defines itself as the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.  http://ies.ed.gov/director/biography.asp

So the U.S.Dept of Education encompasses IES which encompasses NCES, which is connected to the West Regional Lab / WestEd.  WestEd writes the common test for the SBAC consortium, to which Utah now belongs and to which it must submit.

The NCES has a national data collection model, which suggests that states should collect information on students including not just academic information, but also medical, psychological, income-related, social, family member-related, bus stop times and much more information. http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/information/aboutThe.aspx  This matches this year’s new and not congressionally approved, Dept. of Ed changes to FERPA (family privacy law).  These regulatory changes include schools collecting even biometric data from children (biometric data includes fingerprints, DNA samples, iris patterns, etc.) http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf (page 4).

A group of Utahns now also work in what is called a P-20 workforce.  What is P-20? It stands for preschool to age 20 (and beyond) citizen tracking, and justifies its existence as promoting datagovernance for educational research.

A study putout by NCES last month (May 2012) teaches about P20-W councils.

The study advisesstates on how to best create and promote the P20-W council. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/SLDS/pdf/brief4_P_20W_DG.pdf

From that NCES document:

“P-20W refers to data from pre kindergarten (early childhood), K12, and post secondary through post-graduate education, along with workforce and other outcomes data (e.g., public assistance and corrections data).”

Under the heading “Initial Steps to Establishing P-20W Data Governance” we find things like gaining authority (via executive order, state statute, or as part of memoranda of understanding);  getting the approval of state leadership; making sure to “fully engage state leadership early on in the process…otherwise…long-term sustainability of the P-20W system may be in jeopardy,” and lobbying  for change of laws.

Additionally, P-20 initial steps include building relationships for crafting legislation to support the project, or, “otherwise, use the lack of legislation as an opportunity to develop the system, but involve policymakers from the beginning so there is buy-in for theproject and it can be sustainable in the future.”  They also suggest having conversations to “create a sense of ownership and a common interest, both of which are vital to data governance efforts.”

If this sounds subversive, that’s because it is. Nowhere in the Constitution or in General Educational Provisions Act law is the executive branch (Dept. of Ed) authorized to take over state educational systems, change state laws, or create a surveillance system of children.  Nowhere.  But that is what they are doing.

The P-20 councils intend to use the state’s longitudinal database to share data with any “stakeholder” so that they can be in charge of what parents used to be in charge of: in their words, to “build better citizens for tomorrow” by connecting the Utah Educator Network, the Utah Data Alliance, and Choice Solutions:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm

Let’s wake up and say no.  Our private lives are not the government’s business.

It’s None of the Government’s Business – Part I – by Phyllis Schlafly   Leave a comment

I like this article so I’m pasting it here.

 

It’s None of The Government’s Business

by Phyllis Schlafly

May 30, 2012     http://www.eagleforum.org/publications/column/2012-05-30.html

 

What is it about bureaucrats and school personnel that they want to pry into the personal life and habits of American citizens of every age? There seems to be no end to the imperial demands by government and schools to require both grownups and kids to reveal personal information.

The use of nosy questionnaires by the public schools has been a bone of contention between schools and parents for years, but New Jersey recently came up with a question that has parents up in arms. Third-graders were asked on a standardized test to reveal a secret about their lives and explain why it is hard to keep.

This question was asked of 4,000 third-graders in an official test called the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge. This test is supposed to judge elementary school students on their proficiency in math and language arts and determine whether or not a student ends up in basic skills classes.

The school wasn’t eager to answer parents’ questions such as, What if a kid answered “my dad smokes marijuana” or “my mom drank a beer while driving me home”? Would the school report that to the “child protective” agency?

This question about a secret should have been banned as a violation of the New Jersey law that requires prior parental consent before a student can be required to reveal personal information. That law was sponsored by then-state legislator (now Congressman) Scott Garrett.

It’s not just school kids who are the victims of nosy questionnaires. The U.S. government has zeroed in on 250,000 Americans and demanded that they answer nearly a hundred nosy questions about their living and work arrangements and habits.

This is called the American Community Survey questionnaire, and the cover letter states ominously, “You are required by U.S. law to respond to this survey.” Here are some of the questions.

  • Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have a flush toilet, a bathtub, a stove or range? Which fuel is used most for heating this house, apartment or mobile home?
  • Last month, what was the cost of electricity for this house, apartment, or mobile home? What is the monthly rent for this house, apartment, or mobile home?
  • Do you or any member of this household have a mortgage, deed of trust, contract to purchase, or similar debt on this property? How much is the regular monthly mortgage payment on this property?
  • At any time in the last 3 months, has this person attended school or college? Is this person currently covered by any health insurance or health coverage plans?
  • Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing? Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses? Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • In what year did this person last get married? At what location did this person work last week?
  • How many people, including this person, usually rode to work in the car, truck, or van last week? What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week?
  • What kind of work was this person doing? What was your income in the past 12 months?

When the recipient of this Community Survey fails to respond, the government uses a variety of intimidating tactics to compel obedience. The government tries repeated mailings and phone calls demanding a response, and sometimes the government employees walk up and down the street asking nosy questions about you from your neighbors.

In response to public demand, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) introduced a bill to defund the American Community Survey, calling it a “breach of personal privacy, the picture of what’s wrong in Washington, D.C.”. He obviously touched a nerve; it quickly passed the House 232 to 190.

Webster’s bill was immediately denounced in editorials by the New York Times and even the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, big and intrusive government has its allies.

Webster’s House victory was followed by the introduction of another bill that would make answering the nosy questions voluntary and decriminalize any refusal to participate in the survey. The sponsors are Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX).

This bill will not please the government busybodies who delight in building databases with personal information on Americans and vehemently resist state laws that require parental consent before making schoolchildren answer nosy questions. The bureaucrats protest that “if it’s voluntary, then we’ll just get bad data.”

Further Reading:

Cooperative Agreement Between the U.S. Department of Education and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the State of Washington (Fiscal Agent for Utah)   4 comments

 

  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Cooperative Agreement with Utah and the other SBAC exposes itself in the fact that Common Core is an educational movement masterminded not by a group of state Governors, but by federal forces (and, FYI, pushed and approved by internationalist forces.)  http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_25.shtml 

The full text, minus my commentaries in brackets, can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf  Below, my [comments] are in brackets.

Common Core State Standards and these assessments pave the path for teaching children a nationalized curriculum and values and taking away, incrementally, pieces of our local educational freedom, local control and personal privacy.

It is a very slow, boiling-the-hapless-froggie-program, and was adopted by Utah in 2009/2010, with full Common Core testing implementation not to be completed until 2015 in Utah.  The assessments are key to controlling what gets taught.  And the assessments are written to federal standards, not to any unique set of standards for which Utah wanted to test kids.  Just ask WestEd.  I did.  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-wested-and-why-should-you-care/

  Utah’s Superintendent Larry Shumway received a letter from Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.

Arne Duncan’s letter:  http://utahpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Secretary-Arne-Duncan-March-7-2012-Letter_edited-1.jpg  stated, “Utah has complete control of Utah’s learning standards” and “States have the sole right to set learning standards.”

–Which is so important and should be true, but under Common Core, is not so. The tests take away most of the control over Utah’s standards because teachers will teach to the test, and the test (WestEd, the test writer verifies) is written to federal, not individual states’, standards and values.  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-wested-and-why-should-you-care/

Utah might still legally have the right to determine her own learning standards, but by joining the testing system Duncan incentivized, to be tested on national CCSS standards, which standards and test Utah has no liberty to amend, Utah’s lost her educational sovereignty– maybe forever. 

  SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR NIKKI HALEY

Keep it mind that it’s difficult to navigate an annulment with Common Core, as South Carolina has found out. http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/sc-gov-nikki-haley-backs-bill-to-block-common-core-standards/  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/04/south_carolina_anti-common-sta.html http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-1

So, here it is:

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT Between the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  and the

SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT CONSORTIUM

and the

STATE OF WASHINGTON  (fiscal agent)

 [WA is the lead state for SBAC; Utah's agent under Common Core testing system]

Date: January 7, 2011. PR/Award #: S395B100003 and S395B100003A

In accordance with 34 CFR 75.200(b)(4), [refers to a grant I.D., not to a law] this award is a cooperative agreement because the Secretary of Education (Secretary) has determined [ONE MAN DETERMINED IT --WITHOUT AUTHORITY] that substantial communication, coordination, and involvement between the U.S. Department of Education (Department or ED) and the recipient is necessary to carry out a successful project. Consistent with 34 CFR 75.234(b),[not a legal reference, but a grant I.D. number]  the terms and conditions identified in this cooperative agreement set out the explicit character and extent of the anticipated collaboration between ED and the award recipient.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this agreement is to support the consortium recipient in developing new, common assessment systems that are valid, reliable and fair for their intended purposes and for all student subgroups, and that measure student knowledge and skills against a common set of college- and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language arts. In light of the technical nature of this grant and the fact that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will likely be reauthorized during the course of this project, the Department will provide necessary flexibility to respond to changing circumstances, technology, and laws by working collaboratively with the recipient through this agreement. The objective is to assist the consortium in fulfilling, at minimum, the goals articulated in the consortium’s approved Race to the Top Assessment (RTTA) application, requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 that was published in the

Federal Register on April 9, 2010, and any subsequent additions detailed through this agreement.

SCOPE OF WORK

The work to be performed under this agreement shall be that described in the consortium’s approved RTTA application, requirements established in the RTTA NIA, conditions on the grant award, and any subsequent additions detailed through this agreement (e.g., plans for development and delivery of the technology platform for assessment), along with any modifications or specifications ED and the consortium determine to be necessary to carry out this work in accordance with the approved application and requirements. Any subsequent changes in the scope of work must be communicated by the grantee to the Program Officer in writing and approved by the Officer in writing. 2

ARTICLE I STATEMENT OF JOINT OBJECTIVES

A. OBJECTIVES TO BE ACHIEVED

The recipient, with the Department’s support, will use RTTA grant funds to develop assessment systems that are valid, reliable, and fair for their intended purposes and for all student subgroups; support and inform instruction; [that just said that Utah, with the federal government holding our hand, will support and inform instruction.  That's our sovereign instructional system they are talking about.]  provide accurate information about what students know and can do; and measure student achievement against standards designed to ensure that all students gain the knowledge and skills needed for successful entry to college and the workplace. These assessments are intended to play a critical role in educational systems; provide administrators, educators, parents, and students with the data and information needed [This is key; the feds want our data and they want easy access to it, and educational reasons are only part of the reasons they want that data]  to continuously improve teaching and learning; and help meet the President’s goal of restoring, by 2020, the nation’s position as the world leader in college graduates.

B. RESULTS EXPECTED

Specifically, the recipient will develop an assessment system that measures student knowledge and skills against a common set of college and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language arts in a way that covers the full range of those standards, elicits complex student demonstrations or applications of knowledge and skills as appropriate, and provides an accurate measure of student achievement across the full performance continuum and an accurate measure of student growth over a full academic year or course. This assessment systems will include one or more summative assessment components in mathematics and in English language arts that are administered at least once during the academic year in grades 3 through 8 and at least once in high school and that produce student achievement data and student growth data that can be used to determine whether individual students are college- and career-ready or on track to being college- and career-ready. [By the way, they've redefined "college and career ready" to make it the lowest common denominator, effectively dumbing us down. http://collegepuzzle.stanford.edu/?p=466  ]   Additionally, the recipient’s assessment systems developed with the RTTA grants will assess all students, including English learners and students with disabilities (as defined in the NIA). Finally, the assessment systems will produce data (including student achievement data and student growth data) that can be used to inform (a) determinations of school effectiveness; (b) determinations of individual principal and teacher effectiveness for purposes of evaluation; (c) determinations of principal and teacher professional development and support needs; and (d) teaching, learning, and program improvement.  [Do you notice that all this effectiveness accountability is toward the federal government, rather than to local parents or administrators? This is not good.]

ARTICLE II PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

A. RECIPIENT’S RESPONSIBILITIES

In addition to carrying out the tasks and activities described in the recipient’s application, as indicated in the Scope of Work section of this agreement, the recipient will:

1) Perform tasks identified in Article I of this agreement.

3

2) Provide updated, detailed work plans and budgets for all major activities identified in the recipient’s application, including but not limited to: • development, quality control, use and validation of artificial intelligence for scoring;

• selection of a uniform growth model consistent with test purpose, structure, and intended uses;

• development of performance tasks (addressing items such as technical challenges of scoring, reliability, and large-scale administration of performance-based items);

• development of a research and evaluation agenda (addressing items such as validity, reliability, and fairness);

• development and delivery of the technology platform for assessment.

3) Actively participate in any meetings and telephone conferences with ED staff to discuss (a) progress of the project, (b) potential dissemination of resulting non-proprietary products and lessons learned, (c) plans for subsequent years of the project, and (d) other relevant information, including applicable technical assistance activities conducted or facilitated by ED or its designees, including periodic expert reviews, and collaboration with the other RTTA recipient. [This triangulates testing and data collection with the other consortium, nationalizing our educational systems which used to be sovereign for each state, now under the supervisory nose of the federal government, our nanny dictator of Common Core.]

4) Be responsive to requests from ED for information [of course] about the status of the project, project implementation and updated plans, outcomes, any problems anticipated or encountered, and future plans for the assessment system, including by providing such information in writing when requested.

5) Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications and the conditions on the grant award, as well as to this agreement, including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.  [Even though Utah got no money from the RTTT grant application, the fiscal agent did, so Utah is bound to these grant requirements and compliance mandates.]

B. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITIES

The Program Officer is responsible for supporting the recipient’s compliance [love the language-- supporting compliance is the same thing as forcing us]  with Federal requirements and is the liaison with the recipient. The Program Officer will ensure project consistency with the recipient’s approved application, Department goals and objectives, as well as to assist the recipient in meeting its benchmarks and objectives by providing necessary support and flexibility. The following are, at a minimum, the activities that the Program Officer may be involved in to exercise his or her responsibilities on behalf of the Department:

1) The Program Officer will work collaboratively with the recipient as it carries out tasks identified in this agreement.  [Thank you, federal government, for the grant that you gave the SBAC but we really don't want to work with you because, you see, we are SOVEREIGN over our own educational system.  --Or used to be.]

2) The Program Officer will provide feedback on the recipient’s status updates, annual reports, any interim reports, and project work plans and products, including, for example, selection of key personnel, and review of provisions of proposed subcontracts by recipient.

3) The Program Officer will help identify sources of technical assistance for the project to the extent these are available.

4) The Program Officer will facilitate interaction with other offices of the Department [Oh, this just means our data will also be shared with other controlling federal Departments, besides the Dept of Education.] as needed to assist the recipient in the execution of its plan, as well as interaction across consortia when necessary. [interaction across consortia means nationalizing education under one D.C. hub called the Dept. of Ed.]

5) The Program Officer will review and approve modifications to the design of activities proposed under this Agreement. Any recipient requests for changes shall be submitted in writing directly to the Program Officer. Requests are not approved until the grantee has received authorization and notification in writing from the Program Officer.

6) The Program Officer will maintain the Department’s communication and coordination with the project, by, for example, providing leadership in identifying issues to be addressed by the project; stopping or redirecting proposed activities if the methodology proposed appears vague [love it.  redirect = boss. mandate. control.]  ["appears vague"-- kind of like how they called Common Core "state-led" and "voluntary" in a non-academically threatening, non-financially binding, vague kind of way?]  or requires further justification or the projected outcomes are inconsistent with the intended project outcomes.

7) Except as provided elsewhere in this agreement, the Program Officer is not solely authorized to make any commitments or otherwise obligate the Government or authorize any changes that affect the agreement amount, terms, or conditions.

C. JOINT RESPONSIBILITIES

1) The Program Officer and Project Director will maintain frequent communication [will = compulsory language] to facilitate cooperation under this agreement.

2) The Program Officer will work with the Project Director to determine a timeline for project updates that will be provided by the Project Director through the course of each project year.

3) The Program Officers for the RTTA and the General Supervision Enhancement Grants consortia to develop Alternate Assessments based upon Alternate Academic Achievement Standards ( GSEG AA-AAAS) projects and the respective Project Directors for RTTA and GSEG AA-AAAS will collaborate to coordinate appropriate tasks and timelines to foster synchronized development of assessment systems supported by these grants. [sychronize assessments= nationalized educationcare]

4) The Program Officer for the RTTA grantees will work with the Project Directors for both RTTA grantees to coordinate and facilitate coordination across consortia.  [coordination across consortia under federal direction = nationalized educationcare]

ARTICLE III FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND BUDGET MODIFICATIONS

A. The estimated cost for the work to be performed under this Agreement is $159,976,843 and $15,872,696 for the supplemental award.

B. The detailed budget for the implementation of this project is the budget contained in the application; and for the supplemental award for this project, the budget submitted by the recipient and approved by the Program Officer, attached to this agreement. The work of the project will be performed according the budget negotiated and approved in the application and confirmed by this cooperative agreement. With respect to 34 CFR section 80.30(c) “Budget changes” provisions, the Grantee and sub-recipients must obtain prior written approval from ED for transfers among direct cost categories and among separately budgeted programs, projects, functions, or activities that exceed $100,000 of the current total approved budget.

ARTICLE IV COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS

The recipient will undertake communications and submit reports in the quantities and frequencies shown below:

Required Communications/Reports Quantity/Transmittal

Frequency

Monthly Project UpdateBrief update submitted electronically to the Program Officer followed by callMonthlyMinutes from regularly-scheduled Consortium Executive Committee Meetings, maintained by the PMPSubmitted electronically to the Project Officer, as requestedMonthly, for previous monthSemi-annual Performance check-in against timeline and benchmarksUpdate submitted electronically to the Program OfficerSemi-annualReporting Required by Sec. 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)Submitted via the http://www.federalreporting.gov websiteQuarterly, schedule available at: http://www.recovery.gov/FAQ/Pages/ RecipientReporting.aspx#schedule

  SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN:

 A MAN WHO WORKS HARD TO DELETE STATE SOVEREIGNTY OVER EDUCATION

AND TO CREATE NATIONALIZED EDUCATION WITHOUT PRIVACY OR PARENTAL RIGHTS

 – WHO STANDS UP TO HIM?

 ONLY TEXAS, VIRGINIA and SOUTH CAROLINA –SO FAR.

Giddianhi the Ancient Communist   1 comment

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Ezra Taft Benson explained that “God molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious and philosophical concepts of our time.” (1987)

With that in mind, let’s look at a story in the Book of Mormon about an ancient Communist.

Giddianhi, a leader of the Gadiantons, aimed to enforce communism on the Nephites.  He began with sophisticated persuasion –that soon became threatening. 

A moment before he vowed to slay the Nephites, ironically, Giddianhi said, “Unite with usbecome our brethren that ye may be like unto us– not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.”  Doesn’t that sound like the educational reform called Common Core?  We have been told that under Common Core, we are all working cooperatively, not in submission to the federal government, but as partners.  Meanwhile, the paperwork we’ve signed binds us to exactly the opposite of what’s been promised– it mandates submission, compliance, triangulating data with the feds, and under Common Core, we have no liberty to amend the CCSS standards –because they are copyrighted. See http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf  and http://www.corestandards.org/terms-of-use.

The definition of communism:  “a theory advocating elimination of private property; a system in which goods are owned in common; a totalitarian system of government in which a single party controls state-owned means of production. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communism

Communism and socialism (and Common Core) appeals to many on its surface (before they realize how it’s going to be enforced, with brutal power and without free choice). 

It’s appealing because it shares some similarities with the law of consecration:  but under Communism, we share because we are forced to, on pain of imprisonment or death; in Consecration, we share because of free agency.  The two ideas are completely opposite one another in purpose, spirit and outcome.

Giddianhi wanted to take control of the Nephite people, but he lied to himself and others about the motives and the nobleness of his cause.  He felt that the Nephites had wronged him and his people; he felt that he knew that these secret combinations were good; he felt that the Nephites did not really, or should not really, own their own lands.

Similarly, there are lies and distortions in modern socialism/communism as promoted by Obama and his many followers.  They want to redistribute wealth by forceful taxation, essentially stealing from the middle class to give to the government who will share a portion of that theft with the poor.  This takes charity out of the equation.  This also reminds me of the United Nations and Agenda 21, which hopes to redistribute property rights to the global government, essentially stealing everyone’s land for Communism.  http://www.jbs.org/news/alabama-adopts-first-official-state-ban-on-un-agenda-21.  And it reminds me of Common Core, which redistributes education by refusing to let kids fail or soar; they have to stay in the middle, on a lockstep track with every other child that is nationally, not locally, determined.  http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards  Ultimately, who’s to stop the national standards writers from updating the standards, and writing immoral or otherwise unacceptable standards into what we’ve all adopted?  Our educational liberty, in Utah and in almost every other US state, is gone.  I mourn it. I pray every day that it’s not too late to reclaim it.

But here is the rest of Giddiahni’s story. ( It starts with Giddiahni’s letter to Lachoneous, the Nephite.  It ends with a terrible battle, in which the Nephites do win with God on their side, and Giddiahni is killed.  Even though in this battle, the Nephites won, later they lost.  They were made extinct in the end, because their fervor in fighting for freedom did not last.  This is the great warning of the Book of Mormon to us– we will not keep our country and our freedom unless we wake up and fight for it.) 

Gaddiahi to Lachoneous:

” I… give unto you exceedingly great praise because of your firmness, and also the firmness of your people, in amaintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and bliberty; yea, ye do stand well, as if ye were supported by the hand of a god, in the defence of your liberty, and your property, and your country, or that which ye do call so.

3 And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men who are at my command… and knowing of their everlasting hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them, therefore if they should come down against you they would visit you with utter destruction.

5 Therefore I have written this epistle…feeling for your welfare, because of your firmness in that which ye believe to be right, and your noble spirit in the field of battle.

6 Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you.

7 Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our asecret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.

8 And behold, I aswear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed; but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct.

9 And behold, I am aGiddianhi; and I am the governor of this the bsecret society of Gadianton; which society and the works thereof I know to be cgood; and they are of dancient date and they have been handed down unto us.

10 And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and agovernment, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government, and except ye do this, I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi.

11 And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had awronged themselves by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers.

12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a arobber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for bstrength against the time that the robbers should come down against them.

13 Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should agather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place.

14 And he caused that afortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night.

15 Yea, he said unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, ye will in nowise be adelivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers.

16 And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus.

17 And it came to pass that Lachoneus did appoint chief captains over all the armies of the Nephites, to command them at the time that the robbers should come down out of the wilderness against them.

18 Now the chiefest among all the chief captains and the great commander of all the armies of the Nephites was appointed, and his name was aGidgiddoni.

19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the aspirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge.

20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: aPray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.

21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord aforbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would bdeliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.

22 And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their ahorses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the bplace which chad been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.

23 And the aland which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land bBountiful, yea, to the line which was between the cland Bountiful and the land Desolation.

24 And there were a great many thousand people who were called Nephites, who did gather themselves together in this land. Now Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land asouthward, because of the great curse which was upon the bland northward.

25 And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their aprayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle…

Chapter 4:

7 And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.

8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.

9 And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies.

10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not afear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for bprotection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.

11 And the battle commenced in this the sixth month; and great and terrible was the battle thereof, yea, great and terrible was the aslaughter thereof, insomuch that there never was known so great a slaughter among all the people of Lehi since he left Jerusalem.

12 And notwithstanding the athreatenings and the oaths which Giddianhi had made, behold, the Nephites did beat them, insomuch that they did fall back from before them.

13 And it came to pass that aGidgiddoni commanded that his armies should pursue them as far as the borders of the wilderness, and that they should not spare any that should fall into their hands by the way; and thus they did pursue them and did slay them, to the borders of the wilderness, even until they had fulfilled the commandment of Gidgiddoni.

14 And it came to pass that Giddianhi, who had stood and fought with boldness, was pursued as he fled; and being weary because of his much fighting he was overtaken and slain. And thus was the end of Giddianhi the robber.

15 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites did return again to their place of security. And it came to pass that this nineteenth year did pass away, and the robbers did not come again to battle; neither did they come again in the twentieth year.

 

Book Recommendations and Links to Full Texts Free Online: “The Book of Mormon and the Constitution,” “None Dare Call It Conspiracy,” and “The Deliberate Dumbing Down”   Leave a comment

Over the past three months, I’ve learned so much about education reforms in America and what they are doing to our freedoms.  It is not pretty.  It makes me very sad.  But I would not want to go back to my ignorance about Common Core.  Now I’m reading more and more about freedom and the Constitution on issues connected to education reforms either directly or indirectly.

I’m going to give three links to free online books that I am reading right now, in case anyone out there wants to join me on the learning curve. I think of this as a self-directed, no credit class called on “How to Save American Freedom of Education Via the United States Constitution and Faith in God 101″.

First, THE BOOK OF MORMON    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne?lang=eng 

and the HOLY BIBLE: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bible?lang=eng.

Both of these books have lots to say about history, about liberty, about the end of the world, the control efforts of wicked forces upon good forces, and the battles for freedom.

Second, THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE CONSTITUTION – by H. Verlan Andersen

http://www.inspiredconstitution.org/bofmc/index.html                               

H. Verlan Andersen, a general authority and a close friend of President Ezra Taft Benson, is the author of “The Book of Mormon and the Constitution,” which I just started reading last week and am in love with.  It explains so clearly what is going on in America today (including in education reforms) from the angle of faith in Christ and His prophets.

I never knew it was available online for free until today.  Happy reading!

Third book:  NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY  by Gary Allen

   Another book that I want to read, and haven’t yet, is “None Dare Call it Conspiracy,” by Gary Allen.  This book was recommended by my father, by many other smart and patriotic people I’ve known.

President Ezra Taft Benson, a prophet, recommended this book. (See clip below)

Click for the book:   http://www.whale.to/b/allen_b1.html –and it is online, free.

Click for the recommendation by President Ezra Taft Benson:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJNMcD2IY_k   This is a YouTube video of Ezra Taft Benson speaking in a 1972 conference and recommending this book.  In the same talk, President Benson says that there is no Book of Mormon Conspiracy Theory.  It is a Book of Mormon Conspiracy Fact.

Nations were extinguished, the Book of Mormon history shows, because of secret combinations that the good people upheld because they were deceived by them, and/or they profited from them.

Fourth book:   THE DELIBERATE DUMBING DOWN by Charlotte Iserbyt

Even though I have only scanned the first few pages of this book and seen half of the hour-long YouTube interview, I want to share the links to her interview and to the book.  I sense its importance.  I have seen Charlotte Iserbyt interviewed about her life story –incredible story you can see on YouTube (an hour long).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezTIYd5UFRY&noredirect=1

   So, this a must-read for me, for sure. Charlotte Iserbyt was a whistle blower who realized there really is an agenda of power and money that damages and controls public education, that overrides what’s best for children and American freedom in treacherous ways.  http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/MomsPDFs/DDDoA.sml.pdf  (Link to her free book PDF online.)

Iserbyt served as the head of policy at the Department of Education during the first administration of Ronald Reagan. While working there, she discovered a long term strategic plan by the tax exempt foundations to transform America from a nation of rugged individualists and problem solvers to a country of servile, brainwashed simpletons, easy to control, who regurgitate whatever they’re told.

Sound like Common Core?  Of course.

Anti-Common Core Reasoning From Virginia, Texas, South Carolina: Why Free-Thinking States Opt Out of the Common Core Initiative   Leave a comment

Virginia, Texas, South Carolina: Why Free-Thinking States Opt Out of the Common Core Initiative.

The Most Courageous Governor in America   Leave a comment

   Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Dear Governor Bentley,
The stand you have taken in opposition to the U.N. Agenda 21 scheme to control American cities, towns and states is historic in the battle to protect and defend American principles of private property rights, free markets, limited government and individual liberty.
Your heroic action places you in the company of our greatest Founding Fathers who stood for freedom against forces that threatened to overwhelm them.  Please know that Americans from across the nation are watching your actions, applauding and supporting you, and stand ready to come to your aid. Because of your courage, your actions will undoubtedly be duplicated in states across the nation.
Your victory is important to us all, as we fight together to restore the American Republic created by our Founders.
Thank you.
Christel Swasey
http://www.examiner.com/article/selling-out-america-destroying-u-s-sovereignty-via-agenda-21-part-1
http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/11592-alabama-adopts-first-official-state-ban-on-un-agenda-21
http://www.openbama.org/bills/1059/SB477-int.pdf

Wasatch School Board’s Meaningless New FERPA Policy Out for 30-Day Review   Leave a comment

Dear Citizens of Heber Valley,  Please direct comments about FERPA and the importance of family privacy protection to the Wasatch School Board and District Officials at: “JAMES JUDD” <james.judd@wasatch.edu>, “VICCI GAPPMAYER” <vicci.gappmayer@wasatch.edu>, “TERRY SHOEMAKER” <terry.shoemaker@wasatch.edu>, “ANN HORNER” <ann.horner@wasatch.edu>, “DEBBIE JONES” <debbie.jones@wasatch.edu>, “WILMA COWLEY” <wilma.cowley@wasatch.edu>, “BLAIK BAIRD” <blaik.baird@wasatch.edu>, keith.johansen@wasatch.edu.

Here’s the public comment I submitted today:

Dear Wasatch School District,

Very few citizens will contact you during this 30-day period of public comment on the new, short, FERPA policy. Why? Last month, the board received many, many letters, but apparently, Vicci Gappmayer led the board to ignore us all and to do the exact opposite of what people had asked the board to do, which was to strengthen parental authority over children’s personally identifiable data.

Ms. Gappmayer said publically that she felt offended by the flier that citizens, including me, helped to put out, and she called it sensational and misleading.  It was not sensational or misleading. It was entirely truthful and accurate and was based on parental care for children’s privacy.

The district could have avoided a flier even needing to be published if it had not refused the request, unreasonably, to simply send out a districtwide email or newsletter or robocall, informing the public of the public comment opportunity.

Ms. Gappmayer’s new, dramatic rewrite of the district FERPA policy deleted all mention of parental consent or of personally identifiable information and can be seen as a deliberate attack on those parents and citizens who sent out the flier.  This is unfortunate.

Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings, this district deserves a meaningful FERPA policy. The new district policy is so vague and short that it amounts to no meaningful policy nor protection.

The board should not let go of its right to have a meaningful district policy.  The district should have a strong, meaningful policy that offers protection beyond minimal requirements.

Please understand the importance of having a strong district policy.  Being “obedient to law” is not as simple as it may appear. Our local role is not as simple as being obedient, as a child is obedient to parents, because in this case, the parents (state FERPA v. federal FERPA) are fighting, and one of the parents (federal) is schizophrenic about whether FERPA will loosen or strengthen federal access to personally identifiable data.

Having a state school board and a local school board provides checks and balances on the federal Dept. of Education dictating all policy.

The fact that the executive branch did not run their FERPA changes by Congress for approval, this January, sheds doubt on the legality of the federal FERPA regulations that this district is so eager to obey.  The fact that Larry Shumway said not to change your FERPA to avoid getting sued, should have been a consideration.  The Wasatch board disobeyed the State Superintendent in writing this new, short FERPA.

We collectively have allowed the feds to become almost an educational dictatorship.  So we are truly in a complex time. But that doesn’t mean we have to treat the Dept. of Education as if they really hold the right that they’ve assumed, to dictate every step that we, as a school district, make.  We need to be smarter than that.

Having a vague, short, unprotective policy can have terrible repercussions for this community. Think of what could happen if we didn’t have a strong and meaningful FERPA policy.  If the Department of Education were to change FERPA regulations again, without congressional approval, again, as they did in January– and this time, they wrote, “Regardless of parental consent, all children will have their fingerprints, photographs and blood samples sent to a D.C. database and have their hands microchipped, to ensure accountability and efficient access for educational testing,” this district’s new, short, policy would enforce it. No parent would be asked for permission. 

I do not agree with the lawyer who said that each of the FERPA policies we have looked at in the past few months, were just fine.  That lawyer does not care about our children like we do.  He is here as a paid employee to give legal advice, but his heart is not in it, as mine is and as (I hope) yours are.  He was wrong when he said any of the policies are fine.  Maybe legally they were all fine, but morally they were not.  There were different levels of parental involvement and consent.  There were different levels of federal ease of access to local data and to personally identifiable data.  He was looking only on the surface.  I am more concerned than he was, and so I am asking you to rewrite this FERPA policy to reflect that care.

This district should take a stand and determine for itself what its standards will be as far as it can discern and assert its right to do so.

Please add this sentence to the policy:  Wasatch District will never release personally identifiable information to any organization outside the Wasatch District without signed parental consent except in an emergency.

Thank you.

Christel Swasey

Common Core Education: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing   Leave a comment

Image

Last night at the Wasatch School Board meeting, they handed out a flier that explained the district’s Secondary Math Sequence.

First of all, let me just say that I like and appreciate all the teachers and principals in this little town.  They are caring, hard-working, wonderful people and I can’t thank them enough for all they do.

But the Common Core has been pushed on us as if it were a mandate from on high.  Local teachers and school boards have felt they had no choice but to accept it and love it.  –Or, in the case of the secondary math sequence– work around it.

The way our district is planning to work around the dumbing down of the Common Core math system is to offer college classes as concurrent enrollment and AP classes, for seniors.  Common Core doesn’t offer a fourth year of high school math.  There is no calculus until college anymore.

Why?  Ask Dr. James Milgram, who refused to sign off on the math standards when he served on the Common Core Validation Committee.  http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/james-milgram-on-the-new-core-curriculum-standards-in-math/

Or Ask Ze’ev Wurman, a great mathematician whose career included working for the Dept. of Education. http://educationnext.org/the-battle-over-common-core-math-standards-will-a-larger-federal-role-help-or-hinder-curriculum-improvement/

How can anyone continue to call these standards high and rigorous?  I’ll answer that question as Stanford professor Michael Kirst did: they have redefined the word “college readiness.”  http://collegepuzzle.stanford.edu/?p=466  They’ve simply dumbed it down.  Professor Kirst said, “the standards for college and career readiness are essentially the same. This implies the answer is yes to the question of whether the same standards are appropriate for 4 year universities, 2 year colleges, and technical colleges.”

And don’t get me started on the English!  How can you mandate the limitation of time allowed to be spent on classic literature in an English class –and call it improving standards?!   It is a form of book burning, the mandate that under Common Core we HAVE TO teach informational texts in English and cannot choose for ourselves whether we want to or not!  And this will all be on the nationalized test in 2014.  So teachers will be threatened with losing their livelihoods if they don’t teach to the Common Core test and have students do well on it.

Anti – Common Core in National News: From Reuters, Washington Times, CNN, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Texas Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Tampa Bay Times, Education Week, Deseret News, New York Post   2 comments

The following links to national news articles and opinion editorials show that Common Core is an increasingly controversial issue– with good reason.

The adoption and implementation of Common Core by all but a handful of states has circumvented all voters and legislators, yet it’s a heavy handed program now being imposed on over 90% of all teachers and students in America. There are massive privacy intrusions via the common, nationalized test, and there are liberty intrusions because the national standards can’t be amended by individual states. There are costs that have not even been analyzed, both financial costs and educational autonomy and educational quality costs. The list of reasons that people are opposed to Common Core is long…  So happy reading!

Parents Protest Surge in Standardized Testing:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/12/us-usa-education-testing-idUSBRE85B0EO20120612

Protest Builds Against Pearson, Testing and Common Core:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/protest-builds-against-pe_b_1586573.html

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Backs Bill to Block Common Core:

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/sc-gov-nikki-haley-backs-bill-to-block-common-core-standards/

Obama Admin forces States to choose one federally mandated education system, either No Child Left Behind or Common Core:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/obama-to-issue-no-child-left-behind-waivers-to-states/2011/09/22/gIQAqGTnoK_story.html

Common Core Drives Wedge in Education

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-04-28/common-core-education/54583192/1

Can States Withdraw from Obama Ed?

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/5/want-to-withdraw-from-obama-ed/

Common Core Math In North Carolina Would Keep Elementary Students From Taking Middle School Courses:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/wake-education_n_1556315.html

Does Common Core Provide an International Benchmark or not?

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/does-common-core-provide-an-international-benchmark/

Is Common Core Hurting Kids’ Love For School?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nicholas-tampio/do-we-need-a-common-core_b_1497854.html

FCAT controversy in Florida:

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/content/education-commissioner-gerard-robinson-calls-fsba-anti-fcat-resolution-short-providing-hope

South Carolina Senator Mike Fair Fighting Nationalization of Education

http://palmettopublicrecord.org/2012/05/24/sc-senator-still-fighting-against-education-standards/

Cursive vs. Typing

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-24/us/cursive.writing.irpt_1_cursive-handwriting-lessons-penmanship?_s=PM:IREPORT

Making Standards and Sausages:

http://educatingourselves.blogs.deseretnews.com/2012/04/23/making-standards-and-sausages/

Parents and Teachers Should Oppose Common Core

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765574337/Parents-and-teachers-should-oppose-Common-Core.html

Professor Sandra Stotsky, Common Core Validation Committee Member, Refuses to Sign off on Common Core:

http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/sandra-stotsky-on-the-mediocrity-of-the-common-core-ela-standards/

Are the Feds Tracking Your Kids?

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/how_the_feds_are_tracking_your_kid_xC6wecT8ZidCAzfqegB6hL

What Would The Founders Say About Common Core?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/what-would-the-founders-s_b_1562689.html

Arne Duncan and Rick Perry on the mandate to choose either No Child Left Behind or Common Core:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/arne-duncan-blasts-rick-perry-and-texas-schools/2011/08/18/gIQAw3qOOJ_blog.html

http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/secretary-education-sits-down-rick-perry/

Arne Duncan’s Attack of Texas Governor Rick Perry for wisely rejecting Common Core:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/08/arne_duncan_attacks_rick_perry.html

http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-DuncanArne201001130344.pdf

Florida Senator Marco Rubio Confronts Federal Dept. of Education:

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/rubio-to-duncan-administration-cant-force-states-to-comply/

David Coleman, Common Core Standards Architect and Socialist, becomes U.S. College Board President:

http://boston.com/community/blogs/rock_the_schoolhouse/2012/05/the_wrong_lesson_on_national_s.html

Mitt Romney’s Educational Standards Platform:

http://boston.com/community/blogs/rock_the_schoolhouse/2012/05/different_perspectives_on_gov.html

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/should-california-abandon-common-core-standards/

Teachers in New York Oppose Common Core   1 comment

March 25, 2012,  2:37 AM

We are veteran high school teachers from Long Island with 35 years of combined teaching experience. We share an entirely different view of the Common Core Standards than Ms. Nasser, and are writing to voice our concerns. http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/03/23/no-need-to-fear-the-common-core-standards/

Over the past year, New York teachers have been introduced to the Common Core Standards, which were adopted as part of the competition for “Race to the Top” funding from the Federal Government. The State Education Department claims that these standards will help to accomplish many goals: boost academic literacy and increase college and career preparedness among students; shift the focus of curricula away from their “mile-wide and an inch deep” formats; and help American students to compete against their global counterparts.

While these goals are desirable in the eyes of any educator, we believe that the untested Common Core Standards fail to recognize shortcomings in addressing the true needs of students across New York State. Adoption of the Common Core Standards further entrenches the recent trend of assessing students by standardized criteria. This trend has caused schools to adopt policies which “teach to the test”, at the expense of broader educational goals. One needs only to recognize the devaluing of social studies and science curricula on the elementary level as a result of ELA testing.

On the secondary level, will the emphasis on Language Arts and Mathematics promoted by the Common Core similarly devalue the content knowledge in other curricula? Teachers from diverse subjects have voiced concerns about the Common Core Standards. In mathematics, teachers and students will face a fourth curricular revision in fifteen years. How can we expect our students to achieve results if the expectations are changed so often? Language arts teachers, many with backgrounds in literature and grammar, wonder what form of training they will receive to teach  reading, a skill unto itself. A shift in the social studies toward teaching history more exclusively with primary source documents may improve reading skills and build vocabulary, but will come at the expense of content knowledge (as the Standards specify, “how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10”, not what role faction plays in democracy).

Many teachers question attempting to teach material in the name of college and career preparedness to 14 through 17 year olds who developmentally may not be able to understand and process such material. One final question: to what extent will the need to implement and evaluate whether our lessons abide by the standards detract from our efforts to creatively engage our students and make the content we teach relevant to them? Like many schools across New York State, ours regularly succeeds in meeting and surpassing the expectations set out for us by the community we serve and by the State Education Department.

Our school boasts a graduation rate of 98% with Regents diplomas, 76% of students receiving Advanced Regents Diplomas, and 96% of our students go on to attend a two or four-year college. Are these achievements no longer valid? We do not understand why the State Education Department would want to “fix what ain’t broke.” Another concern of ours is the timing of the State Education Department’s implementation of the Common Core Standards. During this time of economic hardship, school districts have little extra funding to devote to developing new curricula, providing training to teachers to meet the new requirements, and purchasing textbooks and materials to support instruction. Finally, during our careers as teachers, New York State has always taken a leadership role in providing diverse and quality educational opportunities to its students.

As well, New York has a long tradition of assessing student achievement   and the role of schools in facilitating that success. Reform measures such as Regents exam requirements, grade-level testing, test revision to include higher-order skills (i.e. DBQ’s), and secure testing and reporting procedures all attest to that fact. We believe that the State Education Department is undermining the progress it has made in the past 15 years by adopting standards formulated for states that have yet to measure up to ours.

 

Henry Dircks

Social Studies Dept.

Rob Walsh

Mathematics Dept.

W.C. Mepham H.S.

Bellmore, NY

http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/03/23/no-need-to-fear-the-common-core-standards/   FULL TEXT POSTED HERE

Wasatch School Board Further Slashes Parental Involvement and Consent over Student Data – New FERPA Policy Up For 30-Day Review AGAIN   Leave a comment

Wasatch School Board Further Slashes Parental Involvement and Consent over Student Data – New FERPA Policy Up For 30-Day Review AGAIN.

Cost of Common Core to Wasatch School District   Leave a comment

Dear Mr. Johansen,

 

I very much appreciated the answer given to my question last night, that there are no plans to increase funding of Common Core implementation beyond what was already being spent on teacher professional development in Utah’s Core Academies.

 

This is important to me because I, like you, hope our hard-earned tax money will be spent on our children’s legitimate educational needs, such as much-needed math books and other supplies. 

 

I was concerned when I read the cost analysis of Common Core put out by the Pioneer Institute.  I don’t know if you’ve read it.  http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120222_CCSSICost.pdf   I am concerned that in 2014, when the Common Core assessments are implemented and mandated, locals may face astronomical costs that will take away from primary needs and legitimate expenses of educating our kids.

 

Pioneer’s cost analysis says:  “[A]s of this writing, none of the states that have adopted Common Core have released a cost or feasibility analysis of the technology infrastructure and support necessary to administer either of the testing consortia’s online assessments.”

 

This is why I asked you to contact our state USOE budget people, to find out what cost analysis they have produced.

 

Pioneer also writes, “Technology infrastructure and support is increasingly recognized by both supporters and critics of Common Core as an area that will require significant new investments given the exclusively online nature of planned Common Core assessments. Even though the development costs are covered by federal grants, some states will find—as California has—that annual operating costs may increase significantly.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an English professor who served on the Common Core Validation committee, said that there will be significant additional teacher development courses required.  She wrote:

“Common Core’s ELA standards will require drastic changes in academic, preparation, and professional development programs for prospective or current English teachers. English teachers will need to take a significant amount of professional development in history and political science…and undergo professional training in reading scientific and other discipline-based texts.”

I realize that asking you to help a handful of concerned parents annul the adoption of Common Core is asking the near-impossible.

But if you could help us shed some light simply on this one thing, the costs that will accrue because of a different standardized testing system that begins in 2014 for Common Core, that would be so helpful.

Thank you.

Christel Swasey

Congressional Bill on Parental Rights   Leave a comment

I thought this article was so important that I’m posting the entire thing.  Thank you, Alex Newman. http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/11641-congress-introduces-constitutional-amendment-for-parental-rights

  Congress Introduces Constitutional Amendment for Parental Rights

                                                     - by Alex Newman

As the global battle over parental rights heats up, Republicans in Congress responded on Tuesday by introducing a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrining the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Activists and lawmakers say the move is needed to permanently and explicitly guarantee what has long been recognized as a fundamental freedom.

Known as the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA), if approved, the measure would also protect the rights of Americans against any international treaties purporting to infringe on them. Additionally, the PRA would ensure that the right of parents to choose how to educate their children — homeschooling, private school, or religious instruction, for example — would be protected nationwide.
“We must protect the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” explained Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the lead sponsor of the measure in the Senate. “Unfortunately, parental rights are under attack, and a safeguard like this amendment is necessary.”
One of the most controversial global measures cited by supporters of the constitutional amendment is known as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The treaty, which has never been ratified by the U.S. Senate, remains extraordinarily unpopular among liberty-minded Americans.
Opponents of the global child-rearing regime, however, warn that the UN and its U.S. government allies have not given up on ratification despite loud warnings by critics of the danger it represents to parental rights. And without an explicit constitutional guarantee enshrining the unalienable rights of parents, PRA advocates warn that lawmakers and courts could wage a UN-backed war on parental liberties — even if the treaty was never ratified.
“Neither the federal government nor international law should micromanage how parents are able to raise their children,” Sen. DeMint added in a statement explaining why the PRA is needed. “Parents are best equipped to decide how their children are raised and educated, not bureaucrats from Washington and the United Nations.”
The measure, introduced on June 5, already has more than 10 co-sponsors in the Senate. The House version of the PRA was introduced by lead sponsor Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee to which the bill will be assigned.
“In my three decades of public service, I have consistently focused on protecting the right of parents to make decisions for their children,” Rep. Franks said in a statement. “Put simply, there are really only two options when it comes to who will determine the substance of a child’s education: it will be either a bureaucrat who doesn’t know the child’s name, or a parent who would pour out their last drop of blood for the child.”
The House version has already garnered more than 33 co-sponsors and is expected to gain many more in the coming weeks and months, according to supporters. And with Rep. Franks’ crucial subcommittee chairmanship, the Congressman and PRA backers hope to finally succeed in the effort to enshrine the rights of parents as part of the Supreme Law of the Land — a massive campaign that has been building steam since the popular measure was first introduced in 2008.
“I intend to continue that fight in my role as Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, doing everything in my power to help advance the vital Parental Rights Amendment through Congress,” Franks added. “Nothing is more important to America’s future than making sure that the education of the hearts and minds of our children is securely in the purview of the parents who love and understand them most.”
The PRA is being pushed by a grassroots organization known as ParentalRights.org, led by legendary constitutional attorney Michael Farris. And the effort has already attracted overwhelming support from a broad array of activists and influential organizations across the political spectrum.
Among the allies backing the amendment: the Justice Foundation, the Home School Legal Defense Association, Americans for Tax Reform, the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Eagle Forum, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Gun Owners of America, National Black Home Educators, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Liberty Institute, the Traditional Values Coalition, and many more.
In the House and Senate, the effort has widespread support, too. “Just about every member of Congress agrees with the legal principle that parents have the fundamental right to make decisions for the upbringing of their children,” explained Parentalrights.org President Farris. “The PRA had 141 cosponsors in the House during the last session of Congress, but we expect to see even more support this time around.”
Some critics of the measure argue that the 9th Amendment to the Constitution already protects parental rights, claiming that because the protections already exist, the PRA might not be needed. Others note that the 10th amendment makes family law a state or individual issue and that it could be unwise to “federalize” parental rights — especially considering the federal government’s dismal track record of obeying the Constitution and respecting individual liberty.
“If the Constitution has not specifically granted a power to the federal government, then that power is reserved to the States and to the people,” noted attorney Deborah Stevenson, the executive director of National Home Education Legal Defense, an organization that opposes the PRA because it believes the amendment could actually further erode parental rights by giving Washington, D.C. jurisdiction over the matter.
“The federal government, right now, has absolutely no Constitutional authority to tell you, the parent, what to do about anything involving your children,” she added. “If the newly proposed Constitutional amendment is adopted, however, the federal government will have the power to tell you, the parents, whatever it chooses to tell you about anything involving your children.”
PRA supporters counter those objections by insisting that it would be better to specifically recognize parental rights before they are eroded further by government. Also, according to some backers of the amendment, giving federal courts solid jurisdiction to protect parents from state-level abuses would be a positive development.
“The Supreme Court has accurately said that parental rights are ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by [the] Court,’ yet those rights now lack sufficient legal protection under the Constitution,” Farris continued in a statement. “Thanks to concerned citizens and engaged leaders in Congress, we look forward to correcting that problem through the adoption of this amendment.”
The full proposed amendment reads: “SECTION 1. The liberty of parents to direct the up-bringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right; SECTION 2. Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest, as applied to the person, is of the highest order and not otherwise served; SECTION 3. This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life; SECTION 4. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.”
If approved by two thirds of both houses of Congress, the PRA would be sent to state governments — at least five of which have already adopted resolutions calling for the amendment. President Obama would have no say in the matter, supporters point out. Upon ratification by three fourths of the states, the rights of parents would officially be enshrined in the American Constitution. And that, PRA supporters say, is desperately needed.
Related articles:
Parents Under Siege in Global Battle Against State Control of Children
Beware UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child
Homeschooling and Socialism?
Vatican Tells UN to Respect Parental Rights and Homeschooling
Michael Farris: Constitutional Champion, Home School Defender

Federal Education Reforms and Why People of Faith Must Get Involved to Stop Them   1 comment

FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGIOUS SPEECH

How does freedom of religion apply to new changes in education, such as the COMMON CORE and FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) regulations?  Do these “educational reforms” not take away parental control of children’s data, and does not full implementation of Common Core nationalized education come with a federally perusable individual-child data collection plan?  Doesn’t the government ascend above parents in authority thereby?

Bring on the LDS “Proclamation on the Family.”  http://www.lds.org/family/proclamation

Education reforms of late have brought out the mother bear in me.  I become angry when I see forces who have no respect for student privacy, for parental authority, and for educational freedom (but they do respect federal rule over education, federal rule over children, and federal rule over privacy).   I also become angry that more parents don’t care, won’t study it, and blindly believe without verifying, what the Dept of Education and the USOE is saying.

Rather than attack with angry words, I try to educate with peaceable boldness and truth.

   In this book, H. Verlan Andersen, a general authority of the Church (LDS) and a close friend of President Ezra Taft Benson, wrote:

“Of course we should avoid contention both in the Church and without. Many scriptures affirm this and declare that the penalty therefore is exclusion from the Kingdom of God. Where the Lord dwells there is harmony… but do we become one by keeping our differences to ourselves? Can we achieve unity by remaining silent? Obviously we cannot. To become of one heart and one mind demands a free exchange of ideas and views in an atmosphere of love and harmony.”

It is vitally important to be courageous enough to get involved with political and educational issues.  While the Church officially takes a politically neutral stand, the church also counsels members not to!  It counsels members to be active politically.

The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”  — So the prohibition is against the government pushing its own ideas or religions on us (for example, the ‘religion’ of extreme environmentalism that they push in schools is not permissable).  The prohibition is not against individuals or private organizations being involved in politics.  In fact, the First Amendment guarantees that right.

And the church calls political involvement a responsibility as well as a right.

THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE POLITICALLY INVOLVED AGAINST SOCIALISM AND FOR FREEDOM

President David O. McKay said, “We wish all our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it… various organizations that are attempting to awaken the people through educational means is a policy we warmly endorse

    So, how can the church be politically neutral yet stand up for Constitutional laws and freedom of religion, speech and press?  Because political stands refer to candidates and voting, not to eternal principles like free agency and wise limitations on human governments.

President McKay said, “We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared he established ‘by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up for this very purpose’ (D&C 101:80) and which…Joseph Smith, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be ‘established forever’ (D&C 109:54). The Church does not yield any of its devotion to or convictions about safeguarding the American principles… The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.”

    President Ezra Taft Benson wrote that the “enhancement of political power at the expense of individual rights, so often disguised as ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘civil rights’ is socialism, no matter what name tag it bears.”  He also said that “We must keep the people informed that collectivism, another word for socialism, is a part of the communist strategy. Communism is essentially socialism.” (This Nation Shall Endure, p. 90)

Is it too much to suggest that Common Core, the commonizing of education, is a move toward socialism and communism?  Well, we have to share all things in common with all other states (not like the Lord’s law of consecration, where you choose to share; this is the “must” version, where you have to share or you get financially and in other ways, punished).

President Ezra Taft Benson wrote, “God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and how to combat false educational, political, religious and philosophical concepts of our time.” (Ensign, Jan. 1988)

The Jaredites in the Book of Mormon corrupted their laws and political power and were destroyed.

The Nephites in the Book of Mormon corrupted their laws, too.  Part of the reason was that the righteous people were deceived into allowing the law to become corrupt.  Are we repeating their mistakes?  Yes.

Verlan Anderson wrote, “The only place the great majority of us use force to affect the freedom of others is through the agency of government, and so our political [and educational] decisions are, in reality, decisions about human freedom.”

It’s important to distinguish between laws and regulations that are constitutional and those which are not; the penalties for failing to obey the Lord’s political commandments are severe.

       President David O. McKay said, “A fundamental principle of the Gospel is free agency, and references in the scriptures show that this principle is 1) essential to man’s salvation and 2) may become a measuring rod by which the actions of men, of organizations, of nations may be judged.”

    So, free agency is a measuring rod to judge Common Core by.  Does Common Core support or take away from the principle of free agency?

1.  It cannot be amended by us.  It is under copyright by the NGA/CCSSO.  We are not free to change it.

2. It requires states to “address barriers in state law” that would stand in the way of its full implementation, making us more subject to national, rather than local, decision-making.  We are not free to maintain such state laws as FERPA which stand in the way of the desire of Common Core to get easy governmental and research agency-access to our children’s personally identifiable information without parental consent.

3. It requires teachers and students to spend much time on a testing system they had no say in building and cannot amend (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium). These tests are given to state and federal agencies, dis-aggregated, and will be used to “guide” and control citizens.

4. Common Core requires teachers and students to follow CCSS standards, which will not allow many good things any longer.  CCSS won’t allow Calculus to be taught in high schools any more, and will severely limit the amount of classic literature that is permissable in the English classroom, in favor of info-texts.

It makes many other requirements for educational standards which may be more rigorous, or may be less so, but the point is that we MUST obey these standards; we are not free to change them and as time goes by, we will be less and less able to withdraw from the system, being financially interwoven with it.

5. The document written by Arne Duncan of the Federal Department of Education, entitled “Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Dept of Education and the SBAC” (and Utah’s bound by it) –uses words like “comply,” compliance,” “requirements,” “enforce,” “enforcement” and “must” –repeatedly– which are words which do not support the idea of voluntarism or free agency. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

How far have we come from Constitutional freedom of education?  The tenth article of the Communist Manifesto cites “free education for all children” and “combination of education with industrial production” as its goals.  The Common Core does combine education with industrial production, as Utah’s new P-20 workforce (Preschool to age 20 and workforce) councils strive to do.  The idea is to track and guide students into the workforce that the government determines fits that student best because kids are seen as “human capital” belonging to the state.

So many people in Utah today have been deceived into giving up important freedoms over education and privacy, by the pretty promises of Common Core.  The Common Core push was able to succeed in this deception because of legitimate, troubling problems of low educational outcomes in our state.  We have so many people taking remedial classes at the college level.  We have literacy problems and we need to improve education.

But commonizing and nationalizing education via the Common Core should never have been chosen as the answer to these serious problems.  In choosing Common Core, we voted against our own freedom.

Local desire to protect student privacy conflicts with other agencies’ goals to examine private student data   Leave a comment

Dear School Board, 

Thank you for allowing public comment.  I wrote before but I do have more to say.

You might feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, stuck in the middle of negotiations, regulations, laws, local and state politics, and angry parents.  I imagine it feels like because you don’t have all the answers, you might just submit to those who claim to know more than you do or who seem more authoritative. 

I encourage you to stand up tall and know that you have as much or more authority than these others do, in your elected role.  You are the guardians of this little city’s public education system, and you have a very significant role to play today, that those entities who want easy access to citizens’ information cannot intimidate or bribe you into dismissing, without your consent.

I urge you to have confidence in yourselves and to do your own research and listen to the voices of the parents who care the very most about their children’s well being.

When it comes to believing the USOE, the USSB, the DoE, the UEN, the NCES, the IES, the SBAC, and the other data-collectors, please trust but verify.  We must not be naiively trusting; please don’t trust even the most well intentioned government claim without verifying.  In this case, the thing to verify is that our local desire to protect student privacy conflicts with other agencies’ goals to examine private student data.

There is a network of data-collecting that now starts in a child’s school and filters through its district, then through Utah (via the USOE, the P-20 Workforce, a massive longitudinal database, and via UEN’s partnership with UTrex, Choice Solutions Corporation, and the Utah Data Alliance).  Then the data on children gets dis-aggregated (according to Choice Solutions’ own statement http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm ) and this disaggregated data will be electronically exchanged, they have promised, to many “stakeholders”.  This is not good.

Unfortunately, you, our board, will not be able to control this disaggregation and electronic exchange with good intentions, your own integrity, or your own power.  Only a strong district FERPA policy can protect children and parents in this case.  What a daunting responsiblitity rests on you today! 

Once you let that information slip out of our school district, this huge network is waiting to descend upon it and pass it along to all these “stakeholders” which do include the executive branch, which does have a national database set up to do surveillance on our kids.  This is explained on their own websites.

IES is the research arm of the executive branch.  NCES, a branch of IES, defines it self as “the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.” http://nces.ed.gov/    http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/west/board.asp   

And WestEd, also called West Regional Lab, is a division of NCES.  Larry Shumway sits on that WestEd governing board; he is not on the side of privacy over student data and we need to recognize his position.  He will not step in.  We must protect the children ourselves from this massive data exchange of personally identifiable information.

A study of recent and ancient history shows the life and death importance of maintaining local freedom, autonomy, privacy and control. 

Again, thank you for listening.

Christel Swasey

Wasatch County School Board on KTMP Radio speaking about FERPA revisions   Leave a comment

https://sites.google.com/site/wasatchlive2/ 

You can listen to archives from the Impact Show with Bob Wren and Paul Royall on KTMP 1340 AM by clicking and making an account (free) and downloading (free).

I’ve been listening to Thursday’s show, where half of the Wasatch School Board made a guest appearance with Bob and Paul.  I’ve also been listening to Monday and Tuesday’s shows with “Three Moms” (Alisa, Renee and I) making guest appearances on the show.

We’ve all been talking about FERPA revisions.  Family Education Rights Privacy Act revisions.  Don’t tune out because the title’s long.

Why?

As parents, we should treasure FERPA, which has existed since the 1970s to protect family and student privacy.  Now that the United States executive branch, meaning Arne Duncan of the Department of Education, has illegally (without Congressional or Constitutional approval) revised federal FERPA, suddenly our local district –for some unknown reason– is doing the same thing.  Why, Wasatch School District?

Four local moms met with the Superintendent and told him that the board had made a major policy change without working ‘closely with the public’ as their bylaws state that they must.  So they gave us a thirty day public comment period that ends June 14.

So far, nine people have written to make a public comment, according to what the Board said on the radio on Thursday.  Nine people are alarmed that our district is attempting to give away parental consent over children’s personally identifiable data for the benefit and empowerment of the federal surveillance club.  Where is everyone else?

Many more might voice their opinions if the district would have sent out an email, a newsletter or a robocall (as they do for pajama day, teacher appreciation day, grandparents’ day, and football games).  You would think this might matter, too.

If you read this, even if it’s past the June 14th deadline, please do write to our school board and let them know how we feel about the importance of parental consent being more important than federal ease of access without parental consent to our children’s personally identifiable data.

What to say:  Keep it simple:   No matter how well intentioned, no one may have access to my children’s personally identifiable information without my consent! 

This is a no brainer for me.

Yet, some local and federal representatives have said that these FERPA policy changes provide further protections to the data.  Impossible.  Read them for yourself.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf

Changes made by the federal, executive branch (without Congressional approval) and changes made to local district policy by our Wasatch School Board added additional parties that could have access to  child’s data without parental consent.  There are nine exceptions when someone without parental consent can access a child’s personal, and not just the aggregated, data.

So when the board says these revisions strengthen data privacy, they are not telling the truth!

Vicci Gappmayer at the District Office said that the board had to make these changes to our local policy to be in compliance with federal law, and that “State law trumps local policy and federal law trumps State.”  She did not explain where she found these laws.  Nor did she explain why her superior, State Superintendent Larry Shumway, said that districts are not required to change FERPA policy and they should proceed with caution if at all.  Did she not hear Mr. Shumway?  Did she disagree with him, and if so, why?

If her statement was true, and the U.S. education system is just a top down control, rather than a system of checks and balances that is equal on the local and on the federal level, then why do we still even need a local school board?

In the words of one smart dad I know who lives here in Heber, “If we are solely to be governed by the Ultimate Federal Law, we should just fire Terry and the board and let the federal government run our local schools. Oh wait, they already do.  We are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars by having an ineffective local board that is too afraid to stand up for the rights of parents and children in Wasatch County.”

In the past, schools released group data, called aggregated data, such as “Third graders averaged 79 percent on the reading test.”  Now schools are being asked to release dis-aggregated data, such as “Maria Jones got 79 percent on the reading test.” Worse, they’re being asked to release nonacademic data, such as “Maria Jones has ADHD, missed 7 days of school last year, has no father, speaks Tagalog, does not ride the school bus, has a history of behavior problems, is nicknamed Mimi, and her mother earns $100,000 per year.”

I heard one of our board members say that he takes privacy very seriously and would never release personally identifiable information.  If that is true, why not make it district policy?  Why have the policy say the feds can come in and read our test scores with individual names and other records attached, while our district would not actually do that?  Why not write it in black and white?  The school board makes no sense at all.  They are either naiive or dishonest.  I am honestly not sure which.  My father used to say it makes no difference if someone is a pawn or a knave; the consequences of their errors will be the same.

Furthermore, biometric data (iris reading, fingerprinting, DNA) is also being used to identify students. Look at page 4 of the new federal FERPA regulations:   http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf  It says:

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1232g) “Biometric record,” as used in the definition of “personally identifiable information,” means a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.

Look at the NCES website, the research arm for data collection for the executive branch: http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/datasets.aspx?class=StudentTracking .  It says:

Why do we need a National Education Data Model?

A lot of data is already being collected and used, but not everyone collects the same information. This often keeps databases from “talking” to each other and prevents key stakeholders from answering important questions about students and schools. 

So there is an assumption: the diversity that exists from state to state and district to district is a problem for the feds (the NCES) that keeps states and districts from answering THE FEDS’ questions, but why should we even be asked those questions?  Are they our dictators?  Our parents?  No.

What if we have no intention of answering those “important questions about students and schools”?  Yes, I am talking to you,  Arne Duncan and Barack Obama.  What right do you have to be asking question one?  Show me in the Constitution where you found that one or get out of my business.

Wasatch District’s FERPA policy should be written this way:

“Wasatch District Schools will never release personally identifiable information without parental consent”.   That is the right thing to do.

 

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