Archive for September 2012

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Most people don’t know the difference between a P.T.A. and a P.T.O.

Main difference: PTA is a national group, while PTOs are locally controlled and don’t have to pay national leadership.

In this Wall Street Journal article, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444549204578022683272864910.html

we find out the differences.  We also find out why one parent-teacher organization (PTA) is suing the other (PTO)!

I decided not to join my child’s school’s PTA this year.  I’ll give money directly to the school or the classroom, but not to the PTA.  Why?  Only one reason:  because the National PTA is pushing Common Core. 

They’ve taken huge donations from Bill Gates to promote Common Core, which is not good for our kids.  And they don’t even admit Common Core is far from a politically neutral movement.  But anyway…

Here’s this week’s article on the subject, reposted from the Wall Street Journal:

By STEPHANIE BANCHERO    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444549204578022683272864910.html

CHICAGO—The national PTA sued a rival parent group in court here, claiming the group is infringing on its trademark and poaching members, in the latest controversy involving parents’ role in public education.

The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, the umbrella organization of the PTA, sued the parent company of PTO Today on Wednesday in U.S. District Court, accusing the for-profit company of using “false and misleading statements encouraging members to leave the National PTA” and opt, instead, to form a local parent-teacher organization, or PTO.

The 115-year-old, nonprofit PTA is a membership organization with about 25,000 chapters and roughly five million parents who pay annual dues of between $5 and $10. Donations made up nearly $10 million of the organization’s $14 million in annual revenue in 2011, according to its annual report. PTA officials say membership has dropped steadily for at least 10 years, but declined to provide exact figures.

The PTA provides resources and advice to parents, and it also lobbies local and national lawmakers on behalf of public schools. It supports “adequate and equitable” funding for schools, and opposes vouchers.

PTO Today, founded in 1999 and a unit of School Family Media Inc., provides resources to thousands of independent parent groups, many known as PTOs, and to local PTAs, according to PTO Today, which was founded by Tim Sullivan, who estimates there are about 55,000 PTOs.

The company’s revenue primarily comes from advertising in the monthly magazine it produces for elementary schools. PTO Today doesn’t lobby.

The suit claims that PTO Today has traded on the venerable PTA trademark and used false advertising to imply an association between the two groups. As a result, the suit claims, the PTA has suffered irreparable harm.

In the suit, the PTA asks the court to prohibit PTO Today from encouraging local PTA groups to leave the national chapter. It also asks the court to bar PTO Today from using the PTA name on its website, magazine or ads.

The two sides say they have spent the last few years trying to settle the matter before the suit was filed.

“They have made a number of false statements about the PTA and have laid out a road map for parents to leave the PTA,” said Betsy Landers, president of the national PTA, in a phone interview.

Mr. Sullivan denied the charges. He noted that the PTA has been losing membership since its heyday in the 1960s, when it claimed 12 million parents. “It is not the fault of PTO that the PTA is struggling,” he said in an interview.

United States Starting To Rebel Against Common Core Standards   2 comments

States Starting To Rebel Against Common Core Standards

   –Reposted Sept. 27, 2012 from Donna Garner, Texas Educator, at http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/

Although the Common Core national standards have been accepted in 46-1/2 states,    implementation is going slower than advocates had hoped.  One group of  states actually introduced legislation to withdraw from the Common Core or  disapprove the standards, others have failed or refused to pass the  legislation necessary to fund or align them with state tests, higher education or professional development and still others are doing more  formal reviews of either cost or curriculum.  In all, nearly  three-fifths of the states that have accepted the Common Core fall into one  of these groups. Please read on to find out what you can do both to stop the further implementation of the Common Core in your state as well as what you   can do to stop the nationalization of education.

Although education has not been a front burner issue in this election cycle, there is some evidence that word about the dangers of and problems with the Common Core national standards, about which we have warned you for a long  time, is slowly getting out.  In addition to Education Liberty Watch,  the group of academics, policy makers and individuals that developed and gained over 100 original signatures on a counter-manifesto against the Common Core, The Cato Institute,  The Heritage FoundationTruth in American Education, teachers, parents, and policy makers are working hard to educate and to  protest this loss of autonomy, local control and academic rigor.  Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in      interviews on Fox News and the Mike Huckabee show      pointed out the constitutional and academic dangers of the Common Core in  his new book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to  Pay for the Cities. In it, he said:

The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama, Ayers, and      Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum that  promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and 3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban schools. Achieving these goals on a broad scale requires the federal government to usurp local control of K-12 schooling. 

Obama is half-way there.

   How did he do it?  Instead of submitting his controversial education proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly marked  $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress  with barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama      never had to go public with his plans.

By coordinating with outside groups not accountable to the voters, like the  deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White House then orchestrated the   creation of a national Common Core of education standards, with an  accompanying curriculum and tests.

Supposedly,  these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states. In      fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top grants  on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced economically pinched states to surrender control of their school  curricula to the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed  to sign on to the Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably  both illegal and unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually nothing about it.

In addition, state legislators and governors are also starting to respond to this unconstitutional federal takeover of  education curriculum. According to the states listed or not listed on  this comprehensive review table by  Daniel Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the  breakdown of how states are dealing with the Common Core is as follows:

  • Twelve of the 46-1/2  states and Washington DC (Minnesota has accepted the English and reading  standards) or almost 25% have actively sought through legislation to           withdraw from, disapprove, require legislative input or other  negative measures regarding the Common Core.  Four of these  measures were enacted. 
    • The strongest of the  four measures that passed was enacted in Utah which allows the  state to withdraw from any kind of arrangement that cedes Utah’s            control over its own standards and curriculum. 
    • Indiana enacted  a  resolution to urge a state board review of the CCSS.
    • Kansas requires a cost  analysis and formal review before implementation 
    • South Dakota implemented a requirement of four public hearings before enactment of the  standards. 
    • Other states had bills disapproving or rejecting the Common Core or future adoption fail in the legislature (Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri,            Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington) 
    • Minnesota’s bill to  require legislative approval of new standards passed both chambers of the legislature but was vetoed by the liberal governor. 
  • Four other states have  required a formal review of the curriculum or cost analysis.        (California, Iowa, Maryland, and New Mexico).  
  • Twelve states (Alabama*,  Arizona, California*, Hawaii, Indiana*, Kansas*, Minnesota*,  Missouri*, New Jersey, New Mexico*, Pennsylvania, and Vermont),           including seven on one of these other lists (*), have rejected, either by failure in the legislature,  by gubernatorial veto,  or by failure to introduce a bill, any legislative implementation of  the appropriation, enabling, or alignment of the Common Core in      their states.
  • Five other states  (Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) and    Washington DC were not listed in the review as having even introduced any kind of Common Core related legislation at all in 2012.  

That brings the total to twenty-six out of forty-six and  one half states that have accepted them or 56% who are rejecting or  showing some kind of hesitancy or concern with implementing these  unconstitutional, illegal and dumbed down, politically correct standards    and their accompanying tests.  This is very important good news  for state and local autonomy, academic excellence, constitutionality and  state budgets  It is also very important for the the maintenance of  private and home schooling as viable alternatives to government      education. (More new details on the dangers to private school autonomy  via the Common Core and how the Romney education plan affects this issue  will come next week. In the meantime, please see Imposing a Federal Curriculum      on Private Schools – Why Voucher Programs that Require State Tests Are So      Dangerous)

After speaking at Phyllis Schlafley’s Eagle Council along      with Education Liberty Watch’s Dr. Karen Effrem, The American Principles      Project’s Emmett McGroarty, and Heather Crossin, the Indiana mom who led      the rebellion against the Common Core in that state, Kurtz wrote more      about the problems with the Common Core and the coming parental revolt in      National Review Online:

  

Crossin has  successfully galvanized Indiana’s tea-party groups into fighting the Common Core. It’s a taste of what’s going to happen across the country  once Obama’s new national school curriculum hits the ground. Angry  parents like Crossin will be multiplied many times over, and they won’t  just be making funny protest videos. They’ll be marching on state      legislatures and giving the federal government an earful as well. 

The resistance to the Common Core seems to be following  the same state level resistance or inertia that is happening with the health insurance exchanges that unless stopped will serve as the implementation portals for the life robbing, health endangering, tax  increasing and economy wrecking mandates of Obamacare.

     It is therefore critical to make education freedom part of  the consideration as we choose not only a new president, but members of Congress, governors, and state legislators.  Please do not be shy about asking candidates where they stand on the implementation of the  Common Core and what they will do to stop it at both the state and federal levels.  If officials or candidates are not interested in  discussing the lack of constitutionality or terrible quality of the  standards, remind them that Common Core implementation cost estimates vary between $16 and $60 BILLION dollars that will not be available from  the federal government given current debt levels of $16 TRILLION dollars  and the state deficits that many states have accumulated. Please also consider a generous donation to Education Liberty Watch as we join with  groups and individuals across the nation to try to stop this other major usurpation of rights.  The future ability of our children to be the  thinking, reasoning citizens that will know how to maintain our heritage  of freedom depends on being able to stop this Obamacare for education gambit.   -Donna Garner

 

Sen. Fair: SC could regret new student testing scheme – Editorial Columns – TheState.com   Leave a comment

Fair: SC could regret new student testing scheme – Editorial Columns – TheState.com.

Posted September 28, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Romney v. Obama on Common Core   1 comment

Education News Piece: How Common Core Math Dumbs Down Students   Leave a comment

In today’s op-ed piece from Education News, Barry Garelick explains specifically how Common Core math will dumb down American students. Garelick writes that process is trumping content while teachers are not being allowed to teach or to demand memorization, but must be  just “guides” while students teach themselves.  Garelick writes:

“..The final math standards released in June, 2010 appear to some as if they are thorough and rigorous. Although they have the “look and feel” of math standards, their adoption in my opinion will not only continue the status quo in this country, but will be a mandate for reform math — a method of teaching math that eschews memorization, favors group work and student-centered learning, puts the teacher in the role of “guide” rather than “teacher” and insists on students being able to explain the reasons why procedures and methods work for procedures and methods that they may not be able to perform.

“I base my opinion on what I see being discussed at seminars on how to implement the Common Core…[M]aking sense of mathematics” sounds great on paper.  But what it means to those of the thoughtworld of the education establishment is what is also called “habits of mind” in which students are taught habits of analyzing problems long before they have learned the procedural knowledge and content that allows such habits to develop naturally.  They are called upon to think critically before acquiring the analytic tools with which to do so.

“… Such a process while eliminating what the edu-establishment views as tedious “drill and kill” exercises, results in poor learning and lack of mastery.”

Full article here: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-pedagogical-agenda-of-common-core-math-standards/#comment-17598

Also, here are two youtube videos that explain the same issue with the “fuzzy” math teaching movement:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YLlX61o8fg
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI

Common Core Costs Require Large Class Sizes, According To the NGA   1 comment

Common Core has a “how-to” implementation manual.

In this manual, on page 25, the manual discourages governors from reducing class sizes, in order to “maximize resources and share costs” for Common Core implementation.

It says: “… policies that limit class sizes in all grades hinder district efforts to achieve cost savings” and “Class size reduction policies are costly...” http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/1110CCSSIIMPLEMENTATIONGUIDE.PDF  (p. 25)

This manual is published by the National Governor’s Association (NGA).

The NGA, in partnership with the Council of Chief State State School Officers (CCSSO), are the “sole developers” and copyright holders of the standards.

Quote:

“Copyright Notice:  NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license .

Washington Post: Common Core a “mistake” -in Mitt Romney’s words   Leave a comment

The Washington Post reports:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet  (full text)

Excerpt:

 

“WILLIAMS:     Governor, what do you make of ‘Common Core’?

ROMNEY:    You know,  I think it’s fine for people to lay out what they think core subjects might be  and to suggest a pedagogy and being able to provide that learning to our kids. I  don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common  core on various states.

It’s one thing to put it out as a model and let  people adopt it as they will, but to financially reward states based upon  accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake.  And the reason I say that is that there may be a time when the government has an  agenda that it wants to promote.

And I’m not wild about the federal  government having some kind of agenda that it then compensates states to teach  their kids. I’d rather let education and what is taught state by state be  determined state by state, not by the federal government…”

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