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   1 comment

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…”

Collective Education vs. Local Control: Which Side Are You On?   Leave a comment

     Now that Mitt Romney has publically come out against nationalized, collective curriculum, also known as Common Core, let’s figure out why it matters.  What’s so bad about nationalized education, or collectivism generally?

Is the issue as simple as: “Mitt’s for liberty” and “Obama’s for forced collectivism”?  –Yes.

For those of us who are new to learning our civic duty, who didn’t notice that Obama’s policies– from medical care to school calorie counting to U.N. sustainability to common core–  each push socialism/communism, here are some links you can read  (later) showing that Obama is a lifelong socialist-marxist-communist.

http://www.wnd.com/2012/07/communist-mentor-obama-backers-trying-to-hide/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2012/01/22/is-president-obama-truly-a-socialist/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/the-communist-part-ii-why-obamas-mentor-went-from-republican-to-devout-marxist/

http://www.dakotavoice.com/2009/06/obama-and-marxism-a-legitimate-question/

–So what?

So what if Obama’s a socialist or a marxist or a communist?

Well, socialism, Marxism and Communism ask us to give up the Constitution, for forced collectivism.

That’s why the FBI keeps files on communists; communism is opposed to everything the U.S. Constitution is about.  It’s about overthrowing the Constitution and the free way of life for a collectivist philosophy that eliminates local control and individual control.  One of its main tools is collective education: aka common core.

David O. McKay said, “Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our government before Communism could be set up in the United States. . . .[Communism] even reaches its hand into the sanctity of the family circle itself, disrupting the normal relationship of parent and child, all in a manner unknown and unsanctioned under the Constitutional guarantees…”

   For readers who like the Book of Mormon, there’s a chapter in Sterling Allen’s book, “The Vision of All,” that shows how Karl Marx, the father of communism/socialism, is akin to Korihor, the anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon.  Full text here:  http://www.greaterthings.com/Books/Vision/Temporal/Ch-6_Past_2nd-Gath/Communism_birth.htm

Here are excerpts:

“…One of the things Karl Marx is known for is his closing statement in the Communist Manifesto:

“…Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!”

This is comparable to Korihor’s statement: “I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads….” (Alma 30:23.)

Marx said “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”(1) He identified essentially two great classes of people that seem always to emerge: the bourgeoisie, or the oppressors, and the proletarians, or the oppressed.(2)

Korihor hinted at a similar grouping when he accused the religious leadership: “…Ye keep [this people] down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands….” (Alma 30:27.)

Marx also claimed that the proletariat are deprived of that which they have worked for, and that the capitalists unjustly milk the worker for profit.(3) Compare this with Korihor’s assertion that the supposedly oppressed people “durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires.” (Alma 30:28.)

Korihor’s above statements also ring familiar with Marx’s philosophy that religion is merely “the opium of the people.”(4) Marx claimed that religion was merely a man-made tool used for exploitation.(5)

Both Korihor and Karl Marx bluntly renounced belief in Christ, reducing it to “a foolish and a vain hope.” (Alma 30:13.) Bruno Bauer, a close associate of Marx, reflected Marx’s sentiments, calling the Gospels forgeries and saying that Jesus had never existed, and therefore Christianity was a fraud.(6)

    Korihor labeled the prophecies “foolish traditions” and said that the people’s religious beliefs were “the effect of a frenzied mind” which lead them “away into a belief of things which are not so.” (Alma 30:14,16.)

Both Korihor and Marx’s reasoning was founded on certain false premises–perhaps because “the things of the Spirit…are foolishness” unto the natural man, for “they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14.) This is made quite clear in the Nephites’ record. There, Alma asked Korihor, “…Believest thou that we deceive this people [with `oppressive' religion], that causes such joy in their hearts?” (Alma 30:35.)

…Both Korihor and Marx taught that “when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.” (Alma 30:18.)(8) Furthermore, Marx felt that “self-preservation is the supreme instinct in man, and therefore his whole pattern of human conduct must [be] governed by an attempt to wrest the necessities of life from nature.”(9) This resembles Korihor’s philosophy that “every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength.” (Alma 30:17.)

…Today, with all the Communist system’s cosmetic make-overs, many have been inclined to believe that it is not the dangerous beast it used to be. The sheep’s clothing has become so innocent-looking today that few are repulsed by it. The question we might ask ourselves, though, in this day of great paradoxes is how much has the hiding wolf underneath changed?(13) We know that when Karl Marx, the celebrated father of Communism, was asked what his objective in life was, he professed, “To dethrone God…!”(14)

Similarly, when the Nephite account introduced Korihor, it condensed his entire deceitful message into this one statement: “There should be no Christ.” (Alma 30:12.) Perhaps this is what prompted the official Church statement: “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!”(15)

The Communist philosophy and the so-called improvements upon it are not restricted to Communist countries. Its abundant disciples may be found in many nations. Usually they are not considered Communists. Preferable titles seem to be: Marxist, socialist, leftist, and humanists–to name a few. Some of the most important work done for the Communist cause is accomplished by these non-Communist hands. Apparently, the main reason they cling to the Marxist line or variations thereof is that its teachings, like those of Korihor’s, are “pleasing unto the carnal mind.” (Alma 30:53.) Nephi warned us, “…Wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God….” (2 Ne. 28:26.)

… Korihor, like many who embrace the leftist line, also “verily believed that [his teachings] were true; and for this cause [he] withstood the truth….” (Alma 30:53.)”

–end of excerpt–

People who embrace socialist philosophies often are sincere and passionate in their beliefs, yet they have been fooled; they believe the reforms are good and helpful, but they aren’t.

                           –How can they be good, when they limit liberty and individual freedom? 

Romney Takes a Stand Against Common Core   Leave a comment

    Romney Takes Stand Against

                                         National Curriculum Standards

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet  (Full text of Romney interview mentioning opposition to Common Core)

Reposted from American Principles in Action site:  apiasite September 25, 2012

http://www.americanprinciplesinaction.org/blog/preserving-innocence/education/romney-takes-stand-against-national-curriculum-standards/

Supports Local Control of Curricula at Education Nation Summit

Washington, DC – Today, American Principles in Action (APIA) praised Governor Romney’s stated opposition to a national curriculum, commonly known as the Common Core, choosing instead to let states and communities decide public school curricula.

“We applaud Governor Romney’s bold support for states and local communities to decide what’s best for their children, restoring power over education from the hands of the federal government to where it belongs,” said APIA’s Emmett McGroarty. “He is right to warn that the national authorities may have an agenda and should be prevented from pushing it on the states. Unfortunately, just as with Medicare reform, the federal government has resorted to coercing now more than 40 states into adopting the Common Core.

“Congress intended the 2009 Stimulus Bill as a life-line for the states, but President Obama turned it into a weapon through his Race to the Top program. In order to compete for Race to the Top money, states had to quickly sign onto the Common Core and related assessments without having a chance to meaningfully review the Standards and before the assessments were even developed.

“States competed in Race to the Top by demonstrating their commitment to President Obama’s education policy, in effect surrendering to an education monopoly. Their citizens were cut out of the process.

“President Obama has continued to coerce the states by requiring them to sign onto his education policies in order to get relief from No Child Left Behind.

“We urge both candidates to commit themselves to ending the federal government’s political coercion of the states and their citizens, and to ending the Race to the Top program.”

American Principles in Action is a 501 c (4) political advocacy group affiliated with American Principles Project, a 501 c (3) policy organization committed to rededicating the United States to its founding principles.

How Swedish Families Suffer Due to Separation by Governmental Assistance   Leave a comment

In his presentation to the United Nations last year, Sweden’s Jonas Himmelstrand did some mythbusting about the “joys” of Swedish socialism.

Here’s the short version: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_un_new_york_handouts.pdf

Here are the long versions: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_haro_un_paper.pdf

http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_UN_presentation.pdf

Must-read.

Free Preschool Would Hurt Utah Families and At-Risk Children   Leave a comment

Dear Utah Leaders,
I am writing to ask you not to promote the government-run preschool bill further.  This preschool issue is keeping me up at night.  Literally.
Why?  I think about the borderline-poor moms –as I have often been– who will say, “Well, preschool is free, so I guess I better put my baby in the preschool and go make money.”  It makes my heart ache.  That is no kindly favor from the government.  That is a temptation that most parents will not choose to resist.
It will push them to leave their children to go to work.
I am praying that you will take the time to listen further to Jonas Himmelstrand http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso  and to analyze how Sweden went from good, helpful intentions (based on someone’s version of research, as always) –to a point where parents are being disenfranchised from children via the “helpfulness” of the government.
I’ve been reading “A Patriot’s History of the United States.”  Great book.  I read that when the U.S. government decided to give money to single mothers, long ago, to be helpful, guess what happened?  People stopped getting married, of course.  So children went fatherless, literally, because of the “helpfulness” of the government; the temptation for that money was too great for people to resist.  And it mostly impacted black families, who were economically more disadvantaged. It perpetuated the cycle of trouble for black families; fatherlessness led to children growing up troubled and in jail; more single moms, more fatherless kids, more poverty.  No help at all.
I’ve also been in contact with Jonas Himmelstrand.  His writings ring true.  They make sense. They are profoundly different than the studies and reasoning that is bringing Utah legislators to consider adding free government preschool for at-risk children.
I appreciate that the government has good intentions.  But if they are not based on correct principles (limiting the involvement of government, rather than increasing it) the intentions will backfire; it is only a question of how long it takes to backfire.
Putting at-risk babies in government preschools is not a good idea.  Those families need strengthening, but not by being tempted to separate from those with whom they need the strong attachment bonds.
Encourage mothers to stay at home with their children.  Don’t tempt them to go to work and drop off their kids.  Could you use the money to create jobs for moms that they can perform from home, instead?  Could you use the money to pay grandmothers to do the daycare if the moms have to work, at least?  I’m sure there are solutions other than creating Swedish-styled free government preschool.
Christel Swasey
Heber City
-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -
So, after doing more reading today, I wrote the legislators another letter on the subject:

Dear Legislators,

The following research sharply contradicts the research that has previously been presented in the Legislative Education Interim Committee meeting regarding the wisdom of providing early preschool for at-risk children.

While there is little debate about whether academic performance is enhanced for preschool attendees generally, it is found that behavioral problems, self-control problems, motor skill trouble, aggression, illness, worse parent-child relationships, and other disadvantages arise from early preschool attendance.

We must not assume the proposed Utah preschool bill is good in the short or long term, especially not for at-risk children.

Jonas Himmelstrand of Sweden, who provided me with the research, is an international consultant, speaker and author.  He has consulted for the 2011 EU Child Wellbeing Workshop in Brussels, the 2011 UN World Expert Group Meeting in New York, the Institute of Marriage and Family in Canada, the Hungarian Presidency Conference, the Conferenza Famiglia in Italy, the FamilyPlatform Conference in Lisbon, and the Forum Europeen de Femmes in Brussels.  He is also the chairman of the board of the world’s global home education conference. He suggested that I share this research with you.
In Himmelstrand’s presentation with the UN Expert Group Meeting, arranged by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2011, he spoke about Assessing Family Policies: Confronting family poverty and social exclusion & Ensuring work family balance.
Himmelstrand finds that Swedish children do not suffer from material poverty but from emotional poverty, attributed to too much separation from parents at too early an age.
His charts on the envisioned outcomes versus the actual outcomes of the Swedish model are astonishing.  The envisioned model planned to increase academic success, to even out social class differences, and to liberate mothers, for example.  The actual model resulted in serious discipline problems in school, national school rating –going from top to average in 30 years– plummeting quality in day care, high rates of sick leave, especially among women; deteriorating psychological health in youth, and deteriorating parental abilities, even in the middle class.
See pages 2 through 4:
He also directed me to the research done by others on this subject:

  Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?

Katherine A. Magnuson, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper No. 10452 Issued in April 2004 NBER Program(s):   CHED

Prekindergarten programs are expanding rapidly, but to date, evidence on their effects is quite limited. Using rich data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we estimate the effects of prekindergarten on children’s school readiness. We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavioral problems and reduces self-control. Furthermore, the effects of prekindergarten on skills largely dissipate by the spring of first grade, although the behavioral effects do not. Finally, effects differ depending on children’s family background and subsequent schooling, with the largest and most lasting academic gains for disadvantaged children and those attending schools with low levels of academic instruction.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w10452  Full text

  Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being

Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, Kevin Milligan

NBER Working Paper No. 11832 Issued in December 2005 NBER Program(s):   CHPE

The growing labor force participation of women with small children in both the U.S. and Canada has led to calls for increased public financing for childcare. The optimality of public financing depends on a host of factors, such as the “crowd-out” of existing childcare arrangements, the impact on female labor supply, and the effects on child well-being. The introduction of universal, highly-subsidized childcare in Quebec in the late 1990s provides an opportunity to address these issues. We carefully analyze the impacts of Quebec’s “$5 per day childcare” program on childcare utilization, labor supply, and child (and parent) outcomes in two parent families. We find strong evidence of a shift into new childcare use, although approximately one third of the newly reported use appears to come from women who previously worked and had informal arrangements. The labor supply impact is highly significant, and our measured elasticity of 0.236 is slightly smaller than previous credible estimates. Finally, we uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w11832 – Full text

Finally, Himmelstrand directs us to study the findings of the Canadian Institute of Marriage and Family.

This research includes a psychological explanation of why early formal learning is harmful to children, and offers some public policy advice: http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/nurturing-children-why-early-learning-does-not-help

The Institute says:

There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.

For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.”

 I hope this is helpful to you.
Christel Swasey
Heber City

How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk   1 comment

    A new white paper, “How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk,” by Emory University English Professor Mark Bauerlein and University of Arkansas Professor Sandra Stotsky, was released this month by Pioneer Institute.  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120917_CommonCoreELAStandards.pdf

What are the highlights of this 44-page white paper?

Diminishing of  Literature:

College readiness will decrease under Common Core, say the paper’s authors, because secondary English curriculum in Common Core prioritizes informational reading and reduces the study of literary traditions.

“A literature-heavy English curriculum, properly constructed, yields college-readiness in reading better than an information-heavy English curriculum.  And we know of no research showing otherwise.”

The authors explain that Common Core provides no evidence to support its promise that more informational reading in the English class will make students ready for college-level coursework.

“We know of no research… to support that faith. Rather, the history of college readiness in the 20th century suggests that problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward. Until that time, a literature-heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed.”

Do Students Need More Than Reading Lessons in High School?

The paper also says that Common Core “yokes the English curriculum to a test of general reading ability” and transforms English classrooms into reading comprehension classes, even at the high school level.  Although Common Core does not specify that only English teachers will teach informational text, the authors feel that English teachers will bear the brunt of this mandate.

“It is hard to imagine that low reading scores in a school district will force grade 11 government/history and science teachers to devote more time to reading instruction. Instead, it is more likely that English teachers will be expected to diminish the number of their literary selections and align readings with test proportions.”

Politicized texts:

The authors bring up another point:  the stress on more informational reading in the English class will not only lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking, but will also raise political red flags: “Informational texts are often assigned today not for their complexity and promotion of college readiness in reading, but for their topical and/or political nature. Clear examples can be found in a volume published in 2011 by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to show teachers how to implement Common Core’s standards…”

Artificial college readiness a camouflage for lowering academic challenge

The authors also speculate that perhaps “the case for more informational texts and increasing complexity (but not necessarily text difficulty) is a camouflage for lowering academic challenge so that more high school students will appear college-ready upon (or perhaps before) graduation.”

Conclusion

The authors recommend that because Common Core’s stress on informational reading is “misplaced” –and because it reflects standards built with “the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects,” standards that were “not developed nor approved by English teachers and Humanities scholars, nor were they research-based or internationally benchmarked,” –because of this, the professors recommend that those states who have adopted Common Core should 1) emphasize the literary-historical content that already exists in the standards and 2) should add an additional literature-based standard to address Common Core’s lack of literary content.  These actions, they say, are fully supported by Common Core.

“Far from contradicting Common Core, these actions follow its injunction that, apart from ‘certain critical content for all students, including…American literature and Shakespeare… the remaining crucial decisions about what should be taught are left to state and local determination.’”

http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120917_CommonCoreELAStandards.pdf  (full text)

Is Early Preschool Anti-Child and Anti-Family?   3 comments

Jonas Himmelstrand, Swedish education-freedom author, who was a guest on the Morgan Philpot radio show today, has recommended this article, wherein Dr. Gordon Neufelt explains why, rather than following the Swedish socialist model of preschool for the very young, children are better served when they start attending school later.

http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/nurturing-children-why-early-learning-does-not-help

Nurturing children: Why “early learning” doesn’t help

Children should start attending school later, not earlier, Canadian development psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld reveals. “Early learning” programs for young children have no benefits for kids, he adds. So why are governments running down the opposite track?

August 30, 2012  |  by Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

“I want to make sure that my son learns how to get along with others,” one parent will say. Another will add, “My daughter is shy. I want her to be with other children, to help her come out of her shell.” A third might enthusiastically report that her child loves all her friends at daycare: “She can’t wait to go and spend time with them!”

These are just some of the things parents say when it comes to the benefits they see in the social settings that pre-schools, daycares and all-day kindergarten provide. Parents are rightly concerned about whether their children get along well with others.

However, is it true that early interaction with peers improves socialization for young children? Canadian developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld says this is not the case, particularly in sending young children into “social” environments before they are ready. [1]

Defining socialization

The word socialization can mean different things to different people.

With regards to small children, Dr. Neufeld clarifies one thing that socialization is not: “Probably the greatest myth that has evolved is this idea that socializing with one’s equals leads to socialization.”

Developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner also clarifies what socialization is not: “It should be clear that being socialized is not necessarily the same as being civilized. Nazi youth were also products of a socialization process.” [2]

Socialization in childrearing means rendering children fit for society so that children can grow and mature into becoming contributing adults, who can respectfully interact with others in community, be it at work or home, with colleagues, family and friends.

Successful socialization is of particular interest where reports of bullying hit the media with some regularity. [3]

For Dr. Neufeld and his colleagues at The Neufeld Institute, socialization is more complex than simply being able to get along well with peers. [4] Socialization involves being able to get along with others while at the same time being true to oneself.

Getting there from here

Dr. Neufeld describes a teacher who is unable to express her views for fear of causing conflict. Picture a staff meeting, where this teacher chooses to stay silent rather than disagree. This may create the appearance that she is “really nice,” and able to get along well with others—something she may well tell her students to do as well. The reality is she may be unable to hold on to her own identity in face of conflict.

Constantly agreeing and being nice may, in fact, be immaturity in disguise. “You have to be separate enough so you can be with your equals without losing your distinctiveness,” says Dr. Neufeld.

He adds that someone who always “gets along” may not be able to handle diplomacy without a loss of integrity. If this form of mature self-expression can be hard for adults, how much more difficult is it for children?

“Premature socialization,” says Dr. Neufeld, “was always considered by developmentalists to be the greatest sin in raising children ….[w]hen you put children together prematurely before they can hold on to themselves, then they become like [the others] and it crushes the individuality rather than hones it.” [5]

A is for “attachment”

One of the issues with large numbers of little people in group care settings is the issue of peer orientation. This means having small children attach to their peers, rather than to adults.

The concept of attachment, developed primarily by psychologist John Bowlby, denotes the instinct that causes adults to care for children and children to receive that care. Successful early attachment is necessary for adult emotional development. In Bowlby’s words, attachment is the tendency “of human beings to make strong affectional bonds to particular others.” [6]

As humans, we are highly sociable creatures. But we identify some relationships as being higher priority, and are very particular about who takes that position. [7] It is through these connections that we develop a sense of self. [8]

And importantly, our high priority attachment figures (aka the people we see the most of and really love) are intended to be enduring. These are not people who should disappear from our lives, neither are strong attachments something small children should “grow out of.” [9]

This is one reason why daycare employees can never imitate the potent power of the parent: A job is a job, and employees change cities or jobs with some regularity.

Helen Ward is the president of a non-partisan, grassroots group called Kids First Parents Association. She highlights how attachment and socialization work together. “In order for children to grow up into the mature adults we desire them to be, they have to spend time with adults they are attached to, not their own likewise immature peers.” She goes on: “This means that if we take the attachment figure away—through death, illness, distractions, daycare, or any disruption in attachment relationships—and replace it with peer attachment  – puff – the kid will be a ‘lord of the flies’ type because the seemingly ‘socialized’ behaviour is simply copying, it is not ‘inside’ yet. It is developing, but can just as well ‘undevelop.’” [10]

If parents aren’t aware of this, they may interpret negative developments as positive. The three-year-old who can’t wait to be with his friends in daycare may in fact be on his way to becoming peer rather than parent attached, because being attached makes us want to be with those we are attached to.

The problem is that the more children are peer attached, the less attached they are to adults—and this can result in children becoming very hostile to being parented or taught.

Cultural flatlining

When small children spend too much time with their peers, they will imitate the features of those they see around them. Dr. Neufeld speaks of a “flatlining” of culture as a result. “We have a children’s culture of today. In Europe, there is a crisis, which is that youth are not integrating into mainstream society and people believe it is happening in North America as well.”

The question might also be whether they are integrating into a newly mainstream culture that is not altogether mature. “Children have become fit for a society that does not reproduce itself and does not contribute to the larger society as a whole,” says Dr. Neufeld. [11]

Supporting diversity

Diversity—creating it, respecting it and allowing it to flourish—is one of today’s most popular buzzwords, something to which we pay lip service. However, the early placement of children with as-of-yet undeveloped personalities in group daycare for long hours, when they aren’t able to “hold on to” their own special, unique personalities creates sameness, not individuality.

This is, in many instances, one of the reasons parents might choose to delay entry to school. In fact, for much of Canada’s history, children did not attend so-called “early learning programs;” school started at age six.

Ironically, some who advocate for homeschooling do so in order for proper socialization to occur. In Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization, author Richard G. Medlin highlights how healthy socialization does happen for homeschoolers, writing “home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with—and feel close to—all sorts of people.” [12]

Another researcher, Larry Edward Shyers, compared homeschooled children with those in traditional schooling for his PhD thesis at University of Florida. He found that with regards to self-esteem, there was no difference. [13]

The problem with children socializing at school, Ward says, is that children can be fickle in their friendships. “Kid’s ‘friends’ are not really ‘friends’ in any meaningful sense of the word. They are not mature people who can handle another’s pain or difference of opinion. Peers want you to be the same as them,” says Ward.

The result is less individual expression and less personal growth, she concludes.

Crushing the spirit of childhood

Back in 1988, child psychologist David Elkind wrote The Hurried Child, saying, “we are going through one of those periods in history, such as the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, when children are the unwilling victims of societal upheaval and change….Today’s child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress.” [14]

Elkind worried that children are increasingly being treated like mini adults. In childhood as a replica of adulthood, daycares and pre-schools put children under academic pressure. Child sports teams have pro uniforms and poor peewee players are sidelined. Children’s clothes have an adult look about them. If this was Elkind’s problem some twenty years ago, the situation today is not much changed.

More evidence that the smallest of children are being subjected to adult standards is the Early Development Instrument (EDI). [15] Under the auspices of improving child outcomes, the EDI asks teachers to answer a host of entirely subjective questions about a child’s proficiency physically, academically and emotionally and then chronicles how and where children are “behind.”

Activists use this flawed research to lobby for more early learning programs for younger ages. In Ontario, for example, a special advisor to Premier McGuinty desires to create schools as hubs, where children can be dropped off all day, possibly all year, to attain greater “school readiness.” [16]

When Francois Legault, of the Coalition for Quebec’s Future recently proposed that secondary school should follow work schedules, running from 9 am to 5 pm, some found it provocative. [17] The reality is that many grade schoolers in before and after-school care already experience adult working days, and the same could be said of a toddler in daycare. Children’s lives are scheduled down to a T, with little free time to just be kids.

Why the anti-child direction?

The reasons for this are varied. However, a big one is the current trend in public policy which creates pressure for all parents to have full time jobs. As a result, labour force attachment trumps parent-child attachment. Canada’s below-replacement birthrate means we are constantly searching for more employees. Having both parents work full-time is entirely reliant on putting their children in some form of standardized care, hence the reation of subsidized daycares. [18]

This has little to do with child development. The problem is that once centre-based care is preferentially funded and the cost heavily tax-subsidized, it creates an incentive for parents to use it. At that point, parents no longer truly have a real choice. They can’t assess the unique needs of their own children because their lives have been set up around two parents at full time jobs.

When asked what are the gains from early learning for small children, Dr. Neufeld simply replies: “I don’t think there is anything to be gained except parental emancipation. And certainly not parental fulfillment. That’s a totally different issue.” [19]

What to do?

Dr. Neufeld emphasizes that who parents are to their children matters more than what they do. [20]

This research is not intended to panic parents whose young children are in all-day care. However, it is wise to understand why your children are there. Some parents put their children in care for the express purpose of socializing them; this is not a researched reason to do so.

For parents whose children must be in care, it would be wise to confirm that the “early learning” is limited exclusively to playing in an environment of adult attachment. [21] Sometimes it is parents themselves who put pressure on teachers to provide “educational content” to younger and younger ages. When the “report cards” come back and show poor grades, this creates further anxiety in parents who now believe their children are behind.

Parents should eschew the creation of any kind of one-size-fits-all system. This is the sort of system that governments try to create—to “help” each and every family. By definition, these environments are less personal and more distant from parents. Even the local primary school may not, in fact, be the closest thing to the home environment for small children, if for example, a neighbour next door wants to take in additional children on top of her own, and that neighbour is known to the parents and the child.

For far too long, this form of high quality care for kids has been labelled “unregulated,” by those who strive to create school-based daycares with unionized employees. Facing a lack of criticism in the press, “unregulated” has come to be known as “dangerous.” But Helen Ward points out that all parents are “unregulated,” and this alone is not cause for concern. Parents need to inspect all care from top to bottom—whether government-regulated or not.

There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.

For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.” [22]

              Download PDF:
Endnotes:
  1. This article is based on an interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld on May 18, 2012. Dr. Neufeld is a developmental psychologist and the co-author of the 2004 national bestseller Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers.
  2. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1970). Two worlds of childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, p. 2.
  3. For greater understanding of how to stem the bullying tide, see Simon, L. (2012, July 18). Empathy: An antidote to bullying. Ottawa: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. Retrieved from http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/empathy-antidote-bullying
  4. The Neufeld Institute can be found online here http://www.gordonneufeld.com/
  5. Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
  6. Green, M. and Scholes, M. (eds.) (2004). Attachment and human survival. London: Karnac, p. 7.
  7. Ibid, p. 8.
  8. Ibid, p. 37.
  9. Ibid, p. 8.
  10. Personal communication with Helen Ward, August 21, 2012.
  11. Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
  12. Medlin, R. G. (2000). The home education movement in context, practice, and theory. Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 75, No. 1/2, pp. 107-123.
  13. Bunday, K.M. (2006). Socialization: A great reason not to go to school. Retrieved from http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html
  14. Elkind, D. (1988). The Hurried Child. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc, pp. xiv, 3.
  15. The EDI questionnaire can be viewed online at http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/media/uploads/publications/edi_bc-yukon_2012.pdf
  16. Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario. Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario.  Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865
  17. Quebec’s Francois Legault wants schools open from 9 to 5. (2012, August 9). The Canadian Press. Retrieved from http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Quebecs+Francois+Legault+wants+kids+stay+school+until/7063972/story.html
  18. For more on concept of schools as community hubs, see Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario.Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865
  19. Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
  20. Denis Friske, D. (2012, January 16). Moments of connection with our children. The Neufeld Institute blog. Retrieved from http://www.neufeldinstitute.com/blog/2012/01/moments-of-connection-with-our-children/
  21. Laucius, J. (2012, February 4). All work and no play is not good for the developing brain, says psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Ottawa Citizen, p. J3. (Helen Ward also points out that “child led” or “free play” can in fact mean even less interaction for children with adults, as staff will simply provide toys and ensure that no child is physically hurt.)
  22. Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.

Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

Who Drives Common Core — the States?   Leave a comment

In a white house press release Obama gave two years ago, we find:

“Today, the Obama Administration announced new efforts to promote college- and career-ready standards…  The President and Secretary Duncan applauded Governors for their efforts to work together in a state-led consortium… to develop and implement common reading and math standards that build toward college- and career-readiness.”  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-calls-new-steps-prepare-america-s-children-success-college-and-care

So, Obama “applauds” the non-governmental organizations (NGA and CCSSO) for the supposedly “state-led” program, while announcing his own Obama Administration’s “efforts to promote college- and career-ready standards” via ESEA.  So who is really behind it?  Obama or the states?

Actually, both.  –But only because the states never had a chance to vote on it.  The whole thing was done using non-governmental groups.  Very sneaky.  Very.

Some of you are thinking: ” I didn’t see the word “common core” in the announcement.”  –So why am I using “Common Core” as a synonymn with “College-and-career ready standards”?

 Because that’s what the White House does.

If  you go to the U.S. Department of Education’s own “Definitions Page” you will find this definition:

 College- and career-ready standards:  Content standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that build towards college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this document) by the time of high school graduation.  A State’s college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education, which must certify that students who meet the standards will not need remedial course work at the postsecondary level.   http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions

Common with a significant number of states?!  There is no other set of common standards that many states share.  It’s only Common Core.

And it’s totally unAmerican because it’s education without representation. We didn’t vote for nor can we repeal the members of the CCSSO/NGA, who hold the common core copyright.

We can’t amend the standards like we can a legitimate American law; they’re under CCSSO/NGA copyright.  And we can’t adjust Common Core to suit us, more than the mandated 15% maximum.  So if we want to teach our high school seniors using 100% classic literature, we may not do it.  The Common Core says they can only have 30% classic literature.  The rest has to be info-text.  Our state can add 15%, bringing it to 45% max.  See how we are bound?  Where is the liberty in that?  Where is the feeling of American innovation and freedom in our educational system?

It is so, so wrong.  

So many misrepresentations continue.  Even our own dear Utah State School Board and Utah State Office of Education and Wasatch School District websites continue to post –as if they were true– “facts” about Common Core.  That aren’t true.   http://www.schools.utah.gov/fsp/College-and-Career-Ready/Meetings/2012-Spriing-Directors/Common-Core-FACTS—Brenda-Hales.aspx

I beg you, if you don’t know much about Common Core yet, to read the following and do the research for yourself.

1.  Look at the dates we adopted Common Core.  Then look at the dates the Common Core was written– we never saw it before we signed up!

2.  Look at the copyright page for NGA/CCSSO on the common standards. It says “no claims to the contrary shall be made” right after it claims to be the sole developer and owner of the standards.  Yet proponents say teachers and states came up with them.

3.  Look at the 15% cap set on innovation in the waiver application for ESEA (No Child Left Behind waiver).

4. Look at the U.S. Constitution. Where does it say that the President has authority to promote Common education?

5. Look at G.E.P.A. law.  (General Educational Provisions Act.)  It specifically excludes the federal government from supervising, directing or ruling over educational systems in any way.  ALL THEY CAN DO IS PAY FOR IT.  States run it.  Period.

6. Look at the online “Cooperative Agreement between the Dept. of Education and SBAC”. It uses mandatory language that forces both testing consortia to synchronize testing.  It uses mandatory language that forces the consortia to share data with the federal government “on an ongoing basis.”  Triangulating educational consortia under the feds’ direction and supervision  is ILLEGAL.  It takes away local control.

7. Look at the official Common Core Validation Committee Members’ reviews of Common Core.  Google Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram.  They refused to call the standards adequate for education.

10 Reasons Not to Adopt Communities That Care (CTC)   5 comments

I gave the speech below, at the Heber City council meeting tonight, asking the council not to adopt Communities that Care, right after three state employees gave speeches encouraging the city to adopt Communities That Care. 

http://youtu.be/YtecukxKAhY  (Click to watch the video of the presentation)

Please write our city council here:

jbradshaw@ci.heber.ut.us

erowland@ci.heber.ut.us

rpatterson@ci.heber.ut.us

phillips1005@msn.com

manderson@ci.heber.ut.us

amcdonald@ci.heber.ut.us

I also shared the actual youth survey itself with them:

http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/CTC_Youth_Survey_2006.pdf

 http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Communities-That-Care-Youth-Survey/CTC020 

– and the “availability-of-firearms-as-a-risk-factor-for-behavior-problems” page from the CTC pdf available online here:

 http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/Community%20Assessment%20Training/Participant%20Guide/CAT_PG_mod3.pdf

10 Reasons Not to Adopt Communities That Care (CTC)

1. We know so little about the obligations of joining this coalition.  The general public cannot get online access to read the grant itself.  But what is it, really, other than $10,000 of our federal taxes returned to us?

I used to write grants professionally, full time, for a consortium of charter schools in Utah County.  As a grant writer, I learned that federal grants are extremely bureaucratic and agenda-driven.  I learned to apply for private grants from local corporations instead.

Grants are not Christmas presents or free money without strings attached.  Grants come with obligations. What are the CTC obligations?  Has Heber City had a professional grant writer or lawyer assess the application’s obligations fully? I suggest Heber refrain from “getting married” to CTC, this federally operated coalition, before we “date” it thoroughly.

The question is not whether or not some Heber City youth have serious problems that need our help. (We do have great programs in place already that we are underutilizing; I’ll address them llater. ) The question is whether we want/need the federal supervision and lack of flexibility that always comes with federal money and “free training.”

2. University of Kansas has done a study of the pros and cons of CTC.  Citing Univ. Kansas:

- CTC is a copyrighted, structured process.  It was previously private, owned by the Channing-Bete Corporation, but has been sold to the federal government.

- University of Kansas  calls the CTC approach “only inclusive and participatory for certain people,” and notes that
“While it claims to involve the whole community, the formal CTC approach is actually top-down, starting with a small number of “key community leaders.” These leaders who may or may not be representative of the whole community in terms of race, socioeconomic class, or interests – then “invite” other participants “from all sectors” to make up a community board of 30. The reality is that they’ll usually invite people they know, who are apt to be much like them and may not represent the true diversity of the community.”

Especially in a large community, it takes research to know whom to include, and 30 may be too small a number to be truly representative of all sectors. Furthermore, some sectors – youth themselves, for instance, or single parents on welfare – are unlikely to be included unless specifically targeted by the process. And if the “key community leaders” see themselves as leading the process, its participatory nature can go out the window.

-CTC allows the choice of only a finite number of approaches. University of Kansas found that “CTC’s claim of allowing communities the freedom to devise their own solutions is only partially accurate. Communities can create combinations of interventions that speak to their needs, but only from a limited pool of choices. “

…”On the one hand, it presents…the security of set curricula … On the other, it can limit the possibilities for creativity and the use of local wisdom that might arise if there were more freedom of choice and the chance for the community to craft its own program.”

- “Choosing from among best practices may encourage communities merely to follow directions, rather than throwing heart and soul into the effort. Though it simplifies the process, it’s an intervention that’s laid out for the community, rather than built from the ground up…

-CTC is narrowly focused. CTC “implies taking a small-picture view of community health and development, and not necessarily planning for the long term or for the whole community. If the ultimate goals are as narrow as reducing one or more of the problem behaviors, they can give the impression that reaching those goals “fixes” the problem and the community. If the goal is the end of the process, there’s no community commitment to long-term social change. And long-term social change is usually needed to fully solve community problems.”

- “CTC is, to a certain extent, based on assumptions. While the theory behind it and the best practices have been subject to a fair amount of research, the program has only been shown to be effective in the short- to mid-term range. Long-term data have not yet been collected.”

- “CTC is sold as a package that includes literature, training, and support. While there are some obvious advantages to this, it also means that there can be less flexibility in the model than might be desirable… whether they’re the most appropriate or effective possibilities for the community or not.

Moving on from University of Kansas, I have made the following observations about some additional disadvantages of CTC:

3.  CTC is owned by federal government; it makes us beholden to mandates and rules set by bureaucrats far from Heber City, long after the grant money has been spent.

4.   CTC will require ongoing solicitation of federal funding or finding other grantors or raising of taxes to continue.

5.  CTC adds a layer of bureaucracy and government salary.

6.  CTC asks for archival and ongoing data to be collected and shared with the federal government.  There may be serious data privacy concerns for some Heber citizens.

7.  Most concerning of all to me is blind acceptance of the values embedded in the CTC training and youth surveys.  They appear in some instances to indoctrinate with collectivism, and with specific biases that do not match my own, or may not match your own. (See youth survey questions.)

For example, on the risk factors page,  it places drug abuse and alcohol abuse and availability of firearms in the same category, all labeled as risk factors for behavior problems.  In Heber, a lot of teenagers shoot guns but they aren’t in gangs; they’re hunting deer or recreationally shooting targets.  There’s a disconnect there.  I quote two cited risk factors: one,

“Availability of firearms:  Statistics show that the more available firearms are in a community, the higher the violent crime rates tend to be, and, conversely, fewer firearms in a community is correlated with lower violent crime rates.”   [Yikes. Where do they get those nutty statistics? Ask a Swiss citizen!]

two:

Community laws and norms favorable to drug use, firearms, and crime. ” 

–In the same sentence!  Drugs, firearms and crime.  Some are norms in Heber, some aren’t.  That’s not going to give us accurate data.  Nor will it give our kids the message we want to send them about firearms.  Is it?

Another example.  I quote this from CTC itself: “…The ideal here… is one where the community speaks with one voice about values and standards.”  That sounds extremely collective. We should have many voices heard in our community.  Not one.  That’s always been the American way. Because if there’s only one voice, who gets to speak? Who gets to set those standards for our children– the federal government, or the people of Heber?

There’s also an “innocence alert” issue.  What happens when very young children are exposed to these types of questions?  Sometimes, that’s their first introduction to deviant behavior and it could have the opposite effect on some children of creating curiosity.  On the youth survey, there are specific questions about drugs which would require a child to know the difference between prescription drugs and illegal drugs that I don’t even know.

I quote from the drugs cited in the youth survey.  Do you know which of these are which? :  adderall, LSD, peyote, psychedelics, PCP, ecstasy, vicodin, oxycontin, tylox, xanax, valium, ambien, methamphetamine, crank, meth, crystal meth, etc.  And are you going to ask a 10 year old these questions?

One question there was how often the child had “Used prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall without a doctors’s orders during the past 30 days?”

The question did not allow the child to say “I used it but it was actually 31 days ago,” or “What the heck is Adderall?”  We can write better questions that are more appropriately crafted.

8.  Examples of questions from the youth survey:

  • What are      the chances you would be seen as cool if you a) smoked cigarettes b) began      drinking alcoholic beverages regularly c) smoked cigarettes d) carried a      handgun [umm… Shouldn't this at least be an essay question? Should guns      and alcohol both be in the same question? ]
  • –Used      derbisol in your lifetime? [what the heck is derbisol and how do I mark      a multiple choice quiz to say huh?]
  • We argue      about the same things in my family over and over. [what a question. Is      there any family in the world that never has a disagreement?  What is the point of asking whether the      disagreements vary or are about the same things?  We should write our own survey at the      very least, and make it essay based.

9.  There are some very controversial issues surrounding bullying-prevention workshops.  And bullying prevention workshops are sponsored by CTC. See http://www.communitiesthatcarecoalition.org/

To many this seems noncontroversial, but in fact, in many places, anti-bullying legislation has been used to promote gay lifestyle acceptance via the protection of gays from bullying above any others who may be bullied.  This may be an unfair bias, and carefully worded surveys may produce student results that try to legitimize what is actually a political agenda, not an agenda of equal compassion for all groups.

10.  Under-utililizing our current resources – Heber City is overflowing with churches, schools, 12-step groups and other resources that stand ready to deal with youth problems.

Families and extended families

Heber City police

D.A.R.E. program

Church youth programs in many denominations

Long established  12-step groups

The WHS Cool To Care program

Wasatch District schools’ guidance counselors

Scouting and sporting programs

I spoke this week with the facilitator of one of the valley’s 12-step groups.  He told me the groups have very small attendance for people of any age and need to be promoted.  The groups welcome all religions, all ages as long as a parent attends if the addict is under age 18, and have separate groups for men and women.  They have groups several times a week for groups that include sex addiction, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.

Utah’s First Lady has been campaigning for EmpowerParents.Org, a Utah coalition designed to help parents learn how to keep their children from underage drinking.   The organization gives parents resources

Groups that have joined and support EmpowerParents.Org include

Northeastern Counseling Center

Bear River Health Department

Davis Helps

Four Corners Behavioral Health

Tooele Valley Mental Health

Summit Valley Mental Health

Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-Violence

Weber Human Services

Associated Foods

Intermountain Healthcare

Larry H. Miller

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

O.C. Tanner

The Power In You

Utah Dental Association

Utah PTA

Salt Lake Police Dept.

Salt Lake County Sanitation

Utah Attorney General

–and many more

In closing, here are a list of questions we must answer before we move forward with  CTC:

1. What will be our ongoing our obligations to the federal government for accepting the $10,000 and how will we pay for the program when the money runs out?

2. Do we want to use our current resources better, or do we want to add a layer of bureaucracy to implement this program, and then pay for that layer indefinitely, regardless of whether the program “works” or not?

3.  Do the values embedded in the youth survey align with our own; for example, how do gun control, homosexuality, and family privacy issues come up in CTC?

4. What will be Heber’s ongoing “accountability” for the CTC program to the federal government, if it accepts the grant rather than paying for CTC ourselves?

5. Are there better, less expensive, more autonomous or higher quality alternatives Heber can choose to use, to work on youth drug use prevention and other important youth issues?

6.What will be the up-front and ongoing-maintenance costs to Heber City for adopting CTC?

7. How will the privacy of data be assured?

Let’s use our local resources.

Christel Swasey

Heber City Mom

801-380-0422

The Need for Parental Empowerment in Education: From Renee Braddy   8 comments

The comments and stories below were written by Renee Braddy (dark hair, the mom the middle of the three moms photo above)

   “Last year I was at my daughter’s elementary school when I overheard a conversation between a family and the principal.  This family’s kindergarten son had qualified for all-day kindergarten.  And, let me say that qualifying for this so called service of all-day kindergarten is a JOKE!!!  I cannot emphasize that enough.  I watched and listened carefully as my daughter was administered the same test.  I was actually asked by the teacher administering the test to wait in the hall while the test was given.  As a former teacher who is greatly opposed to parents being left in the dark and as an involved and curious parent, I requested that I be allowed to just sit in the corner.  Pathetic!

This boy was from a family that I’m assuming spoke English as their second language.  I heard the father translating questions from the mother to the principal.  The first question was, “what time will he have lunch?”

The next question was, “how long does his lunch last?”

The last question that I heard was the father asking, “Can his mother come and get him from school to bring him home to have lunch with her?”

It broke my heart.  Here were parents who wanted to have their child home and yet felt obligated to have him in school all-day based on a very poor assessment.  I could tell that they sincerely wanted to do what was best for him.

   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “don’t do it!  You DON’T HAVE TO SEND HIM TO SCHOOL ALL DAY!  You are his parents and YOU can offer him SO MUCH MORE.”

The hardest part for me was the end of the conversation when the principal answered the question about whether or not this boy’s mother would be allowed to have her son come home for lunch each day.  The principal seemed perplexed and stammered for a minute and then said, “well, ummmm, you are the first person that has EVER asked me that.”  He then thought for a bit longer and said, “I think we could probably arrange for that to happen.”

I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me?  Why do parents have to ask for permission to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child?  Do we even understand that we have choices and that we are not obligated to send our children to all-day kindergarten or to school at all?”

   Have we really come this far in society that we don’t understand that we are the parents and we as such God has given us stewardship over our children?

2.      I have a nephew that didn’t speak a word until after his fourth birthday.  He would have easily qualified for government funded preschool.  Fortunately, he was the fifth child and his parents had gained experience and wisdom.  His mother kept him home with her and taught him and worked with him and when he began to finally speak, he spoke in full sentences and is now in 4thgrade and  at the top of his class.

I have a friend who does very well financially and her daughter qualified for government funded preschool at the age of two because she didn’t speak.  I said to her,“are you kidding me, wouldn’t that be every 2 year old?”

She said, “I know, I just figured that if they were offering the service, I would take advantage of it, then I wouldn’t have to get a babysitter while I go to the gym.”

Unfortunately, this is the mentality of far too many parents.  We have come to not only accept these so-called services, but many actually expect them.

I am sure you are hearing from very qualified well-intentioned individuals who are so-called experts in educating children.  I know because many of them were my professors and colleagues when I taught school.  I was shocked when I saw Dr. Nancy Livingston, whom was one of my BYU professors at BYU testifying to the importance of the state board adopting preschool standards.

Although, I have respect for these individuals, I do not think they have a deep appreciation for freedom and liberty.  When I went to talk to my former principal in Provo about concerns that I have with Common Core, she asked me what I was really concerned about.  I told her that I believe we are heading down a path towards socialism.

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “like Canada and Australia”.  She wasn’t concerned.

I then said, “I am worried that if we can nationalize education and make all the standards common, what’s keeping us from mandating equal funding to education?”

She said, “I would love that, wouldn’t that be great!”

I asked her, “Where will the money come from?”

She said, “I don’t know, but wouldn’t that be great, I would just love to have the resources that other states have.”

I was blown away and had to excuse myself as I knew we were too philosophically unaligned to have any further meaningful discussion on the matter.

In my opinion, we need to give the responsibility of being a parent back to the parents.  I believe that this would be the best service and gift that we could give to children.

I would love to talk to you further about this.  Again, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I DO NOT believe the statement, “those that start behind, stay behind.”  THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!

Children are not machines or robots, they are individuals and their needs vary.  We cannot put them into these so-called High Quality Preschools with a ratio of 1:10 or 1:20 and expect to solve society’s problems.”

-   -   -   -   -   -   -   -  -

Thank you, Renee.

Himmelstrand’s Speech to Swedish Parliament: Let Families Be Secure   4 comments

This speech is reposted from http://www.stratletter.com/dec10speech.html

Secure Children – Secure Parents – The Role of Family in the 21st century

    Presentation given by Jonas Himmelstrand at a seminar in the Swedish Parliament on December 10, 2008. Translated to English by the author.

Special note to English speaking readers:

This presentation was given in Swedish to a Swedish speaking audience. In order to fully understand it the following two background facts may be necessary:

1) Swedish family policies exclusively supports the dual earner household with children in daycare. Today 83% of all 1–5 year olds in Sweden are in day care. This policy is possible through tax laws making it hard to support a family on one salary, and by high subsidies for daycare with no national support to home parents after parental leave. The official reasoning is that adults are happiest at work and children happiest in daycare, to put it bluntly. Few of the seven Swedish political parties in parliament oppose this view, with the exception of the Christian Democrats.

2) The admired Swedish parental leave policy is very generous up until 16 months. But after that, caring for your child is more difficult in Sweden than in most other countries in the western world. The long Swedish parental leave is a necessity in high-tax Sweden. Without it, few Swedes could at afford to take full care of their babies.


   Swedish family policies during the last 30 years have resulted in insecure children and youth, stressed adults and a lower quality parenthood. As a child’s feeling of a safety is a strong social legacy, Sweden is in a negative spiral.

Our children need more time with their parents – most parents also need more time with their children. This calls for a new view on family in Sweden. This calls for political action.

My name is Jonas Himmelstrand. What I just mentioned was a few of the conclusions from my book Following your heart – in the social utopia of Sweden (in Swedish only) which is the reason why I am giving this talk today.

What I am about to say comes from the knowledge and experience of consulting Swedish businesses, public offices, schools and pre-schools during 25 years in the areas of management, education and psycho-social environment. It also comes from my family – my wife Tamara and our three children.

I am not politically or religiously engaged. The closest I have come to partisan politics was in my youth when I was engaged in the left-wing of SSU – The Swedish Socialdemocratic Youth Organisation.

I will use the word family, by which I mean all kinds of families: mother-father-child-families, single parent families and rainbow families. My reasoning is the same for them all.

My first awakening to this issue was about eight years ago when I taught coaching to teachers and school leaders at a high school in Sweden. The personnel were nearly in shock of the increasing psychological ill health among their students.

Then I heard mothers I met on business courses spontaneously express: ”I felt so bad leaving my one year old (or two year old) in day care.” I asked myself how much additional stress that feeling could add to an already highly stressed work life.

Then I discovered how more and more young people where having difficulties managing my course in presentation skills with video feedback. They seemed to lack self-esteem.

At about the same time, at work places I visited, I heard a theme more and more often: ”Eva was such a wonderful and positive person. But soon, unfortunately, she suffered from emotional exhaustion and burnout.”

These observations became the starting point of my book.

Sweden is perhaps the worlds most safe country in terms of material wealth. We have among the most equal wages, very low levels of child poverty, the lowest level of infant mortality and an admired equality between men and women. Sweden ranks highly in these matters by international comparison.

Sure, not everyone has the problems I will describe. But given our material resources we ought to be more healthy and happy than we are.

Which symptoms can we see and verify?

Increased psychological ill health among youth. Since 1989 Sweden has the worst development in this area of eleven comparable countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Wales and Scotland according to a Swedish Government investigation (SOU 2006:77). Mostly girls.

Increased stress related ill health among adults. Stress and anxiety is the new Swedish national disease. The rates of sick leave in Sweden is among the highest in the world and a considerable domestic financial problem. Sick leave is especially high among Swedish women according to a study, also among highly educated women. Stress related disease is the most common form of sick leave in Sweden today.

Increased behavioural problems among youth. The Minster of Education in Sweden, Jan Björklund, asserts that ”…Swedish schools have the highest level of truancy, destruction and most bad language in all the OECD countries.” Björklund has been criticised for making too strong a statement. However, anyone visiting our schools and following the media can witness that the situation is bad enough. We see disruptions in the classroom, conformism, gangs, bullying, violence and criminality. Mostly boys.

Plummeting educational results in schools. The educational results in our schools have plummeted in the last 20 years. Sweden has lost its previous top position and is today only average among the highly developed nations.

High level of divorces. The number of divorces have increased from 10% to close to 50% in the last 40 years. An inability to handle close relationships would seem to be one clear cause.

Lower quality parenthood. A study from 2007 by Britta Johansson referred to in Svenska Dagbladet (a conservative national newspaper) show that even healthy, intelligent and reasonable Swedish parents have difficulties being parents today. They lack knowledge about children’s needs and cannot set limits. She writes (my translation):

The public offer of full day child care seems to make many parents loose the grip of their own responsibility. They believe/want that their children are fostered by the pre-school/school and believe that the experts on their children are found there.

She also says that pre-school/school cannot fill the gaps caused by lack of time and trust in parenthood from the parents.

Which are the possible mechanisms behind these problems?

Lack of knowledge of the needs of small children. The lack of knowledge in Sweden on the needs of small children is monumental. Scientists today agree that the groundwork for psychological health is laid in the first three years of life. The brain of the small child is physiologically formed by the psychological care of the closest carer. Lack of love and closeness during the first years in life leads to a chronically lowered anxiety threshold – as adults we become more easily stressed, afraid and anxious. Small children need love and sensitive caring from their parents or other close related adults. Small children do not need education or pedagogics. Love is their entire education. It is called attachment.

The research on day care in later years confirms the possible connection. A large exposure to care separated from parents or close relatives is associated with a small but significant increase in behavioural problems up until 12 years of age, even in those who went to the very best daycare. This is not the fault of daycare. The cause is more likely the separation from the child’s closest attachment figures, the parents. Daycare cannot replace parents even if some children are more resilient to daycare than others.

A miniature Sweden was created when Quebec in Canada introduced collective day care according to the Swedish model. The effects were researched and the three researchers wrote the following:

Finally, we uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.

This is uncomfortably similar to the situation in Sweden.

Lack of time with parents also for older children 4–18 years of age. Also older children need time with their parents, an adult close to them who loves them.

When we are young we need someone to love us also when we do not seem to deserve it. Someone who stands steady in a storm. Someone who continuously gives the message: I am here for you, I love you, we can work this out together, we will manage this situation. Young people need their parents.

A day can be long in the life of a ten year old. Child care in school at 7.00 a.m. Already tired and hungry when school starts. A long day in school. Then child care in school again waiting for the tired parents to pick them up at perhaps 5.00 or 6.00 p.m. In the evening maybe another activity outside home. Where does the child find their emotional security? The parents are gone too long. One needs someone for comfort and closeness. In best case this will be an adult in school. But for most children this will be a peer or a gang offering emotional support during school hours – peer orientation. The problem with peer orientation is that peers, not the least during the teens, do not have the maturity to handle more difficult feelings around differences, conflicts, failure, rejection and deceit. Therefore peer orientation results in conformism, gangs, bullying and sometimes violence.

As nature wants to protect the relationship with those who the children attach to – nature had in mind that this should be the parents and other adults trusted by the parents – peer orientation leads to adults being emotionally rejected.

This results in parents feeling they have lost their teenager, and teachers who find that their pupils have less interest in learning. The teenager has attached to their peers because loving adults were not available for too long periods of time. A blind is leading a blind into the world of tomorrow. It is frighteningly similar to William Golding’s novel, The Lord of the Flies.

Both parents and teachers witness to this phenomena. The adult world has lost the emotional connection to a young generation who is not yet mature enough to take responsibility for their life. Parents, and through them teachers and other mature adults, must regain their position as the emotionally most important people in their children’s lives.

In Sweden we have the belief that the State, through daycare, pre-schools, schools and after-school care, can raise our children. But in spite of the enormous resources Sweden spends on these institutions, they  obviously cannot replace the parents. Parental attachment is the basis which these institutions need to at all be able to function in constructive ways.

Good close relationships is the most important health factor. According to a meta-study by Dr. Dean Ornish, high-quality close relationships is the superior health factor. In Sweden we don’t have much time for close relationships. This leads to stress related ill health.

Too little control over one’s personal life situation is another risk factor to health according to research by Sir Michael Marmot. Through its family policy Sweden has given the State a place in the bedroom of every Swedish family – a clear risk factor to health.

Parents do not understand the importance of the parental role. Unfortunately the Swedish Government has been too successful in its hidden message: ”The State fosters children better than parents.” This is probably the most destructive political message ever given in Sweden – at least in modern times.

A positive example – the international home schooling trend.

Maybe the most fascinating example of a completely new view of family is the strong international home schooling trend. This means parents teaching their children rather than sending them to school. As can be seen in this diagram Sweden finishes last only surpassed by Germany with its embarrassing school legislation from 1938 still in effect.

Millions of children and adolescents are being taught at home in the western world today. This is the first really new pedagogical experiment done in 200 years. The research on home schooling is mind-blowing.

Untrained parents are more successful teaching their children than schools. Children seem to have better social development through home schooling than in school. Especially interesting is that parents with low education are better at educating their children than schools are. Why?

One probable reason is that adult attachment is a more important factor in learning than what educational science has realised. As children we want to fulfil the expectations of those we attach too. Parents have higher expectations than peers. Also home schooling has the advantage of being fully individualised and highly time effective.

A not particularly bold guess is that the dominance of pre-school and school will not survive knowledge society. Rather we will in the future see a considerable amount of education decentralised from the State and managed by parents in various ways.

  It is an unfortunate sign on how families are viewed in Sweden that the Swedish Government lack understanding of home schooling. Through prejudice and lack of knowledge pioneering Swedish home schooling families are, in spite of home schooling being supported by law, being chased with threats of the social authorities and fines in some, but not all, Swedish municipalities. Among western democracies only Germany treats their homeschoolers worse than some local governments in Sweden.

Political goals – short term and long term

I have been asked to present some possible political actions. Some of these  suggestions are a little more long term than most, but I feel this is necessary for a clear direction.

Parents need to be able to make their own choices about early child care 0-3 years. Every choice needs to be possible for the majority of families – home parent, with parent at work, grandparent, neighbour, daycare at work place, child minder or day care centre. In countries like Sweden where day care is highly subsidised, the same financial support needs to be given to the care of the parents choice. Insecure parents must be given support in their parental role rather than routinely recommended to send their children to daycare.

Quality proof attachment to every small child in child care outside the family. Sweden needs to at least follow the American recommendations of maximum six one year olds to a minimum of two trained staff, and a maximum of eight two year olds to a minimum of two trained staff. Today Sweden has neither recommendations or rules. Group size for small children can be up to 17 and child-to-adult ratios average at 5:1 for all ages. When daycare is given this kind of quality, parental care will not only be best for most children but also cheapest.

Acknowledge the work done in families with children‚ financially, on the C.V. and in pension funds. It must once again be possible for a family to live on one wage. Also the parent being at home needs to be recognised for the highly valuable work done when entering work life again.

Make home schooling an easy option by law. A healthy engaged parent with the time, energy and a  reasonable strategy will in most cases make a better educational job than the institutions of society. The Swedish home schooling law needs to be interpreted liberally as in the majority of Anglo-Saxon countries today.

Encourage people to make their own decisions, based on their own convictions, about their close relationships. We need to put an end to the one-sided life style propaganda by the Swedish State. Human growth and creativity will flourish when people gain full control of one of the most important parts of their lives.

Finally: Start a national educational programme on the new knowledge of children’s development – and the value of families. The industrial age is over and the knowledge society is here, we all need to know the new knowledge – some of which is quite old.

• • •

For those interested: Two experts whose research and knowledge I have mentioned here – Professor Jay Belsky and Dr. Gordon Neufeld – will come to Stockholm, Sweden to be part of a seminar on June 3, 2009. The seminar is arranged by the Swedish parental organisation Haro, www.haro.se. Dr. Gordon Neufeld will also give a seminar for school teachers on June 4, www.stratletter.com.

Of course, each of the facts I have presented can be questioned. But when you view them all together, as I have done in my book, it is much more difficult to escape the conclusion that the Swedish view of families has gone astray. Sweden needs a completely new view of families in the 21st century. Secure children and parents in the future requires more time for the close relationships than we have in Sweden today.

Families are the only remaining institutions for close relationships in Sweden today. They need to be protected from extinction and given support and care if this nation is to survive socially and emotionally.

© 2008 Jonas Himmelstrand

Sources can be found at: www.stratletter.com/sources_dec10speech.html


Afterword: Since this speech was given new information about home schooling has arrived from the US Government Department of Education. The number of home schooled children has continued to increase to 1,5 million in 2007. The numbers mentioned above therefore have to be revised: In the US there are 45 000 home schooled children/9 million inhabitants according to official sources, rather than the 33 000 given above. An official spokesperson said the figures are likely to keep rising.


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What’s So Wrong About Socialism?   Leave a comment

What is so wrong about socialism, and why is it so bad that it’s being pushed and prodded into American education and all aspects of America by both sides of the political aisle?

The question is so eloquently answered from a man who knows what he is talking about– Ezra Taft Benson: (Excerpt from Benson’s 1977 speech, “A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion.”)

http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

“…Isaiah foresaw the time when a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth among men (see Isaiah 29:14). Isaiah also predicted that there would be those that “seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they [shall] say, Who seeth us?” (Isaiah 29:15)…

“Yes, Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble figures in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of communism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Today, if we are alert, we can see further fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies…

“Through the instigation of Marx and Engels, a most successful counterfeit to the united order was introduced into the world. The declaration of principles found in their Manifesto to the World advocated the overthrow of capitalism and free enterprise, the abolition of private property, the elimination of the family as a social unit, the abolition of all classes, the overthrow of all governments, and the establishment of communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society. All this was to be accomplished by revolution.

“On July 3, 1936, the First Presidency published this warning to Church members. I quote it in part; I hope you will get a copy of the full statement for your files. In part, the statement reads:

. . . Communism is not a political party, nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government. . . .

Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.

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. . . .

Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. . . .

Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.

We call upon all Church members completely to eschew [and shun] Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

Signed, President Heber J. Grant J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay The First Presidency

“…I have been on both sides of the Iron Curtain several times. I have talked to these godless leaders face to face. I say to you with all the sincerity of my soul that since 1933 this godless counterfeit to the gospel has made tremendous progress towards its objective of world domination, for over one-third of the human family are now under totalitarian subjugation.

“Today we are in a battle for the bodies and souls of men. It is a battle between two opposite systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and anti-Christ. The struggle today is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the conventional wisdom, so called, is that we have got to learn to live with communism, to give up our ideas about national sovereignty. You hear that repeated today. Tell that to the millions—yes, the scores of millions—who have met death or imprisonment under the tyranny of communism. Learn to live with communism? Such would be the death knell of freedom and all we hold dear.

The gospel of Jesus Christ can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. As members of his Church, we have a major responsibility to do all in our power to see that freedom is preserved and safeguarded. I pray that God will bless you to see communism for what it really is: the greatest system of human slavery that the world has ever known. May you not be deceived into believing that the communists have moderated their goal toward world domination…

“…Socialism—a Philosophy Incompatible with Man’s Liberty

“Another notable counterfeit system to the Lord’s plan is collectivized socialism. Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and Engels. Communism in practice is socialism. Its purpose is world socialism, which the communists seek to achieve by revolution, and which the socialists seek to achieve by evolution. Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty. As was said so well by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “The two are as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon our liberties.”

“Why is socialism incompatible with man’s liberty? Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything. When individuals begin to exert their God-given rights, the state has to suppress that freedom. So belief in God must be suppressed, and with that gone freedom of conscience and religion must also go. Those are the first of our liberties mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

“There are some among us who would confuse the united order with socialism. That is a serious misunderstanding. It is significant to me that the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism in his day, made this official entry in the Church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church6:33).

“Socialism Disguised under Welfare State Measures

“As citizens of this noble land, we have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism. If you question that statement, consider the recent testimonial from the Nobel prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman. He indicated that government spending in the United States at all levels amounts to over forty percent of today’s total national income. If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved…

“…[W]e have significantly departed from the principles established by the founders of our country. James Madison opposed the proposal to put Congress in the role of promoting the general welfare according to its whims in these words:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasure; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for [and it was an issue then], it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. [quoted in Donald L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles, and National Survival,p. 342]

“That statement, given as a warning, has proved prophetic. Today Congress is doing what Madison warned about. Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism!

“…Compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s socialists—who call themselves egalitarians—are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right…

“The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this “equality” is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system. These payments are made in the form of social security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps, to name a few. Today the cost of such programs has been going in the hole at the rate of 12 billion dollars a year; and, with increased benefits and greater numbers of recipients, even though the tax base has been increased we will have larger deficits in the future.

“Today the party now in power is advocating and has support, apparently in both major parties, for a comprehensive national health insurance program—a euphemism for socialized medicine. Our major danger is that we are currently (and have been for forty years) transferring responsibility from the individual, local, and state governments to the federal government—precisely the same course that led to the economic collapse in Great Britain and New York City. We cannot long pursue the present trend without its bringing us to national insolvency.

“Edmund Burke, the great British political philosopher, warned of the threat of economic equality. He said,

A perfect equality will indeed be produced—that is to say, equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of the petitioners, a woeful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; and they depress high and low together beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.

“Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?

“…We stand for independence, thrift, and abolition of the dole.

“… Every individual who accepts an unearned government gratuity is just as morally culpable as the individual who takes a handout from taxpayers’ money to pay his heat, electricity, or rent. There is no difference in principle between them. You did not come… to become a welfare recipient. You came here to be a light to the world, a light to society—to save society and to help to save this nation, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days, to ameliorate man’s social conditions. You are not here to be a parasite or freeloader. The price you pay for “something for nothing” may be more than you can afford.

“Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.”

Read full speech here:  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

   Ezra Taft Benson

Should Mothers, or the State, Raise Children?   Leave a comment

I sent this letter today,  because today, in the Utah Legislative Education Committee meeting, they are planning to vote on  “high-quality preschool.”   Hmm.  Does government-provided love turn out better than the parental kind?   My research led me to sign the petition of support for reclaiming educational freedom in Sweden, here.   http://www.rohus.org/eng_petition.html     
 
Dear Senator Osmond,
Yesterday I saw the attached 6-minute video about Swedish families fleeing Sweden.  Swedish government has taken on the role of “real parent,” mandating government schools and forbidding home school under any circumstance, since 2010.
So what?  Why am sending you this link?
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2YAD49NQ54&feature=player_embedded  (6 min)
Something else in the video caught my attention: the Swedish government wants children as young as 12 months old in day care.

Senator, the idea of paying for all-day preschool here in Utah is a step toward the very same socialism that is destroying Sweden, the country of my mother’s birth. What begins as a good intention shifts into a family-damaging government mandate.  It starts off as “all children deserve” and soon becomes “all children must.”  There goes freedom. There goes parental authority over the child, given to the state.  As the end of the video shows, Swedish mental health and the quality of education on the whole is dropping dramatically, despite so much money being spent on socialized education.

I am asking you not to support the redistribution of wealth in this or any other manner.  It will have the effect of taking children from their mothers.  Government does not have that right.
The first two minutes, especially, of this associated Swedish education-issues video, are also very worthwhile:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpjiqx_jonas-himmelstrand-interview-march-4th-2012-sligo-ireland_news (25 min. interview with Swede Jonas Himmelstrand, whose goal is to make public the knowledge about the powerful potential of close relationships built in early childhood; and having mothers, not the state, raise the children)
Christel Swasey
-   -   -   -
Here are a few more thoughts on why it’s wrong to take taxpayers’ money to pay for government preschools.  (This has happened in Sweden but it’s right now–today– the topic of the Utah legislative education committee’s discussion.)
1.  It’s a socialist idea.  It will have the same future consequences of other socialist agendas– collective, unmanageable costs/debts, family authority put into submission to big government interventions, and the growth of bureaucracy/taxation without long-term compensating results to show for it.

2. Even if it starts off only for poor or disadvantaged children, it is unlikely to remain so.  The bar of “economically disadvantaged” historically keeps moving until, in the name of equality, it’s free for everyone.  Similarly, part-time will quickly shift to full-time, and voluntary to mandatory.  Socialism and its branches aim to serve all with perfect equality.
3.  We waste tax money on programs that don’t work.  The solution might be to get rid of so much bureaucracy rather than adding more layers of it.  Utah could give both the responsibilities and the tax money back to the people it came from, rather than playing Kings and Peasants with the money and the mandates.
4. Regardless of troubling statistics about dropouts and achievement gaps, it’s a false assumption that more government supervision and more money gambled on new theories are the best solution. ( And what right does the state government have to push this?  –This is not a rhetorical question.)
5. High-quality preschools and government do not go together. The government should get out of the business of preschools, period. It is not appropriate for a U.S. state, that believes in free enterprise and individual responsibility, to meddle with that free enterprise and create socialism just like Sweden’s, or other countries’, by putting itself between taxpayers and private/public preschools.
    6. The state is literally going to tempt the middle class to feign poverty or other at-risk problems to get “free” daycare.  The state is also going to tempt mothers to drop children in the preschool to to to work because, as everybody knows, being a stay at home mom is the hardest job on earth.   And  “voluntary” preschool is a meaningless concept when government creates a dependent people by “helping” way too much and discouraging self-reliance and free enterprise.
   When a parent is working full-time because of free preschool, how will he/she “visit” the child and how meaningful will that “visitation” be?  This is really backwards.  The parent visits her child?  Who is then the main caregiver of that tiny soul?  A state caregiver that sees the child as a paycheck?!  What are we actually in effect promoting or denying?  Think, think!
7. Even if the state contracts with private providers, those providers are, in effect, government agents when the government mandates what will be taught and by whom and for whom; their innovations and self-determination are meaningless when they are governmentally contracted (to common core and other government-mandated programs.)
The whole concept of early intervention is opposed to parental authority over the child.  The state intervenes.  The state is so terrified of seeing a single tragic neglect case that it is willing to take away the responsibility and liberty of all the people. It’s not right.
Ezra Taft Benson said asked “Are we part of the problem or are we part of the solution?”  I ask us that same question.
Ezra Taft Benson called socialism “a philosophy incompatible with man’s liberty... Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty… Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything… We have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism… If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved…
                                                               James Madison opposed the proposal to put Congress in the role of promoting the general welfare according to its whims in these words: 
   “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasure; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for [and it was an issue then], it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. (Madison)…Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism… compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s socialists—who call themselves egalitarians—are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right…

“The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this “equality” is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system…

“Edmund Burke, the great British political philosopher, warned of the threat of economic equality. He said,

    A perfect equality will indeed be produced—that is to say, equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of the petitioners, a woeful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; and they depress high and low together beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.

   “Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? …We stand for independence, thrift, and abolition of the dole.… Every individual who accepts [OR LEGISLATES] an unearned government gratuity is just as morally culpable as the individual who takes a handout from taxpayers’ money to pay his heat, electricity, or rent. There is no difference in principle between them. You did not come… to become [OR TO LEGISLATE FOR] a welfare recipient. You came here to be a light to the world, a light to society—to save society and to help to save this nation, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days, to ameliorate man’s social conditions. You are not here to be [OR TO PROMOTE] a parasite or freeloader. The price you pay for “something for nothing” may be more than you can afford. Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.”

Benson’s full speech here:  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

Families Flee Sweden for Educational Freedom: Swedish Government Trumps Parental Authority   Leave a comment

  http://youtu.be/p2YAD49NQ54  This six-minute video from CBN news features Swedish families who have fled Sweden for educational freedom.  They go to Finland or other countries.

It’s not just a tragic news story; this offers us a preview into what life will be like in an increasing number of countries when “progressive” socialized politics create nationalized education systems that see the government as the Real Parent.

It sounds so nice to say that every child has the “right” to an education; but does it sound nice to say that every child is forced into state education, and that with that force, parents have no say?  Is government in charge of children, over parents?

Det där var inte trevliga nyheter!

Must See.   http://youtu.be/p2YAD49NQ54

Celebrating Constitution Day   Leave a comment

    In Celebration of Constitution Day –Remember What It Doesn’t Say About Education

Thanks to Shane Vander Hart and American Principles Project for this great article, posted here: http://americanprinciplesproject.org/preserve-innocence/2012/in-celebration-of-constitution-day-remember-what-it-doesnt-say-about-education/

by Shane Vander Hart on September 17, 2012

Today we mark the day back in 1787 when our Constitution was presented to the several States for ratification.  In celebration of that historic event let’s remember what’s not in there.

In Section 8 of the Constitution we see:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

What’s missing?  Education, and yet since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 we’ve seen a growing creep of the Federal government into education culminating in the coercision by the U.S. Department of Education of the states to except the Common Core State Standards through the Race to the Top program and the No Child Left Behind waivers.  The founding fathers saw no role for education and thus it was left out of the enumerated powers and given to the states via the 10th Amendment.

  Thomas Jefferson was quite clear about this.  In a letter written to Joseph Cabell on February 2, 1816 he cautioned even against a state role in education, let alone a federal role.  He wrote:

…if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience. Try the principle one step further, and amend the bill so as to commit to the governor and council the management of all our farms, our mills, and merchants’ stores. No, my friend, the way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself.  (emphasis mine)

But what about the General Welfare clause, can’t Congress be involved in education through it’s spending authority?  That has been used for everything from education, growing federal regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency to health care reform.  James Madison, the father of our Constitution would have been horrified to see that clause used in such a matter.  He said during a debate on the ratification of the Constitution in 1792:

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the “general welfare,” and are the sole and supreme judges of the “general welfare,” then they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the United States; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of Congress, for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the “general welfare.”

Madison knew that if the original intent of the General Welfare clause were even expanded then Congress would have an unchecked ability to intrude into areas designated by the Constitution to be under the control of state and local governments.

So Happy Constitution Day and remember the limits this document places upon our government.

- – - – - -

Two more great ways to celebrate Constitution Day: http://www.constitutionreader.com/reader.engz?doc=constitution

and http://www.latterdayconservative.com/articles/family-home-evening-lessons-for-the-bicentennial-of-the-constitution/

Marc Tucker vs. Marion Brady: Common Core Mediocre, Lockstep Education vs. Innovation and Time-Tested Pedagogy   Leave a comment

The 9th problem with the Common Core standards

-by Marion Brady

From The Washington Post.  Full text: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-9th-problem-with-the-common-core-standards/2012/09/16/723d240e-0071-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet

It’s an incredibly important argument between a smart, veteran eduator, Marion Brady, versus an extremist left-wing educrat, Marc Tucker (whose socialized-U.S -education plot with Hilary Clinton has been known and Congressionally recorded for decades.)  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/anti-liberty-plot-for-american-education-full-text-of-the-letter-from-marc-tucker-to-hillary-clinton-2/

Marion Brady’s main point, against Tucker and his Common Core:

  • Common Core centralizes control of education
  • micromanages classrooms (by non-educators)
  • blocks all innovation that’s not tied to the core
  • relies on destructive, simplistic tests that fail to take account of the fundamental nature of knowledge and of human complexity.

- And you can read Marc Tucker’s side of the argument here:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2012/09/8_problems_with_the_common_core_state_standards_i_dont_think_so.html

My first thought, upon seeing Marc Tucker’s name as author, in print, was, “What!? Marc Tucker can still get published? After his (and Hilary Clinton’s) socialist plot to take over education was made public, published as part of the Congressional records?! Help!”  –But read on.

Marc Tucker:

v. Marion Brady:

 )

From Brady:

“…Marc Tucker, long-time major player in the current test-based education reform effort, in an Education Week “Top Performers” blog, took me to task with a piece called  “8 Problems With the Common Core State Standards? I Don’t Think So.”

My Washington Post piece was a little over 1,000 words. Mr. Tucker’s response was twice that. If I were to respond point by point to his objections to my eight criticisms of the standards— which I’d really like to do — it would almost certainly double that word count. Few readers would stick with me for 4,000 words, even if editors were willing to publish them.

I’ll stand by my criticisms, but try to move the dialogue along by adding a ninth. I’d have included it before, but couldn’t squeeze it into a paragraph.

Mr. Tucker buys the conventional wisdom, that the subjects that make up the core — math, science, language arts, and social studies — “cover” the important stuff that kids need to know, from which it follows that anything that nails down more precisely what actually gets covered is a good thing. Ergo: the Common Core Standards.

He says, “…the core academic disciplines (the core subjects in the school curriculum) provide the conceptual underpinning for deep understanding of virtually everything we want our students to know.”

Most people agree, including most teachers, especially younger ones. That’s what they’ve been taught, and experience hasn’t yet caused them to question orthodoxy.

I disagree, not about the standards providing conceptual underpinning for the core subjects (which I’ve never questioned). I take issue with the contention that the standards provide “deep understanding of virtually everything we want students to know…”

I’m not alone. Buckminster Fuller, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfred North Whitehead, Felix Frankfurter, Harlan Cleveland, Neil Postman… and dozens of other nationally and internationally known and respected people are on my side of the issue.

But we have a problem. The idea we’re trying to get across isn’t part of the current education reform dialogue. That means that in a few hundred words, I have to try to introduce a new (and very abstract) idea, explain why it’s of fundamental importance but at odds with the standards, and offer an alternative.

Here’s that idea, as articulated by Peter M. Senge, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his book, “The Fifth Discipline,” he says:

From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world. This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay a hidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole.

That “larger whole” is reality. We want kids to make better sense of it. To that end, we send them off to study school subjects that explain various parts of it. We don’t, however, show them how those parts fit together, relate, interact, elaborate, and reinforce each other. When the bell rings, off they go to study a different subject that, as far as they can tell, is little or not at all related to the one they just left.

As this brief slideshow illustrates, this is a first-order problem, and the Common Core Standards ignore it. Locking the core subjects in place tells the world that America thinks a curriculum patched together in 1892 by 10 college administrators, a curriculum that reflects the industrial policy of the era, a curriculum that fails to acknowledge the fundamental, integrated nature of reality, is the best way to organize knowledge.

It’s not. Systems theory as it developed during World War II is far better. Period. It doesn’t replace the core subjects (which I’ve never advocated), just makes them working parts of a single, simpler, more efficient “master” mental organizer.

This is absolutely central to learning. Knowledge grows as we connect bits of it — as we discover relationships between, say, street width and sense of community, between birth order and certain personality traits, between capital investment decisions and political stability.

Compartmentalizing knowledge gets directly in the way of the basic process that makes kids (and the rest of us) smarter.

That systems thinking integrates knowledge isn’t an original idea. I’m just passing it along and offering a way to operationalize it.

A little story: Years ago I realized that what educators like John Goodlad, Neil Postman, Alfred North Whitehead, Ernest Boyer and others were saying in books, articles, and speeches wasn’t making any difference in what was actually happening in classrooms. Knowing it isn’t always easy to translate theory into practice, I wrote a course of study for adolescents that showed how systems theory could help them see the connected nature of all knowledge and the minute-by-minute way they were experiencing it.

I chose to write for middle schoolers because they hadn’t yet been thoroughly programmed by traditional instruction to compartmentalize what they knew, and because an earlier project I’d undertaken for Prentice-Hall, Inc. had led to friendships with several middle school principals around the country.

I contacted them. Would they be willing to pilot my course of study and give me feedback so I could refine it?

Nobody turned me down. Everything was in place for the fall of the year, then No Child Left Behind became law, and that was the end of that. I got letters and phone calls from the principals apologizing for having to back out of their commitment. It was clear to them that raising test scores, not improving kids’ ability to make better sense of experience, was now the name of the education game.

And so it remains. Over the years, with my brother’s help, I’ve continued to play with the course of study, thinking some rebel school system somewhere might pilot and help improve it, but the money and power behind the “standards and accountability” juggernaut probably make it unstoppable. The standards have been swallowed by just about everybody, and as soon as they’ve been digested, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Educational Testing Service, and other manufacturers of standardized tests will be ready with contracts in hand for computerized tests in numbers sufficient to crash web servers.

The tests, of course, will build in a failure rate set by some faceless decision-maker — an easily operated spigot for meeting stockholder expectations. Open it — boost the failure rate — and up go sales of tests, test prep tools, instructional materials. And, of course, profits.

Even if I’m wrong about the eight other problems with the Common Core Standards (and I’m not), I don’t see any wiggle room on this one. If I’m right, the current reform effort’s centralizing of control of education, its micromanaging of classrooms by non-educators, its blocking of all innovation not tied to the core, and its reliance on destructive, simplistic tests that fail to take account of the fundamental nature of knowledge, and of human complexity and variability, will, in Senge’s words, exact an “enormous price.”

That price will be the inability of our children and our children’s children to cope with a future shaping up to be more challenging than anything humans have thus far faced.”

Thank you, Marion Brady.

Provo, Ogden, Granite, Washington County School Districts: WHAT are you THINKING?!   Leave a comment

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54806451-78/million-districts-apply-department.html.csp
 
  According to the Salt Lake Tribune article linked above, five Utah school districts are applying for Race To The Top funds. Granite, Ogden, Provo, Morgan and Washington County school districts are applying for tens of millions of dollars each, to be accepted directly from the U.S. Department of Education in exchange for making certain federally-determined “reforms.”
 
      
 
Nationwide, the Tribune states, 893 districts are applying, but only 15 to 25 will win the grants. 
 
If the rules of the district Race to the Top grant game are the same as the rules were for the states’ Race to the Top grants, then even those applicants who do not win the grant money will still have been “reformed” in ways pleasing to the Federal Department of Education.  (For example, when Utah applied for, but did not win, its original Race to the Top grant, it made policy changes to enhance its eligibility toward winning.  It adopted Common Core standards.  It joined a testing consortium. Today, Utah has dropped its consortium membership but it still hasn’t dropped Common Core, and students are paying the price for the mediocre standards that slow down math learning, eliminate cursive, dramatically diminish classic literature, homogenize what college and career readiness standards used to be, yet go by the self-appointed title of “rigorous” college prep.)
 
Contrary to popular belief, grants are not “free money.” They come with rules, mandates, requirements, and legally binding chains created by the grantor.
 
The Dept. of Education’s decision, to dangle the carrot of Race to the Top for districts, is particularly alarming to many Texans.  Texas was one of the few states independent-minded enough to reject joining the Common Core movement. But today, 64 Texas school districts are applying for the Race to the Top for districts, effectively creating the federal dependence for many districts which Texas had worked hard to avoid as a state.
 
   Donna Garner, Texas educator, explains:” On Jan. 13, 2010, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the former Commissioner of Education Robert Scott announced their decision that Texas should not enter the statewide Race to the Top competition for $700 Million because they knew the federal strings attached to the money would require school districts to follow theCommon Core Standards Initiative.Not to be deterred, the Obama administration and Sect. of Ed. Arne Duncan came up with a “work around” so that the RTTT funds (requiring schools to follow theCommon Core Standards Initiative) could be sent directly to the local school districts in spite of being blocked by the state agencies.Unfortunately, local Texas school administrators are ignoring the dangers of the federalstrings and are salivating over the federal funding. Nationwide, there are 893school districts (and other eligible entities) that have indicated their intent to apply for the RTTT’s $400 Million “workaround.” The deadline for these entities to file their formalapplications is Oct. 30, 2012.

This is what happens: Even though most of these local entities do not have a chanceto receive the RTTT federal funds, the applications themselves end up driving school district decisions.

School administrators know their schools’ grant applications will not have a chance ofbeing accepted unless the districts can prove the federally desired changes are already in place (or well on their way to being implemented) in their districts; therefore, the administrators, acting like little robots, configure their districts to match the USDOE’s agenda. They swear to do such things as implement the Common Core Standards, base teacher evaluations upon student improvement on the CCS assessments, and collect the personally intrusive information on students, parents, and educators that is required for the national database.

Thus, the USDOE ends up nationalizing the public schools without ever giving the districts the RTTT grant funding.  Entire states such as California applied for the statewide RTTT funds in 2011 andreconfigured their school district policies to match the USDOE’s application requirements; but in the end, California found out that their state was notselected to receive the RTTT grants.  The same outcomes will occur with the RTTT’s direct-to-school funding.  Many locals will implement the USDOE’s changes but will not receive the RTTT funds.

 The“carrot and stick” used by the USDOE – RTTT federal funds:

[The arrows mean “lead to.”]

National standards  →  national assessments  → national curriculum → national teacher evaluations with teachers’ salaries tied to students’ test scores  →  teachers teaching to thetest each and every day  →  national indoctrination of our publicschool children  →  national database of students and teachers

Please go to the following links to read more about the Common Core Standards Initiative:

3.26.12 — “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals” — http://libertylinked.com/posts/9703/2-education-philosophies-with/View.aspx

9.14.12 – “Nationalized Public Schools Almost Here in America” –  http://educationviews.org/nationalized-public-schools-almost-here-in-america/

ACTION STEP:  Parents and taxpayers, please take the time to go to administrators and school board members in your district and demand that they not apply for these RTTT grants nor make any of the changes that the USDOE applications require schools to make to get the funds.”

Does U.N.’s Agenda 21 Education Mandate Push Common Core in USA?   31 comments

What Does Common Core Have To Do With the U.N.’s Agenda 21 ?

 –And Why Should You Care?

  There’s an interesting article about Obama’s call for the U.S. to pay for education of the world.  It’s “A Global Fund for Education: Achieving Education for All” that you can read in full here:  http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2009/08/education-gartner


Its summary states: “In order to realize the world’s commitment to ensuring education for all by 2015, important innovations and reforms will be needed in the governance and financing of global education. In 2008, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama committed to making sure that every child has the chance to learn by creating a Global Fund for Education. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently called for a new architecture of global cooperation…  A new Global Fund for Education… must be capable of mobilizing the approximately $7 billion annually still needed to achieve education for all, while holding all stakeholders accountable for achieving results with these resources. None of these objectives will be achieved without a major rethinking of the global education architecture and an evolution of current mechanisms for financing education… Achieving these two Millennium Development Goals, and the broader Education for All Goals… will require more capable international institutions.”

I have to ask three questions as I read this:

  • Since when do nations collectively finance global education?
  • Since when has the whole world agreed on what should be taught to the whole world?
  • Since when is the United States of America reduced to “accountable stakeholder” status over its own educational and financial decisionmaking?

So Obama created a global education fund, using U.S. taxpayer money.  I don’t remember voting on this.

And Hilary Clinton is misusing the word “inclusiveness” to now mean “no more independent sovereignty for anyone.”  Meanwhile, there’s a United Nations/UNESCO program called “Education For All” that involves the same ideas and the very same key people as “Common Core”.  And there’s also an “Education, Public Awareness and Training” chapter in the U.N.’s Agenda 21 goals.

Both the U.N.’s educational goals (via UNESCO and “Education for All” ) and “Common Core” do sound very appealing on the surface.  Each seeks to educate by teaching the exact same standards to all children (and adults) on a national or a global scale.  But both supercede local control over what is taught to students, and both dismiss the validity and importance of the U.S. Constitution implicitly.

Both UNESCO’s educational goals and Common Core are, coincidentally, heavily funded by activist and philanthropist Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest billionaires on earth.  http://www.eagleforum.org/links/UNESCO-MS.pdf  ( Link to Gates’ Microsoft/Unesco partnership)

Gates gave the Common Core developer/copyright holders, NGA/CCSSO, about $25 million dollars to promote his special interest, Common Core.  (See CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780 at http://www.keepeducationlocal.com .

Gates partnered with UNESCO/U.N. to fund “Education For All” as well.  See  http://bettereducationforall.org/

The “Education For All” developer is UNESCO, a branch of the United Nations.  Education For All’s key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.”  Read the full text here:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf

At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/international-cooperation/high-level-group/

In a nutshell: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”

   The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. But since much of what happens with the United Nations threatens the sovereignty of the United States and all sovereign nations, I do not recognize that these goals, or anything else for that matter, are “internationally agreed-upon.”  Do you?

For everyone on earth to totally agree, we’d have to submit to a one-world government with a one-world constitution that would override any individual country’s constitution.  There are some great thoughts on this subject here:   http://www.keepeducationlocal.com/

But in the U.N.’s own words:

“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.  Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.  The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up…” See:  http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

So Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken by everyone.  We all apparently have been signed up to agree, whether we agree or not.  I’m already getting the communist creeps.

But most of us haven’t even heard of Agenda 21 nor do we know anything about “sustainable development”.

On the linked Education and Awareness page of that same U.N. website, we learn:

Education, Public  Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable for achieving sustainable development.”   http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml

Did you get that?  Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide.  They just admitted it out loud.  They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.

So then we click on Chapter 36.  The “indispensable” implementation tool they are describing are your children’s American public schools.  Yes, really:

36.2 says they plan to “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development.  (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.)

36.3 says:  “While basic education provides the underpinning for any environmental and development education, the latter needs to be incorporated as an essential part of learning. Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their sustainable development concerns. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making. To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods

The take-away?

  • Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education globally.
  • Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change.  Current attitudes are unacceptable.
  • Environmental education will be belief-and-spirituality based.
  • Environmental education will be integrated into all disciplines, not just science.

The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” achieving “environmental and development awareness in all sectors of society on a world-wide scale as soon as possible”; and to achieve the accessibility of environmental and development education, linked to social education, from primary school age through adulthood to all groups of people; and to promote integration of environment concepts, including demography, in all educational programmes, and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”

Does that not sound like quite an agenda?

But it gets worse.

Under “Activities,” we find:

Governments should strive to update or prepare strategies aimed at integrating environment and development as a cross-cutting issue into education at all levels within the next three years. This should be done in cooperation with all sectors of society…. A thorough review of curricula should be undertaken to ensure a multidisciplinary approach, with environment and development issues and their socio-cultural and demographic aspects and linkages.”

So, if a country like the USA, for example, has a Constitution and G.E.P.A. laws that states that its federal government has absolutely no legal right to supervise or direct state school systems, then what?  How can it be done?

 I’ll tell you how!   Just get a U.S. President to circumvent Congress and the states’ right to educate.  Just use nongovernmental groups like the NGA/CCSSO to write and copyright new national educational standards.  Just pay groups to do what you are not legally authorized to do. Just create “Race to the Top” grants.  Just promote a socialist education system but call it a state-led Common Core.  Then get zillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to promote and pay for most of it.

And that is what has happened.

Enough info for today?  Oh, no.  Not even close.

They go on to say how countries should pay for all the reorientation and values/attitudes changing for all people.  And there’s even a media-to-museum rebranding blitz outline:

In 36.10:

“Countries… should promote a cooperative relationship with the media, popular theatre groups, and entertainment and advertising industries by initiating discussions to mobilize their experience in shaping public behaviour and consumption patterns and making wide use of their methods. Such cooperation would also increase the active public participation in the debate on the environment. UNICEF should make child-oriented material available to media as an educational tool, ensuring close cooperation between the out-of-school public information sector and the school curriculum, for the primary level. UNESCO, UNEP and universities should enrich pre-service curricula for journalists on environment and development topics;

    

(f) Countries, in cooperation with the scientific community, should establish ways of employing modern communication technologies for effective public outreach. National and local educational authorities and relevant United Nations agencies should expand, as appropriate, the use of audio-visual methods, especially in rural areas in mobile units, by producing television and radio programmes for developing countries, involving local participation, employing interactive multimedia methods and integrating advanced methods with folk media;

(g) Countries should promote… environmentally sound leisure and tourism activities… making suitable use of museums, heritage sites, zoos, botanical gardens, national parks…”

So, it should be pretty clear that there is a huge re-education program happening to all countries, the aim of which is to change people’s attitudes toward believing in “sustainable development” and environmental education.  If it’s picking up litter, some other innocuous program, fine; spend trillions without taking a vote to make sure we all think alike.  Stupid but harmless.  On the other hand,  what if, what IF, it’s something we DON’T all agree upon? There are hundreds of countries.  Even if it were just up to China* vs. the U.S. to define “sustainable behavior” how would we ever agree?  Paper or plastic?  Paper wastes trees; plastic creates landfills.  These “green-defining” issues are endless.

But the problem, in a nutshell, is simply:  Whose version of “sustainable” do you want to re-educate everyone to believe –assuming that you can accept massive-scale propagandizing for the promotion of one single belief system, under which people didn’t get a representative vote)

  
*Sustainable thinking includes limiting by abortion the number of babies allowed to be born, in order to have control over population growth. The Chinese “One Child Policy” was introduced by the Chinese Government in 1979 with the intention of keeping the population within sustainable limits even in the face of natural disasters and poor harvests, and improving the quality of life for the Chinese population as a whole. Under the policy, parents who have more than one child may have their wages reduced and be denied some social services.” (BBC)

The War Against Freedom is Found in the Details   Leave a comment

The war against freedom is sometimes hard to identify.  You have to look past the shiny rhetoric and see who is controlling whom and what means are being used to justify that taking of control.

Local control matters.  It REALLY matters.

If you believe in scripture, which I do…

     There was once a war in heaven.  In heaven!

One side fought for God’s glory and for liberty, while the other fought for the devil’s desire for personal glory at the expense of freedom.  The devil, who had been an esteemed child of God before, now fought God’s will and lost the war in heaven. He was banished forever.

The devil was not alone. A third of the hosts of heaven had fought on the devil’s side, and they fell with him.

They continue their war against freedom, now, on earth.

       And there was awar in heaven: bMichael and his cangels fought against the dragon; and the ddragon fought and his angels… And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in aheaven.  And the great dragon was acast out, that old serpent, called the bDevil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time… And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he apersecuted the woman which brought forth the man child….  And the adragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make bwar with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  – Rev. 12: 7-17

What did the devil want?

“[Satan] came before me, [Heavenly Father] saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will dredeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely eI will do it; wherefore fgive me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved aSon, which was my Beloved and bChosen from the beginning, said unto me—cFather, thy dwill be done, and the eglory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that aSatan brebelled against me, and sought to destroy the cagency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power” – Moses 4

Satan’s idea, to abandon free agency, was not a correct principle then and it’s still wrong now.  Without free agency, nobody would ever be able to progress, to prove loyalty, or grow voluntarily to become more like God.  God knew we needed that opportunity to choose. God’s will was that we would all have the opportunity to become like Him.  –On conditions of free will.

What happened in that war?

Lucifer rebelled against the  Only Begotten Son,      D&C 76:25–26

He sought to take the glory of the Father and to destroy the agency of man, Moses 4:1–4 (Isa. 14:12–15; Abr. 3:27–28).

Those of us who fought on God’s side, kept the first estate, came to earth, and received bodies.   Abr. 3:26“As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: ‘Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare’ or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1965.)

“The scriptures make clear that there was a great war in heaven, a struggle over the principle of freedom the right of choice. In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right—there’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom? Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying ‘Look, don’t get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1966.)

“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during ‘the war in heaven.’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Secret Combinations, Conference Report, October 1961.)

So, the war continues on the earth today.

Those who are opposed to liberty cannot openly admit it; that would scare the vast majority of people into action against them.  They want us to stay asleep.  So those who are opposed to liberty must use gentle words, stealth, deception, code words and appealing rhetoric to fool us.

I have been studying this.

Socialism is creeping into the land of liberty, and with socialism comes an end to freedom.  Many ancient and modern prophets have warned us about this.  We cannot afford to ignore their warnings.

   “[The war in heaven], so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion….His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured, Ensign, June 2007.)

  “Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of a regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship.” (David O. McKay, April 1950.)

“To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages. . . . So fundamental in man’s eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war.” (David O. McKay, Conference Repot, 1942.)

       The concept of agency was and is vital important to God.  It runs like a gold thread through scripture:

Doctrine and Covenants 93:31

Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:78 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.

Moses 7:32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency

Doctrine and Covenants 29:31-39  …Adam, your father, whom I created… I gave unto him that he should be an aagent unto himself… And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the adevil—for, behold, the bdevil was before Adam, for he crebelled against me, saying, Give me thine dhonor, which is my epower; and also a fthird part of the ghosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their hagency; And they were thrust down, and thus came the adevil and his bangels; And, behold, there is a place aprepared for them from the beginning, which place is bhell. And it must needs be that the adevil should btempt the children of men, or they could not be cagents unto themselves; for if they never should have dbitter they could not know the sweet—   D&C 29

Doctrine and Covenants 58:28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.

Doctrine and Covenants 104:17  For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

The word liberty runs throughout scripture:

2 Corinthians 3:17  …Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Galatians 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

   Ezra Taft Benson also taught about the religious importance of private enterprise:

“The industrial achievements of the U. S. are the result of an economic system which is the antithesis of socialism. Our economic system is called ‘capitalism’ or ‘private enterprise’ and is based on private property rights, the profit motive and competition.

“Both communism and socialism seek to destroy our economic system and replace it with socialism; and their success, whether through evolution by socialism or through revolution by communism or a combination, will destroy not only our economic system, but our liberty, including the ‘civil’ aspects as well . . .

“. . . The ‘common ground’ of socialism and communism is a factor to which the American people should be alerted. Without a clear understanding that communism is socialism, the total threat and menace of the cold war can never be comprehended and fought to victory.”

    When socialism is understood, we will realize that many of the programs advocated, and some of those already adopted in the United States, fall clearly within the category of socialism. What is socialism? It is simply governmental ownership and management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods.

We must never forget that nations may sow the seeds of their own destruction while enjoying unprecedented prosperity.

The socialistic-communist conspiracy to weaken the United States involves attacks on many fronts. To weaken the American free-enterprise economy which outproduced both its enemies and allies during World War II is a high priority target of the communist leaders. Their press and other propaganda media are therefore constantly selling the principles of centralized or federal control of farms, railroads, electric power, schools, steel, maritime shipping, and many other aspects of the economy—but always in the name of public welfare.

This carries out the strategy laid down by the communist masters. John Strachey, a top official in the Labor Socialist party of Great Britain, in his book entitled The Theory and Practice of Socialism said:

   “It is impossible to establish communism as the immediate successor to capitalism. It is accordingly proposed to establish socialism as something which we can put in the place of our present decaying capitalism. Hence, communists work for the establishment of socialism as a necessary transition stage on the road to communism.”

The paramount issue today is liberty against creeping socialism. It is in this spirit that President McKay stated:

“Communism is antagonistic to the American way of life. Its avowed purpose is to destroy belief in God and free enterprise . . . The fostering of full economic freedom lies at the base of our liberties. Only in perpetuating economic freedom can our social, political, and religious liberties be preserved.” (Excerpt from Inaugural address for Dr. Henry A. Dixon, President of USU, delivered by President McKay at the USU fieldhouse, Logan, Utah, Monday, March 18, 1954.)

Again President McKay warned, citing the words of W. C. Mullendore, president of Southern California Edison Company:

“During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism and made strange alliances through which we have become involved in almost continuous hot and cold wars over the whole of the earth. In this retreat from freedom the voices of protesting citizens have been drowned by raucous shouts of intolerance and abuse from those who led the retreat and their millions of gullible youth, who are marching merrily to their doom, carrying banners on which are emblazoned such intriguing and misapplied labels as social justice equality, reform patriotism social welfare” (Gospel Ideals, p. 273).

   It is significant that 118 years ago this month the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism, made this official entry in church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33).

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.

What can priesthood holders do? There are many things we can do to meet the challenge of the adversary in our day.

First, we should become informed about communism, about socialism, and about Americanism. What better way can one become informed than by first studying the inspired words of the prophets and using that as a foundation; against which to test all other material. This is in keeping with the Prophet Joseph Smith’s motto, “When the Lord commands, do it.” (Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 170.)

…We should know enough about American free enterprise to be able to defend it. We should know what makes it possible for six percent of humanity—living under our free economy—to produce about one-half of the earth’s developed wealth each year.

We should know why paternalism, collectivism, or unnecessary federal supervision will hold our standard of living down and reduce productivity just as it has in every country where it has been tried. We should also know why the communist leaders consider socialism the highroad to communism.

Second, we should accept the command of the Lord and treat socialistic communism as the tool of Satan. We should follow the counsel of the President of the Church and resist the influence and policies of the   socialist-communist conspiracy wherever they are found—in the schools, in the churches, in governments, in unions, in businesses, in agriculture.

Third, we should help those who have been deceived or who are misinformed to find the truth. Unless each person who knows the truth will “stand up and speak up” it is difficult for the deceived or confused citizen to find his way back.

Fourth, we should not make the mistake of calling people “communist” just because they happen to be helping the communist cause. Thousands of patriotic Americans, including a few Latter-day Saints, have helped the communists without realizing it. Others have knowingly helped without joining the party. The remedy is to avoid name-calling, but point out clearly and persuasively how they are helping the communists…”  –Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1961

- – - – -

Common Core seems to me to be a socialist program by all the information I have pasted above.  All Common Core participants have to do the same testing, the same teaching and learning, regardless of state sovereignty under the Constitution.  Common Core does not look at individuals’ needs or abilities or desires to innovate.  Individual states cannot change it.  The federal government runs it and has put a 15% cap on changing it. The federal government has partnered with NGA and CCSSO, the groups that have copyrighted the educational program.  It limits math instruction, reduces classic literature instruction, and ends cursive instruction. It was heavily promoted and paid for by Bill Gates, one of the richest men on earth, who is also closely involved with another socialist organization, the United Nations.  It is being held under the radar so that nobody protests; today, most parents and even most teachers do not understand what Common Core is.

  We should get out before it’s too late, before we are too invested financially and educationally, to turn around.

Let Freedom Ring.

What Experts Realize About Common Core Standards: 2012   1 comment

  Is it smart to ignore the mathematical advice of a mathematician so highly regarded that he’s on the NASA advisory council?  Dr. James Milgram, Professor of Math at Stanford University, emeritus, had such serious reservations about the fuzzy math of Common Core (Obama’s educational movement) that Milgram refused to sign off on the standards’ adequacy– as an official member of the Common Core Validation Committee.*

  Dr. Milgram’s NASA Advisory Council bio:  http://www.nasa.gov/offices/nac/members/milgram-bio.html

Dr. Milgram’s specific concerns about Common Core math are recorded in the white paper put out by Pioneer Institute:   http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf

Meanwhile…

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, another Validation Committee** member, felt the same way about the Common Core English standards.

   Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality at the University of Arkansas

Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram not only refused to sign off on the standards, but have gone on to testify with a warning voice to state legislatures and school boards about the inadequacy of the standards.

Dr. Stotsky’s concerns about Common Core can be read here:  http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/Stotsky/Heritage_April_17_2012.pdf  and here http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/sandra-stotsky-offers-utah-the-best-ela-standards-in-the-nation/ and here http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/Stotsky/Comment_for_South_Carolina_April_18_2012.pdf and here http://www.uaedreform.org/People/stotsky.php

Meanwhile…

Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based think tank, gave two thumbs down to Common Core, based on three principles:

1. Utah standards should be broad in substance and application in order to preserve a personalized learning environment for each individual student.

2. Utah standards should be the best possible.

3. Utah standards should be independent, with the ability to be changed at will.

To read the executive summary: http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/Common%20Core%20Executive%20Summary%20FINAL%207-9.pdf

To read the full report:  http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/Common%20Core%20FINAL%207-9.pdf

And meanwhile…

                                            

And  Pioneer Institute,  a Boston-based think tank, partnered with American Principles Project to research the topic and they both gave two thumbs down to Common Core, based on five similar principles:

1. The Common Core Standards Are of Mediocre Quality and Rest on Questionable Philosophies

2. The Common Core Standards/Race to the Top Effort Violates Three Federal Statutes and Eliminates State Autonomy

3. The Common Core Standards Scheme Requires a Governance System that Will Further Impair State and Parental Rights

4. States and Their Taxpayers Will Incur Substantial Costs to implement Common Core

5. The Common Core Standards System Intrudes on Student and Family Privacy

                          Full text of formal white paper:  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf

                                 Pioneer’s blog:   http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/blog/news/handwaving-away-opposition-to-the-national-standards/

And meanwhile…

    Pennsylvania’s bipartisan Commonwealth Education Organization has truckloads of links to articles on Common Core, that display why so many nationally respected education experts are sounding an alarm about Common Core:   http://www.ceopa.org/education-standards.aspx .

Happy Reading:

Common Core Standards

Dr. Bill Evers of the Hoover Institution discusses how the education is turning into a federal power grab that has profound effects for America’s children. While most advanced countries expect their children to learn algebra in the 8th grade, the federal government is setting a 9th grade standard. Is the new math worse than the old math? Is the Obama Administration deliberating setting lower standards for your children? Find out as Alexis Garcia brings you the latest from the front lines of US education policy.  >>link to video>>

*Summer 2012             THE COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS             “I believe the Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government.” >>read more>>
*August 7, 2012             SOLVING THE TEXTBOOK-COMMON CORE CONUNDRUM             “Educational publishers have the resources to create comprehensive and effective materials that could significantly support teachers’ efforts to realize the promise of the new standards. Empowering well-informed adoption teams to make intelligent selections of effective instructional materials and then having teachers use them in the classroom are key steps in making the necessary changes to implement the new standards with fidelity.” >>read more>>
*August 6, 2012             UTAH DROPS OUT OF CONSORTIUM DEVELOPING COMMON CORE TESTS             “The state school board decided to withdraw Friday from a consortium of states working to develop tests based on new Common Core academic standards, after months of pressure from some conservatives.” >>read more>>
*Aug. 3, 2012             INDIANA SUPERINTENDENT: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NATIONALIZED COMMON CORE STANDARDS             “At a Tea Party gathering last month, Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett expressed his concern with the growing federal overreach of Common Core education standards. ‘This administration has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach,’ he said. ‘The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.’ ” >>read more>>
July 24, 2012             DON’T BUY THE SNAKE OIL OF COMMON CORE             “…the nation’s teachers will find it difficult to implement these standards. And that the training they received in the nation’s education schools is one of the major sources of their difficulty…The very effort to develop the national standards that have been sprung upon this country is a response (however poorly thought out and executed) to the dismal results of the ideas about curriculum and instruction prospective teachers and administrators have been taught by our education schools for over half a century.” >>read more>>
July 20, 2012             MILGRAM ON COMMON CORE vs. INDIANA MATH STANDARDS             Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University answers some questions about the Common Core Standards. >>read more>>             Related article:             July 17, 2012             JIM MILGRAM ON THE COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS >>read more>>
July 19, 2012             COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IS HEAVY ON THE ‘COMMON’             “The Common Core seems to create a façade of academic rigor to hide the perpetuation – or even proliferation – of mediocrity. The new standards supposedly will produce students who are ‘ready for first-year credit-bearing, post-secondary coursework in mathematics and English without the need for remediation.’ This suggests that all post-secondary coursework is created equal.” >>read more>>
July 17, 2012             STANDARDIZED TESTS OF TOMORROW BEHIND SCHEDULE, ACCORDING TO INSIDER SURVEY “(A) new survey, … suggests that ‘education insiders’ aren’t so sure that the one of the new tests will resolve all of the issues with standardized testing. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed reported that they believe the Smarter, Balanced Assessment Coalition one of the two state-based consortia developing the tests, is on the wrong track.” >>read more>>
June 16, 2012             ROMNEY CAN SCORE BY HITTING OBAMA ON ACADEMIC STANDARDS “Where will the states get the money to pay for CCS? No one knows, except that it won’t come from the feds. States that are laying off thousands of teachers and cutting school days are expected to mortgage themselves to subsidize the publishing and testing industries. And for what? The Brookings Institute says the net benefit of the new standards for American students will be zero. Academic standards, by themselves, don’t do much.” >>read more>>
May 23, 2012             DESIGNING COMMON CORE TESTS FOR ALL PROVING A CHALLENGE             “Although more students with disabilities than ever are included in state testing programs, the task of giving these students high-quality assessments in the future that measure how adept they are at mastering the Common Core State Standards seems to have an endless number of hurdles to overcome before students face these new assessments in the 2014-15 school year.” >>read more>>
May 16, 2012             INCOMING COLLEGE BOARD PRESIDENT WANTS S.A.T. TO REFLECT COMMON CORE             “With $360 million in federal Race to the Top funds, all but five states are collaborating, in two groups, to design tests for those standards. Public institutions of higher education have pledged support to the idea of using a “college-readiness” cutoff score on those tests to allow students to skip remedial work and enroll in entry-level, credit-bearing courses. Leaders of that effort have been careful to emphasize that the common assessments will be used for course placement, not college admissions.” >>read more>>             Related article:             May 21, 2012             THE WRONG LESSON ON NATIONAL STANDARDS “The next time you would like to opine about why you and others should set national standards, curricula, and testing for America’s 50 million schoolchildren, I would ask you to reflect on your and your peers’ lack of even the most basic understanding of our Founding principles.” >>read more>>
May 10, 2012             NATIONAL CURRICULUM PLAN MAY FACE CHALLENGE “An influential group of conservative state lawmakers is on the verge of proposing model legislation to block the Common core national education standards that have been heavily promoted by the Obama administration.” >>read more>>
May 9, 2012             IS THE COMMON CORE JUST A DISTRACTION?             “One interpretation of the emphasis on developing the Common Core curriculum is that these debates provide a convenient distraction from potentially more intractable fights over bigger reform ideas like teacher evaluations, expanded school choice, or improved accountability systems.” >>read more>>
May 6, 2012             COMMON CORE RESEARCH IS ‘JUST ANOTHER PIECE OF MISLEADING ADVOCACY’             “What Dr. Schmidt presented is just another piece of misleading advocacy research, brought to you and paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and channeled through the friendly services of Achieve (which received a recent $375K grant for advocacy from the Gates Foundation), the Foundation for Excellence in Education (which received a recent $1M grant for advocacy from the Gates Foundation), CCSSO (which received $9.5M last year from the Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core), and Chiefs for Change (funded by the Foundation for Excellence in Education).” >>read more>>
May 3, 2012             COLORADO BOARD OF ED REJECTS ADOPTION OF MULTI-STATE TESTING             “Colorado Board of Education isn’t the only body expressing concern of federal intrusion into education decisions traditionally made by states and local communities, and that sees national test-drafting and curriculum-drafting groups being “clearly all about” the eventual adoption of a national curriculum.” >>read more>>
May 2, 2012             CONTROVERSY OVER COMMON CORE SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SUBSIDING             “As the adoption of Common Core Curriculum is drawing closer, the critics on both sides of the political divide are attacking the efforts. Although the national standards that became the CC were envisioned as voluntary, after the Obama Administration made their adoption a prerequisite to the further granting of the No Child Left Behind waivers, conservative lawmakers, who saw the CC as federal overreach, started protesting.” >>read more>>
May 1, 2012             SELF-DEALING AMONG EDUCATION OFFICIALS             “I fully agree with Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution who has been saying that in most instances higher standards don’t correlate with higher student achievement, but those states (like Massachusetts) that have used standards to drive the iron triangle of curricula, accountability and teacher quality, win big on student achievement.” >>read more>>
April 30, 2012             COMMON CORE STANDARDS DRIVE WEDGE IN EDUCATION CIRCLES             “A high-profile effort by a pair of national education groups to strengthen, simplify and focus the building blocks of elementary and secondary education is finally making its way into schools. But two years ahead of its planned implementation, critics on both the right and left are seizing upon it. A few educators say the new standards, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, are untested, and one Republican governor wants to block the measure, saying it’s a federal intrusion into local decisions.” >>read more>>
April 29, 2012             BATTLE LINES DRAWN IN COMMON CORE STANDARDS: WHOLE LANGUAGE VS. PHONICS             “(A) big argument has erupted over the Common Core Standards between those who know it is crucial for students to achieve mastery in sounding out words to the automaticity level vs. those whole language proponents who rely upon their prereading strategies (i.e., metacognitive strategies) that actually eliminate the need for students to be able to read the text.” >>read more>>
April 26, 2012             SARAH PALIN WAS A PROPHET ABOUT OBAMA’S EDUCATION TAKEOVER             “Sarah Palin was the first to recognize the problem: By participating in President Obama’s signature education initiative, the Common Core Standards, Alaska would lose control over its own curriculum.” >>read more>>
April 25, 2012             CONCERN ABOUNDS OVER TEACHERS’ PREPAREDNESS FOR STANDARDS, AS MANY TEACHERS NOT READY FOR THE COMMON CORE             “many teachers won’t be inclined to actually change what they are doing until they become familiar with the assessments aligned to the new standards.” >>read more>>
April 24, 2012             MATH TEACHING OFTEN DOESN’T FIT WITH NEW STANDARDS             “Many mathematics teachers are teaching topics at higher or lower grade levels—and for more years—than the Common Core State Standards recommend, according to preliminary results from new research. That finding suggests that when the new standards are fully implemented, many math teachers could face significant shifts in what they will teach.” >>read more>>
April 23, 2012             WHY STATES SHOULD HOP OFF THE NATIONAL STANDARDS BANDWAGON             “States across the nation are doing just that: reforming education by putting control back into the hands of parents and local leaders and empowering them with school choice. Common Core education standards would undermine these efforts by giving greater control to Washington. States that have adopted Common Core standards should reverse course and push back on federal control of standards and curriculum, ensuring that the needs of students—not Washington—come first.” >>read more>>
April 23, 2012             COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS FAIL TO ADD UP             “The push to nationalize the content taught in public schools across the country should be of great concern to state leaders. The Common Core national standards effort represents a massive federal overreach into what is taught in local schools, further removing parents from the educational decision-making process, and likely to cost state taxpayers $16 billion over seven years just to implement.” >>read more>>
April 19, 2012             ANTI-COMMON CORE FLIER HITS DELEGATE MAILBOXES             Stakeholders in Utah fight the Common Core standards participation by their state. >>read more>>
April 18, 2012             DOES THE COMMON CORE MATTER?             “On the basis of past experience with standards, the most reasonable prediction is that the common core will have little to no effect on student achievement.” >>read more>>
April 16, 2012             ROBOT ESSAY GRADING “A direct comparison between human graders and software designed to score student essays achieved virtually identical levels of accuracy, with the software in some cases proving to be more reliable, a groundbreaking study has found.” >>read more>>
Related article:             April 30, 2012             ROBOT GRADERS BEHAVING BADLY “In Concord, MA, there was a print shop that had a sign: “Good, Fast, Cheap: CHOOSE TWO, the point being you could not have all three. It seems clear to me that the Deeper Learning Project of the Hewlett Foundation is looking for writing assessment that is fast and cheap. It is hard to beat 16,000 “scores” in 20 seconds.” The interview goes on to discuss just how “good” it can be. >>read more>>
April 16, 2012             STATES MUST REJECT NATIONAL EDUCATION STANDARDS WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME             “States and local school districts can have success improving their standards and assessments without surrendering control to Washington. Increasing transparency of outcomes in a way that is meaningful to parents and taxpayers, providing flexibility for local school leaders, and advancing systemic reforms that include school choice options for families will go a long way in improving academic outcomes while at the same time preserving local control of education.” >>read more>>
April 12, 2012             OBAMA’S 2013 EDUCATION BUDGET: COSTLY FEDERAL CONTROL EXPANSION             “At a time when American taxpayers are calling for fiscal restraint in Washington, including restraint at the Department of Education, the budget and blueprint create a path to continued federal profligacy. These are proposals that exacerbate the existing bureaucratic maze of federal programs and further remove educational decision-making authority from state and local policymakers.” >>read more>>
March 30, 2012             AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE GASS: THOSE PESKY LITTLE THINGS CALLED LAWS “It’s a very troubling development in our democracy, but especially in K-12 education, which is supposed to teach our schoolchildren about the basic tenants of the rule of law. When unelected DC education trade groups and private foundations are willing to work with federal officials to either violate or circumvent federal laws, something has gone seriously wrong. These laws that proscribe the limits of national standards, testing, and curricula are not just a list of recommendations, but clear and longstanding prohibitions.” >>read more>>
March 25, 2012             THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN (TEACHER-PROOF RIDES AGAIN)             “The process of implementing the Common Core Standards is under way in districts across the country as almost every state has now signed onto the Common Core, (some of them agreeing to do in hopes of winning Race to the Top money from Washington D.C.). The initiative is intended to ensure that students in all parts of the country are learning from the same supposedly high standards. As we looked through the exemplar, examined a lesson previously created by some of our colleagues, and then began working on our own Core-related lessons, I was struck by how out of sync the Common Core is with what I consider to be good teaching. I have not yet gotten to the “core” of the Core, but I have scratched the surface, and I am not encouraged.” >>read more>>
March 2012             AN UNCOMMON APPROACH TO COSTLY COMMON CORE EDUCATION STANDARDS “Almost every state in the nation has rushed to join the Common Core curriculum movement with hardly a thought of the cost, financial or otherwise. In most cases, however, the ‘states’ have barely been involved. Simply put, massive educational bureaucracies have signed on to the Common Core and have expected, and generally received, no interference from the three branches of government….The Common Core provides a perfect example of how quickly a state can lose control of its K-12 educational system. Obviously, curriculum is central to education.” >>read more>>
Summer 2012             THE COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS: ARE THEY A STEP FORWARD OR BACKWARD?             “… Common Core marks the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States. No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government. Moreover, there are organizations that have reasons to work for lower and less-demanding standards, specifically teachers unions and professional teacher organizations. While they may not admit it, they have a vested interest in lowering the accountability bar for their members.” >>read more>>
March 1, 2012             THINK COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ARE STATE LED? GET THE FACTS             A history of how Common Core Standards have been in the works for years and where it all began. >>read more>>
February 2012 NATIONAL COST OF ALIGNING STATES AND LOCALITIES TO THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS             “Implementation of the Common Core standards is likely to represent substantial additional expense for most states. While a handful of states have begun to analyze these costs, most states have signed on to the initiative without a thorough, public vetting of the costs and benefits.” >>read more>>
February 27, 2012             MEET THE CHILDREN WHERE THEY ARE…AND KEEP THEM THERE             “Say what you will about CCSS, but there are three big ideas embedded within the English Language Arts standards that deserve to be at the very heart of literacy instruction in U.S. classrooms, with or with or without standards themselves. ” >>read more>>
February 24, 2012             THE CORE CONUNDRUM             “Whether you think that is a worthy goal is beside the point. Over the last fifty years Congress has repeatedly told the executive branch of the U.S. government “keep out” of the school curriculum.” >>read more>>
February 24, 2012             ‘SAY I THREATENED YOU AGAIN, AND YOU’LL REALLY BE SORRY!’             “Why is Duncan lashing out? Quite possibly, he’s reacting to a recent spate of research and commentary attacking the Common Core based on its highly dubious legality, quality, and odds of success.” >>read more>>
February 23, 2012             WHY COMMON CORE STANDARDS WILL FAIL             “The idea that common standards might create efficiencies and motivations that raise achievement is disproved by what has happened in the many states that created their own standards. Those states still have some schools scoring very well and others scoring miserably. That variation has not declined, defying happy talk from Common Core advocates.” >>read more>>
February 16, 2012             TEAM OBAMA HIJACKS SCHOOLS’ CORE STANDARDS             “Last week, two of the top former lawyers for the federal Department of Education released a peer-reviewed report showing the administration violating or evading three separate federal laws by pressuring states to adopt a national core curriculum. Those laws exist for good reason: Control of educational content by the national government risks creating a national system of indoctrination, without local recourse to diversity of thought.” >>read more>>
January 2012             COMMON CORE STANDARDS AREN’T CHEAP             “Numerous states currently struggling in the midst of steep education budget cuts may have more fiscal problems than they realize. Though 45 states rushed to adopt Common Core standards in the past two years, many have not taken the time to evaluate what the adoption of these standards will cost them. States that jumped on the Common Core bandwagon in hopes of securing Obama administration grant money may find themselves increasingly strapped for cash in the next few years as implementation costs begin to accumulate.” >>read more>>
January 2012             KENTUCKY TEACHERS SHOW LITTLE PROGRESS UNDER COMMON CORE             “A new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality has claimed that the state of Kentucky has failed to show considerable improvements in the two years since it implemented Common Core standards.” >>read more>>
December 19, 2011             NATIONALIZATION TRAIN STARTS GOING OFF THE TRACK             “As the train moves further along and the full implications of nationalizing key aspects of the education system become more obvious to everyone, more and more people will jump that train. Without significant coercion it will be very hard to keep everyone on board until they reach the station where standards, assessments, and curriculum are all centrally imposed.” >>read more>>
December 4, 2011             CHOKING ON THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS             “In reality, then, these standards were written by highly educated adults who do not teach children at present and, possibly, never did. Unconnected to the scientific research on children’s intellectual and emotional development and the everyday realities of children’s needs, interests and behavior, these writers relied only the folklore of academia, fantasizing not only what children should be expected to know and do, but also what adults need to function in actual colleges and workplaces.” >>read more>>
November 28, 2011             IMPLEMENTING COMMON CORE COULD COST STATES $30 BILLION “Many states have not evaluated the cost of implementing the Core, notes a 2011 McGraw-Hill education brief, but will be working through implementation in the next three years, so by 2014 most changes will be in place….Beyond the taxpayer-paid costs of implementing the Common Core, states are weighing the perhaps even greater cost of ceding education authority to federal control.” >>read more>>
November 2, 2011             OBAMA ED AIMS AT U.S. TAKEOVER             “Home School Legal Defense A’s federal relations staff have read this 868-page bill, and we believe that while it does not directly impact homeschool freedom, the bill will 1) increase the federal role in education at the expense of state, local and parental control, and 2) will greatly increase the pressure on states to align their curriculum and standards, resulting in de facto national education standards…While some specifics that could be included in a final bill remain unclear, ‘the trend of national standards could lead to homeschoolers losing the freedom to choose the curriculum for their children.’…national standards would remove control from local boards and districts and allow ‘unelected bureaucrats, not parents’ to decide what subjects should be taught.” >>read more>>
October 20, 2011             THE MARXIST REDISTRIBUTION OF TEACHERS AND FORCED CCSS “Good news for schools on getting rid of AYP but if you’re successful, it’s time to chop that school up and send some of those teachers to failing schools to make sure they get quality teachers too. Oh, and don’t miss the great news that the Feds aren’t mandating national standards, they’ll just force you to be on “college- and career-ready” standards. Gee, I wonder where we can find national standards that will fit that bill? Oh yeah, the CCSS are available for use.” >>read more>>
October 11, 2011             NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION             NFRW passed this resolution unanimously to ‘Defeat National Standards for State Schools’ >>read more>>
September 26, 2011             WITH WAIVERS, NATIONAL STANDARDS ANYTHING BUT VOLUNTARY             “Now, the conditions-based NCLB waivers, with their requirement for national standards, get to the heart of the matter: The Common Core State Standards Initiative has been pushed as far as it has gotten in large part by federal dollars and pressure. This push for national standards and tests has become a federal enterprise—and a dangerous direction for our nation’s education system.” >>read more>>
September 21, 2011             JAY GREENE’S TESTIMONY ON NATIONAL STANDARDS BEFORE US HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE “The progress we were making in education, however, stalled when we started significantly centralizing education and reducing the extent of choice and competition among districts. The policies, practices, and funding of schools has increasingly shifted to the state and national governments and greater uniformity has been imposed by unionization. The enemy of high standards and improving outcomes is centralization.” >>read more>>
September 14, 2011             SENATOR RUBIO TO SECRETARY DUNCAN: CAJOLING STATES TO ADOPT OBAMA EDUCATION REFORMS UNCONSTITUTIONAL             Rubio: “This initiative is an overstep of authority that undermines existing law, and violates the constitutional separation of powers.” >>read more>>
September 4, 2011             NATIONAL STANDARDS WON’T HELP, WON’T WORK             “They are executing plans for instruction in all grades and, eventually, common assessments in math and English language arts. It sounds great. But it won’t help and won’t work. Such specific standards stifle creativity and conflict with a two-century American preference for local decision-making about schools….We should focus on better teaching methods and better training of teachers, as well as school structures that help educators work more as teams.” >>read more>>
August 22, 2011             THE STEALTH STRATEGY OF NATIONAL STANDARDS “It was also interesting that once I pressed people to say why they supported nationalization out loud, the flaws and limitations of their arguments became apparent — even to themselves. Having to articulate your reasons can serve as a useful check on whether people have really thought something through.” >>read more>>
August 10, 2011             FEDERAL EDUCATION AGENDA DUMBED DOWN             “There seem to be few limits on how far the administration will go to foist its ill-conceived national standards upon states. That apparently includes slamming the door on the only escape hatch available to countless underprivileged students. What began with great promise has devolved into disaster.” >>read more>>
August 10, 2011             SCHOOLS MISLEAD BY DUMBING DOWN THE MEANING OF ‘PROFICIENT’             By offering waivers and removing the “failing” school label, the Education Department hopes to give states more flexibility and encourage them to raise standards by removing the risk they’ll be stigmatized by low test scores. But raising the bar isn’t the cure-all for states and school districts: Their students should be expected to reach it.” >>read more>>
August 4, 2011             EDUCATION TO RAISE TECHNOLOGY CONSUMERS INSTEAD OF TECHNOLOGY CREATORS             “This framework does not expect our students to be able to do any science, or to be able to solve any science problem. This framework simply teaches our students science appreciation, rather than science. It expects our students to become good consumers of science and technology, rather than prepare them to be the discoverers of science and creators of technology.” >>read more>>
June 24, 2011             CONFUSION OVER NATIONAL STANDARDS “If, as Bush and Klein argue, most states have woefully inadequate standards, isn’t it likely that the central bureaucracy you’re creating will gravitate to mediocrity rather than excellence? And isn’t that just what Common Core represents, given that its standards for what count as “college ready” are actually set below what you need to even apply to, much less succeed at, most colleges?” >>read more>>
June 2011             COMMON CORE SPARKS WAR “Despite all the financial inducements to cede state educational control to federal bureaucrats, counter-manifesto signatory Shelby Steele of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution urged Americans to consider the long-term consequences. ‘Decentralization has been the engine of educational innovation. We shouldn’t trade our federalist birthright for a national-curriculum mess of pottage,’ he said.” >>read more>>
June 2011             “COUNTER-MANIFESTO” CHALLENGES COMMON CORE STANDARDS “A coalition of more than 150 education reformers, state and federal policymakers past and present, teachers, and opinion leaders has released a manifesto opposing a state and federal government effort to establish a national curriculum and testing system.” >>read more>>
May 23, 2011             THE CORE BETWEEN THE STATES “ ‘Common Core’ is the name attached to 12 standards for mathematics and English Language Arts/Reading that 40-plus states have now adopted. These standards are to guide the development of common assessments and curricula for these states. A good many colleges and universities also use the name “common core” for the mandatory part of their curricula, but the capitalized Common Core is very much its own thing.” >>read more>>
May 9, 2011AGAINST A NATIONAL CURRICULUM “A national curriculum backed by national tests will stifle innovation, freeze the status quo into place, end state and local control of schooling and “impose a one-size-fits-all model on America’s students,” argues Closing the Door on Innovation, signed by 100 education and public policy leaders.” >>read more>>CLOSING THE DOOR ON INNOVATION: WHY ONE NATIONAL CURRICULUM IS BAD FOR AMERICA “A Critical Response to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and             the U.S. Department of Education’s Initiative             to Develop a National Curriculum and National Assessments             Based on National Standards” >>read more>>
April 6, 2011             STANDARDS OVERREACH, OR ACCORDING TO PLAN? “(J)ust by defining the goal you are driving curricula, stating what must be taught. Indeed, there would be no point to the standards if the intention weren’t in some way to affect curricula — what is actually taught in the schools.” >>read more>>
April 5, 2011 SCHOOL DISTRICT PETITIONS LEGISLATURE TO OPT OUT OF COMMON EDUCATION STANDARDS”A Massachusetts school committee has petitioned their legislature to opt out of Federal education standards which most states have adopted in attempt to get federal funding during lean budget times.” >>read more>>
September 27, 2010SCHOOL REFORM’S NEXT FRONTIERE. D. Hirsch says: Translate new standards into good curriculum that puts reading first >>read more>>
September 17, 2010             COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A BAD IDEA “Children will never be adequately educated under a system run by bureaucrats handing out money and the teachers unions (the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers) spending the money in the classroom. The NEA and the AFT also have extraordinary millions of dollars extracted from their members to lobby for policies they want to have enacted by Congress, state legislatures and school boards and also to elect their favored political candidates.” >>read more<<
September 15, 2010             ARE WE READY FOR TESTING UNDER CCSS? “There’s a bumpy road ahead on the way to a successful Common Core State Standards (CCSS) movement. Already states and districts are examining the match between current standards, what they currently teach at various grade levels, and the CCSS. Of particular significance is that online tests will become the norm in the years ahead for many states.” >>read more<<
September 9, 2010             MARK YOUR CALENDARS “September 9 was the date that Checker Finn and the Fordham Institute began to turn against the national standards movement they so enthusiastically championed.” >>read more<<
September 9, 2010             SHAKY NEW STANDARDS FOR COLLEGE READINESS “It is not too early to ask what will happen when high school sophomores or juniors pass these high stakes tests and are declared to be “college-ready.” Will two or four year public colleges be required to place them in credit-bearing freshman courses if these students want to avoid meeting high school graduation requirements? Probably. It is also likely that college instructors will find themselves compelled, for the sake of survival, to adopt texts at the middle and high school level of difficulty in order to ensure that these “college-ready” students can read what is assigned, do the mathematics in them, and pass their college freshman courses.” >>read more<<
September 2010             THE DEBATE OVER COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR K-12 IS HEATING UP “Although the idea of common standards at the state level has long been talked about by educators and policymakers, the movement received its most significant support last year. That was when the Common Core States Standards Initiative was announced, promoting the same set of standards for use in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. The initiative won the backing of the National Governors Association as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers. Governors and chief state school officers from 48 states promised state-led efforts to develop core standards that will be based on research.” >>read more<<
August 25, 2010             THE NATIONAL STANDARDS COME WITH NO GUARANTEE “These standards and the upcoming assessments are a huge and long-shot gamble. That may be okay for a state and localities to do, when they are picking up 90 percent of the tab for K-12 education. It’s another thing when the feds pay a mere 10 percent of the cost of educating our kids and then insist that we be their guinea pig.” >>read more<<
August 12, 2010             WHAT CAN PARENTS EXPECT TO SEE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS CLASSROOMS AFTER COMMON CORE’S STANDARDS BEGIN TO BE IMPLEMENTED? “A Worst Case Scenario—But Probably Not Far from Reality Common Core’s ELA standards assume that if English teachers are compelled to assign a lot of informational texts, students will learn how to read them. They won’t if these teachers don’t teach close, analytical reading.” >>read more<<
August 10, 2010             THE QUIET REVOLUTION DESERVES LOUD OPPOSITION “This “quiet revolution” isn’t about better educational options for American children. It’s about control, pure and simple.” >>read more<<
August 5, 2010             THE ASCENT OF AMERICA’S CHOICE & THE CONTINUING DESCENT OF AMERICA’S HIGH SCHOOLS “With an additional $30,000,000 to come to Marc Tucker’s NCEE from the USED’s “competition” for assessment consortia grants, his hare-brained scheme for enticing high school sophomores or juniors deemed “college-ready” by the results of the Cambridge University-adapted “Board” exams that he plans to pilot in 10 states (including Massachusetts now) comes closer to reality.” >>read more<<
August 4, 2010             ACQUISITION NEWS IN THE WORLD OF STANDARDS, TESTS “Some players in the common-standards-and-assessments arena have announced a business deal.” >>read more<<
July 30, 2010-08-06             PROFESSOR JAMES MILGRAM’S REVIEW OF COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS             Professor Milgram’s Full Review with Detailed Grade Level Comments >>read more<<
July 29, 2010             STOTSKY ON THE COMMON CORE VOTE IN MASSACHUSETTS “There needs to be more public attention to the quality of Common Core’s ELA (and mathematics) standards. There also needs to be public attention to the methodology of the reports of several national organizations all claiming to show that Common Core’s ELA standards are among the best in this country, all being used to sway the vote of our state boards of education.” >>read more<<
July 29, 2010 ‘HARD TRUTH’ ON EDUCATION NEW, HIGHER STANDARDS FOR PROFICIENCY ALTER VIEW OF YEARS OF PERCEIVED GAINS “Erasing years of academic progress, state education officials on Wednesday acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of children had been misled into believing they were proficient in English and math, when in fact they were not.” >>read more<<
June 2, 2010             NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION & STATE EDUCATION CHIEFS LAUNCH COMMON STATE ACADEMIC STANDARDS “Today, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a set of state-led education standards, the Common Core State Standards, at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, GA. The English-language arts and mathematics standards for grades K-12 were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including content experts, states, teachers, school administrators and parents. The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America’s children for success in college and work.” >>read more>>Math standards English Language standards Opposing view:             *May 21, 2010             WHY NATIONAL STANDARDS WON’T FIX AMERICAN EDUCATION: MISALIGNMENT OF POWER AND INCENTIVES “Abstract: American education needs to be fixed, but national standards and testing are not the way to do it. The problems that need fixing are too deeply ingrained in the power and incentive structure of the public education system, and the renewed focus on national standards threatens to distract from the fundamental issues. Besides, federal control over education has been growing since the 1960s as both standards and achievement have deteriorated. Heritage Foundation education policy experts Lindsey Burke and Jennifer Marshall explain why centralized standard-setting will likely result in the standardization of mediocrity, not excellence.” >>read more>>
May 10, 2010             DO YOU BELIEVE US NOW? “Pearson will not only provide the curriculum and test materials but will also provide teacher training and community support. I cannot even imagine how much the entire Pearson package will cost a local school district, but it will undoubtedly be a small fortune.” >>read more<<
December 29, 2009             Red Flags, National PTA, and Common Core Standards “Some general and well written articles have been published recently with serious concerns about the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), a federal push to nationalize mathematics and reading standards in American public schools.* Other, more specific, articles have focused on the National PTA’s involvement. These reports should send an alarming signal to parents, educators and legislators as that group ‘positions itself as a key player at the front line of education reform” with regards to the CCSSI’.” >>read more>>
December 11, 2009             Alternative Needed to Common Core Standards “The new consortium would endeavor to create better and more rigorous academic standards than those of the CCSSI. These alternative standards will be truly internationally benchmarked. With over twenty per cent of the American population, such a consortium of states would easily qualify as “significant” as well. Such states might even be joined by other states that do not want to embrace the intellectually impoverished and internationally uncompetitive Common Core standards.” >>read more>>
January 6, 2009Racing to National Tests”While everyone in educatorland obsesses over the $4 billion competition among the states for Race to the Top (RTT) funding, the Education Department (ED) is readying a separate competition for less than one-tenth as much money that may nonetheless prove far more consequential for American education over the long term. I am referring to the upcoming announcement of how $350 million will be meted out to “consortia of states” to develop “common assessments” that are aligned with ‘common standards.’ “>>read more>>

January 14, 2010             FIRST, DO NO HARM “We Americans have had an allergy to tackling the content problem at any level—ignoring the fact that somebody (mainly textbook makers) must always be dictating content in the schools, even if it is trivial, fragmented, skills-based content. If the crafters of our standards don’t encourage or require content coherence and cumulativeness (just to name two necessary elements), they will have failed the most basic requirement of this task: First, do no harm. And they will have done little to improve the unacceptable stasis in American education.”>>read more>> January 14, 2010             U.S. COMMON-STANDARDS PUSH BARES UNSETTLED ISSUES “Elected officials and educators have been talking about establishing national, or common, academic standards for at least a half-century…..Some regard nationwide standards as a threat to the United States’ federal system and the widely supported principle of state and local control over curriculum.”>>read more>> January 22, 2010             OBAMA IS BRIBING STATES TO ACCEPT NATIONAL CURRICULUM “School reformers have cheered the Obama administration for using RttT to pressure states to be more receptive to independently managed charter schools and use student test scores in evaluating teachers. But if the feds are calling the shots via standards-setting and enforcement, charter schools will be accountable not to local parents but to Washington power brokers, and teachers will teach to tests manipulated by national special interests and be held accountable for results having nothing to do with academic excellence.”>>read more>> January 31, 2010             EDUCATION’S ‘CORE’             “No one will object if Massachusetts adopts new standards as good as the ones it now has. But draft Common Core standards for English and mathematics released Jan. 13 are unacceptably inferior – not for any “dumbing down,” but because they are incoherent and unusable by real teachers.”>>read more>> February 6, 2010             CRITICS: STANDARDS PUSH THREATENS ED GAINS “Caught between wanting to participate in the process {of helping with national standards} while protecting the high benchmarks already set for Massachusetts students, education officials insist they will settle for nothing less than the rigorous curriculum already in place. Critics, however, worry that the state could find itself pressured by the lure of federal grants and other incentives to adopt the new standards and undermine nearly two decades of achievements that have lead to national and international accolades.”>>read more>>

**The full list of the members of the Common Core validation committee included:

  • Bryan Albrecht, President, Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Arthur Applebee, Distinguished Professor, Center on English Learning & Achievement, School of Education, University at Albany, SUNY
  • Sarah Baird, 2009 Arizona Teacher of the Year, K-5 Math Coach, Kyrene School District
  • Jere Confrey, Joseph D. Moore Distinguished University Professor, William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, College of Education, North Carolina State University
  • David T. Conley, Professor, College of Education, University of Oregon CEO, Educational Policy Improvement Center (Co-Chair)
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • Alfinio Flores, Hollowell Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Delaware
  • Brian Gong, Executive Director, Center for Assessment (Co-Chair)
  • Kenji Hakuta, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University
  • Kristin Buckstad Hamilton, Teacher, Battlefield Senior High School, NEA
  • Feng-Jui Hsieh, Associate Professor of the Mathematics Department, National Taiwan Normal University
  • Mary Ann Jordan, Teacher, New York City Dept of Education, AFT
  • Jeremy Kilpatrick, Regents Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Georgia
  • Dr. Jill Martin, Principal, Pine Creek High School
  • Barry McGaw, Professor and Director of Melbourne Education Research Institute, University of Melbourne; Director for Education, OECD
  • James Milgram, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
  • David Pearson, Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Steve Pophal, Principal, DC Everest Junior High
  • Stanley Rabinowitz, Senior Program Director, Assessment and Standards Development Services, WestEd
  • Lauren Resnick, Distinguished University Professor, Psychology and Cognitive Science, Learning Sciences and Education Policy, University of Pittsburgh
  • Andreas Schleicher, Head, Indicators and Analysis Division of the OECD Directorate for Education
  • William Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University
  • Catherine Snow, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Christopher Steinhauser, Superintendent of Schools, Long Beach Unified School District
  • Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality, University of Arkansas
  • Dorothy Strickland, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Professor of Ed., Emerita, Distinguished Research Fellow, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers, The State University of NJ
  • Martha Thurlow, Director, National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
  • Norman Webb, Senior Research Scientist, Emeritus, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin
  • Dylan William, Deputy Director, Institute of Education, University of London

I cannot find each member’s analysis of the common standards.  But I did find out that Linda Darling-Hammond is an Obama insider and that she approved of Common Core. http://gothamschools.org/2008/11/19/its-official-linda-darling-hammond-heading-obama-policy-team/   The search goes on.

We Are Not Supposed To Sit This One Out   Leave a comment

Why do so many people avoid politics?

What do we suppose our Heavenly Father feels about politics?

What do the holy scriptures and prophets say about politics?

–A  lot.

There are detailed lessons on:

– to name a few vital political topics.

   U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, who became the President and prophet of the church, said:

“The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so 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. http://youtu.be/PJf9Rc78vb0

Some churches, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remain politically neutral while urging its members to be politically active.  Why?  From the church website: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org.uk/official-statement/political-neutrality

     The Church encourages members to be informed about issues and to vote in elections and expects members to engage in the political process in an informed manner.

The Church does not promote political parties or attempt to direct any government leader.

Yet, the Church reserves the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences.

So we are expected to study politics carefully.  We are expected to act on what we learn from studying.

We are not supposed to sit this one out.

Liberty depends on our ability to recognize what is going on around us.

The Truth, Mr. Secretary of Education: Fact-Checking Arne Duncan   Leave a comment

Lindsey Burke of Heritage Foundation exposes misrepresentations of the financial/educational truth.

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/09/10/fact-check-secretary-arne-duncan-on-education-cuts/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email;utm_campaign=EdReview

FACT CHECK: Secretary Arne Duncan on Education Cuts

Lindsey Burke September 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

  During remarks to attendees in Charlotte last week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan claimed that the budget passed by the House of Representatives would mean “fewer teachers in the classroom, fewer resources for poor kids and students with disabilities, [and] fewer after school programs.”

However, the House budget does not designate specific cuts to K-12 education programs; it simply calls for reductions in non-defense discretionary spending over the next decade. Duncan, as he did in testimony earlier this year, is using unspecified spending reductions suggested in the budget to assume reductions in specific education programs—something the budget proposal does not do.

But even if federal education spending were to be cut by 20 percent—a goal worth pursuing—would that mean fewer teachers, fewer resources for poor and disabled students, and fewer after-school programs, as Duncan suggests?

Since the 1970s, federal per-pupil expenditures have more than doubled (after adjusting for inflation). Those increases haven’t all gone to the classroom or toward teacher salaries. Much of that money has gone toward expanding bureaucracy and non-teaching administrative positions in our nation’s public schools.

From 1970 to 2010, student enrollment increased a modest 7.8 percent, while the number of non-teaching staff positions increased 138 percent. But the number of teachers has also been increasing steadily over the decades.

In fact, if preliminary data from the National Center for Education Statistics is accurate, the student-teacher ratio in our nation’s public schools, at 15.2 to 1, will be lower this year than at any other point in history. Since 1970, the number of public school teachers increased 60 percent, while the number of students increased by only about 7 percent.

   Duncan also claimed in his remarks that “10 million students could see their Pell Grants reduced, putting higher education further out of reach.”

What has put higher education “further out of reach” is ever-escalating college costs, which federal subsidies have exacerbated over the years. The House-approved budget aims to better target Pell funding to the low-income students it was originally designed to help while limiting the growth of the grants.

  There is ample room to trim bureaucracy at the Department of Education. And it would be bad policy to continue blindly increasing federal education spending. The Obama Administration has been on an education spending binge for the past three and a half years: a nearly $100 billion bonus to the department in 2009 through the “stimulus,” a $10 billion public education bailout the year after that, and now a proposed $70 billion education budget (up from $68 billion) with $60 billion in supplemental spending.

Taxpayers cannot afford to continue financing the federal government’s failed experiment in education intervention. Like most federal policy areas, some fiscal restraint is needed in education spending.

A better approach would be to give states more control of their share of federal education funding and allow for flexibility. Schools would get far more bang for their bucks with flexibility than by continuing to filter money through 150 bureaucratic federal education programs.

Wall Street Journal & New American Report: Tens of Thousands Protest Communist Curriculum Push in Hong Kong Schools   1 comment

   HONG KONG     BEIJING

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443779404577641371073452032.html  -”Friction Fuels Big Turnout” by Te-Ping Chen

The Wall Street Journal (by Te-Ping Chen) reports that tens of thousands of citizens protested Friday night after a week of hunger strikes and demonstrations at Hong Kong’s government offices. Why?

Because Beijing –not Hong Kong, mind you, but Beijing, communist China– was planning to change the local curriculum in schools.  Sound familiar at all?  Big, (and distant) government usurps local authority to take control over students’ educational standards? Hmmmm.

The article goes on to explain that “public discontent with issues like school curriculum” was one reason for the protests.  The government plan would require schools to add ‘moral and national’ education to curricula.  (Whose version of morality? Whose version of patriotism? Communist China’s, of course.)

One 63-year-old retired English teacher had fasted for more than 170 hours to defy the administration’s plans to teach what has been dubbed “patriotism” (toward Beijing) in Hong Kong schools..

 -  -  -  -  -  -

   Meanwhile, The New American Magazine also reports on the Chinese curriculum push to Hong Kong: http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/asia/item/12785-hong-kong-votes-amid-protests-against-beijings-communist-%E2%80%9Cbrainwashing%E2%80%9D

“…Despite the apparent retreat on the brainwashing scheme, many analysts and activists are still not convinced that the education battle is over. “We are also worried about whether the education bureau will funnel lots of funding to encourage the schools to teach the curriculum,” activist Yip Po Lam with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese was quoted as saying.

The Civil Alliance Against National Education, which strongly opposed the brainwashing scheme, welcomed the decision to drop the mandatory curriculum as well. However, a spokesperson for the organization still expressed numerous concerns about it even after officially becoming “optional.”

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

  This  sounds too familiar.  U.S. Department of Education, like the Chinese communist “Education Bureau” is funneling lots of funding to encourage schools to teach “the curriculum.”

   In fact, the U.S. Dept. of Education has even begun to offer money directly to school districts in its desperation to have everyone implement the Common Core.

  (Several Utah School Districts have already applied, allowing the federal government to bypass state legislatures and the state school board.)

–And, like the U.S. Dept. of Education, the communist Chinese are smilingly calling the new curriculum “optional.”  But of course.

Wake up, wake up, wake up.

What’s Going On With Utah Parents for Educational Freedom?   Leave a comment

    What’s going on with so many Utahns joining the fight for educational freedom, the fight against a federal “Common Core”?

When we signed the petition –along with over two thousand, so far, who have signed the petition at Utahns Against Common Core– what were we asking for?

In short:  higher, more constitutionally based (state-not-federally-controlled) educational standards.

  • We have asked the Governor, State Board of Education, and State Superintendent to take the steps necessary to rescind Common Core adoption, the Race to the Top application, the No Child Left Behind waiver, the use of SBAC/PARCC federally monitored testing and data collection,  and all other requirements upon the state that are related to these, and return Utah to higher, independent, non-federal education standards.
  • We have requested the Utah Attorney General in conjunction with the Federalism Subcommittee of the Constitutional Defense Council, to review all documentation related to such applications and contracts as mentioned above to ensure our state sovereignty is held inviolate. We further requested that this review of programs, documents, and applications, include an examination to ensure no private or personal information about students is transmitted outside of local schools and districts, despite the U.S. Dept. of Education’s and Utah Data Alliance’s efforts to the contrary.
  • Because the Utah State Board of Education adopted Common Core State Standards before they were even finalized, failed to perform a cost analysis related to statewide adoption, and failed to hold public meetings where citizens could review the actual standards prior to adoption, we have asked that a liberty-minded, academically solid educational committee (not the USOE or USSB) be authorized to rewrite Utah’s current standards through a well-developed and transparent process that includes numerous public hearings and input from committees that utilizes knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level specific, measurable standards from other states (such as liberty-minded  Texas, Virginia and the impressive pre-common core Massachusetts) as models.
  • We want to give individual schools and districts full local control with the ability to adopt their own high standards, assessments, and research-based curriculum to encourage and allow for greater parental participation in the education system.
  • We aim for legislators and citizens to develop a 5-year plan to get Utah off all federal funding of education, and if the federal government threatens to pull non-education related funding away from the state as we pursue this course, that this knowledge should be made public and fought with the assistance of the state Attorney General.
  • We have asked legislators to craft laws that will strengthen privacy rights and parental consent rules, and make sharing of personal student data with any state or federal entity a crime both for the one disseminating and the recipient who requested personal information.

If you agree, you can:

Please sign the petition at http://utahnsagainstcommoncore.com .

Please write and/or call our Governor, Lt. Governor, Legislators, the USOE, UEN, and local and State School Board (Board@schools.utah.gov )

Thank you.

Christel Swasey, Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis:

Three Heber City Moms

Alabama Governor: “Education Standards Don’t Need To Be Tied To Federal Core.”   Leave a comment

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20120910/NEWS/120909761/1307/opinion01?p=1&tc=pg

Governor Bentley of Alabama

 

 

Is relatively little federal funding controlling Alabama education?

By John Hill, reposted from Tuscaloosa News.com–

When Alabama’s State Board of Education voted 7-2 to adopt Common Core State Standards two years ago, it joined 45 states and three U.S. territories. The Common Core, created by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, standardized education curricula among the states with the aim of better preparing students for college and the modern workforce.

One year later, the board reconvened to consider rescinding its earlier decision. Even though Gov. Robert Bentley joined the opposition on the grounds that he believed the standards were tantamount to a federal takeover of public education, the board voted 6-3 to follow the Common Core.

This issue reared its head again in August when the Alabama State Department of Education began work to seek a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to end required Adequate Yearly Progress reporting. The average yearly progress requirement under No Child Left Behind requires that states make measurable progress toward 100 percent proficiency in reading and math or face a possible reduction in federal education funds.

Alabama and other states applying for the No Child Left Behind waiver must declare whether they have already adopted or are planning to adopt the Common Core standards. If Alabama joins the 33 states that have already received this waiver, Alabama would be exempt from average yearly progress reporting but would effectively be required to adopt the Common Core Standards. To make matters more serious, the U.S. Department of Education has signaled that future funding for low-income schools may eventually be linked to the adoption of the Common Core.

But Alabama has already adopted the Common Core Standards, so what’s the big deal? Although the Common Core has been promoted as a voluntary program, the Obama administration essentially linked participation in Common Core to billions of dollars in grants offered through the Race to the Top Fund, which was part of the 2009 stimulus.

In short, the waiver has the potential to prevent Alabama from modifying its own educational standards in the future.

The federal government stands to gain tremendous sway in Alabama’s education through the implementation of a common national education standard, and many Alabamians may be shocked to find out what a sweetheart deal Uncle Sam is getting for such power. Even though the federal government has authorized funding for key portions of local school district budgets since it passed the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965, the amount of money given to states is not as large as some believe. According to the State Department of Education, about one in every six dollars of the $7.3 billion spent on Alabama’s K-12 education in the 2010-2011 school year came from the federal government. Yet for this relatively small percentage of assistance, the federal government already has a heavy hand in the educational standards for Alabama’s children.

This possible takeover of public education curricula raises serious legal questions. According to three different federal acts — the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act and the aforementioned Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965 as amended by the No Child Left Behind — federal departments and agencies are generally banned from “directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional materials.”

Even if incorporating the Common Core standards and getting an average yearly progress waiver substantially benefited public education in Alabama, these benefits may come at the cost of Alabama making its own educational decisions in the future. Alabama’s request for a No Child Left Behind waiver should contain language explicitly stating that it is not seeking a waiver from established protections against the federal government controlling state education. As Gov. Bentley has said, “We want our standards to be extremely strong. They just don’t need to be tied to a federal core.”

John Hill is the senior policy analyst at the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, non-profit research and education organization.

Posted September 10, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Christian Science Monitor: Massachusetts’ Education Since Common Core Began   Leave a comment

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2012/0905/Is-top-ranked-Massachusetts-messing-with-education-success

This article is worth reading in full.  Posted here is just an excerpted version:

Is top-ranked Massachusetts messing with education success?

Massachusetts public schools produce students who are top in the nation in reading and math. Here’s what the state did to get there, and here’s why its shift to the new Common Core standards worries some experts.

     By   , Staff writer / September 5, 2012

Heidi Stevens recalls the day that got her thinking about uprooting her family from California to move to Massachusetts. Frolicking with her boys at a playground in 1998, she wished some teenagers a happy Independence Day.
She was met with blank stares. “You know, the Fourth of July,” she offered. Then they smiled and nodded, and she prodded a bit: “Do you know who we got our independence from?” One guessed France, another Mexico, and the last one said the Indians. “They were not kidding,” Ms. Stevens says.

She enrolled her older son in first grade that year but wasn’t happy with the emphasis on “creative spelling” and art projects. So she traveled to Massachusetts and visited public schools in Northampton, a town that boasts five colleges and universities within a short radius.

“We knew Massachusetts was a fabulous state for public education,” she says…

They haven’t been disappointed living in a state that by many measures sets the gold standard for public education in the United States.

In national reading and math tests, the state’s fourth- and eighth-graders have scored the best since 2005. Compared with the national average, greater shares of students here graduate from high school and score high on college-level Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The state even compares respectably with some of the top-performing countries…

But now Massachusetts, like 45 other states and the District of Columbia, is revising its curriculum as part of a collaboration called the Common Core State Standards – a new chapter in education reform premised on the idea that to compete globally, the benchmarks for reading and math in all states need to reflect a richer set of skills to equip students for 21st-century demands.

Massachusetts could be a good test case for whether the Common Core approach lives up to that lofty rhetoric. President Obama has pushed for it through federal funding incentives, though critics say he has strong-armed states into de facto national standards, chipping away at state control.

For some education observers, Massachusetts has broken the axiom “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and is in danger of watering down a key element of its success.

Others say just the opposite – that the new common standards are at least as strong as Massachusetts’ previous ones and could catapult more states to heights that the Bay State has already achieved…

The emphasis on high-stakes testing led some teachers and parents to protest, worried that it would nudge borderline students into dropping out – a debate that later resonated nationally because of the testing regimen established by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

“There was tremendous pushback, bills filed every year to do away with it, but we stuck with it,” Mr. Driscoll says.

After the new system took hold, significant learning gains among Massachusetts students were reflected in both state and national tests.

The MCAS “made us feel as if Massachusetts had higher standards of learning than other states because that test is harder than other, average tests,” Stevens says.

One big reason people came to accept the reforms: The state boosted education funding by more than 10 percent for each of the first six years – targeting the money largely to schools and districts with the highest needs. To date, the 1993 law has channeled $34.5 billion in extra state funding to school districts.

Strategies to boost achievement in Boston – the state’s largest district – have included double blocks of time for reading and math instruction, as well as efforts “to get the best teachers teaching the kids that needed the most support,” says Thomas Payzant, Boston’s superintendent from 1995 to 2006.

In the 2010-11 school year, 97 percent of Massachusetts teachers were licensed specifically in the area they taught, and all teachers are required to earn a master’s degree during their career, says Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Moreover, a statewide testing system for teacher applicants has helped bring up the quality of education.

Another factor: The state reform law set up a rigorous approval process for charter schools, many of which boast strong academic achievement….

Many parents in the state have high education levels and good incomes, making it easier to support their children’s education. In addition, Mr. Toner says, school districts are relatively small, allowing for teachers to know the community better; any student can enroll in an AP course; and all students are encouraged to take college-entrance exams such as the SAT.

With high-stakes testing, some students do have to drill basic skills rather than enjoy a well-rounded curriculum as they approach 12th grade, Toner says, but “you’d have to admit that by having a graduation requirement … it got kids’ and families’ attention and you could see the proficiency numbers on the exams [going] up.”

…[Texas] adopted new math standards this year after a democratic process – starting with a draft based in part on standards from high-performing states, including Massachusetts, says Todd Webster, chief deputy commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. Texas is sticking with those standards rather than adopting the Common Core.

But Massachusetts’ future doesn’t look as rosy to observers such as Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative-leaning group in Boston.

“Massachusetts made historic gains … but in the last four or five years, a lot of those policy gains have been rolled back,” he says. “There are other states that are nipping at our heels … [and] Massachusetts has kind of plateaued.”

Particularly problematic, he says, is the state’s decision to jump on the Common Core bandwagon. Massachusetts’ standards were a model, he says, and the Common Core standards are of lower quality. For instance, standards for English-language arts used to be based largely on classic literature and poetry, which have a rich vocabulary, but the Common Core emphasizes more informational text, Mr. Gass says. To him it’s part of a “trendy fad” focusing on workforce-development goals and “softer” 21st-century skills.

Commissioner Chester defends the state’s decision to adopt the Common Core, saying it “advanced what we already had on the table.”

Collaboration is increasing among states as more leaders look at the bigger picture of the global economy, Chester says: “When [there are] 50 different sets of standards [and testing] … you’re not necessarily giving children and parents honest and accurate information about how they measure up in a world where state boundaries are less and less relevant to your economic opportunities.”

Fox News: Obama’s biggest plan to socialize America may be his secret: Common Core   4 comments

   According to Stanley Kurtz, whose Fox News editorial is excerpted below, one of Obama’s biggest plans to create socialism in America comes in the form of Common Core education.  His book on the subject is in stores now:  “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.”

Kurtz says that Obama is quietly promoting a dumbed-down national curriculum (called “rigorous”) that is designed to  artificially suppress achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. Kurtz says that although the  right way to help poorly performing students is not to gut standards but to  raise achievement, still Obama is committed to defining performance down.   What a way to equalize college readiness.

Kurtz concludes that Obama’s ultimate goal is to erase the differences  between local school districts with a massive redistribution of suburban  education spending to the cities.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school/print#ixzz25oIO40oT

   By the way, if you also want to hear Stanley Kurtz speaking on the subject on the Mike Huckabee radio program, click here. http://jstsay.in/0006MD

Should the White House control what your kids learn?

   By

Published September 07, 2012

Adapted from “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay  for the Cities” (Sentinel HC August 2012).

What if President Obama’s most ambitious attempt to transform American  society was also his quietest plan? You wouldn’t vote against the president on  account of a program you’d never heard about, of course. That, I’d wager, is why  President Obama has told the American public next-to-nothing about his plans to  undercut the political and financial independence of America’s suburban school  districts.

Obama is quietly busy making an end-run around our constitutional system,  which forbids federal control of what your children learn in school. Step one,  already well under way, is a dumbed-down national curriculum designed to  artificially suppress achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. The  right way to help poorly performing students is not to gut standards but to  raise achievement, yet Obama is committed to defining performance down.   That’s why the president’s ultimate goal is to erase the differences  between local school districts with a massive redistribution of suburban  education spending to the cities.

The 2008 controversy over Obama’s years of education work with that famously  unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers has faded from view. For a  moment, it seemed as though Ayers’ radical education legacy would carry forward  into Obama’s presidency. That’s because Linda Darling-Hammond, Ayers’ favorite  education expert and head of Obama’s education transition team, was on a fast  track to appointment as secretary of education until her leftism alienated even  many Democrats.

  (LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND)

When Arne Duncan, who ostensibly backs demanding standards and tests, became  education secretary instead, it looked as though Obama had tacked center. He  hadn’t, and appearances to the contrary, neither had Darling-Hammond left the  scene.

  (BILL AYERS)

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… requires the federal government  to usurp local control of K-12 schooling.

  (ARNE DUNCAN)

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.
A few conservatives have been fooled by the seemingly  traditionalist call for national “standards.”  Yet most conservative  education experts understand that the new national standards will be low, not  high. With so many pressing economic issues on the table, however, nobody’s  listening. Too bad, because the ultimate outcome of Obama’s education scheme  will actually be economic: a sweeping redistribution of suburban education  funding to the cities.
    Far from having departing the scene, Obama’s  former adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond, is at the center of this plan. She works  with the Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium, selected by the administration  to create the testing system for the new Common Core. Darling-Hammond has gone  out of her way to downplay her role with the Smarter-Balanced Consortium, but  the group’s own publications make it clear that she is effectively running the  show. So, although Darling-Hammond is the top national opponent of standardized  tests, she is now effectively in charge of designing a new K-12 testing system  for much of the nation. The result will be politically correct questions, and  standards that aren’t really standards at all.
That’s only part one of  the plan.  President Obama’s Department of Education has established an  Equity and Excellence Commission, charged with finding “ways to restructure  school finance systems to achieve equity in the distribution of educational  resources and further student achievement and attainment.” Conveniently, the  commission’s recommendations will emerge only during a possible second Obama  term. Darling-Hammond is a member of that commission, and if past experience is  a guide will have outsize influence on its recommendations.
Darling-Hammond has already made her intentions clear. She is pushing a plan to  add common “resource standards” to the new Common Core’s curricular standards.  That is, Darling-Hammond hopes to condition federal education aid on the  equalization of school funding across municipal lines. She has also proposed  allowing students to transfer across school district lines, with transportation  provided at government expense.
    The target here is the suburbs.   Obama and Darling-Hammond are both longtime supporters of the little-known “regional equity” movement, which aims to undercut the political independence of  America’s suburbs so as to redistribute suburban wealth to the cities.   Obama is too sharp politically to advertise this part of his program, yet  he is aggressively pressing it forward.
The right to educate your  children as you see fit has traditionally stood at the very center of the  American vision of self-government and personal liberty…  Agree or disagree, shouldn’t President Obama clearly explain his ambitious  redistributive plans for K-12 education – and America’s suburbs – so that they  can be discussed and debated during this epochal national election?

http://www.foxnews.comhttp://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school

Today’s Report from State School Board Meeting   Leave a comment

   An attendee from today’s state school board meeting informs us that because Superintendent Shumway is resigning, a selection committee was formed to find a new state superintendent. According to the bylaws, this committee will select a new superintendent for approval by Governor Herbert.  The full board will not vote on this. –Utah needs lesiglation that changes the process as well as the process by which board members are elected –because it is not by the people.

The attendee also stated that the “Earth Science Classes” content and changes will be online for public review.  The board claimed it hadn’t made any changes to the content but just tweaked a few processes here and there.  Interestingly, there was one board member, Leslie Castle, who really did not want the science classes out for public review because of the possible disagreement of the public.

All of the rest of the committee voted for public review of the science classes.

More to come… (about the data privacy issues regarding FERPA regulations)

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Core? Not American Parents.   2 comments

Great editorial from Heartland in Chicago, reposted:

http://heartland.org/editorial/2012/09/04/common-core-rollout-draws-parental-opposition-nationwide

Common Core Rollout Draws Parental Opposition Nationwide

By Robert Holland

As schools open this fall, battle lines are forming over the rollout of Common Core (CC) national standards, the specifics of which have only recently started coming to public attention.

On paper, the fight would appear to be a mismatch.

You have on the pro-CC side:

  • The Obama-led U.S. Department of Education, the agency with the fastest-growing discretionary spending in the federal government (now approaching $70 billion) and a matching itch to dictate.
  • Achieve, the corporate-led outfit that started marshaling big-business clout behind national standards in 1996, during the Clinton years.
  • Inside-the-Beltway organizations such as the Best Practices Center of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsored the handpicked Common Core writers.
  • Not least, Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pumped tens of millions of dollars over the past decade into educationist organizations, including the teachers unions, that back the Common Core agenda. Gates has gone even further by subsidizing think tanks on both sides of the education-reform divide in clear hopes of winning favor for the Common Core, which is to be linked with national tests administered online.

And on the anti-CC side of the battle, you have:

  • Moms, everyday moms.

There are some dads, too, but moms are leading the anti-Common Core charge in a growing number of states. And by no means are they all conservatives.

Never underestimate the power of moms. Common Core opponents recently celebrated a possible harbinger of victories to come when the Utah Board of Education voted 12-3 to back out of the state’s membership in a federally funded consortium that is drafting a national test that will be linked with the Common Core.

In a similar reversal, Indiana schools Superintendent Tony Bennett, who had previously crowed about the state’s being in step with Washington on Common Core, reversed course and unleashed strong criticism of the Obama administration at a recent Tea Party gathering. “This administration,” said Bennett, “has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach. The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”

Interviews with activist moms in Utah, Indiana, and Georgia–just three of several hotbeds of opposition–indicated they all abhor the federal power grab, and they have other concerns in common. These include: the way parents have been kept in the dark about radical changes in their kids’ instruction, the heavy involvement of special-interest groups that are unaccountable to the public, and the mediocre quality of the national English and math standards.

Some subject-matter specialists have pegged the reading level of CC high-school English at the 7th grade, with a drastic de-emphasis of classic literature in favor of workforce-oriented material. And they say the definition of “college-readiness” in CC math corresponds with a nonselective community college, not a university.

In Indiana, Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle are among the Hoosier parents who got an early warning last fall when their children brought home math worksheets and books they recognized as being of the “fuzzy” genre. Parental complaints resulted in a salesman for the text (Pearson’s enVision Math) coming to inform the parents “how lucky they were” to be getting one of the nation’s first Common Core-aligned textbooks.

Fired up, the two moms did their research and eventually began speaking to dozens of grassroots groups.

“We have found that most Hoosiers, including most legislators, have never heard of the Common Core until just recently,” Crossin said. “The majority of the teachers we have spoken to are just now being asked to transition to the Common Core, and they say they don’t like it. They cite the lack of clarity and quality.”

   In Utah, Alisa Ellis is actively involved in the public schools six of her seven children attend. She says she “did not hear about this new direction until a year after we had adopted the standards.” As more parents learn for the first time what’s happening, “Our numbers keep growing. We have over 2,000 signatures on a petition, plus a dozen or so organizations that have signed.”

A parent-activist in Georgia, Sherena Arrington, is not optimistic the battle will be won soon, given that “taxpayers have yet to understand that their rights to representation in the educational policies of this state are being stolen from them.”

In many respects, the current moms-versus-monolith battle resembles that of the 1990s, when forces aligned with the federal Goals 2000 movement sought to force a national School-to-Work curriculum on all schools. Moms slowed down the juggernaut then. Don’t bet against them stopping it this time.


Robert Holland (rholland@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute, and author of Not With My Child, You Don’t (1995), a book about the parents’ revolt against nationalized K-12 education.

State School Board Meeting Today: To Bare Or Not To Bare Private Student And Family Data For Feds?   1 comment

 

 

Sent today–

TO: Board@schools.utah.gov

Dear Board,

I am writing to second Renee Braddy’s attached email.  As you are aware, a lawsuit is in full gear right now between the Department of Education and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which alleges that the Department of Education overstepped statutory authority by redefining terms and loosening parental consent law in the federal FERPA regulations; remember, federal FERPA laws have not been altered by Congress.  Nor has state FERPA law been altered.  These oversteps by the Dept. of Education are illegal under GEPA law and under the U.S. Constitution.

If the Utah board supports this illegality, they will be held accountable under the Utah Constitution as well.

More importantly, the core issue here is that student privacy, a civil right, is being shoved aside to further empower federal and corporate forces in the nonconsensual access to private academic and nonacademic data.  Let’s do the right thing.

Christel Swasey

———- Forwarded message ———- From: Renee Braddy

Dear State School Board Members,

I just reviewed your agenda for today’s meeting and I amvery concerned about the action item regarding data.  On line 213 where the document is referring to studentinformation, it reads that it will be released in accordance with the FERPA, 34 CFR 99-31.  This is the new regulation that went into effect Jan. 3, 2012 and was written by the US DEPT of ED and DID NOT pass through the US congress.  This regulation is currently being challenged by EPIC in a lawsuit.  Ithink it would be wise to have our children’s data dispersed in accordance withFederal LAW 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, not the regulation.

There are LOTS of concerns with this new regulation and I believe it would be a BIG mistake to pass this rule change without further study.  Please DO NOT vote for this, but rather please table the item for further discussion.

I have extensively study the new FERPA regulation due to anincidence in Wasatch County.  This new regulation literally turns the FERPA law on its head and DOES NOT protect our children’s personal information.  This is a very serious matter.

It further states online 216 that such responses may (not SHALL) include:

1. de-identified data

2. agreements with recipients of student data where recipients agree not to report or publish students identities (the way I read this is that this is personally identifiable student data– otherwise there wouldn’t have to be an agreement to protect it, right?)

3. release  of student  data,  with  appropriate  binding agreements,  for  state  or  federal accountability or  for  the purpose  of  improving  instruction to  specific  student (this would mean that personally identifiable student data is being released with parental knowledge).

Much thanks,

Renee’ Braddy

6.    Board Committee Meetings

ACTION: R277-487 Public School Data Confidentiality and Disclosure Tab 6-L

R277-502-8 EducatorLicensing and Data Retention -

Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah

Schools (CACTUS)

R277-484-9 Data Standards – Disclosure of Data for Research

(Amendment and Continuation for all)

And when I click on the tab for more info.  Is this really what I think it is and they are changing the rules to come into compliance with the FERPA Regulation?!?!?  Someone, please help me if I’m off on this. If it’s underlined, does that mean it’s being added to the rule?

187 R277-487-6. Public Education Research Data.

188 A.  The USOE may provide limited or extensive data sets

189 for research and analysis purposes to qualified researchersor

190 organizations.

191 (1)  A  reasonable  method  shall be  used  to  qualify

192 researchers or organizations to receive data, such asevidence

193 that  a  research  proposal  has been  approved  by  a  federally

194 recognized Institutional Review Board (IRB).

195 (2)  Aggregate  student  assessment data  are  available

196 through  the  USOE website.  Individual student  data  are

197 protected.

198 (3) The USOE is not obligated to fill every request for

199 data and has procedures to determine which requests will be

6200 filled  or  to assign  priorities  to multiple  requests.  The

201 USOE/Board understands that it will respond in a timelymanner

202 to  all  requests  submitted  under Section  63G-2-101  et  seq.,

203 Government Records Access and Management Act.  Infilling data

204 requests, higher priority may be given to requests that will

205 help improve instruction in Utah’s public schools.

206 (4) A fee may be charged to prepare data or to deliver

207 data, particularly if the preparation requires originalwork.

208 The  USOE  shall  comply  with Section  63G-2-203  in  assessing

209 fees.

210 (5) The researcher or organization shall provide a copy

211 of the report or publication produced using USOE data to the

212 USOE at least 10 business days prior to the public release.

213 B.  Student information:  Requests for data thatdisclose

214 student information shall be provided in accordance with the

215 Family  Educational  Rights and  Privacy Act  (FERPA),  34  CFR

216 99-31(a)(6); such responses may include:

217 (1)  individual  student  data  that are  de-identified,

218 meaning it is not  possible to trace  the data to individual

219 students;

220 (2)  agreements  with  recipients  of student  data  where

221 recipients agree  not  to report  or publishdata in a manner

222 that discloses  students’ identities.  For example, reporting

223 test scores for a race subgroup that has a count, also known

224 as n-size, of less than 10 could enable someone to identify

225 the actual students and shall not be published;

226 (3)  release  of  student  data, with  appropriate  binding

227 agreements,  for  state  or  federal accountability  or  for  the

228 purpose  of  improving  instruction  to specific  student

229 subgroups.

Legislature Hears Expert Testimony: What Should Utah Do About Common Core?   Leave a comment

Ted Rebarber with James Stergios at Utah’s Capitol

James Stergios kindly provided this copy of the testimony he gave last month to education committee legislators in Salt Lake City.

Testimony to the Utah 2012 Education Interim Committee

by James Stergios

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I thank the co-Chairs of the Committee, Senator Howard Stephenson and Representative Francis Gibson, for the opportunity to provide testimony to the Committee.

My name is James Stergios, executive director of the Boston-based think tank, Pioneer Institute. Pioneer Institute has produced the most analytic work on the Common Core in the country, with multiple peer reviewed published reports on their relative quality, cost, and legality. In doing this work we have taken no funding from interested parties, and we have commissioned the reports from the most highly qualified scholars and experts in the country.

Our motivation is the same as yours: We care deeply about our children and this country’s future, and want to prepare our students to compete internationally and to be citizens in a free society characterized by strong state and federal institutions.

My testimony presents four concerns about the Common Core national standards and assessments, which are fully derived from empirical analysis:

1. The quality of the Common Core standards is mediocre and aims for community college-level.

2. The implementation of national standards and assessments limits Utah’s ability to innovate.

3. The promotion of national standards and assessments by the federal government is illegal.

4. Utah has adopted the national standards and assessments without adequate deliberation.

It also makes suggestions for actions by the Utah legislature.

First, the quality of the Common Core is mediocre and aims for community college readiness. Pioneer Institute has conducted four independent evaluations of the national standards, comparing them to states that have or had high standards. In every case, our experts found Common Core to be of lower quality. The Common Core English Language Arts standards suffer from many technical shortcomings, such as their lack of coherent grade-by-grade progressions through high school. But the problems are larger than that. As Dr. Stotsky’s testimony underscores:

Common Core’s standards for English language arts are neither research-based nor internationally benchmarked… To judge from my own research on the language and literature requirements for a high school diploma…, Common Core’s ELA standards fall far below what other English-speaking nations or regions require of college-intending high school graduates.”

In fact, that is the main reason that [Stotsky] and four other members of the [Common Core] Validation Committee declined to sign off on Common Core’s standards.

Nor is there evidence to support the idea [embedded in Common Core] that having English teachers teach more information reading (or literary nonfiction) and less literary reading will lead to greater college readiness.

Let me underscore three points here:

  • First, the Common Core ELA standards are not authentic academic standards; rather, they are empty skills standards. I would be pleased to elaborate on this important issue later.
  • Second, Massachusetts’ remarkable rise on national assessments is not because we aligned our reading standards to the NAEP. Rather, it is because, unlike Common Core, our reading standards emphasized high-quality literature. Reading literature requires the acquisition in a compressed timeframe of a richer and broader vocabulary than non-fiction texts. Vocabulary acquisition is all-important in the timely development of higher-level reading skills.
  • Third, English teachers are trained not to teach Federal Bank reports, or computer and other manuals. They are people steeped in the love of language and literature. Asking an English teacher to teach one of Microsoft’s software development manuals is really not going to work out well.

Common Core’s math standards also suffer from a lack of coherent grade-by-grade progressions, but they too have deeper problems. Common Core’s standards for Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II are not demanding and reflect a less than rigorous definition of “college readiness.” Common Core’s goal of teaching Algebra I only in high school makes it at least one year behind the recommendations of the National Mathematics Panel and current practice among our international competitors. Common Core alarmingly replaces the traditional Euclidean foundations of geometry with an experimental approach to middle and high school geometry that has not been widely or ever successfully implemented at the middle and high school levels.

Stanford mathematics professor James Milgram, well known to Utah during its revision of its state math standards and also a member of the review committee for the Common Core math standards, considers the material covered in Common Core’s math standards by fifth grade to be “more than a year behind the early grade expectations in most high-achieving countries” and by seventh grade to be “roughly two years behind.” He says that the national math standards “are written to reflect very low expectations.”

As Stotsky notes in her testimony: Jason Zimba, lead writer of Common Core’s mathematics standards, admitted at a meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that passing a college readiness test in mathematics will mean that students in Utah or Massachusetts will only be qualified to enroll in a non-selective community or state college.

Former head of the Council of Chief State School Officers Gene Wilhoit’s insistence that Utah can add whatever it wants to the national standards is meaningless for two reasons: First, there may be no federal policing of the standards today, but there is ample evidence across many policy areas that the federal government often moves from “gentlemanly agreements” to mandates. Second, Common Core requires that states adopt the standards verbatim, with flexibility to add up to 15 percent to the content. However, the national assessments will not cover that additional material. As a result, no districts and no teachers will end up teaching the add-ons.

I know that Utah has removed itself from the Smarter Balanced consortium, but that begs the question: If you are not going to use the tests crafted by the national consortia and you are going to deviate as much as you want from the national standards, why have them at all?

Second, the implementation of national standards and assessments limits Utah’s ability to innovate. Any time a state education official seeks to change a strand in the standards or change the test, it will have to get support from the US Department of Education and 40-plus other states and jurisdictions. If a parent has an issue with the standards, you, as a legislator, will have no ability to help them. You will have to suggest that they call a federal 800 number and wait who-knows-how-long for an answer.

And just what does “innovation” mean when one actor (the federal government) controls the standards? What does innovation mean when there is no longer a competition to innovate among states?

States have led the way in education reform. We have made steady gains over time in a way that, frankly, is not seen from the federal government. Utah’s own state math standards were rated as at least as good as the Common Core math standards, as more clearly articulated and succinct by the Fordham Institute, one of Common Core’s biggest backers. You have done well with your standards—and you can do even better.

Third, the promotion of national standards and assessments by the federal government is illegal. Writing in a paper entitled The Road to a National Curriculum, former USDOE General Counsel Kent Talbert and Deputy General Counsel Robert Eitel write:

With only minor exceptions, the General Education Provisions Act (“GEPA”), the Department of Education Organization Act (“DEOA”), and the ESEA, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (“NCLB”), ban federal departments and agencies from directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional materials. The ESEA also protects state prerogatives on Title I content and achievement standards.

The Department has used discretionary grants to herd state education authorities into adopting national standards and tests. Talbert and Eitel contend that conditional waivers to NCLB offered by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have never been approved by Congress. Past secretaries of the federal department of education have granted waivers, but never with a unilateral, material change to federal law. Moreover, the recent announcement of a new round of Race to the Top for districts includes the advancement of Common Core. Finally, the two consortia receiving over $300 million in federal funds include in their funding applications explicit recognition that they would develop curricular materials and instructional practice guides.

These two distinguished attorneys note that the US Department of Education is therefore likely violating the aforementioned three federal laws.

While Secretary Duncan’s statement in a letter of March 7th to Superintendent Larry Shumway that the State of Utah has “complete control of Utah’s learning standards” may be true on paper (and given that date), Utah’s waiver from NCLB in June, potential impacts on future federal funding, and the announcement of a new round of Race to the Top for districts, all suggest that Utah’s complete control is much more tenuous than the Secretary’s good letter states.

Utah—and the country—are at a critical juncture, a decision point.

Finally, Utah has adopted the national standards and assessments without adequate deliberation. You, like legislators across the country, are only now debating this issue, after the fact, because Common Core was advanced as an end-run around state legislatures. When Race to the Top was announced in the depths of a recessionary 2009, the federal department emphasized that states adopting national standards would be viewed favorably in funding decisions. As Stotsky notes in her testimony:

… the Utah State Board of Education did not provide a full public discussion before it voted to move control of the curriculum from local school boards to a distant federal bureaucracy.

The USBE tentatively approved the standards two days after they were published (June 4, 2010) to make a U.S. Department of Education deadline of August 2 and then approved them on August 6, 2010.

They were not “thoroughly” vetted. Developing and vetting standards takes time. When states advance new standards, the process of holding public meetings and hearings, which includes developing and deliberating on various drafts, usually requires well over a year.

Not only did the federal government truncate its public comment and other important processes meant to uphold the public trust, but so did the Utah State Board of Education.

What the legislature can do.

The legislature has a role here because the board of education’s decisions on learning standards have an impact on the public purse. The legislature also has an interest in ensuring an open and public vetting of the standards. Our empirical work gives me confidence that, given a proper vetting, the legislature and the state board would agree that the Common Core is deficient in ways described above.

A handful of states have said “no” to Common Core national standards and tests. I urge you not only to say “no” to Common Core—which is a matter of prudence regarding the state’s future and its purse—but also to use the opportunity of this debate to move forward with positive improvements to Utah’s previous state math and reading standards and assessments. As Dr. Stotsky states in her testimony,

If Utah negates its adoption of Common Core’s English language arts standards, I volunteer to help Utah develop a first class set of ELA standards.

Her work helped guide Massachusetts from above average nationally to become the top-performing state in the nation. That is what Utah’s students deserve rather than mediocre national standards.

James Stergios is Pioneer’s Executive Director. Prior to joining Pioneer, he was Chief of Staff and Undersecretary for Policy in the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he drove efforts on water policy, regulatory and permit reform, and urban revitalization. His prior experience includes founding and managing a business, teaching at the university level and in public and private secondary schools, and serving as headmaster at a preparatory school. Jim holds a doctoral degree in Political Science.

James Stergios is Pioneer’s Executive Director. Prior to joining Pioneer, he was Chief of Staff and Undersecretary for Policy in the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he drove efforts on water policy, regulatory and permit reform, and urban revitalization. His prior experience includes founding and managing a business, teaching at the university level and in public and private secondary schools, and serving as headmaster at a preparatory school. Jim holds a doctoral degree in Political Science.

About Pioneer

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

85 Devonshire Street, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02109 | T: 617.723.2277 F: 617.723.1880 | http://www.pioneerinstitute.org

Intrusive to the core   1 comment

Intrusive to the core

Article excerpted and reposted from The Boston Herald 

By Charles Chieppo and Jamie Gass | Sunday, September 2, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Op-Ed

…The so-called Common Core State Standards in English and math were almost entirely developed inside the Beltway by a small group of D.C.-based education trade organizations.

Many of the 46 states that adopted the standards did so before they were even complete. In the vast majority of states, educational officials adopted the standards unilaterally; few state legislatures ever even voted on them.

To bolster their decisions, some state education officials relied on comparisons of their existing standards to Common Core, comparisons that were funded by the same Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that has spent more than $100 million to develop and promote the national standards.

This embarrassing spectacle calls into question John Adams’ famous claim that the United States is “[a] government of laws, and not of men.”

At least three federal laws explicitly prohibit the federal government from directing, funding or controlling any state and local standards, curriculum, testing or instructional materials.

Despite these clear legal prohibitions, the Obama administration made adoption of Common Core a criterion for states competing for more than $4 billion in federal grant money. Each state that received a so-called Race to the Top grant had either adopted or promised to adopt Common Core.

Another $362 million in federal grants was doled out to two national consortia that are developing common assessments to “help” states transition to nationalized standards and tests.

In their federal grant applications, the two testing consortia flat-out stated their intent to use the money to create a “model curriculum” and instructional materials “aligned with” Common Core, in direct violation of the law. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan even said that the consortia’s work includes “developing curriculum frameworks” and “instructional modules.”

In short, the U.S. Department of Education has paid others to do what it is forbidden from doing. The tactic should not inoculate the department against curriculum prohibitions imposed by Congress. 

Courageously, Thomas Gosnell, who heads the state chapter of the union Shanker once led, opposed Massachusetts’ 2010 adoption of Common Core. “Our standards . . . are clearly higher than what the federal government is proposing,” he said. “Our students are number one in the nation and the Western world, and here we are being asked to sign onto those [national] standards”…

Charles Chieppo is a senior fellow and Jamie Gass directs the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank.

Article URL:http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1061157524

Federal Government Bypasses States and Approaches School Districts with Cash for Compliance   1 comment

Excerpts from a Heritage Foundation article by Lindsey Burke  – August 17, 2012  http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/17/race-to-the-top-for-school-districts-more-federal-education-intervention/

Race to the Top for School Districts: More Federal Education Intervention

The Obama Administration’s new Race to the Top District (RTT-D) competition, a competitive grant program on top of the more than 100 programs the Department of Education (DOE) already operates, entices cash-strapped school districts with another $400 million to implement the Obama education agenda…

The last thing our struggling education system needs is for local school districts to become dependent on Washington for education funding, further centralizing school-level policies in the hands of federal bureaucrats.

RTT-D is an offshoot of the original Race to the Top (RTT), the Obama Administration’s $4.35 billion competitive grant program to states carved out of the “stimulus.” The DOE says the new district-level program will “help schools become engines of innovation”…

Concern about the Administration’s push to nationalize the content taught in schools across America through the Common Core State Standards led some states to pass on the original RTT competition. States like Alaska, Texas, and North Dakota have never applied for RTT grants. Under the new district-level competition, the feds will appeal directly to school districts, offering up millions in exchange for adoption of the White House’s preferred policies.

    Applicant districts must agree to implement the four core components of RTT (common standards, teacher evaluations, data systems, and the Administration’s school turn-around model), and must secure school board and teacher union buy-in for their application.

The DOE notes that all school districts with more than 2,000 students are eligible to apply, including those districts in states that did not apply for RTT grants. While smaller school districts may pull together to apply for a grant, the 2,000-student minimum biases larger districts, making it unlikely that small rural school districts will be winners of one of the 15–25 grants that are awarded.

The Administration has demonstrated a pattern of circumventing Congress on key education policy issues. It set an arbitrary deadline for No Child Left Behind reauthorization, and when Congress (in the midst of a thoughtful debate about the future of the nation’s largest education law) failed to meet it, began offering strings-attached waivers to states that agreed to implement the White House’s education agenda. Now the Administration will circumvent states that have chosen not to apply for RTT grants and dangle up to $40 million each to districts willing to toe the line.

It’s another step in centralizing education control and a continuance of Washington-centric education policy that has burdened taxpayers, encumbered states, and failed students for the last half-century.

The Bully Lessons   3 comments

On the first day of school, my fourth grader complained that they’d had “another dumb assembly on bullies.”

“Do you have bullies at your school?” I asked.

“Nope.”

Today, the first day of the second week of school, my fourth grader complained that they’d had “another dumb team meeting.”

“What’s a team meeting?” I asked.

“That’s when we sit in a circle and talk about walking in the hall better.”

Walking in the hall better?!”

“And a dumb, creepy lady comes in and says we can come and talk to her whenever we have problems with bullies, which nobody has,” he said.

Okay.

I have a problem with this on so many levels.  First of all, why are they having repeated, ad-nauseum lessons on bullying while they cannot do their multiplication tables or long division without 99% of the training coming from moms like me?  Secondly, why do they have  “team meetings” when they lack time to adequately cover science, history, art, writing, cursive, literature, poetry, languages and grammar?  Third, why is there a paid position for a “creepy lady” they are supposed to learn bullying lessons from and go and talk to about their problems, when we don’t have enough salaries to go around for art and other teachers?

Why are we being told by the State Office of Education and our local and state school boards that academic rigor is increasing because of Common Core, when it simply isn’t true?  Academic rigor is being minimized and marginalized:  cursive is dropped, math is being made fuzzy (“integrated math”) literature is being pushed aside in favor of info-texts by Common Core mandate, most dramatically at high school levels, and time is being made for touchy-feeling nonacademic time waster programs that promote Obama-style social justice thinking.

Is this school or some kind of social-justice church we are sending our kids to?

If You Are Concerned That Your Child Is Not Learning Enough Under Common Core…   Leave a comment

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFNCcVQtVnhDbFc2VVVRVUk1bm5KZmc6MQ

The Utah State Office of Education is allowing public comment on the Common Core Standards.  (Click on above link.)

  • If you are concerned that Algebra I is being taught to ninth graders now, when previous to common core, it was taught to our eighth graders…
  • If you are concerned that by your child’s senior year, he/she will be taught only 30% classic literature and 70% informational text by mandate…
  • If you are concerned that cursive is no longer allowed/encouraged to be taught…
  • If you think calculus should be a high school option, not just a college option…

Then take the time to make your voice heard.

Truly horrible math book: Common Core math text for Jordan and Granite school districts   3 comments

http://secmath1insync.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/secondary-math-book-1-final-2.pdf

    If you click on the link, prepare to be shocked.

It is a common core math book.

It models an absurd way to teach math.  And it pushes a terrible, negative agenda.

You can find questions relating to serial killers, food shortages, population control, drug lords, infectious diseases, oil spills, and loneliness.  You can also find dozens of questions that do not even remotely relate to mathematics at all but instead pushes collectivism, communal thinking and consensus.

Samples:

  • A serial killer is stalking the residents of Gloomy Falls, Mass., population 937. Every year the population

diminishes by 4.5%. How many residents are left after the killer’s three-year rampage? HOW WILL YOU

STOP HIM?

  • Strapped for cash, you decide to borrow money from a local crime lord. This turns out to be yet another

instance of poor judgment on your part. At 22% interest per year, how much will you owe on a loan of

%5,000 after one year? What about after three years?

  • The population of a country is initially 2 million people and is increasing at 4% per year. The country’s annual

food supply is adequate for 4 million people (now) and is increasing at a constant rate adequate for an additional

0.5 million people per year.  Based on these assumptions, in approximately what year will this country first experience shortages of food?

15. A student comes to school with the flu and infects three other students within an hour before going home. Each newly infected student passes the virus to three new students in the next hour. This pattern continues until all students in the school are infected with the virus…

  • Think of a time when you or someone in your group was left out of the discussion. Describe the situation.

Did anyone try to include that person? If not, why not? If yes, then how?  What might you have done to help with the situation?

  •  What has been your experience when someone in your group has made a mistake?
     How do you think a group should handle mistakes by other group members?
  •  Think of a time when you wanted to say something, or you did not understand something, but were too

afraid to say something. Describe the situation and why you did not say what you wanted to.  How do you wish you would have had handled the situation?

  •  Do you participate more or less than other group members? Why do you think you do so?
  •  Discuss how the amount of homework preparation you do for class affects your participation in group

discussions and how your preparation affects the grade your group receives?

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