Archive for October 2012

Education isn’t Neutral   Leave a comment

What does Obama really mean when he says that he created education reforms in 46 states during his presidency?

Words need context.

The word “education” and the concept of “education reform” as Obama and others use the terms, rest on our false assumption that reforms are positive in all contexts.

Many education reforms are being done under the public radar, without public knowledge, without any vote or citizen agreement, and they actually negatively affect student/citizen privacy –as well as harming certain academic –and also non-academic– outcomes.

We misplace our trust when we buy the idea that “education reforms” never make things worse, or never indoctrinate, or never promote dumbing-down, or  never push unconstitutional or ungodly agendas, or that educational systems are never used to promote nice-sounding surface ideas that ultimately prove harmful.  This misplaced trust will hurt us.  Why don’t more people study and pay attention to what the government is doing to our educational freedoms and educational standards?!

Violations of good education are happening behind the unassailed assumption that “education” always means “good for children”.  But it doesn’t.  We have to study what the people behind the reforms stand for, to see where their trajectories are taking our children and ultimately, this nation. (Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Bill Ayers, Linda Darling-Hammond, Sir Michael Barber, Bill Gates, Joanne Weiss, Michelle Rhee…. the cast of characters is long, colorful and frightening.)

Obama and his cast of educational characters speak about pouring more money into “education” as if that is always beneficial.  Well, that all depends on what they’re buying.  (With our tax dollars and without our consent and without constitutional authority.)

Many assume he’s just talking about buying pencils, salaries and books.  But new reforms do include indoctrination, corporate enrichment and yes, even dumbing down in some cases.

The recent Common Core reforms include DELETING most classic literature at the high school level, DELETING cursive for all ages, DUMBING Algebra I to 9th grade rather than introducing it to 8th graders, ending FERPA’s previously protective parental consent requirements before agencies and business people can access private student data; pushing the assumption that the United Nations are a positive force on earth; pushing the “green” extremist political agenda, and pushing most anything Bill Gates/Microsoft touches.  To name a few.  The data surveillance bothers me the most.  Even though I am a lifelong English teacher and hate the fact that they’re slashing the literature increasingly, as the children work toward graduation.  The closer to graduation they get, the less literature they will be allowed to read and write.  It’s got to be info-texts, they say.

There are some ideas that some parents and teachers might like, and some we definitely don’t, but the fact remains that we never get a chance to weigh in on them via a vote.  That’s what nationalized education means: the elite at the top determine what is good and true for all.  Oh, for the days of local control over education to be back in my state again!

Wearing the shield of “education reform,” guess what the education reformists on the left have wielded?

- a war on student data privacy

- a war on classic literature

- a war on traditional, time-tested math

-a national set of educational standards that is without an amendment process, so nobody can change anything.

-a national set of standards that are under copyright by an unelected group called CCSSO/NGA

-a national set of standards that the Dept. of Education has put a cap on; you can’t teach more than 15% above the Common Core

-a war against transparency;

Parents and teachers are in the dark; very few people know what all the consequences of adopting Common Core really are. And it’s deliberate.  The Common Core is supposed to be “state-led” (because it’s illegal and unconstitutional for the executive branch to supervise or direct curriculum).  So they are trying to make it appear to be so.  They even invite people to help “write” the standards, even though the public license on Common Core says that CCSSO/NGA are the “sole developers” and “no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  The half-truths are empowering the radical transformation and, ultimately, indoctrination of our kids to be government-centric collectivists stripped of the ability to self-determine, or to soar.

May I share the words of a great American?  Ezra Taft Benson (who served as the Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower in the 1950′s-1960′s and later as a Latter-day Saint prophet) said:

“As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members… if [parents] have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others. Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.”   - In Conference Report, Ezra Taft Benson, 1970

President Benson also warned that communism was and is still a great, satanical threat.

How could communism ever become a real threat unless somehow people were taught to like its principles?  How could it ever take root in freedom-loving America unless it were widely promoted as something good, diseminated via an information dissemination system (like government schools?)

One-size-fits-all is the name of the common core/socialist game.  Individuality is marginalized or deleted; all is collective that is considered good.  It’s the redistribution of educational funding and educational sovereignty. Common Core is a huge step toward socialism in America today, accepted because it’s sugar coated with pretty words: “education reform,” “rigorous standards” and “common core.”

I noticed that a political flier for a local Utah representative came in the mailbox yesterday.  It touted as one of the candidate’s bragging points the fact that this candidate/incumbent had “protected public education from extremists.”  I think he was referring to me, and the whole anti-Common Core crowd, thousands of us that will soon be millions, I venture to guess, as the truth trickles out almost completely unaided by mainstream media.

But my point is this: the candidate did not protect the public as he claimed to have done.  He didn’t protect public education from extremists – Arne Duncan, Bill Ayers, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Linda Darling-Hammond, Sir Michael Barber, and the rest got their wicked way.  This local candidate did not understand who the enemy of quality education and educational sovereignty is.  He thought the extremists were those who want us to sticking close to the spirit of freedom and individuality as supported in the U.S. Constitution.  This is why I could not vote for him.  I did a write-in vote.  But he’ll win anyway, because most people do not have time to really care.  And the Common Core’s moment of impact hasn’t happened for them yet.

The Blaze Reports: Common Core Uniform Doesn’t Fit American Students   Leave a comment

The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s TV, radio, magazine and internet site, reported yesterday about Common Core.  It’s a well written, important piece.

Thank you, Glenn and Casey.

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/common-cores-uniform-doesnt-fit-american-students/

Common Core’s Uniform Doesn’t Fit American Students

by Casey Given,  policy analyst covering education and labor issues at the Americans For Prosperity Foundation.

“Throughout the presidential debates, Barack Obama repeated a statement that may sound strange to the average American. Speaking on education, the president twice noted that his administration has been working with 46 states to implement school reform. While he did not explicitly cite the initiative by name in either of the first two debates, Obama was referring to the Common Core State Standards – a national curriculum that 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted over the past two years.

Though only given passing mentions, it’s a small miracle that the president has made any reference to this underreported effort at all. Both candidates and their parties have largely remained silent on Common Core until now. In fact, one recent poll by the D.C.-based nonprofit Achieve shows that 79 percent of Americans know “nothing” or “not much” about Common Core. As a result, millions of parents across the country send their children to school every day without any idea that American education as we know it is drastically changing.”

Full text here: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/common-cores-uniform-doesnt-fit-american-students/

Mysterious Academic Blog Brings Up Powerful Points   Leave a comment

Who is this mysterious someone who’s spending so much time and energy analyzing Common Core’s math –anonymously?  It’s got to be a professional, an academic.  It must be someone who cannot come out and say “The Emperor is wearing no clothes” without losing his/her career standing.  I am sure it’s an educator.

The passion with which he/she is attempting to enlighten Americans about the absurdity of Common Core math, added to the fact that he/she is remaining anonymous, feeds into  Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann’s “Spiral of Silence” theory that I was talking about earlier this week.  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/whats-going-on-utahs-nsa-center-and-the-utah-data-alliance-of-schools-collecting-data/

But anyway, I wanted to share the anonymous analysts’ analysis.  Enjoy:

Full text here:  http://ccssimath.blogspot.com/2012/10/dodgy-beginnings.html?m=1

CCSSI Mathematics

An independent look at the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

2012-10-12

Dodgy beginnings

In legal argument, every assertion cites authority: when lawyers know they are losing, they attempt to cloak weak arguments in language such as “it is clear that’’, glossing over the insufficient basis for why; strong assertions cite controlling authority, such as a prior ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court.  The same citation requirements hold true for judicial opinions.  The American common law system is grounded in its constitutions and legislation, but also on the principle of stare decisis, which means a strong legal opinion will cite another, preferably higher, controlling authority for coming down on one side or another.  In the absence of binding authority, non-binding or persuasive authority is relied on: someone made an argument that won a case in another jurisdiction, the judge cites that decision and the law expands to a new jurisdiction.
Opponents of such decisions with weak legal precedent may deride them as “judicial activism’’, but judge-made law is a fundamental component of how our system works, and indeed, how the legal system has managed to survive.  Of course, a judge may instead reject another non-controlling decision and cite an alternative argument for ruling differently.  Thus, competing legal doctrines scatter like leaves in the wind until a higher court decides to consolidate and resolve contradictory rulings.  It is often possible (and enlightening) to trace a winning argument in a high court ruling down through various lower court decisions and ultimately arrive at the original language source, which can be the unprecedented argument of a jurist publishing research (and personal opinions) in some obscure law journal.
Thus judge-made law, sometimes with questionable origins, becomes the law of the land and not always for the better. Toward the other end of the infallibility spectrum lies the scientific method, where studies confirm or refute hypotheses, and objectivity, transparency and replicability are the hallmarks of reliability. CCSSI boasts of its firm foundations: “the development of these Standards began with research-based learning progressions detailing what is known today about how students’ mathematical knowledge, skill, and understanding develop over time.’’ (p.4) When we first started this blog, we naïvely thought CCSSI’s language original; now we are discovering, in fact, that almost none of it is.  As we analyze each of Common Core’s standards, we repeatedly ask ourselves: what is the underlying basis for the choices that have been made and where does the language come from? We’re certainly not the first to raise these questions.
Stanford University Professor R. James Milgram, who sat on the Validation Committee, expressed concern with a long list of CCSSI’s standards, writing that “[t]here are a number of standards…that are completely unique to this document’’ and “there is no research base for including any of these standards’’. Ideally, we would know from where and based on which research on its efficacy, each phrase, each standard arises, so that we could corroborate or attack the source. We are bracing for the worst: what if, in fact, the education pundits have issued mandates for math pedagogy based on dodgy research?  We already suspect what we will ultimately find: the “studies’’ are actually individuals’ Ed.D. theses based on broad cognition hypotheses and corresponding latitudinal studies of limited numbers of children.
A central difficulty in our investigation is that, unlike in jurisprudence, original sources are not cited individually for each standard and prove difficult to trace, and it is becoming apparent that pieces from widely disparate sources were lumped together to form what is now called Common Core. This is the snarl we at ccssimath.blogspot.com are trying to untangle. CCSSI instead lists a “Sample of Works Consulted’’.  When we started reading the end-referenced journal articles and other research, we were able to find some of the language and sample problems that provided the source material for CCSSI, but those too lacked specific footnoting, and also listed references at the end, apparently the accepted technique in such publications.  Frankly, we are appalled with such weak referencing.  Reading end-references sometimes led us to earlier iterations of the same language, which led to more references, ad infinitum. What we found in common, though, in every reference, was a plethora of vague, unsubstantiated language, mostly based on vague, unpublished educational research.
For once, we’d like to see the raw data of the actual research. One standard we have previously singled out for criticism is K.OA.3: “Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).’’ and its corresponding example in Table 1: “Grandma has five flowers. How many can she put in her red vase and how many in her blue vase?’’ On our blog, we have rudimentary tools to analyze the searches that bring traffic to the site.  Subsequent to the publication of that blog post, far and above the most common search sending us traffic is this standard, which we interpret to mean that kindergarten teachers are both trying to make sense of it and wondering how to implement it.
Readers of our blog know we don’t advocate posing a problem just because you can. Educators smugly confound students with some challenge and find self-satisfaction that at the end of the day, students can now solve it, but to what end?  Perhaps in the linear progression underlying Piagetian cognitive development, any problem will suffice because you can see where you start and where you need to go, and you can easily ascertain (through the ubiquitous test, say) which students have crossed the threshold of competence, but true mathematics learning is not linear. How do we know that linear thinking pervades current notions of mathematics learning progressions?
Because educational circles give plenty of recognition to those authors. An influential pair of reports from the National Academy of Sciences, the 2000 “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition’’ followed by the 2005 “How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom’’, claim to know “how the principles and findings on learning can be used to guide the teaching of a set of topics that commonly appear in the K-12 curriculum’’, specifically in our case, mathematics. One section of How Students Learn, written by Sharon Griffin, an associate professor of education and an adjunct associate professor of psychology at Clark University, begins:

After 15 years of inquiry into children’s understanding and learning of whole numbers, I can sum up what I have learned very simply. To teach math, you need to know three things. You need to know where you are now… You need to know where you want to go (in terms of the knowledge you want all children in your classroom to acquire during the school year). Finally, you need to know what is the best way to get there…

Were it so simple.

It is the pervasiveness of one-dimensional thinking of this sort that holds important “developmental milestones’’ that impedes effective mathematics curriculum reform. Now, this language may seem to mirror what we have been stating in this blog (see our blog post Concept of Area, Part 3, where we advocate “a well thought-out sequence that understands where things belong, understands where you are coming from and where you are going, and poses the right problems to foster the real thinking processes that we so strongly believe are the hallmarks of an effective education’’), but for several important differences.  One, we are looking at math education from a 12+ year cycle, not one year.  We want to instill not-easily-compartmentalized skills at an early age that will already be familiar, if not firmly established, and retrievable when the math becomes truly difficult.  Griffin highlights a common fallacy of American math education, that a teacher only needs to know what is going on in the classroom that year.
How is the elementary classroom teacher with minimal mathematical skills going to handle the student that gains an insight that is years ahead of the rest of the classroom?  Second, mathematics is not just about “acquiring knowledge’’; math at many levels is not necessarily as clean as one right answer, and those tensions can and should be introduced at a very early age.  Everyone can be trained to go from point A to point B and a test can quickly check that, but the deeper understanding that comes with facing a dilemma cannot necessarily be measured. Seeing that math is not always black and white is an ability that education pundits themselves frequently lack; they don’t really understand the deeper mathematical connections and have no long term vision of an effective mathematics education. Returning to K.OA.3, a trainable, but rote task of questionable learning value, CCSSI actually points us to its origins, another NAS report, “Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity’’ (National Research Council, 2009). Here is the source language, as it appears in the Mathematics Learning report:

In take apart situations, a total amount, C, is known and the problem is to find the ways to break the amount into two parts (which do not have to be equal). Take apart situations are most naturally formulated with an equation of the form   C = A + B   in which C is known and all the possible combinations of A and B that make the equation true are to be found. There are usually many different As and Bs that make the equation true.

And the grandma’s vase problem?

Put Together/Take Apart Situations
In these situations, the action is often conceptual instead of physical and may involve a collective term like “animal”: “Jimmy has one horse and two dogs. How many animals does he have?”
In put together situations, two quantities are put together to make a third quantity: “Two red apples and one green apple were on the table. How many apples are on the table?”
In take apart situations, a total quantity is taken apart to make two quantities: “Grandma has three flowers. How many can she put in her red vase and how many in her blue vase?”
These situations are decomposing/composing number situations in which children shift from thinking of the total to thinking of the addends. Working with different numbers helps them learn number triads related by this total-addend-addend relationship, which they can use when adding and subtracting. Eventually with much experience, children move to thinking of embedded number situations in which one considers the total and the two addends (partners) that are “hiding inside” the total simultaneously instead of needing to shift back and forth.
Equations with the total alone on the left describe take apart situations: 3 = 2 + 1. Such equations help children understand that the = sign does not always mean makes or results in but can also mean is the same number as. This helps with algebra later.

Even in these short excerpts from the report, several absurd generalizations pop out:

“…children move to thinking of embedded number situations in which one considers the total and the two addends (partners) that are “hiding inside” the total simultaneously instead of needing to shift back and forth.’’ They do?  We certainly never thought about numbers this way. “This helps with algebra later.’’ It does? We’d like to see these hypotheses tested in a controlled longitudinal study. Although the report committee lists more than a dozen members, the lead authors were Doug Clements of SUNY Buffalo, Karen Fuson of Northwestern University and Sybilla Beckman of the University of Georgia.
  These three authors also figure prominently in several of the other CCSSI source publications.  Professor Clements’ educational background tops out with a Ph.D. in Elementary Education from SUNY Buffalo, Karen Fuson is professor emeritus of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, and while Sybilla Beckman of the University of Georgia is the only math Ph.D. of the lot, her research area stands out on UGA’s web site as “mathematics education’’, rather than a substantive area of theoretical or applied math. Individual emails to each of the three authors were unreturned.  We don’t feel singled out for neglect, though.
  Even Milgram “repeatedly asked for references justifying the insertions of these or similar standards…but references have not been provided.’’ This particular sections we cited, the entire report, and education reports in general illustrate a pervasive problem in education research: unfounded statements and the lack of scientific method.  Such baseless statements appear all throughout these so-called education studies, then they are often taken for gospel because of the authors’ perceived expertise.  Research methods that reach conclusions about what goes on in children’s minds based on observations of watching children at work would be laughed out of the scientific community; it’s inferences based on anecdotal evidence. Nonetheless, baseless conclusions form the justification for including “decomposition of numbers’’ in CCSSI’s kindergarten standards.
Not that none of Common Core’s references lack any substance.  “Informing Grades 1–6 Mathematics Standards Development: What Can Be Learned From High-Performing Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore?’’, a study prepared by the American Institutes for Research, with the headlining author of Alan Ginsburg, long time and now retired Director of Policy and Program Studies for the U.S. Dept. of Education, the same Ginsburg referred to in CCSSI’s introduction, highlights “four key features’’ of the composite standards of “high-performing Asian countries’’.  We refer the reader to the original text rather than try to summarize them here.  We certainly agree with the sentiment against believing that “that merely replicating these composite standards is sufficient’’, but what we cannot find, though, is the adaptation to CCSSI’s goals of any of the composite features.  Instead, we find the inclusion of standards with questionable beginnings. That puts CCSSI (and American mathematics education reform efforts) into the realm of wishful thinking, rather than basing itself on either hard data or emulating a proven success.
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Interesting!

What We Must Teach Our Children   Leave a comment

Parents are under command to bring up their children in light and truth (see D&C 93:40).  Parents cannot leave decision making about teaching up to school boards school teachers (or Sunday School teachers) alone; these other teachers are here to assist parents in an ultimate responsibility that rests primarily on parents.

It is not enough to educate children academically– reading, math, geography, languages, history, music– we must also make sure they know how to identify light and truth.

The following teachings were suggested by President Hinckley for parents to teach  their children: http://www.lds.org/pa/library/0,17905,7461-1,00.html

Teach them to develop good friendships.

Teach them the importance of education. Youth will be amply rewarded for their efforts to obtain an education. The Church will also be blessed by their increased capacities and skills.

Teach them self-respect. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encourage modest dress, and discourage tattoos and the piercing of the body other than the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings.

Teach them to stay away from drugs. Those who use illegal drugs or misuse legal drugs lose self-control.

Teach them the virtue of honesty.

Teach them to be virtuous. Sexual urges must be controlled with self-discipline and respect.

Teach them to look forward to the time when they may be married in the house of the Lord.

Teach them to pray. It is a miracle that we can approach God in prayer and be heard.

Ken Parkinson or Mark Openshaw for State School Board?   Leave a comment

Vote Ken Parkinson. 

I saw Ken Parkinson’s dedication and selfless service when I worked with him at Freedom Academy in Provo.

Incumbent Mark Openshaw, on the other hand, has never responded to a single email I’ve sent him.  And there have been many.

What kind of leader do you want on our State School Board?

Ken Parkinson.

Dear Superintendent Menlove   Leave a comment

Dear Superintendent Menlove,
Congratulations on your new role as Superintendent of Utah Schools.
As a Utah teacher with an up-to-date credential, who has taught high school English, 3rd grade, and Freshmen and Remedial English at Utah Valley University, I’m writing to ask four questions:
1.  Why have Utah education leaders allowed classic literature to be minimized –and almost eliminated– by the time our students reach 12th grade, under the new Common Core?
I do not believe that increasing the amount of informational text and decreasing the amount of time-tested classic fiction that we expose students to, is a good idea. (Neither do many of my colleagues and friends, including, notably, Professor Alan Manning of BYU, an English Language/Linguistics expert who told me he is also alarmed at the damage Common Core is going to do to our educational system.)
2.  Why was the theft of classic literature from high school seniors and others done without transparency?  The decision remove so much classic literature from our schools has been done without any sort of vote or vetting, and without a request for input ever being put out toward lifelong educators like me or Professor Manning, and without parents being told what kind of transformation was happening to their children’s literacy program –without their consent.
3. Why have we accepted a cap on learning?  I have learned that Utah is under a mandate not to add more than 15% content to the Common Core minimum standards, and that the Common Core is under copyright by a nonelected group called CCSSO/NGA.  This troubles me; we should not have given away our voice over our own educational standards.  We should not allow anyone to put a cap of 15% or any other percent, on what we teach our students.  This seems like a sovereignty issue as well as an educational issue, to me.
4. Why won’t Utah Technology Director, Utah Data Alliance Director (and state database-combiner) John Brandt answer a teacher’s or a parent’s questions?
It is of great concern that our students are being tracked with personally identifiable information, not aggregate data, by a State Longitudinal Database that  creates a permanent record of nonacademic, family, health, psychological, and academic data for every child in Utah.  This, too, has been done without parental knowledge; the only reason I know is that I asked the Utah State School Board if it was true.  I asked them if I could opt out of this P-20 surveillance of children.  Their email indicated that the answer was no; there is no way to opt out of the tracking.
I have repeatedly emailed Utah Technology Director John Brandt to ask him about the data collection issue, and he will not respond to me nor to other citizens’ emails.
These issues are deeply troubling.  Please let me know what you understand about these issues, and what you plan to do to right these wrongs.
Sincerely,
Christel Swasey

You Are Invited: Public Information Meeting About Common Core – Provo, Utah   Leave a comment

  • If you live in Utah, please come to this informational meeting about Common Core at the Provo Library next week.

What’s Going On: Utah’s NSA Center and the Utah Data Alliance of Schools Collecting Data   2 comments

Have you seen what’s happening over in Bluffdale?  The building is called NSA.  National Security Agency.  (Or, Never Say Anything)

A new KSL article quotes William Binney, a Washington whistleblower, saying Utah’s new NSA  is “a serious threat to civil liberties.”

Binney, who worked for the NSA for 32 years and still lives by the secure headquarters near Baltimore, says  the NSA can dice billions of emails, phone calls and Internet records, looking for clues to terrorist plots. –But it also can, and does, snoop on citizens.

When Binney worked for NSA, Binney’s team had smartly built into the software some sophisticated protections so that communications by U.S. citizens would be protected from NSA snooping.  But the NSA passed over his citizen-protective system, for an unexplained reason.

Binney retired in anger.  According to KSL, Binney said:

“It didn’t take but probably a week or so after 9/11 that they decided to start spying on the U.S. domestically, on all U.S. citizens they could get.”

He now suspects the facility in Bluffdale will be used to store communication data so the NSA can sift through it, whether it’s from foreign terrorists or law-abiding U.S. citizens.
So I think this: the NSA, I’m sure, has legitimate duties, like ferreting out terrorist plots against innocent Americans.  But I’m also very sure its doing some inappropriate data snooping.  Where are the checks and balances?  Who’s watching the watchers?
The NSA is very tight-lipped and secretive.
But there are others who aren’t secretive about their data-gathering goals.
  Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, comes to mind. He’s always making speeches about the importance of increasing data-gathering efforts to have “more robust databases” to “increase accountability” to the federal agency.
John Brandt of Utah comes to mind.  He directs the Utah Data Alliance’s mashing of data from six Utah agencies using taxpayer money and Utah State School Board approval.  He’s got a powerpoint that explains how he’ll then share this data from schools to USOE and Utah higher ed and then to the federal Department of Ed.  He won’t return emails from me or my friends on the subject of data collection.  And he works for the NCES (federal research agency) as well as working as Utah Director of Technology.  He’s not going to be making speeches about federalism.
 Joanne Weiss comes to mind.  Weiss, the Department of Education Chief of Staff, is deliberately combining databases federally and wants to “help” states partner in data-mashing, she says.  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html     She is for federal and state “data partnerships”.
Even David Wiley, BYU Professor, comes to mind.
  He told me that he feels it’s “totally appropriate” for researchers and governments to conduct research on students without getting parental consent because the importance of the research and the logistical difficulties of getting parental consent trump the rights of parents.
This scares me.
Who’s protecting our civil liberties, our privacy and our parental rights? 
The lack of public outcry concerns me.  But I think it’s mostly based on people simply not knowing.  Or not considering the ramifications of the path we’re moving down.
Some of my own friends who I’ve brought this matter up with, say, “Who cares if they’re tracking us? I have nothing to hide.”
Maybe not from God.  –But from theives, stalkers, hackers, or people who are happy about communism?  We must keep private things private.
There are reasons we have locks on our doors and walls others can’t see through.  There are reasons for books like “1984″ and the other George Orwell and Ayn Rand classics.
Privacy is a sacred freedom.  When governments know everything about everyone, people become cattle, prodded and controlled by the all-knowing agencies “who know best”.  Hackers and stalkers and thieves can get government jobs and can get access to the private data of citizens, if there aren’t protections in place.
Could Sweden have enforced their anti-homeschooling law if they didn’t have absolute name, number and address tracking on every citizen?
Could China have enforced mandatory abortions under the one-child-only law if they didn’t have absolute knowledge of the medical and family records of every citizen?
Could governments separate children from parents to fulfill the Olympic dreams of that government, if the government was not tracking the physical traits of even tiny children?
There are endless ways people can abuse having access to citizens’ private data.
Surveillance on citizens is a dangerous, slippery slope.
And why won’t even the Utah State Office of Education discuss it?  Why is this so under the public radar?
I think I know.
It’s called “spiral of silence” theory.
Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann wrote the “spiral of silence” communications theory to explain how atrocities come to pass in civilized societies.

Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, the German political scientist, explained how Jews’ status became so widely agreed upon, during World War II under the Nazi control.  Hitler dominated the whole society and the minority Jews became silent due to the fear of isolation or separation.

The one view dominated the public scene and others disappeared from the public awareness as it adherents became silent.  People feared separation or isolation from those around them, so they kept their attitudes to themselves when they felt they were in the minority.  This process is “Spiral of Silence”.

If a teacher doesn’t like the data collection that’s happening on students, or a board member, or even a state-level leader is not satisfied with the decision, the one person does not express the thought publicly.  Why?

1.    They may feel unsupported by the others on the school, state or federal level. Peer pressure.

2.   Fear of isolation or job loss

3.   Fear of rejection (adult popularity contests)

4.    They may try to save a job by suppressing or avoiding personal statements in public.

Until many of us speak out and speak up, the spiral of silence will grow.  The perceived majority belief –that most people somehow agree with all this student and citizen data collection and the new norm of NOT asking for parental consent, and the communist-style common core implementation (without a vote) –will grow if we are quiet.  Nobody will stop its implementation, and it will take over as the new norm if we are quiet.

This is why I speak up.   This is why I ask you to research for yourself, and then speak up.

I believe more of us are against this (once we understand what it is) than there are those for it.  It’s creepy and must be stopped.

If Obama Gets Elected   Leave a comment

If Obama wins another term as president, you can expect to see the tightening of control over education via Common Core, national tracking of students, and more anti-American ideas being promoted across the country and especially in schools, because of the influence of the Gates Foundation, UNESCO, and others.

Mitt Romney  wants to turn back the trend of socializing, nationalizing education.  If you are able to donate some time to Mitt’s campaign, they need serious amounts of volunteers. There are a few call centers below and you can also make calls from home. Please get involved.

I received this email today and will post the rest for those willing to help Romney get elected.

***********

A Utah friend writes:

“I just talked to a Romney campaign staffer at the Orem call center who said he was very disappointed in the turnout of volunteers for Governor Romney.  In a state where Romney may get 80 percent of the vote, far too many people are apathetic.  They don’t think they can make a difference.  NOT TRUE!! These call centers are targeting voters in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio.  Utah volunteers are desperately needed in a very tight election.”

This election could prove to be a cliff-hanger.  One prognosticator last night suggested that Romney might win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College.  In other words, states like Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio could make all the difference.  And if you imagine that, living in Utah or Idaho or some other safe Romney zone, you can’t have any impact on the races there, you’re absolutely wrong.

Monetary donations, even small ones, can still make a difference.  Unless I’m mistaken, Barack Obama substantially outraised Mitt Romney last month, for the first time in quite a while.  What a pity it will be if, having come this far, we falter at the end and fail by a hair’s breadth.

This is the time for the final push in the race, the final burst of energy that guarantees the victory.  Or the fatal loss of will that turns triumph into failure.

You can also volunteer to make phone calls.  The ground game is everything at this point.  The candidate who gets his voters out will win the vital contested states and take the presidency for the next four years.

Romney Call Centers in Utah, open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you would prefer to call from home, please click on this link to find out how you can set up your phone and computer.  It will, I think, work from anywhere in the country.  So you non-Utahns shouldn’t feel that you’re off the hook!  You’re needed, too!

Orem Office:

Staff Contact, Colton Miles:  colton@utgop.org

801.835.7239 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 801.835.7239 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Address: 1120 S 1350 W

Orem, UT 84058

(It’s just over on the west side of the freeway, not far from the University Parkway exit, more or less opposite UVU.)

Midvale Office:

sensi@utgop.org“>sensi@utgop.org 801.674.4124 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 801.674.4124 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

47 East 7200 South

Midvale, UT 84047

Logan Office:

Amber@utgop.org

435.374.4704 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 435.374.4704 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

1451 North 200 East, Ste. 190-B

Logan, UT 84341

St. George Office:

Gary@utgop.org

435.703.9484 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 435.703.9484 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

134 North 200 East, Ste. 202

St. George, UT 84770

What is SLDS and Why Should I Care?   1 comment

SLDS means: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.

SLDS is a citizen tracking program, and a grant program, that rewards states financially for participating.  It’s also called P-20, which stands for preschool through age 20 (workforce) tracking.  I see citizen tracking as creepy and Orwellian.  What do you see?

The federal website shows, here– http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html — that SLDS was presented as a financial prize to states, a grant, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It sounded good, but in reality, its purpose –besides the uneven redistributing of taxpayers’ money– is to track citizens (students).

The assumption was that everyone everywhere would approve of citizen tracking and would want to be tracked.  A secondary assumption is that the government’s holding detailed, intimate information about its citizens would never be used against anybody wrongly, and that none of this has nothing to do with constitutional rights to privacy.  (For more on that, click here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html )

I highlighted the first element of data to be collected because it speaks about PII, personally identifiable information.  PII can be a name, a social security number, a blood sample, handwriting sample, a fingerprint, or almost anything else.  The fact that the government included “except as permitted by federal/state law” is VERY significant because the federal Department of Education did the dastardly deed of changing federal privacy law, known previously as the protective, family-empowering, FERPA law.  The Department of Education did this without Congressional approval and are now being sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing it.  But as it stands now, FERPA has been altered and won’t be put back to its formerly protective state.  So parental rights over children’s data, and parental consent rules, have been cast aside.  –All in the name of getting lots and lots and lots of data available, whether with malignant or benign intention, especially for federal use.

Here it is, pasted directly from the government site and available in English or Spanish:

en Español

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: $250 million

Grantees: States

Type of Grant: Competitive

Purpose:

The program provides grants to states to design, develop, and implement statewide P-20 longitudinal data systems to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce.

Program Requirements:

Since it started in fiscal year 2005, the program has awarded grants worth $265 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia. The Recovery Act competition requires that the data systems have the capacity to link preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education as well as workforce data. To receive State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, a state must provide an assurance that it will establish a longitudinal data system that includes the 12 elements described in the America COMPETES Act, and any data system developed with Statewide longitudinal data system funds must include at least these 12 elements. The elements are:

  1. An unique identifier for every student that does not permit a student to be individually identified (except as permitted by federal and state law);
  2. The school enrollment history, demographic characteristics, and program participation record of every student;
  3. Information on when a student enrolls, transfers, drops out, or graduates from a school;
  4. Students scores on tests required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
  5. Information on students who are not tested, by grade and subject;
  6. Students scores on tests measuring whether they’re ready for college;
  7. A way to identify teachers and to match teachers to their students;
  8. Information from students’ transcripts, specifically courses taken and grades earned;
  9. Data on students’ success in college, including whether they enrolled in remedial courses;
  10. Data on whether K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college;
  11. A system of auditing data for quality, validity, and reliability; and
  12. The ability to share data from preschool through postsecondary education data systems.

—-

Tonight at 6:05, I’ll be on the Morgan Philpot show as a guest, speaking about this important issue and all its many tentacles, including the E.P.I.C. lawsuit against the Dept. of Education, the statements on data-mashing by Utah’s John Brandt and D.C.’s Joanne Weiss, letters I’ve received from the USOE on the subject of student tracking, and what we can do about it.

Tune in if you live nearby.  KNRS.

Homeschool 101   Leave a comment

There are as many ways to homeschool as there are recipes for bread.

People keep asking me what curriculum I’m using, now that I’ve started to homeschool.  There are way more resources and ideas than time!

For those who doubt their abilities but want to homeschool I would say to trust yourself.  Freed from the governmental schools’ mandates that force teachers to spend precious academic time teaching programs like the anti-bullying, anti-drug awareness, going to assemblies and events that may or may not be a wise academic use of time, you will have so much time to teach that you can hardly avoid doing a great job.  You are doing a one one one, customized education and you know your child better than anyone.

Research shows that even parents with low education levels turn out students with better educations than their public school counterparts. This is probably a combination of the customization of that child’s learning, the one-on-one tutoring, the attention, the bond, the love.  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/himmelstrands-speech-to-swedish-parliament-let-families-be-secure/

Here comes a list of homeschooling directions I’ve taken that are working, as I’ve gone from after-school supplementing (for the past two months) to fulltime homeschooling for my fourth grade son.

(Some people like free resources from government school systems, but I don’t trust them.  I would not take a “free” curriculum from the government schools, personally, because much of it will tend toward “progressive” thinking and “sustainable” education, which is “progressing” learners away from the Constitutional, godly, independent vision of our Founding Fathers.  I use time-tested classic, traditional methods. Not trendy “new” reforms no matter how good they sound; I sense that they cheat students of old-fashioned excellence and solid formulas and knowledge.  Also, keep in mind that if you don’t want your child’s abilities and personal information tracked, you don’t want to be in online state systems that track the kids via SLDS and P-20 alliances.)

1. MATH: Using the free placement test on the Saxon math site, I tested my son and then purchased a used copy of a Saxon text book from Amazon.  Love it.  He’s soaring fast. http://www.learningthings.com/samples/SAX/SAX_Middle-Grades-Math.pdf

2. HISTORY AND SCIENCE Using the Core Knowledge Colorado website (not to be confused with Common Core!) I have found wonderful worksheets on, for example, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, American history, etc.  This goes along with the book “What Your Fourth Grader Needs To Know” -which we read from as well, almost every day.  http://www.ckcolorado.org/lessons/4thgrade.asp  I also enjoy http://www.weatherwizkids.com/ for science, where children can learn what things are and then create easy experiments.

3. GEOGRAPHY I’m using the CIA World Fact Book to have my son look up facts about countries. I asked him to draw South America and label each country and capital, for example.  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html

4.  SCRIPTURES We read scriptures every day.  Sometimes, we watch the scripture stories on the computer http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/new-testament-storiesor read from Picture The Scriptures http://picturethescriptures.blogspot.com/.  Most days, we write a verse in cursive right after we read, to practice our cursive writing.

 5. SOCIAL STUDIES After we learned about the main handful of mountain ranges in the world, we decided to start to study one area at a time. We learned that Machu Picchu is in the Andes, and then we watched the National Geographic special (4 part) about Machu Picchu.  He was fascinated.

 6. SWEDISH Because we’re a bilingual family, I’m using Swedish fairy tales, Swedish Astrid Lindgren books, and making little vocabulary worksheets for my son, as well as having him practice his cursive in Swedish when we do cursive.

I also love the Swedish YouTube videos, and would recommend Karlsson på Taket, Nicke Nyfiken, Alfons Åberg,  Anke och Pytte, Hopphatten, Draktränaren, Ronja Rövardotter, etc. Sample:

7. CULTURE  A friend just introduced me to these sites and I will try them this week: http://www.zionvision.com/movies/ziontube/category/classification/presentation/   and http://josephsmithacademy.org/inspira/maps/v2/#zoom=3&markerid=null&geocode=null&type=null

8.  GRAMMAR AND WRITING:  We write essays. Complete sentences, a full page– or very close to it.  We also do short mini-lessons to review everything from where commas go, to what a semicolon is, to parts of speech games (“I say ‘noodle’ and you say ‘noun’. I say ‘tall’ and you say ‘adjective’”), to diagramming sentences, learning subject-verb agreement, learning 1st 2nd 3rd person, etc.  I keep these short but do them often. I also like http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=588  –And I use the UVU curriculum that I used when I taught remedial English.  I also use schoolhouse rock YouTube videos to make it fun:

9. TECHNOLOGY I have my son make powerpoint presentations with sentences and pictures.  He did one on zombies, one on Legos, one on Disney.  He chooses the topic so far.  I plan to have him do one on a patriot, a prophet, a hero, an explorer or an inventor later.

10. FIELD TRIPS We do field trips and virtual field trips. We study outdoors, in the car on the way to the park, at the park, at the kitchen table, on the living room couch. We begin by 9:00 and end by 2:00, usually. We are flexible. We go the extra mile.  When the 2 year old is being difficult and trying to sit on the math book, we move homeschool to the bathroom. We study on stools next to the bathtub while the 2 year old plays in the tub for an hour or two. It works!

This week, we’re going to Brigham Young University’s free chemistry “magic show” for one field trip, and to the Museum of Art for another. We also went to play basketball at the recreation center this week.  When we drive, we talk.  We don’t let the radio take over. We might practice multiplication tables while we drive, or discuss interesting things and learn/teach that way.  I might tell him the plot of a great novel he’s too young to read.  I might tell him what it was like to do all the different jobs I’ve ever worked. I might tell him genealogy stories about his ancestors.  I might tell him stories about World War II or the Revolutionary War or what the differences are between Obama and Romney.  We communicate nonstop. We really don’t waste any time.

A few virtual field trips we enjoyed this week:  http://www.areavibes.com/library/online-field-trips-for-students/

 

Remember– prayer, parental instinct and a sense of joy about learning with a determination to achieve great things are the real key.  –Not a certain curriculum.  Not a common core.

Rigorous and Grass-roots? That Ain’t Common Core.   Leave a comment

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20121018/EDIT05/310189942/1021/EDIT

An Opinion Editorial in an Indiana newspaper, the Journal Gazette, written by a candidate for school board, points out a dangerously little-known fact:  while Obama’s touting his  “Education reform in 46 states”  as one of his accomplishments,  people haven’t yet realized Obama is referring to the Common Core…”

Thank you, Journal Gazette and Glenna Jehl.

I would add that another thing almost nobody’s put together yet is that any time that Obama –or any of the elite educrats, including local Utahns– use the term “college- and career-readiness” they are using a code phrase that means COMMON CORE.  It’s defined on the U.S. government’s own online definitions page.  They are deliberately confusing people. They don’t want you to know what they have done.

Obama takes credit for this supposedly grass-roots, state-led program of Common Core.

But it’s anything but grass-roots and state-led.  It was promoted with Bill Gates’ money.  It was further incentivized by Obama’s Dept. of Education money.  It was marketed by nongovernmental groups that we didn’t elect and can’t fire– CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) and NGA (National Governors’ Association) which are just clubs, not governmental agencies or parentally influenced organizations.

CCSSO/NGA then copyrighted the standards.

And then the Obama Administration put a 15% cap on ever changing any of it.  Just read your state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind.  Or read your state’s application for Race to the Top.

Fifteen Percent more.  That’s it.  (No learning too much, now. Slow down, Sonny.  No learning too fast, now.  We can’t have innovation or self-determination or actual excellence or people exceeding the nationalized speed limit on education.  That would not be in the spirit of the new Obama communism at all.)

Where is the liberty in Common Core?!

–Why are good people so opposed to the nationalized takeover of medical care, but so few are shouting about the nationalized takeover of education?  We are talking about our children.  It matters more than anything what our children’s futures will be.  Will their futures offer them lives of liberty or lives of governmental control via the new SLDS and P-20 tracking and control systems built “for education reform”?  Will they be lives of indoctrination, now that the Common Core mandates informational text replace classic literature increasingly by age and grade?

Common Core is absolutely socialism.  It is absolutely communism.  It lacks any vestige of local control– we can’t amend the standards.  We had no voice in writing them.  There is no process for states changing them.  Only the elites may do so.  NGA, CCSSO.

It drives me nuts when I go to my local “meet the candidates” night and nobody on the panel has done any homework at all.  They say ignorant things like “Common Core is just minimum standards.”  Oh really?  Ever heard of the 15% cap?  Ever heard of moving Algebra I backwards, from 8th grade to 9th, so that kids are learning it at least a whole year later than they used to learn it?

Why do people keep using that passed-down, now-cliched word “rigorous standards” in the face of reality?  Rigorous ain’t common core.

Anyone who’s actually studied the standards realizes that although in a few small areas, Common Core is more challenging, that is a drop in the bucket– Common Core is dumbing our students down via fuzzy math, less literature, no cursive, and who knows what kind of science and history they are cooking up?  So far we’ve only seen the math and English.  I can only imagine– I can only imagine how anti-God, anti-American, pro-Green, pro-Sustainable Education this science and math will be.

So, here’s the article that got me on my soapbox again today.  From Indiana; read on:

(Published yesterday, October 18, 2012)

State must reject federal takeover of schools

Glenna L. Jehl

When President Obama touts “education reform in 46 states” as one of his accomplishments, most people haven’t yet realized that Obama is referring to the new Common Core State Standards being implemented nationwide, including in Indiana.

Surprisingly, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett helped wheel this Trojan horse into our midst.

Originally, Common Core was supposed to raise academic standards and make what is taught in each grade level more uniform. Unfortunately, the special interests in Washington, D.C., could not resist a huge power grab. Funding incentives like the Race to the Top grants, which requires the adoption of the Common Core Standards in order to receive the funds, lead to school corporations like FWCS and states scrambling for the additional money and willingly embracing the new requirements.

Unfortunately, they never took time to consider what sort of standards they agreed to adopt; no longer in a Race to the Top and higher standards, we are in a race to mediocrity. We are voluntarily relinquishing Indiana’s superior, acclaimed standards for those that are inferior to our current standards in math and language arts.

Under Common Core, by the end of eighth grade students will be two years behind their international counterparts in math. High school graduates will achieve only a seventh-grade reading level. These are hardly rigorous standards, leaving our students less prepared to compete in the 21st century.

When states are done implementing this new, unproven, copyrighted program which includes curriculum, tests, and teacher training from which they may not deviate, they will have lost every last vestige of local control. Common Core districts must use their curriculum, their assessments and their state tests. Even the SAT may become aligned with Common Core…  homeschoolers and private schools will be affected, especially if they want accreditation or to accept vouchers.

Imagine the power the federal government will wield when it controls the content and perspective that will be taught to every student nationwide K-12. With virtually no public debate, Obama has quietly engineered the federal takeover of the education system nationwide.

Recognizing the dangers of this overhaul of education, Mitt Romney states his opposition to Common Core as follows: “To financially reward states based on accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum is a mistake. … There may be a time when the federal government has an agenda it wants to promote.”

Are we going to place our children’s futures in the hands of Washington bureaucrats?

…we must join the four states that have already rejected it. Our next governor and state legislature must understand that Indiana needs to opt out of Common Core. That is the only way states, local school boards, and parents will retain the ability to choose the curriculum and the standards for the education of the students in their community.

Hoosiers must take a stand now for academic excellence and educational freedom for the sake of our children, before Common Core is fully implemented.

Glenna Jehl is a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Fort Wayne Community Schools board. She wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

Voting for Wendy Simmerman or Dixie Allen for Utah State School Board?   Leave a comment

Both Wendy Simmerman and Dixie Allen are running for Utah State School Board, representing my district.  I’ve found links that outline what each candidate stands for, which I’ll post here:

http://vote.utah.gov/on-my-ballot/candidates/state-school-board/wendy-simmerman/

http://utahmomscare.blogspot.com/2012/10/dixie-allen-utah-state-board-of.html

I’m voting for Wendy Simmerman.

Wendy Simmerman is running on a platform of parental rights and responsibility coming first.  Amen!

She also said that she sees that there are Constitutional issues with the nationalized Common Core Initiative that need further study and attention.

I agree.

 

 

New Research From R.O.P.E Finds Federal Overreach of Children’s Privacy   1 comment

The “Restore Oklahoma Public Education” research team has done it again.

Read this tremendously detailed explanation of how the federal government is robbing United States citizens of their privacy, using schools as data collection vehicles and redefining even nonacademic student data collection (blood type, nickname, mental health) a federal entitlement.

 

View this document on Scribd

Fiction vs. Nonfiction Smackdown: Washington Post   Leave a comment

For those who still believe Common Core is “rigorous” and good for kids, here is a must-read from Jay Mathews and the Washington Post. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/fiction-vs-nonfiction-smackdown/2012/10/17/cbb333d0-16f0-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_print.html

Fiction vs. nonfiction smackdown

By , Published: October 17

There is no more troubling fact about U.S. education than this: The reading scores of 17-year-olds have shown no significant improvement since 1980.

The new Common Core State Standards in 46 states and the District are designed to solve that problem. Among other things, students are being asked to read more nonfiction, considered by many experts to be the key to success in college or the workplace.

The Common Core standards are one of our hottest trends. Virginia declined to participate but was ignored in the rush of good feeling about the new reform. Now, the period of happy news conferences is over, and teachers have to make big changes. That never goes well. Expect battles, particularly in this educationally hypersensitive region.

Teaching more nonfiction will be a key issue. Many English teachers don’t think it will do any good. Even if it were a good idea, they say, those who have to make the change have not had enough training to succeed — an old story in school reform.

The clash of views is well described by two prominent scholars for the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based public policy group, in a new paper. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas and Mark Bauerlein of Emory University say the reformers who wrote the Common Core standards have no data to support their argument that kids have been hurt by reading too much fiction. They say analyzing great literature would give students all the critical thinking skills they need. The problem, they say, is not the lack of nonfiction but the dumbed-down fiction that has been assigned in recent decades.

“Problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward,” Bauerlein and Stotsky say. “Until that time, a literature-heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed.”

The standards were inspired, in part, by a movement to improve children’s reading abilities by replacing standard elementary school pabulum with a rich diet of history, geography, science and the arts. University of Virginia scholar E.D. Hirsch Jr. has written several books on this. He established the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville to support schools that want their third-graders studying ancient Rome and their fourth-graders listening to Handel.

Robert Pondiscio, a former fifth-grade teacher who is vice president of the foundation, quotes a key part of the Common Core standards making this case:

“By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades.”

The Common Core guidelines recommend fourth-graders get an equal amount of fiction and nonfiction. Eighth-grade reading should be about 55 percent nonfiction, going to a recommended 70 percent by 12th grade.

Bauerlein and Stotsky say that could hurt college readiness. The new standards and associated tests, they say, will make “English teachers responsible for informational reading instruction, something they have not been trained for, and will not be trained for unless the entire undergraduate English major as well as preparatory programs in English education in education schools are changed.”

Pondiscio says he admires Bauerlein and Stotsky and doesn’t see why English classes have to carry the nonfiction weight. Social studies and science courses can do that. The real battle, he says, will be in the elementary schools, where lesson plans have failed to provide the vocabulary, background knowledge and context that make good readers.

Those who want the new standards say learning to read is more than just acquiring a skill, like bike riding. It is absorbing an entire world. That is what the fight in your local district will be about.

Why I Decided to Homeschool My Child   5 comments

     Even though the elementary school my son attended up until this week is one of the friendliest, most parent-involved and teacher-dedicated school I’ve ever seen, I decided to homeschool. 

My decision to homeschool is not a political statement, although I am vehemently opposed to the Common Core Initiative which has taken over our schools. 

It’s not an attempt to shield my son from the pegging that happens with high stakes testing; I had already opted us out of all high stakes, standardized tests at the elementary school.

Although I am a certified teacher with an up to date credential and many years’ experience teaching in schools, I am not basing my decision on that; research I’ve seen by Jonas Himmelstrand, and by others, has shown that even children taught at home by parents with low education levels turn out better educated kids, on the whole, than kids who are taught in public school systems.

My decision was not an attempt to hide from the citizen surveillance program that has recently been implemented via the SLDS and P-20 systems in each state, although I am vehemently opposed to that, too.  (BTW, the fact that kids can’t attend school without being personally tracked was verified in an email to me by Lorraine, the secretary of the Utah State School Board that is posted on this site.)

I’m homeschooling because one-on-one, customized tutoring is more effective than teaching in large groups.  I’m homeschooling because I can eliminate things I don’t feel are important and make more time for things I feel are important.  Example: I have time to teach him things that public schools do not prioritize, such as not only reading and math and social studies, but also geography, cursive, Swedish, diagramming sentences, reading scriptures, analysis of government and liberty.  I’m homeschooling because my son wants me to.  He asked me to.

Friends have been asking me what I am using.

  • Lined paper and a pencil, because I want him to have great handwriting, the ability to write in cursive, and no spellcheck until he’s older.
  • A computer, because he can create powerpoints based on what he’s learned, and practice typing, and find maps and dictionaries, etc.
  • Saxon math, because it’s “real” math, traditional math, and there’s an online placement test before you buy the text book.  I love it. 
  • “What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know” because I used this line of books when I taught elementary school a few years ago and liked it.
  • CK Colorado because it’s a free website with lesson plans that match the “What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know.”
  • Swedish Fairy Tales.
  • The Scriptures.
  • The same grammar books I used for remedial students when I taught English at UVU
  • Mad Libs.
  • The CIA World Factbook and maps on the internet to teach geography.
  • Virtual Field Trips (online: to an apple cider factory, woolen mill, surfboard factory, museums worldwide, Machu Piccu via National Geographic YouTube, etc.)
  • Real Field Trips (there are so many things close by– university art and science museums, farms, airports, libraries, historical sites)   

And, to ensure he’s not socially left out, I also have him in karate three times a week, boy scouts, church, and I encourage neighbor and sibling play time all afternoon, and I’ve joined the Utah County homeschooling association and will probably do things with them as well.

   Ironically, in the October 15, 2012, issue of the National Review, there’s an article called The Last Radicals“The Last Radicals: Homeschoolers Occupy the Curriculum” that came out, ironically, the same week that I decided to homeschool my own fourth grade son.   

The author, Kevin D. Williamson, writes:

<!—->          There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.

In the public imagination, homeschooling has a distinctly conservative and Evangelical odor about it, but it was not always so. The modern homeschooling movement really has its roots in 1960s countercultural tendencies; along with A Love Supreme, it may represent the only worthwhile cultural product of that era. The movement’s urtext is Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, by A. S. Neill, which sold millions of copies in the 1960s and 1970s. Neill was the headmaster of an English school organized (to the extent that it was organized) around neo-Freudian psychotherapeutic notions and Marxian ideas about the nature of power relationships in society. He looked forward to the day when conventional religion would wither away — “Most of our religious practices are a sham,” he declared — and in general had about as little in common with what most people regard as the typical homeschooler as it is possible to have.

“People forget that some of the first homeschoolers were hippies,” says Bob Wiesner, a counselor at the Seton Home Study School, a Catholic educational apostolate reporting to the bishop of Arlington, Va. In one of history’s little ironies, today most of homeschooling’s bitterest enemies are to be found on the left. “We don’t have much of a problem from conservatives,” Wiesner says. “It’s the teachers’ unions, educational bureaucrats, and liberal professors. College professors by and large don’t want students who can think for themselves. They want students they can indoctrinate, but that’s hard to do with homeschoolers — homeschoolers push back.”

Full Article here:  https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/328699/last-radicals

You Are Invited: Open Meeting Nov. 13th State Federalism Subcommittee   Leave a comment

  • There are a ton of open governmental meetings that people don’t really know about, and thus few attend them.
  • Here’s one: November 13th at 12:30 you– all of you– all of us, are invited to an open committee meeting at the Utah Senate Building, Olmstead room. The Federalism Subcommittee will be discussing whatever’s on their agenda.  I’ve politely requested that Common Core will be.
  • Because there is such a thing as a legislative Federalism Subcommittee for Utah, (who knew?) and because its purpose it is to make sure the feds don’t step on the state’s toes and/or siphon off our sovereignty under the Constitution, I wrote to them today to ask them to study Common Core a little bit more closely.
  • I wrote:
Dear Representative Noel, Senator Niederhauser, Representative King, Lt. Governor Greg Bell, Dep. Attorney General Swallow and Senator Romero,
I’m writing to ask you, as members of the Federalism Subcommittee council, to place a federal action for evaluation on the state agenda for the upcoming meeting November 13, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. to be held in the Olmstead Room in the Utah Senate Building.
“In accordance with Section 63C-4-107, the Federalism Subcommittee shall evaluate a federal law submitted to the Federalism Subcommittee by a council member.”  Utah Code Ann. §63C-4-106(2).
There is a lot of solid research available about Common Core, its origins, authors, copyright, nonamendability, unpiloted and unverified claims, and the ways in which the Obama Administration has hijacked it, an initiative that started as a state-led initiative, but has become a federally-pushed agenda tied to the No Child Left Behind waivers and also tied to the State Longitudinal Database System, the P-20 tracking system, and ultimately, now appears to be becoming a form of federal citizen surveillance –under the guise of educational research and reforms.
No fight deserves our attention more than the fight against nationalized education via Common Core.
Our state’s top lawyers at the Utah State Office of Education have not probed this issue, and have not even analyzed it as an issue of federalism.  We have not even had a hearing (even teachers are being turned away by the USOE who want to speak out on this subject) because Common Core has become so controversial and so hotly defended by those who introduced it to our state.
I am happy to share the research that national thinktanks, elite institutes, and even my Utah friends and I have found, including the Dept. of Education’s current lawsuit (led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center) due to Dept. of Ed FERPA overstep; the Dept. of Education’s Cooperative Agreement which micromanages education against G.E.P.A. law and against the provisions of the U.S. Constitution; including the “data mashing” programs of Utah’s John Brandt and the federal chief of staff, Joanne Weiss; and emails from the USOE that confirm the end of student privacy has come due to this network of “education reforms” that are radically transforming our state’s educational system without a vote and without public knowledge.
I will be out of state on November 13th, but as it is an open meeting, and as there are thousands of Utahns who feel as I do and who have signed a petition against Common Core at http://Utahnsagainstcommoncore.com I feel sure you will be well supported as you evaluate this initiative and its implications for state sovereignty.
Thank you for your consideration.
Christel Swasey
Heber City

Romney on Education   Leave a comment

There was a debate last night between Obama’s education advisor, Jon Schnur, and  Romney’s education advisor, Phil Handy. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/10/_in_a_substantive_one-hour.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29

Education Week covered it.  In brief, what  was said:

“On the issue his campaign has been most silent on — the fate of the waivers the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Arne Duncan have granted so far from NCLB—Handy didn’t outright say Romney would get rid of them. But he broadly hinted at it.”

The waivers are “not about flexibility. They’re very prescriptive. We think they have led to a very unfortunate result: … many of these states are setting different accountability standards for different constituencies of children,” said Handy, a former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education. “I think it’s wrong.” What he’s referring to—different school performance standards for different groups of kids—is becoming a big policy issue in many states, and a messaging problem for the Obama administration.

…Another area that Handy shed light on was Romney’s plan to send Title I and special education dollars directly to parents as vouchers so they can use them at the school of their choice. Handy acknowledged that, since the federal government only pays an average of about 10 percent of a child’s K-12 education, Romney’s voucher plan would have to start small. States would be encouraged to match those dollars, and seven to eight would probably do so right away, he said.

“The federal government’s role should be to get this choice started,” Handy said.

…Handy’s points on school choice illustrated his overarching themes of the night: that the federal role in education should be limited to providing choice and transparent data on the quality of schools. And, it became clear, the role is also to not add to the deficit under a Romney presidency.

Handy reiterated a surprising pledge Romney made in the first presidential debate—that he wouldn’t cut education funding. Handy said the crux of the funding crisis is over entitlement programs such as Social Security. “You can easily hold public education harmless without impacting the creation of more deficits,” he said.

But Romney won’t invest more in education either, Handy said. That includes in areas such as common assessments to match the common core, or in early education. “You just can’t keep adding to the deficit,” Handy said.

Agreed!

Quotes on Freedom and the Constitution from Ezra Taft Benson   Leave a comment

http://www.latterdayconservative.com/quotes/ezra-taft-benson/   (full list of quotes here)

Thanks to the latterdayconservative.com site for putting together these quotes from Ezra Taft Benson:

Ezra Taft BensonEzra Taft Benson

Quotes on Freedom, America, Constitution, Liberty, Etc…

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if they have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.

Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.

Said Karl G. Maeser, “I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera, or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher. It is infinitely better to take chances with an ignorant, but pure-minded teacher than with the greatest philosopher who is impure.”

Vocational education, correspondence courses, establishment in a family business are being considered for their children by an increasing number of parents.

On what basis can we morally resist tyranny?

I say to you with all the fervor of my soul that God intended men to be free. Rebellion against tyranny is a righteous cause. It is an enormous evil for any man to be enslaved to any system contrary to his own will. For that reason men, 200 years ago, pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.

No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood – human blood – will win it back.

If we do not accept the existence of a Supreme Being; that God is the source of moral law, what more do we have to offer than Marx?…

Freedom is an eternal, God-given principle. There is no genuine happiness without freedom, nor is there any security or peace without freedom. After traveling in practically all of the free countries of the world and several times behind the Iron Curtain, I say that Marxism is the greatest evil in this world and the greatest threat to all we hold dear.

Of all sad things in the world, the saddest is to see a people who have once known liberty and freedom and then lost it. I have seen the unquenchable yearning of the human heart for liberty on two unforgettable occasions. These experiences are indelibly etched on the memory of my soul.

And if the time should come when you are associated with groups that take delight in tearing down our American way of life, then they seem to enjoy pointing out the weaknesses of our free enterprise system – and it has weaknesses; it has weaknesses because it’s operated by men and women who are full of weaknesses – but when those times come, when our system is criticized, just keep in mind the fruits of the system, the great blessings that have come to us because of our American way of life. No group of people have ever attained the standard of living which is ours. And so let’s become acquainted with what has been accomplished. It’s all right to criticize; it’s all right to try and improve our American way of life; but in doing so, 1et’s not surrender, let’s not give up, let’s not jeopardize that system which has made America great.

It’s a great blessing to live in America. It’s a great blessing to have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms which are ours today. I have seen people, thousands of them, who have lost the freedom which is ours, where they can no longer meet, as we meet here this morning, and express themselves  as  they  see fit, where they no longer have freedom of movement,  freedom  to  select their  own  jobs, their own educational opportunities, freedom to speak their minds, to write what they wish – freedom of enterprise. In many parts of the world today these rich blessings of freedom no longer exist.

I don’t know how you feel, my brethren and sisters, but I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we’ll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside. But I do have fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land. And so I plead with you this morning that you take an active interest in matters pertaining to the future of this country.

Occasionally, we receive questions as to the propriety of Church members receiving government assistance instead of Church assistance. Let me restate what is a fundamental principle. Individuals, to the extent possible, should provide for their own needs. Where the individual is unable to care for himself, his family should assist. Where the family is not able to provide, the Church should render assistance, not the government.

Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.” By doing this you contribute to the problem which is leading this nation to financial insolvency.

I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14–16; D&C 84:49–53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18–25.)

I testify that America is a choice land. (See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Nephi 21:4.) America will be a blessed land unto the righteous forever, and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom. (See 2 Nephi 1:7.)

On September 17, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the signing of the United States Constitution. The group of inspired men assembled for that convention produced the document that the Prophet Joseph Smith referred to as “a glorious standard” and “a heavenly banner” [TPJS 147].

In commemoration of this important event, we are providing this booklet, which contains three family home evening lessons, activity ideas, and a copy of the Constitution. We encourage you to prepare and teach each lesson prayerfully so that family members may feel the divine significance of the Constitution in their minds and hearts. Faithfully, your brethren, The First Presidency.

How then can we best befriend the Constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty and ensure the protection and guidance of our Father in Heaven?

First and foremost, we must be righteous. . . .

Two great American Christian civilizations — the Jaredites and the Nephites — were swept off this land because they did not “serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12). What will become of our civilization?

Second, We must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

Have we read the Federalist papers? Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it? . . .

We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10).

May God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

May we be equally as valiant and as free.

The United States Constitution has been in existence longer than any written constitution in history. It has been a blessing, not only to our land, but to the world as well. Many nations have wisely adopted concepts and provisions of our Constitution, just as was prophesied (D&C 101:77).

The restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the Lord’s Church could not come to pass until the Founding Fathers were raised up and completed their foreordained missions. Those great souls who were responsible for the freedoms we enjoy acknowledged the guiding hand of Providence. For their efforts we are indebted, but we are even more indebted to our Father in Heaven and to His Son, Jesus Christ. How fortunate we are to live when the blessings of liberty and the gospel of Jesus Christ are both available to us.

May we be worthy of the freedoms that have been provided us in our Constitution, and equal to the trials and tests that shall surely come. We truly have special and individual responsibilities to befriend and to defend that “glorious standard,” our Constitution.

Our Heavenly Father raised up the men who founded this government (see D&C 101:80), thereby fulfilling the prophecy of His Beloved Son that the people “should be established in this land and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father” (3 Nephi 21:4).

We encourage Latter-day Saints throughout the nation to familiarize themselves with the Constitution. They should focus attention on it by reading and studying it. They should ponder the blessings that come through it. They should recommit themselves to its principles and be prepared to defend it and the freedom it provides. (D&C 109:54.) . . .

Because some Americans have not kept faith with our Founding Fathers, the Constitution faces severe challenges. Those who do not prize individual freedom are trying to erode its great principles. We believe the Constitution will stand, but it will take the efforts of patriotic and dedicated Americans to uphold it. . . . We, as Latter-day Saints, must be vigilant in doing our part to preserve the Constitution and safeguard the way of life it makes possible.

This bicentennial year affords us renewed opportunities to learn more about this divinely inspired charter of our liberty, to speak in its defense, and to preserve and protect it against evil or destruction.

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land [D&C 101:76–80]. I testify that the God of Heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits — even you who read my words — to preserve it.

Will we be prepared? Will we be among those who will “bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction?” If we desire to be numbered among those who will, here are some things we must do:

1. We must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us than what we ourselves are. In the final analysis, people generally get the kind of government they deserve. To live a higher law means we will not seek to receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the Source of our liberty.

2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts. We have been instructed again and again to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution and to adhere to its principles. What have we done about this instruction? Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? The Church will not tell us how to do this, but we are admonished to do it. I quote Abraham Lincoln: “Let [the Constitution] be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges, let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs, let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”

3. We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God” (D&C 98:8–11).

Note the qualities that the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest. Some leaders may be honest and good but unwise in legislation they choose to support. Others may possess wisdom but be dishonest and unvirtuous. We must be concerted in our desires and efforts to see men and women represent us who possess all three of these qualities.

4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel. We must take part in local precinct meetings and select delegates who will truly represent our feelings.

I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church — men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution.

( Source: CHB 28-31 )

To all who have discerning eyes, it is apparent that the republican form of government established by our noble forefathers cannot long endure once fundamental principles are abandoned. Momentum is gathering for another conflict — a repetition of the crisis of two hundred years ago. This collision of ideas is worldwide. Another monumental moment is soon to be born. The issue is the same that precipitated the great premortal conflict — will men be free to determine their own course of action or must they be coerced?

We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: “Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” (July 19, 1840, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department.)

It is now two hundred years since the Constitution was written. Have we been wise beneficiaries of the gift entrusted to us? Have we valued and protected the principles laid down by this great document?

At this bicentennial celebration we must, with sadness, say that we have not been wise in keeping the trust of our Founding Fathers. For the past two centuries, those who do not prize freedom have chipped away at every major clause of our Constitution until today we face a crisis of great dimensions.

In recognizing God as the source of their rights, the Founding Fathers declared Him to be the ultimate authority for their basis of law. This led them to the conviction that people do not make law but merely acknowledge preexisting law, giving it specific application. The Constitution was conceived to be such an expression of higher law. And when their work was done, James Madison wrote: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution” (The Federalist, no. 37).

The Founding Fathers well understood human nature and its tendency to exercise unrighteous dominion when given authority [D&C 121:39–40]. A Constitution was therefore designed to limit government to certain enumerated functions, beyond which was tyranny.

In order to avoid a concentration of power in any one branch, the Founding Fathers created a system of government that provided checks and balances. Congress could pass laws, but the president could check these laws with a veto. Congress, however, could override the veto and, by its means of initiative in taxation, could further restrain the executive department. The Supreme Court could nullify laws passed by the Congress and signed by the president, but Congress could limit the court’s appellate jurisdiction. The president could appoint judges for their lifetime with the consent of the Senate.

The use of checks and balances was deliberately designed, first, to make it difficult for a minority of the people to control the government, and, second, to place restraint on the government itself.

The coming forth of the Constitution is of such transcendent importance in the Lord’s plan that ancient prophets foresaw this event and prophesied of it. In the dedicatory prayer for the Idaho Falls Temple, President George Albert Smith indicated that the Constitution fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that “out of Zion shall go forth the law” (Isaiah 2:3).

George Washington referred to this document [the Constitution] as a miracle. This miracle could only have been performed by exceptional men.

History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of his righteous children. Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny.

The War that began in heaven is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments. . . .

. . . We must appreciate that we live in one of history’s most exceptional moments — in a nation and a time of unprecedented freedom. Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than one percent of the human family.

( Source: CHB 3-4 )

On the 17th day of September 1987 we commemorate the two hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

I heartily endorse this assessment. . . .

We pay honor — honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth. . . .

. . . God himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots [our Founding Fathers].

Our Founding Fathers, with solemn and reverent expression, voiced their allegiance to the sovereignty of God, knowing that they were accountable to Him in the day of judgment. Are we less accountable today? I think not. I urge you to keep the commandments and to pray for our nation and its leaders.

The Founding Fathers understood the principle that “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Prov 14:34), and helped to bring about one of the greatest systems ever used to govern men. But unless we continue to seek righteousness and preserve the liberties entrusted to us, we shall lose the blessings of heaven. Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The price of freedom is also to live in accordance with the commandments of God. The early Founding Fathers thanked the Lord for His intervention in their behalf. They saw His hand in their victories in battle and believed strongly that He watched over them.

The battles are not over yet, and there will yet be times when this great nation will need the overshadowing help of Deity. Will we as a nation be worthy to call upon Him for help?

The Founding Fathers had no problems seeing the hand of the Lord in the birth of the nation. George Washington gave direct credit to God for the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. But that did not end the need for inspiration and divine help.

A constitution was drafted. And thirty-nine of fifty delegates signed it. I would ask: Why is it that the references to God’s influence in the noble efforts of the founders of our republic are not mentioned by modern historians?

The fact that our Founding Fathers looked to God for help and inspiration should not surprise us, for they were men of great faith. These men had been raised up specifically by the Lord so they could participate in the great political drama unfolding in America.

We must study and learn for ourselves the principles laid down in the Constitution which have preserved our freedoms for the last two hundred years. If we do not understand the role of government and how our rights are protected by the Constitution, we may accept programs or organizations that help erode our freedoms. An informed citizenry is the first line of defense against anarchy and tyranny.

Our Creator endowed each one of us with certain rights at birth, among which are the rights to life, liberty, speech, and conscience, to name a few. These are not just human rights; they are divine rights. When these rights are not permitted expression by a nation, that nation becomes inhibited in its progress and development, and its leaders are responsible before God for suffocating sacred rights.

This native endowment is what separates man from the animals. It causes men to want to be good and to seek higher aspirations. It creates in man a desire to better his life and his station in life.

Before the gospel could again shine forth its resplendent light, religious and political freedom first had to be restored. This land had been preserved as a continent apart from the religious oppression, tyranny, and intolerance of Europe. In time, emigrants came to the new land and established colonies. By and large, they were a God-fearing people. A war was fought for their independence, and by God’s intervention, victory was achieved (see 1 Nephi 13:16–19). By that same omnipotent power the Constitution was born (see D&C 101:80), which guaranteed religious and political liberty (see D&C 98:5–8). Only then was the time propitious for the kingdom of God — that “stone cut out without hands” — to be restored (see Dan 2:34).

Men who are wise, good, and honest, who will uphold the Constitution of the United States in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, must be sought for diligently. This is our hope to restore government to its rightful role.

I fully believe that we can turn things around in America if we have the determination, the morality, the patriotism, and the spirituality to do so. . . .

. . . I further witness that this land — the Americas — must be protected, its Constitution upheld, for this is a land foreordained to be the Zion of our God. He expects us as members of the Church and bearers of His priesthood to do all we can to preserve our liberty.

To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up . . . and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).

The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.

You must keep your honor. You cannot yet speak officially for the country, but you can become informed. You can speak your mind. You may think you can do little about the national economy or the actions of our government and the moral weakness all about us, but we must all remember that the Lord has placed great responsibilities upon the elders of Israel in the preservation of our Constitution.

The Constitution of this land, with which we should all be familiar, is the only constitution in the world bearing the stamp of approval of the Lord Jesus Christ (D&C 101:76–80).

When I became President of the Twelve and Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church, we met, just the two of us, every week after our Thursday meetings in the temple, just to be sure that things were properly coordinated between the Twelve and the First Presidency. After one of those first meetings, we talked about the many sacred documents in some of the older temples. St. George was mentioned in particular because St. George is our oldest temple in Utah. I had a stake conference down there about that time, and it was agreed that I would go into the archives — the walk-in vault — of that great temple and review the sacred documents that were there. We were planning for the remodeling and renovating of the St. George Temple and thought that the records might possibly be moved to Salt Lake for safekeeping. And there in the St. George Temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted to see the record. And I saw the record. They did appear to Wilford Woodruff twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those principles. Later the work was done for them.

In the archives of the temple, I saw in a book, in bold handwriting, the names of the Founding Fathers and others, including Columbus and other great Americans, for whom the work had been done in the house of the Lord. This is all one great program on both sides of the veil. We are fortunate to be engaged in it on this side of the veil. I think the Lord expects us to take an active part in preserving the Constitution and our freedom.

Learn about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and other basic documents of our great country so that you can sustain them and the free institutions set up under them. The greatest watchdog of our freedom is an informed electorate.

Our forefathers left us a free government which is a miracle of faith — strong, durable, marvelously workable. Yet it can remain so only as long as we understand it, believe in it, devote ourselves to it, and, when necessary, fight for it.

( Source: Hillam v )

May we be wise — prayerfully wise — in the electing of those who would lead us. May we select only those who understand and will adhere to constitutional principles. To do so, we need to understand these principles ourselves. . . .

. . . We should understand the Constitution as the founders meant that it should be understood. We can do this by reading their words about it, such as those contained in the Federalist Papers. Such understanding is essential if we are to preserve what God has given us. . . .

. . . I testify that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government as prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of our Savior.

The temple work for the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and other Founding Fathers has been done. All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was president of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that, according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests at that time. When one casts doubt about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it. Yes, with Lincoln, I say: “To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is . . . impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.”

If ever this country needed the timeless wisdom of the father of our country, it is today. How much our country could benefit by following the wisdom of our country’s first president. Here are a few among many maxims:

“Let the reins of government then be braced and held with a steady hand, and every violation of the constitution be reprehended. If defective, let it be amended, but not suffered to be trampled upon whilst it has an existence.” (To Henry Lee, October 31, 1786, Writings 29:34.)

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” (First Annual Address, January 8, 1790, Writings 12:8.)

“. . . the love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.” (Answer to the New Hampshire Executive, November 3, 1789, Writings 12:175.)

“. . . a good moral character is the first essential in a man. . . . It is therefore highly important, that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.” (To George Steptoe Washington, December 5, 1790, Writings 10:123-24.)

“Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of nations, to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to confirming of our constitution; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition, and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity, which his goodness has already conferred; and to verify the anticipation of this government being a safeguard to human rights.” (To the Senate and the House of Representatives, November 19, 1794, Writings 12:54.)

It would profit all of us as citizens to read again Washington’s Farewell Address to his countrymen. The address is prophetic. I believe it ranks alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

My feelings about this tendency to discredit our Founding Fathers are well summarized by the late President J. Reuben Clark in these words: “These were the horse and buggy days as they have been called in derision; these were the men who traveled in the horsedrawn buggies and on horseback; but these were the men who carried under their hats, as they rode in the buggies and on their horses, a political wisdom garnered from the ages. As giants to pygmies are they when placed alongside our political emigres and their fellow travelers of today, who now traduce them with slighting word and contemptuous phrase.” (Stand Fast by Our Constitution, pp. 136-37.)

The charge [has been made] that the founders designed the Constitution primarily to benefit themselves and their class (property owners) financially, and that the economic motif was their dominant incentive. Such was the thesis of the American historian, Dr. Charles Beard. Yet Madison said: “There was never an assembly of men . . . who were more pure in their motives.” We must remember that these were men who had sacrificed in many cases their fortunes and their sacred honor.

Shortly after the turn of this century, Charles Beard published his work An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. This book marked the beginning of a trend to defame the motives and integrity of the founders of the Constitution. It also grossly distorted the real intent of the founders by suggesting their motivation was determined by economics—a thesis that had originated with Karl Marx. Beard himself was not a Marxist, but he was a socialist in his thinking, and he admitted there was much we could learn from Marx’s ideas. Before his death Beard recanted his own thesis, but the damage had been done. This began a new trend in educational and intellectual circles in the United States.

The Lord has also decreed that this land should be “the place of the new Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.” (Ether 13:3.) Here is our nation’s destiny! To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land and the people for America’s eventual destiny, He “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D&C 101:80.)

Tonight I will speak to you about our beloved republic and the inspired agents whom God raised up to establish the foundation upon which our liberty rests. . . . I speak to you as members of the “household of faith,” the Lord’s true church, and remind you of your solemn charge to uphold, sustain, and defend the kingdom of God.

The destiny of America was divinely decreed. The events that established our great nation were foreknown to God and revealed to prophets of old. As in an enacted drama, the players who came on the scene were rehearsed and selected for their parts. Their talent, abilities, capacities, and weaknesses were known before they were born.

As a means of emphasizing this during this Bicentennial year, we have prepared four Bicentennial family home evening lessons, which will be distributed to all Church members in the United States of America. We are asking fathers and mothers to teach the story of America to their children, to tell of its spiritual foundation, and to emphasize how that freedom can be preserved.

We urge people to support the Constitution of the United States and our free institutions set up under it.

It is a part of our faith that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God. We reverence it akin to the revelations that have come from God. . . . We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared He established “by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 109:54).

It must be remembered that the founding fathers of this great nation were men imbued with these principles [the Ten Commandments]. There are those in the land whose faith it is that these were “wise men whom [God] raised up” for the purpose of establishing the Constitution of the United States. They recognized that there are two possible sources to the origin of our freedoms that we have come to know as human rights. Rights are either God-given as part of a divine plan or they are granted as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, and religious conviction and belief in the sovereignty of God led these men to accept the divine origin of these rights. To God’s glory and the credit of these men, our nation was uniquely born.

Before we go to our ailments and disorders, it is well to review the elements of our health and strength that we have acquired under our divinely inspired Constitution, the liberties it guarantees, and the free institution it sets up. . . .

No country has been more concerned with “due process” in its judicial system than ours. The protection of human rights, as granted by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, is not just theory. History will record that we bent over backward to protect the rights of the individual, sometimes even to a fault.

Thank God for the constitution. And may God bless the elders of Israel that when, as President John Taylor said, “The people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of earth and proclaiming liberty” (Journal of Discourses, 21:8).

It is good at all times to remember a few of the many gifts we have received from our Lord, Jesus Christ, and to think of what we in turn might give to him. . . .

. . . In addition to the gifts of the life of Christ, his prophet, his church, and the Book of Mormon is the gift of the Constitution. The Lord said, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up” (D&C 101:80). . . .

The elders of this church have a prophetic mission yet to perform so far as the Constitution is concerned. In a discourse by Joseph Smith on July 19, 1840, he said:

“Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” (Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department)

Now, how are the elders going to prepare for that mission? How are they going to know what the Constitution is so they will know when it is on the brink of ruin? . . .

To the Lord, his prophets, and the founding fathers we must go to learn of this divine document so our efforts will be to preserve and not destroy the Constitution.

May we pledge anew that the divine principles embodied in the divinely inspired documents that govern our country be written on the tablets of our own hearts. I pray that our eyes might be single to the will of God, that we might thereby bless our families and our country and that we shall, with increased devotion, work for less government, more individual responsibility, and, with God’s help, a better world.

It is a part of my religious belief that America is a land choice above all others, that we are not just another of the family of nations, but that we have been singled out to perform a divine mission for liberty-loving people everywhere. Those who founded this republic were wise men raised up by our Father in heaven to perform that very task, and the Constitution of this land was inspired by God. We have a divine duty — even a destiny — to preserve that Constitution from destruction and hold it aloft to the world.

We honor these partners [friends outside the Church] because their devotion to correct principles overshadowed their devotion to popularity, party, or personalities.

We honor our founding fathers of this republic for the same reason. God raised up these patriotic partners to perform their mission, and he called them “wise men.” (see D&C 101:80.) The First Presidency acknowledged that wisdom when they gave us the guideline a few years ago of supporting political candidates “who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.” (Deseret News, November 2, 1964.) . . .

Our wise founders seemed to understand, better than most of us, our own scripture, which states that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority . . . they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39.)

To help prevent this, the founders knew that our elected leaders should be bound by certain fixed principles. Said Thomas Jefferson: “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

These wise founders, our patriotic partners, seemed to appreciate more than most of us the blessings of the boundaries that the Lord set within the Constitution, for he said, “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:7.)

In God the founders trusted, and in his Constitution — not in the arm of flesh. “O Lord,” said Nephi, “I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; . . . cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (2 Nephi 4:34.)

I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But this does not mean that we should divorce government from any formal recognition of God. To do so strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations — a throwback to the feudal system of the Dark Ages.

With independence won, another body of men assembled; and under the inspiration of heaven, they too drafted a document, probably the greatest instrument ever struck off at a given time by the mind of man: the Constitution of the United States.

It is my conviction that the Constitution of the United States was established by the hands of wise men whom the Lord raised up unto this very purpose.

The Lord expects us to safeguard this sacred and inspired document for the blessing of all of us and our posterity. If we fail so to do we will not only lose our priceless freedom but jeopardize the cause of truth throughout the entire world.

Do we dare ask ourselves if the United States, though cast in the role of a leader to preserve and strengthen world civilization, isn’t itself tottering internally because too many of its citizens have abandoned the virtues that comprised the basic format of its own civilization? For instance, if spiritual faith, courage, and the willingness of our forbears to work hard were the sustaining virtues, and if, solely because of them, they were able to create our own civilization, can we now in the United States substitute for these virtues the human weaknesses of selfishness, complacency, apathy, and fear — and still hope to survive as a civilized nation?

I believe that God has endowed men with certain inalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.

I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the states of this nation that all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish. . . .

I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the federal government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship, and to pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.

Another standard I use in determining what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey.

For years we have heard of the role the elders could play in saving the Constitution from total destruction. But how can the elders be expected to save it if they have not studied it and are not sure if it is being destroyed or what is destroying it?

An informed patriotic gentile was dumbfounded when he heard of Joseph Smith’s reported prophecy regarding the mission our elders could perform in saving the Constitution. He lived in a Mormon community with nice people who were busily engaged in other activities but who had little concern in preserving their freedom. He wondered if maybe a letter should not be sent to President McKay, urging him to release some of the elders from their present Church activities so there would be a few who could help step forward to save the Constitution.

Now it is not so much a case of a man giving up all his other duties to fight for freedom, as it is a case of a man getting his life in balance so he can discharge all of his God-given responsibilities. And of all these responsibilities President McKay has said that we have “no greater immediate responsibility” than “to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.”

There is no excuse that can compensate for the loss of liberty.

Satan is anxious to neutralize the inspired counsel of the Prophet and hence keep the priesthood off balance, ineffective and inert in the fight for freedom. He does this through diverse means, including the use of perverse reasoning. . . .

The cause of freedom is a most basic part of our religion. Our position on freedom helped get us to this earth and it can make the difference as to whether we get back home or not. . . .

Now part of the reason why we do not have sufficient Priesthood bearers to save the Constitution, let alone to shake the powers of hell, is, I fear, because unlike Moroni, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free and we are not firm in the faith of Christ, nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights.

Jefferson warned that we should not talk about confidence in men but that we should inhibit their power through the Constitution. [Thomas Jefferson, Draft of Kentucky Resolutions of 1798; Works 9:470-71.]

The question as to whether we may save our constitutional republic is simply based on two factors: the number of patriots and the extent of their obedience.

That the Lord desires to save this nation which he raised up there is no doubt. But that he leaves it up to us, with his help, is the awful reality.

About two hundred years ago some inspired men walked this land. Not perfect men, but men raised up by the Perfect Man to perform a great work. Foreordained were they to lay the foundation of this republic. Blessed by the Almighty in their struggle for liberty and independence, the power of heaven rested on these founders as they drafted that great document for governing men — the Constitution of the United States. Like the Ten Commandments, the truths on which the Constitution was based were timeless; and also as with the Decalogue — the hand of the Lord was in it. They filled their mission well. From them we were endowed with a legacy of liberty — a constitutional republic.

Leaders of youth, teach our young people to love freedom, to know that it is God-given. . . . Teach them to love their country, to know that it has a spiritual foundation, that it has a prophetic history, that it is the Lord’s base of operation.

Teach them that the Constitution of the United States was established by men whom God raised up for that very purpose, that it is not outmoded, that it is not an old-fashioned agrarian document, as some men in high places are calling it today.

The sad and shocking story of what has happened in America in recent years must be told. Our people must have the facts. There is safety in an informed public. There is real danger in a complacent, uninformed citizenry. This is our real danger today. Yes, the truth must be told even at the risk of destroying, in large measure, the influence of men who are widely respected and loved by the American people. The stakes are high. Freedom and survival is the issue.

The Lord raised up the Founding Fathers. He it was who established the Constitution of this land — the greatest document of freedom ever written. This God-inspired Constitution is not outmoded. It is not an outdated “agrarian document” as some of our would-be statesmen, socialists, and fellow travelers of the godless conspiracy would have us believe. It was the Lord God who established the foundation of this nation; and woe be unto those — members of the Supreme Court and others — who would weaken this foundation.

We had better take our small pain now than our greater loss later. There were souls who wished afterwards that they had stood and fought with Washington and the founding fathers, but they waited too long—they passed up eternal glory. There has never been a greater time than now to stand up against entrenched evil. And while the gentiles established the Constitution, we have a divine mandate to preserve it. But unfortunately today in this freedom struggle, many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of light.

The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants. His arguments are clever.

Here are a few samples:

First: “We really haven’t received much instruction about freedom,” the devil says. . . .

Second: “You’re too involved in other church work,” says the devil. . . .

Third: “You want to be loved by everyone,” says the devil, “and this freedom battle is so controversial you might be accused of engaging in politics.” . . .

Fourth: “Wait until it becomes popular to do,” says the devil, “or, at least until everybody in the Church agrees on what should be done.” . . .

Fifth: “It might hurt your business or your family,” says the devil, “and besides why not let the gentiles save the country? They aren’t as busy as you are.” . . .

Sixth: “Don’t worry,” says the devil, “the Lord will protect you, and besides the world is so corrupt and heading toward destruction at such a pace that you can’t stop it, so why try.” . . .

And now as to the last neutralizer that the devil uses most effectively—it is simply this: “Don’t do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution.” This brings us right back to the scripture I opened with today—to those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are “compelled in all things” [D&C 58:26]. Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. And have we elders been warned? Yes, we have. And have we elders been given the guidelines? Yes indeed, we have. And besides, if the Church should ever inaugurate a program, who do you think would be in the forefront to get it moving? It would not be those who were sitting on the sidelines prior to that time or those who were appeasing the enemy. It would be those choice spirits who, not waiting to be “commanded in all things” [D&C 58:26], used their own free will, the counsel of the prophets, and the Spirit of the Lord as guidelines and who entered the battle “in a good cause” [D&C 58:27] and brought to pass much righteousness in freedom’s cause. . . .

Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country. The fact that most of us are unprepared to do it is an indictment we will have to bear. The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood, the more the persecution, and the less we can carry out our God-given mandate and worldwide mission. The war in heaven is raging on the earth today. Are you being neutralized in the battle?

Now, the Lord knew that before the gospel could flourish there must first be an atmosphere of freedom. This is why he first established the Constitution of this land through gentiles whom he raised up before he restored the gospel.

The Founding Fathers recognized the importance of vital religion and morality in the affairs of individuals and governments, and they turned to religion in order to give their new experiment a sense of direction. They were well aware that the principles of moral, intellectual, and spiritual integrity taught and exemplified by the Savior are the perfect guide for the conduct of countries and of individuals. It is no accident that the principles of Christian religion are the foundation of the Constitution of the United States.

Students, study the writings of the prophets. Fortunately, the constistent position taken over the years by the prophets of the Church on vital issues facing this nation have recently been compiled in an excellent book entitled Prophets, Principles and National Survival [by Jerreld L. Newquist].

With all my heart I love our great nation. I have lived and traveled abroad just enough to make me appreciate rather fully what we have in America. To me the U. S. is not just another nation. It is not just one of a family of nations. The U. S. is a nation with a great mission to perform for the benefit and blessing of liberty-loving people everywhere.

I think it is time for every patriotic American to join with neighbors to study the Constitution and the conspiracy. Subscribe to several good patriotic magazines.

At this particular moment in history the United States Constitution is definitely threatened, and every citizen should know about it. The warning of this hour should resound through the corridors of every American institution — schools, churches, the halls of Congress, press, radio, and TV, and so far as I am concerned it will resound—with God’s help.

Wherever possible I have tried to speak out. It is for this very reason that certain people in Washington have bitterly criticized me. They don’t want people to hear the message. It embarrasses them. The things which are destroying the Constitution are the things they have been voting for.

I believe one of the most serious mistakes a President could make would be to weaken the Constitution.

From the time I was a small boy I was taught that the American Constitution is an inspired document. I was also taught that the day will come when the Constitution will be endangered and hang as it were by a single thread. I was taught that we should study the Constitution. . . . I expect to continue my efforts to help protect and safeguard our inspired Constitution.

I quote the great American, J. Edgar Hoover: “I confess to a real apprehension so long as communists are able to secure ministers of the gospel to promote their evil work and espouse a cause that is alien to the religion of Christ and Judaism. I do fear so long as school boards and parents tolerate conditions whereby communists and fellow travelers under the guise of academic freedom can teach our youth a way of life that eventually will destroy the sanctity of the home, that undermines faith in God, that causes them to scorn respect for constituted authority and sabotage our revered Constitution.” (Menace of Communism, p. 11.)

Not cheap politicians but statesmen are needed today. Not opportunists but men and women of principle must be demanded by the people. In this time of great stress and danger we must place [in office] only those dedicated to the preservation of our Constitution, our American Republic, and responsible freedom under God. “Oh, God, give us men with a mandate higher than the ballot box.”

It is not, however, enough to be acquainted with the grave dangers facing these United States. We must also instruct ourselves, and others, in the great spiritual values underlying our divinely inspired Constitution and our American free-enterprise system.

On this basis may I give to you my own personal recommendation of some reading which will help you in the fight to save our Constitution.

First, for a number of years President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., served on the board of trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education while he was a member of the First Presidency. President Clark, as you probably know, was an Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Mexico. He wrote the famous memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine. In 1923 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle he warned us of the communist-socialist menace and what it was going to do—and he was right. No one in the Church has shown greater insight regarding our Constitution and the socialist-communist threat to it. The Foundation for Economic Education with which he served puts out some of the most enlightening freedom literature available. They also put out a free monthly magazine, entitled The Freeman, which is excellent. They will be happy to send you a free catalog of their literature. May I mention some of the books which they distribute: The Federalist, written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, three of our inspired founding fathers, explaining why the need of a constitution; The Constitution of the United States, by Mussatti; The Cliches of Socialism; The Mainspring of Human Progress, by Weaver; Economics in One Lesson, by Hazlitt; and The Admiral’s Log, by Admiral Ben Moreell, which book is also on the MIA reading list.

The scriptures also tell about our inspired Constitution. If you accept these scriptures, you will automatically reject the counsel of men who depreciate our Constitution. If you use the scriptures as a guide, you know what the Book of Mormon has to say regarding murderous conspiracies in the last day and how we are to awake to our awful situation today (see Ether 8:18–25). I find certain elements in the Church do not like to read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants so much — they have too much to say about freedom.

Today it is becoming an increasing handicap, it seems, to one’s career in government for a man or woman to take seriously his pledge of allegiance to our Constitution.

I urge all to read the solid volume, Stand Fast by Our Constitution [by J. Reuben Clark, Jr.].

They [our forefathers] believed that we must have some government, but it must be bound down by the chains of our Constitution so that it will not slip farther and farther over into the realm of governmentism.

That great and wise American, Thomas Jefferson, warned us of the danger of conferring unwarranted power upon our government administrators in these sobering words:

“. . . Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. . . . In questions of power, then, let not more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Let us not be deceived in the sifting days ahead. Let us rally together on principle behind the prophet as guided by the promptings of the Spirit. We should continue to speak out for freedom and against socialism and communism. We should continue to come to the aid of patriots, programs, and organizations that are trying to save our Constitution through every legal and moral means possible.

President McKay has said a lot about our tragic trends towards socialism and communism and the responsibilities liberty-loving people have in defending and preserving our Constitution. (see Conference Report, Apr 1963, pp. 112-13.) Have we read these words from God’s mouthpiece and pondered on them?

It is my firm conviction that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto this very purpose. This is part of my religious faith.

I do not believe an American citizen can be patriotic and loyal to his own country and its God-inspired Constitution of freedom without being anti-communist—anti-socialist.

Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any earthly possession. As a United States citizen I believe it is guaranteed in our heaven-inspired Constitution.

Teach them to love their country, and here in America to love the Constitution and the founding fathers, and to know that this is the Lord’s base of operations in these last days, and that that operation will be world-wide.

Every Latter-day Saint has spiritual obligations in four basic areas: his home, his church, his job, and his citizenship responsibility. Each of these areas should receive consistent attention although not necessarily equal time. Are we doing our duty in these important fields? What about our citizenship responsibility — our obligation to safeguard our freedom and preserve the Constitution?

The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the past several decades have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won’t care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He who has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God’s mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken.

“Our real enemies,” said President [J. Reuben] Clark, “are communism and its running mate, socialism. . . .”

“. . . Its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our Constitutional government.”

[Political and economic rights] are the things we are inclined to take for granted as American citizens.

The rights as listed included the right to worship God in one’s own way, rights to free speech and a free press, the right to assemble and freely to speak our own minds without any fear whatever. There are many countries of this world where you cannot do that today.

The right to petition for grievances, the right to privacy in our homes, the right to trial by jury, and to know that we are innocent until we are proven guilty. The right to move freely at home and abroad, the right to own private property, the right to free elections and personal secret ballot. The right to work in callings and localities of our choice. The right to bargain with our employees and employers. The right to go into business, to compete, to make a profit. The right to bargain for goods and services in a free market. The right to contract about our affairs.

These are an impressive list of rights which lay at the very foundation of the American way of life and preserve the dignity of the individual. Our constitutional government desires to serve the people, and basic in our beliefs is our fundamental belief in God and in the eternal principle of free agency, the right of choice.

We pay lip service to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution without realizing what they are and the danger of ignoring them.

( Source: The Red Carpet 263 )

Surely the preservation and enjoyment of the freedoms vouchsafed to us by the Constitution of the United States will require eternal vigilance even to the guarding of it with our lives.

. . . We must ever be on our guard against the unsound theories that would strike at our Constitutional freedoms.

We must ever keep faith with our founding fathers by keeping faith with our Constitution.

I trust that we all have faith in the Constitution of the United States, and that that faith is born of an assurance that this great document came into being through the inspiration of God to wise men, embodying as it does, eternal principles. This nation has a spiritual foundation which must be preserved at any cost of sweat and blood. May we recognize our debt and responsibility and be ever vigilant.

The need for this eternal and constant vigilance is seen in some prophetic words of Daniel Webster, given in 1802:

“Next to correct morals and watchful guardianship over the Constitution is the proper means for its support. No human advantage is indefensible. The fairest productions of man have in themselves or receive from accident a tendency to decay. Unless the Constitution be constantly fostered on the principles which created it, its excellency will fade; and it will feel, even in its infancy, the weakness and decrepitude of age.

“Our form of government is superior to all others, inasmuch as it provides, in a fair and honorable manner for its own amendment. But it requires no gift or prophecy to foresee that this privilege may be seized on by demagogues, to introduce wild and destructive innovations. Under the gentle name of amendments, changes may be proposed which, if unresisted, will undermine the national compact, mar its fairest features, and reduce it finally to a dead letter. It abates nothing of the danger to say that alterations may be trifling and inconsiderable. If the Constitution be picked away by piecemeal, it is gone — and gone as effectually as if some military despot had grasped it at once, trampled it beneath his feet, and scattered its loose leaves in the wild winds.”

If we are to keep faith with our Constitution, we must know it. Since it is the basis of our American way of life and our liberties every American should be familiar with it. We should read it periodically.

How can people who are ignorant of the principles and guarantees of American government stand up in defense of it and our rights under the Constitution? The fundamentals and processes of free government should be known to every school boy — and his parents. No free people can ever survive if they are ignorant of and fail to understand the principles of free government!

And so this great nation has come into being under the inspiration of the Almighty to accomplish his purposes. Through modern revelation we have had made very plain to us something of the mission of America and the establishment of our national Constitution.

( Source: The Red Carpet 109 )

The Founding Fathers, I repeat, in order that their new experiment — establishment of a new nation of freemen — make sense, had to turn to religion and to the scriptures. They turned to the prophecies, the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount.

Then when time came for the establishment of the Constitution, and when the time came for them to issue their Declaration of Independence, a sacred document issued in white heat on the anvil of defiance, they appealed to the Almighty. Both at the opening of that document and at its closing they spoke of eternal truths. They spoke of the fact that men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. At the close they said:

“. . . with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

( Source: The Red Carpet 106 )

The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of our freedom. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, to prayer, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It ante-dates the Founding Fathers.

It is my belief that ours is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. I thank God for the knowledge which I have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this land of America.

It is my firm belief that the Constitution of the land was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is my firm belief, also, that the God of Heaven guided the Founding Fathers in establishing it for His particular purposes. But God’s purpose is to build people of character, not physical monuments to their material accumulations.

The founders of this republic had deeply spiritual beliefs. Their concept of man had a solidly religious foundation. They believed “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another” [D&C 101:79]. They believed that men were capable of self-government and that it was the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.

The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were under no illusion that their work was done. They had carried freedom up to a new high, but had no idea that a pinnacle had been reached, that having reached the summit there was no more to be done. They were confident that we of succeeding generations would carry on.

Along with the political freedom so dearly won came a climate which challenged man’s intellect and ingenuity. People began to move freedom forward along lines possibly not envisaged by the men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Freedom from backbreaking toil came with the invention and development of labor-saving devices in factories and on farms.

( Source: The Red Carpet 94 )

In the providence of God, governments were intended to be the servants, not the masters of the people. This eternal truth needs to be emphasized and re-emphasized.

( Source: The Red Carpet 91 )

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights vouchsafe to all our people the greatest freedom ever enjoyed by the people of any great nation. This system safeguards freedom of individual enterprise, freedom to own property, freedom to start one’s own business and to operate it according to one’s own judgment so long as the enterprise is honorable.

We must return to a love and respect for the basic spiritual concepts upon which this nation has been established. We must study the Constitution and the writings of the founding fathers.

God, through his power has established a free people in this land as a means of helping to carry forward his purposes. . . .

It was here under a free government and a strong nation that protection was provided for his restored Church.

Now God will not permit America, his base of operations, to be destroyed. He has promised protection to this land if we will but serve the God of the land. He has also promised protection to the righteous even, if necessary, to send down fire from heaven to destroy their enemies. (1 Nephi 22.)

No, God’s base of operations will not be destroyed. But it may be weakened and made less effective.

To achieve his purposes the Lord had to have a base of operations. Later he revealed to a modern prophet that the Constitution of this land was established by “wise men” whom the Lord “raised up unto this very purpose.” (See D&C 101:80.) The Lord also directed that the constitutional laws of the land, supporting the principle of freedom, should be upheld and that honest and wise men should be sought for and upheld in public office [D&C 98:10].

I thank God for freedom — the right of choice. I am grateful for this great nation. Every true Latter-day Saint throughout the world loves the USA. The Constitution of this land is part of every Latter-day Saint’s religious faith.

This is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. This is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and a prophetic history and future. It has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven.

It is our firm belief, as Latter-day Saints, that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is our conviction also that the God of heaven guided the founding fathers in establishing it for his particular purpose.

The founders of this republic were deeply spiritual men. They believed men are capable of self-government and that it is the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.

Our earliest American fathers came here with a common objective — freedom of worship and liberty of conscience.

They were familiar with the sacred scriptures, and they believed that liberty is a gift of heaven. To them, man as a child of God emphasized the sacredness of the individual and the interest of a kind Providence in the affairs of men and nations.

These leaders recognized the need for divine guidance and the importance of vital religion and morality in the affairs of men and nations.

We should pay no attention to the recommendations of men who call the Constitution an eighteenth-century agrarian document — who apologize for capitalism and free enterprise. We should refuse to follow their siren song of concentrating, increasingly, the powers of government in the Chief Executive, of delegating American sovereign authority to non-American institutions in the United Nations, and pretending that it will bring peace to the world by turning our armed forces over to a U.N. world-wide police force.

What are these fundamental principles which have allowed the United States to progress so rapidly and yet remain free?

First, a written Constitution clearly defining the limits of government so that government will not become more powerful than the people.

If the Gentiles on this land reject the word of God and conspire to overthrow the liberty and the Constitution, then their doom is fixed, and they “shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” (3 Nephi 21:11, 14, 21; 1 Nephi 14:6; D&C 84:114, 115, 117.)

Every member of the priesthood should understand the divine plan designed by the Lord to raise up the first free people in modern times. Here is how scripture says it was achieved: . . .

Sixth: Having declared America to be a land of liberty, God undertook to raise up a band of inspired and intelligent leaders who could write a constitution of liberty and establish the first free people in modern times. The hand of God in this undertaking is clearly indicated by the Lord himself, in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in these words:

I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose. . . . (D&C 101:80.)

Seventh: God declared that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired for the specific purpose of eliminating bondage and the violation of the rights and protection which belong to “all flesh.” (D&C 101:77–80.)

Eighth: God placed a mandate upon his people to befriend and defend the constitutional laws of the land and see that the rights and privileges of all mankind are protected. He verified the declaration of the founding fathers, that God created all men free. He also warned against those who would enact laws encroaching upon the sacred rights and privileges of free men. He urged the election of honest and wise leaders and said that evil men and laws were of Satan. (D&C 98:5–10.) . . .

Eleventh: In connection with the attack on the United States, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread, and at that time, “this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.” (Journal History, Jul 4, 1854.)

It is my conviction that the elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will, at the crucial time, successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of constitutional government.

One of the first considerations given after my appointment to serve as Secretary of Agriculture was to formulate with my close associates and other interested parties a basic statement on agricultural policy. Among the fundamental concepts stated were the following:

“Freedom is a God-given, eternal principle vouchsafed to us under the Constitution. It must be guarded continually as something more precious than life itself.” . . .

. . . How do we stand with reference to our belief in those freedoms safeguarded for us under the Constitution of the United States? What is our attitude toward our government—toward the free enterprise system and our American Way of Life?

. . . I trust you are leaving this institution [Brigham Young University] with faith in the Constitution of the United States.

No true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose [D&C 101:80].

Under our system there has been released great creative capacity, because we have been free, unrestricted. What have we achieved? A standard of living unequalled anywhere in the world. Not because we are smarter, not because we are more brilliant, not because we have greater capacity than people of other nations, but because we have had a system which is superior — a system which was wisely provided by the Founding Fathers. We must protect and safeguard that system. Sometimes we find people who almost apologize for it — the free enterprise system. Of course it is not perfect; it is operated by human beings, but it is the best system in operation in this world today. If we are wise, we will preserve it, we will strengthen it and we will safeguard it for our children and our children’s children.

We have heard that the Prophet Joseph said something about the time when the Constitution would be in danger. We do not know just what turn that will take. He also said something about the Elders of Israel rising to the challenge and helping to save the Constitution of this land. It is entirely possible that that may come about in a rather natural way. Our young people — as they mature and develop and take their positions in industry, in the professions, and in agriculture clear across this land — might represent the balance of power in a time of crisis, when they will stand up and defend those eternal principles upon which this Constitution has been established.

I would to God that every citizen of this land might read the Book of Mormon prayerfully and learn something of the prophecies made regarding this land — the promises made and the conditions upon which they are made — that we might as an American people so live that these great promises could be fully realized; that we might come to know that the Constitution of this land has been established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose.

To every Latter-day Saint, we have a tremendous obligation to be good citizens, to uphold the Constitution of this land, to adhere to its basic concepts, to do all in our power to protect the freedoms and the liberties and the basic rights which are associated with citizenship. The Lord has said even in our day, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that we have an obligation. He has not only spoken about the Constitution being inspired, he has said that if we are to be good Latter-day Saints, we also have to take an interest in this country in which we live and we are to see to it that good men are upheld and sustained in public office.

Some day we may be called upon as a people to exert great influence in helping to preserve the liberties and freedoms and blessings vouchsafed to us as a people in the Constitution of this land. Some of our inspired leaders have had words to say on that subject. I hope and pray that we will be ready when the time comes — in fact, I am inclined to feel sometimes it is going to be a gradual process. Maybe it is underway now. We will not be able to discharge our obligations unless we adhere strictly to the standards and ideals of the church and kingdom of God.

Free agency is an eternal principle vouchsafed to us in the perfect law of liberty — the gospel of Jesus Christ. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any earthly possession. It is guaranteed in our heaven-inspired Constitution. Yes, freedom is an inherited, inalienable, divine gift to men. . . .

The inspired founding fathers formulated a system of government with checks and balances protecting the freedom of the people. But even this was not enough. The first order of the new congress was to draw up a Bill of Rights — ten amendments guaranteeing for all time the fundamental freedoms that the American people insist are theirs by the will of God, not by the will of government.

Yes, the founders of this nation bequeathed to us a heritage of freedom and unity that is our most priceless political possession. . . .

. . . Under the constitutional concept, powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people [U.S. Const. Amend. X]. . . .

The founding fathers, inspired though they were, did not invent the priceless blessing of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man. No, that priceless gift to mankind sprang from the God of heaven and not from government. Yes, the founding fathers welded together the safeguards as best they could, but freedom must be continually won to be enjoyed. Let us never forget these facts.

This is America — the land of opportunity! A land choice above all other lands. Let us keep it so! . . .

. . . It is my firm conviction that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto this very purpose.

The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will demand the faith, prayers, and loyalty of every American. Our challenge is to keep America strong and free — strong socially, strong economically, and above all, strong spiritually, if our way of life is to endure. There is no other way. Only in this course is there safety for our nation.

Second to their duty to God, youth should realize their duty to our country. They should love and honor the Constitution of the United States, the basic concepts and principles upon which this nation has been established. Yes, they need to develop a love for our free institutions.

The Founding Fathers did not invent this priceless boon of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man. That great gift to mankind sprang from the Creator and not from government. But the Founding Fathers with superb genius, I believe, welded together certain safeguards which we must always protect to the very limit if we would preserve and strengthen the blessings of freedom.

. . . They were guided by allegiance to basic principles. These principles must be kept in mind always by those who are here today and reaping the benefits and the blessings which they so wisely provided. We must be careful that we do not trade freedom for security. Whenever that is attempted, usually we lose both. There is always a tendency when nations become mature for the people to become more interested in preserving their luxuries and their comforts than in safeguarding the ideals and principles which made these comforts and luxuries possible.

Today I would like to propose four questions which every Latter-day Saint might well ask as he attempts to appraise any program, policy, or idea promoted by any would-be political leader. I mention these because I think they will provide a safeguard in electing to office men who will meet the requirements which the Lord has set forth in the revelations.

Firstly, is the proposal, the policy, or the idea being promoted right as measured by the gospel of Jesus Christ? I assure you it is much easier for one to measure a proposed policy by the gospel of Jesus Christ if he has accepted the gospel and is living it.

Secondly, is it right as measured by the Constitution of this land and the glorious principles embodied in that Constitution? Now that suggests that we must read and study the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, that we might know what principles are embodied therein.

Thirdly, we might well ask the question: Is it right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God? It is my conviction, my brethren and sisters, that these living oracles are not only authorized, but are obligated to give counsel to this people on any subject which is vital to the welfare of this people and the upbuilding of the kingdom of God. So, that measure should be applied. Is it right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God?

Fourthly, what will be the effect on the morale and the character of the people if this or that policy is adopted? After all, as a Church we are interested in building men and women, building character, because character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next. It must never be sacrificed for expediency.

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (D&C 98:10.)

Now that is a commandment to his Church and to his Saints. To me it means that we have a responsibility as Latter-day Saints to use our influence so honest men and wise men and good men will be elected to public office in the community, in the county, in the state, and in the nation. To me this commandment of God is just as binding upon the Latter-day Saints as is the law of tithing, or the Word of Wisdom, or any other commandment which the God of heaven has given us.

As I read that for the first time some years ago I thought, “What an indictment of corrupt would-be political leaders in many parts of the world — demagogues who deal in half-truths, innuendos, and falsehoods! Here the God of heaven has pointed out the type of men he wants elected to public office among his people.” It is not enough, my brethren and sisters, just to stand on the sidelines and criticize what is taking place, and to point the finger of scorn at some political leader. It is our job, our duty, and our responsibility to take an active interest in these matters, and carry out the admonition and the commandment which God has given us to see to it that men of character — good men, as measured by the standards of the gospel — are elected to public office.

So, today, I would like to throw out a challenge to the elders of Israel, my brethren of the priesthood, that we put forth an effort to prepare ourselves for statesmanlike work. The Prophet Joseph, as you will recall, had something to say regarding the important part which the elders of Israel would play in the safeguarding, if not the saving, of the Constitution of this land.

It is my conviction that only in this land, under this God-inspired Constitution, under an environment of freedom, could it have been possible to have established the Church and kingdom of God and restored the gospel in its fulness. It is our responsibility, my brethren and sisters, to see that this freedom is maintained, so that the Church can flourish in the future.

I am grateful for the Constitution of this land. I am grateful that the Founding Fathers made it clear that our allegiance runs to that Constitution and the glorious eternal principles embodied therein. Our allegiance does not run to any man, to a king, or a dictator, or a president, although we revere and honor those whom we elect to high office. Our allegiance runs to the Constitution and to the principles embodied therein. The Founding Fathers made that clear and provided well for checks and balances and safeguards in an attempt to guarantee this freedom to those of us who live in this land.

I am grateful that the God of heaven saw fit to put his stamp of approval upon the Constitution and to indicate that it had come into being through wise men whom he raised up unto this very purpose. He asked the Saints, even in the dark days of their persecution and hardship to continue to seek for redress from their enemies “According,” he said, “to the laws and constitution . . . which I have suffered to be established and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (D&C 101:77.) And then he made this most impressive declaration:

And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (D&C 101:80.)

It is gratifying that the Constitutions in many of the other lands of our neighbors in the Americas are patterned very much after this divinely-appointed Constitution, which the God of heaven directed in the founding of this nation. It isn’t any wonder, therefore, that Joseph Smith, the Prophet—a truly great American—referring to the Constitution, said,

“[It] is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 147.)

My one fear, and my one anxiety is that I may inadvertently sometime do something or say something that will cast an unfavorable light or bring discredit upon the Church and kingdom of God and the people whom I love so dearly, and upon this great nation which we all love. I pray that this may never happen.

I love this nation of which we are a part. To me it is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. It is truly a land choice above all others. I thank God for the knowledge which we have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this great land of America. . . .

I am grateful for the Founding Fathers of this land and for the freedom they have vouchsafed to us. I am grateful that they recognized, as great leaders of this nation have always recognized, that the freedom which we enjoy did not originate with the Founding Fathers; that this glorious principle, this great boon of freedom and respect for the dignity of man, came as a gift from the Creator. The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of these freedoms. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It antedates the Founding Fathers.

In concluding, I said: “I love this nation. It is my firm belief that the God of Heaven raised up the founding fathers and inspired them to establish the Constitution of this land. This is part of my religious faith.” To me this is not just another nation. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission to perform for liberty-loving people everywhere.

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee to all our people the greatest freedom ever enjoyed by the public of any great nation. This system guarantees freedom of individual enterprise, freedom to own property, freedom to start one’s own business and to operate it according to one’s own judgment so long as the enterprise is honorable. The individual has power to produce beyond his needs, to provide savings for the future protection of himself and family. He can live where he wishes and pick any job he wants and select any educational opportunity.

We stand firmly in support of the principles enunciated in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and every Latter-day Saint would defend to the last those eternal principles.

Resource List   Leave a comment

Donna Garner has put together a list of resources for those who are just beginning the fight against the Common Core dissolution of sovereignty over American education.

  Thank you, Donna.

http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=6457500%3ABlogPost%3A28400

9.25.12 — “Mitt Romney Takes Stand Against Common Core at Education Nation Summit” – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2012/09/mitt-romney-common-core-educ…

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9.25.12 — “Romney: No Federal Support for Common Core” by Alyson Klein, EducationWeek http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/09/mitt_romney_do…

CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ANTI-CCSI RESOURCES

(Most Recent First)

10.11.12 – “Is Common Core About To Melt Down” – by Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute –

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/is-common-core-about-to-melt-down/

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10.9.12 –“Like Obamacare, Obama Core Is Another Power Grab” — by Phyllis Schlafly, President of Eagle Forum –  http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/like-obamacare-obama…

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9.30.12 – “Uncommon Allies Question a Common Core” – Editorial Board, JournalGazette.net – http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120930/EDIT10/309309979/114…

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9.28.12 – “States Beginning To Rebel Against Common Core Standards” – http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/states-beginning-to-…

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9.28.12 – “South Carolina Could Regret Student Testing Scheme” – by Sen. Mike Fair – The State – South Crolina’s Homepage http://www.thestate.com/2012/09/28/v-print/2459190/fair-sc-could-re…

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9.27.12 – “The Pedagogical Agenda of Common Core Math Standards” by Barry Garelick  — EducationNews.org –

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-peda…

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9.23.12 – “Do Not Let the DOE Nationalize the Schools in Your State” – by Henry W. Burke, Donna Garner –

http://educationviews.org/do-not-let-the-doe-nationalize-the-school…

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9.14.12 – “Fighting the Common Core Standards’ Social Justice Math” – by Oak Norton –

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/jordan-sd-rips-out-unsolvabl…

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9.14.12 – “Nationalized Public Schools Almost Here in America”  — by Donna Garner –

http://educationviews.org/nationalized-public-schools-almost-here-i…

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9.10.12 — “Obama’s Inferior English Common Core Standards” – by Donna Garner –

http://educationviews.org/obamas-inferior-english-common-core-stand…

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9.7.12 – “Should the White House Control What Your Kids Learn?” by Stanley Kurtz –

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-contro…

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9.5.12 — “How To Indoctrinate Students’ Minds with Math” by Donna Garner –

http://educationviews.org/how-to-indoctrinate-students-minds-with-m…

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8.27.12 – “Parents Need To Know About Student Data Privacy” by J. R. Wilson — EducationNews.org

http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/jr-wilson-parents-need-to-kn…

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8.15.12 – “An Ominous Political Trend for Common Core-ites” – by Frederick M. Hess – Education Week

http://www.frederickhess.org/2012/08/an-ominous-political-trend-for…

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8.12.12 – “Utah Teachers Speak out Against the Obama Administration’s Common Core Standards” – Utahns Against Common Core – http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/teacher-comments-on-common-c…

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8.5.12 – “Caring Parents, Where Are You? – Common Core Standards and Big Bang Theory” – by Donna Garner –

http://libertylinked.com/posts/10007/caring-parents-where-are/View….

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5.16.12 – “Incoming College Board Head Wants SAT To Reflect Common Core” – by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/32collegeboard.h31.htm…

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4.23.12 – “Common Core Math Standards Fail To Add Up” by Evan Walter, The Heritage Foundation

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/23/common-core-math-standards-fail…

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4.17.12 – “Six-Minute Interview: Federal Takeover by the Obama Administration of  Education Standards and Assessments” – Lindsey Burke, The Heritage Foundation

http://online.wsj.com/video/opinion-standardizing-schools-/FA09455F…

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3.26.12 — “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals”  — by  Donna Garner –

http://libertylinked.com/posts/9703/2-education-philosophies-with/V…

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3.6.12 – “Handwaving Away Opposition to the National Standards” by Jim Stergios , Pioneer Institute –

http://jaypgreene.com/2012/03/06/handwaving-away-opposition-to-the-…

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2.20.12 – “Obama Imposing National School Curriculum” – by Bob Unruh – World Net Daily

http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/obama-imposing-national-school-curriculum/

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2.12 – “National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards” – The Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper

http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120222_CCSSICost.pdf

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12.28.11 – “Feds To Be Able to Track Your School Children’s Personal Information” by Donna Garner –

http://teabook.org/profiles/blogs/feds-to-be-able-to-track-your-sch…

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12.21.11 – “A National Education Standards Exit Strategy for States” – by Lindsey Burke –

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/12/a-national-educati…

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10.27.11 – “Students Losing Their Right To Exress Their Opinions” – by Donna Garner –

http://libertylinked.com/posts/8754/students-losing-their-right/Vie…

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7.27.11 – “National Standards and Tests: An Unprecedented Federal Overreach”—The Heritage Foundation – Lindsey Burke, Robert Scott, et al –

http://www.heritage.org/events/2011/07/national-standards

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5.31.11 — “Liberals Interpret Themselves Liberally: Common Core Standards, Race to the Top” by Doug Lasken –

http://www.flashreport.org/featured-columns-library0b.php?faID=2011…

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5.28.11 — “A ‘Common’ Education Disaster” by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Annie Hsiao — Politico.com -http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55857.html#ixzz1NsJZQKOh

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5.26.11 — “Race to the Cradle” by Neal McCluskey, The Cato Institute – http://libertylinked.com/posts/7408/race-to-the-cradle—-by-neal/V…

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5.25.11 — “South Carolina Will Not Participate in Race to the Top” Spartanburg Tea Party –

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.org/2011/05/25/sc-will-not-participa…

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5.22.11 — “The Three-Legged Stool:  Obama, Duncan, Gates” by Donna Garner –

http://libertylinked.com/posts/7461/the-three-legged-stool/View.aspx

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5.9.11 — “Association of American Educators Signs on in Opposition to National Curriculum” –

http://www.educationnews.org/ed_reports/edu_assoc_articles/155783.html

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5.9.11 – “Why One Curriculum Is Bad for America” – by Jonathan Kantrowitz – 100+ signatories – http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/2011/05/09/why-one-national-curri…

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4.12.11 — “The Other Shoe Drops: National Testmakers Worried” — by Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/153790.html

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4.9.11 — “Congressmen: A Great Place To Cut Funding — National Assessments” — by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/political/153529.html

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4.6.11 — “Standards Overreach, or According to Plan?” — by Neal McCluskey –

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/standards-overreach-or-according-to-…

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3.24.11 — “Obama’s Carrot and Stick Control of Our Nation’s Public Schools” – by Donna Garner –  http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/152238.html

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3.20.11 — “Our Hope Rests with Congressman Kline” – by Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/151843.html

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2.24.11 –“The Race to the Top Scheme” – by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/108436.html

2.24.11 – “Let’s Get Off the National Standards Train” by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner –

http://alinahan.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/lets-get-off-the-national-…

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2.14.11 — “Let’s Get off the National Standards Train” –  by Henry W. Burke and Donna Garner –  http://alinahan.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/lets-get-off-the-national-…

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11.7.10 — “Open Letter to Parents, Legislators, School Personnel: Which Policy Are You Going To Promote?” –  http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/102489.html

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10.27.10 — “Bullying Agenda” –  by Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/opinions_on_education/101…

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10.23.10 — “What Is the Centers for Disease Control?” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/breaking_news/health/101841.html

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9.16.10 — “Am I a Wacko Now?” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/100137.html

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7.29.10 – “Stotsky on the Common Core Vote in Massachusetts” – by Dr. Sandra Stotsky

http://jaypgreene.com/2010/07/29/stotsky-on-the-common-core-vote-in…

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7.27.10 — “Where Have All the Caring Parents Gone?” – by Donna Garner -

http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/insights_on_education/968…

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7.10 – “Common Core Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade” — a Pioneer Institute White Paper — http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/common_core_standards.pdf

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4.19.10 — “Marc Tucker’s Bologna” – by Donna Garner –http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/89899.html

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3.4.10 — “Obama’s Doublespeak” –  by Donna Garner – 

http://ramparts360.wordpress.com/obama%E2%80%99s-doublespeak/

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3.10 — “Fair to Middling: A National Standards Progress Report” – by R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky  – The Pioneer Institute –

http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100402_fair_to_middling.pdf

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2.10 – “Why Race to the Middle” by Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman – The Pioneer Institute – http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100223_why_race_to_the_middle.pdf

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1.29.10 — “Cradle-to-Career Plan by Obama and Duncan” –  by Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/39076.html

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1.13.10 — “Texas Tells Feds ‘Enough Is Enough’” –  by Donna Garner –

http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/29200.html

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12.11.09 — “Children and the Future of Our Country” – by Donna Garner – http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/7704.html

http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=6457500%3ABlogPost%3A28400

Does Educational Freedom Really Matter? An Interview With Jonas Himmelstrand   Leave a comment

Jonas Himmelstrand Interview – March 4th 2012 -… by WellBoyFilmsIreland

Socialism sounds so great on the surface, but it leads to less and less freedom.  This interview of Swedish Homeschooler Jonas Himmelstrand by WellBoyFilms in Ireland explains how the good intentions of the Swedish Government went too far, and is pushing families out of the country. Here are some highlights:

Jonas Himmelstrand Interview – March 4th 2012 -… by WellBoyFilmsIreland

Himmelstrand said:

“In Sweden, everyone has a personal number that you’re given at birth and that registers where you live, so the local authorities will just simply look at  the list of how many children are seven years of age– this year they should be in school– and if that number is not registered in any school, then they will start and will track you down….they basically know everything about everybody. Unless you are living at a secret address…    

They are very hard on truancy… from the standpoint of the authorities, homeschool is just another truancy… Basically, there’s no support in parliament for homeschooling at the moment…. Swedish media tends to want to support certain government policies and they think that the school obligation, general equality, day care are such good things that everybody should support, they just don’t write about it… many Swedish families are dissatisfied in Sweden… so, it’s a sensitive subject and somehow, Swedish media don’t have that courage to be open in expressing about it… 

Unfortunately, it’s going to have to get worse before it gets better. It think it’s going to have to become more public what a form of oppression and harrassment and humiliation Swedish government is now doing to homeschooling… and of course, eventually we will win because Homeschooling is a great educational alternative.

It’s a bit uncomfortable for Sweden to say that education was made illegal in Germany in 1938 and it was made illegal in Sweden in 2011.  That’s uncomfortable…” –Jonas Himmelstrand

What Is Going On With Pearson and Utah?   Leave a comment

Untangling the Choice Solutions/Pearson/UEA/Utah Data Alliance Partnerships

So today I’m imagining Utah’s State Technology Director, John Brandt, and Pearson’s CEA Sir Michael Barber having a conversation over crumpets and tea about all the data Sir Michael Barber hopes to collect on the “global” citizenry –and how John Brandt can help. http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Brandt did set up the 2011 UTREX contract that allowed Pearson to design and deliver Utah’s massive data sharing project.  Then, suddenly, in 2012 Pearson also “partnered” with John Brandt’s Utah Data Alliance.

Meanwhile, not only does Pearson’s Sir Michael Barber go around praising Common Core and similar nationalized education systems worldwide while calling the shots for Pearson as its Chief Education Advisor…

 —also, Pearson’s Sir Barber recently founded a business in the United States called EDI (Education Delivery Institute) which partners with many state education departments (not in Utah, yet, thank heaven) to “drive delivery of the state’s reform agenda as outlined in its Race to the Top (RTTT) proposal.”  -Translation: to implement the federal Common Core.

EDI’s and Pearson’s Sir Michael Barber openly advocates for global environmental education standards, to be mandated for every human on the earth, as a priority over giving students knowledge or the ability to think for oneself.  He says “we want them to have some knowledge.” He calls his formula for all:

E(K+T+L)  Think I’m making this up? See his speeches:  http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Yet, John Brandt and the USOE apparently support Utah’s close partnership with Pearson and Barber. Maybe they don’t know what Pearson’s goals really are.  Or maybe they share those goals.

I don’t know.  But I think it’s strange that Brandt never responds to an email on the subject.

  Juggling all of that, keep in mind, too, that Joanne Weiss, the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Chief of Staff, has spoken recently for federal agencies “data-mashing” as much as possible.  She’s also spoken about being “helpful” to states who want to partner in data sharing.  Nice.

If you’re interested, here’s the press release that explains (some of) it.

Press Release:  Utah Data Alliance Partners with Choice Solutions to Implement a P-20W Statewide Longitudinal Data System

Salt Lake City, Utah (PRWEB) February 15, 2012

“The Utah Education Network (UEN) working as a key partner of the Utah Data Alliance (UDA) has selected Choice Solutions to deliver a secure data warehouse of de-identified early childhood, K-12, post-secondary, and workforce data provided by multiple state agencies that will use this warehouse for analysis and research in support of data driven decision making.

Statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS’s) are a single solution to manage, disaggregate, analyze, and leverage education information within a state. In recent years, the scope of these systems has broadened from the K-12 spectrum to now encompass pre-kindergarten through higher education and workforce training (P-20W)…  The challenge is in the linking, in determining how best to forge the organizational and technical bonds, and to build the data system needed to make informed decisions. Choice Solutions, the leader in P-20W SLDS’s, has worked with 15 states across the nation to customize, integrate, and implement edFusion™, their enterprise grade P-20W SLDS. Choice’s level of P-20W data linking experience, in concert with the edFusion™ product stack, will serve Utah’s system requirements.

The P-20W SLDS project won’t be a cold start to the partnership; the Utah State Office of Education and Choice (in partnership with Pearson Data Solutions) have been working together for the past year to implement the Utah e-Transcript and Record Exchange system (UTREx).  UTREx is being phased into production with the core (collection, validation, reporting) functions having been implemented statewide in August 2011. In addition, UTREx allows individual, detailed student records to be exchanged electronically between any two Utah local education agencies (LEAs). UTREx is currently piloting submission of official student transcripts to any institution of higher education in the country from any Utah high school…  Choice Solutions is an end-to-end global Enterprise IT Service and Solutions provider… Choice has the privilege of serving many government organizations, including 15 state Departments of Education and numerous districts, regional education centers, and privately run agencies. For more information about Choice Solutions visit choicep20 dot com.”

(P.S.    I went to the Choice.com website and read that Choice’s partners are not only Pearson, but also CCSSO– the ones who copyrighted the Common Core, the ones whose board membership includes Utah’s Larry Shumway.  Choice also partners with the U.S. Dept. of Education.  –The point is that John Brandt’s Utah Data Alliance partnered with Choice/Pearson which is partnered with Superintendent Shumway’s own CCSSO.  And Brandt is a member of NCES, so he’s a federal and a state officer.  Unless I read it wrong.  See for yourselves.  Just google NCES and John Brandt and you’ll see how many speeches he’s making for the federal NCES nationwide. http://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/conferences/statsdc/2012/session_VII.asp)

Flashreport from Pacific Research Institute: On Common Core   Leave a comment

Reposted highlights from:

http://www.flashreport.org/featured-columns-library0b.php?faID=2012100907463885

ROMNEY BASHES OBAMA’S NATIONAL ED STANDARDS THAT DUMB DOWN CALIFORNIA MATH

by Lance T. Izumi

October 9, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown recently approved a new law that will eliminate algebra from California’s eighth-grade math standards.  While troubling, even more disturbing is the fact that this move is dictated by Sacramento’s adoption of less rigorous national standards supported by President Obama.

Thankfully, in the first presidential debate and in recent interviews, it’s clear that Mitt Romney realizes what Barack Obama can’t seem to fathom: the federal government is not the nation’s school board.
SB 1200, which Gov. Brown just signed, says that the state Board of Education shall ensure “One set of standards is adopted at each grade level.”  Those standards will be the Obama-backed national standards.  As education journalist John Fensterwald points out, the law will remove California’s algebra requirement and “will leave [the national] Common Core pre-algebra standards as the default course for eighth grade.”

Why did California opt for the lower national standards?

In the debate, President Obama touted his Race to the Top grant program, which requires applying states to implement the national standards.  California applied for a grant, didn’t win one, but was still stuck with Obama’s standards…
In an interview with NBC News prior to the debate, Romney said, “I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common core on various states.”  Why are national standards dangerous?  Chief among the reasons is that they will lead to a national curriculum.


As California’s experience proves, changing over to a national-standards system will affect what’s being taught in every classroom.  According to Fensterwald, “Last year, about two-thirds of California students had taken Algebra 1 by the eighth grade.”  Now, because the national standards will change the state’s math curriculum, relatively few students will likely take algebra in the eighth grade.
Romney says that for the Obama administration “to financially reward states based upon accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake.”  Specifically, Romney says that he worries about the federal government promoting an agenda through national standards, tests and curricula.  For the Obama administration, its agenda neatly coincides with the agenda of the teacher unions.


The American Federation of Teachers is a longtime supporter of national standards and its members helped write the Obama-supported standards.  In legislative testimony, Stanford University math professor James Milgram, who served on an advisory committee for the national standards, said that special-interest groups, like the unions, “were mainly focused on things like making the standards as non-challenging as possible.”  He said that the national math standards “are written to reflect very low expectations.”

Obama and his union allies have triumphed by overturning California’s rigorous state standards.

During the debate, Romney articulated a very different strategy that would empower, not special interests, but parents.  Rather than a top-down Washington-centric approach, Romney proposed attaching federal funds, such as Title I money for disadvantaged children, directly to students.  These dollars would “follow the child and let the parent decide where to send their student” and allow children “to go to the school of their choice”, where school-choice programs have been enacted.

When asked by debate moderator Jim Lehrer about the federal government’s role in education, President Obama said, “I think that it has a significant role to play.”

Indeed, his nationalization of education has already altered and distorted math education in California.  In contrast, Mitt Romney envisions more local control and more parental choice.

It is now up to Americans to decide which future they want for their children.

___________________________________________________
Lance T. Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education  Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRI), California’s premier free-market public-policy think tank based in  San Francisco.

Minute Mom Magazine on Common Core   Leave a comment

http://issuu.com/minutemom/docs/sep_12

In the September 2012 issue of Minute Mom Magazine, there’s an article called “The Agenda 21 of Education,” by Melissa Smith and Sherry Marquelle. The authors make an important point:

“…parents will find that despite the rhetoric about school choice and vouchers, for the majority of students there will be only one choice–the Common Core… school choice and common core ironically go hand in hand…  “

Worth reading!

Education Liberty Watch: On Grading Schools and its Impact on Freedom of Setting Standards   3 comments

Education Liberty Watch Introduces New Freedom Grading Scale for Private School Choice Laws

The concept of trying to rescue poor and minority students from failing  public schools is a noble one.  However, if the private schools are  forced to teach the public school standards, which are at grave risk of  becoming nationalized via the Common Core and its accompanying tests in  45-1/2 states and the District of Columbia (Minnesota accepted the  English standards but not the math), in order for their students to pass  the state tests, private schools will no longer be a meaningful  alternative to the public schools.

This danger was detailed in our 2011 alert Imposing a Federal Curriculum on Private Schools – Why Voucher Programs that Require State Tests Are So Dangerous. At that time, we mentioned Minnesota’s proposed law that has not yet  passed (that would have received a D grade on our scale) and Indiana’s  enacted law (that did receive an F grade) that both require state tests  to be given to private school students receiving vouchers or to the  entire private school.  Since then, I have reviewed the testing  accountability requirements for all of the 30 school choice laws that  have passed in 18 states and the District of Columbia through 2012 based  on the Alliance for School Choice’s annual report  and looking at the  newest 2012 laws passed since that report was written.

And, since grading scales are becoming de rigeur,  I though that Education Liberty Watch should join in on the trend and  provide a freedom grading scale based on how well each statute protects  private school autonomy.  My hope is that you will see where your state  falls and contact your policymakers to either improve your own state law  if needed, make sure that any school choice bill offered in your state  is as strongly pro-freedom as possible, and if nothing else, warn the  private schools in your area what may be coming and urge them to speak  up as this type of legislation is considered.

Before the table  with the grades is presented however, it is important to also mention  the education plan of presidential candidate Mitt Romney on this issue.   Thankfully his plan is a just a plan right now that was likely mostly  written  or at least heavily influenced by former Governor Jeb Bush.   Mr. Bush, whose organization is funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, is a  huge fan of the Common Core to the point of trying to prevent model legislation against the standards from being supported by ALEC. He also seems to be completely tied in with the corporate interests such as the US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the  Business Partnership and the Gates Foundation, which has funded his own organization, that seem not at all concerned or even determined  to bring about the usurpation of private school curriculum with the  national standards. The Romney plan, A Chance for Every Child, speaks of the federal government promoting and paying for both public and private school choice.  It says on pages 23-24:

Romney  Administration will work with Congress to overhaul Title I and IDEA so  that low-income and special-needs students can choose which school to  attend and bring their funding with them. The choices  offered to students under this policy will include any district or  public charter school in the state, as well as private schools if  permitted by state law… To  ensure accountability, students using federal funds to attend private  schools will be required to participate in the state’s testing system. (Emphasis added.)

Aside  from the fact that the federal government has no constitutional  authority to be involved in education, a fact both parties have  completely forgotten, this would be an utter disaster for education  freedom.  It would bring the full force of the federal government to  impose the federal curriculum of the Common Core on private and  religious schools.  It would also negate the laboratories of democracy  in the states that have passed good state laws that do not require this  public school testing accountability.  On Education Liberty Watch’s Freedom Grading Scale, the Romney education plan, as currently written,  would receive a D grade for requiring students to participate in the  state tests.  If the plan is meant to require that all of the students  in a private school attended by voucher recipients take the state  (Common Core) tests, we would give it a failing grade.

However, the good news is that Governor Romney has recently made some important and very good statements opposing the Common Core and government expansion of preschool, which we  will outline in our next alert. It is therefore hoped that the more  pro-freedom members of his education team are beginning to hold sway and  that Governor Romney can be educated about the perils to private  schools in his plan.

 

EDUCATION LIBERTY WATCH FREEDOM GRADING SCALE FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL CHOICE LAWS:

The chart form of the grading scale with more detail is available here. Here is the scale broken down by grade:

 

A+= NO testing requirements & accountability is specifically to PARENTS.

-Georgia (2001 – special needs voucher)
-New Hampshire (2012 – means tested tax credit scholarships, including for home schooled students)
-Oklahoma (2012 – special needs voucher)
A = No testing requirements for special needs vouchers or scholarships -Arizona (2011 – education savings accounts for special needs children)
-Florida (1995 and expanded in 2011) -Louisiana (2010) -North Carolina (2011) 

-Ohio (2003)
-Oklahoma (2010) 

A = No testing requirements for corporate or individual scholarships, including scholarships for foster children

-Arizona (2006- corporate scholarship tax credit) -Arizona (1997 – individual scholarship tax credit)
-Georgia (2008)
-Iowa  (2006 & expanded in 2011)
-Pennsylvania (2001)
-Rhode Island (2006) 

B+  = Private schools with voucher or scholarship recipients must  administer a nationally norm-referenced test but report only to parents  &/or the state in aggregate

-Virginia (2012)
-Washington, DC (2004) 

B  = Requiring private schools with voucher or scholarship recipients to  administer a nationally norm-referenced test & reporting results to  the state.

-Arizona (2006)
-Utah (2005) 

C  = States that require private schools to offer either the state tests  or nationally norm-referenced tests to voucher or scholarship recipients

-Florida (2001 and expanded in 2011 & 2012 – Corporate tax credit scholarship)
-Indiana (2009) 

D+  = States that require the state tests to be administered to voucher or  scholarship recipients in private schools & scores are reported to  parents or other entity beside the state

-Louisiana (2012 – statewide means tested voucher)
-Wisconsin (1990 – means tested voucher in Milwaukee) -Wisconsin (2011 – means tested voucher in Racine) 

D = States that require the state tests to be administered to voucher or scholarship recipients in private schools

-Colorado (2011 – means tested voucher in Douglas County)
-Louisiana (2008 – means tested voucher in New Orleans)
-Ohio (2011 – special needs voucher) 

F  = States require the state tests to be administered to ALL the students  in a private school that have any students that receive a voucher

-Indiana (2011 – means tested voucher)
-Ohio (1995 – Cleveland voucher) -Ohio (2005 – failing school voucher)

Look Behind You   4 comments

The federal government uses lots of different agencies– but increasingly, schools– to track us. It’s citizen surveillance.  But they call it research.

I wrote to the Utah State Office of Education a few months ago to ask a simple yes or no question:  can my child attend public school without being specifically and individually tracked by name, school record, social security number etc.?

No.  The answer was, no.  Your child will always be tracked using personally identifiable information.  But this will never be shared outside the State Office of Education, they assured me.

After studying the NCES website, the federal FERPA website, the lawsuit between E.P.I.C. and the Dept. of Education, the machinations of CCSSO’s John Brandt with the Utah Data Alliance, Open Education specialist Professor David Wiley’s statements about the necessity of gathering data without parental consent, and Dept. of Ed Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss’s statements on federal data-mashing and “helping” states to partner with data, I do not believe the USOE’s assurances.  I wish I could.

Under agencies like “National Center for Education Statistics” and “Institute for Education Sciences” the federal government is asking schools to collect and share hundreds of data points about your school, your teachers, and yes, your child.

There’s a federal “Common Core of Data.”  There’s a National Data Collection Model that asks for so much private information about each student, way, way beyond math and reading scores– it asks for family information, languages spoken, health information, extracurricular programs, social security numbers, bus stop descriptions– you name it.  Right here:  http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary  There is even a private school survey– private, not government.  On the federal data collection website.

If you start to talk about it with people, they’ll pat you on the head and say, “Oh, but FERPA law is here to protect you; it’s a groundless conspiracy theory.”

When they say that, please pat them right back on their own little heads and say, “Federal FERPA regulations were altered by the Department of Education quite recently. Now definitions have been rewritten and parental consent has been shoved aside: it’s an agenda.  Not a theory, an actual, verifiable, factual agenda being pushed under the radar upon Americans who still think they are protected and free.”  http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

If they haven’t walked away from you, talk on.  Say, “Definitions that have been reshaped –loosened–  by the Dept of Ed. without Congressional approval include such details as the term AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE– now it could be literally anyone, anyone who is authorized to view your child’s personal information under federal FERPA regulation.  Even a school volunteer can have access to a child’s personally identifiable data, including biometric, physical data like fingerprints or DNA.  If parents have allowed the school to collect it.  Unless our state FERPA can stand up to the federal FERPA.”

Your listeners will still find it hard to believe that this could be legal.  Then take them to this federal 34 CFR Part 99  FERPA pdf page and type in the search terms “volunteer” or “biometric”:

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf

The point:  unless many of us look at this and talk about it, and then stand up and say, “No way” to the absolute flood of data-sucking agencies all around us, that are aiming to know everything about everyone, via data mashing and data sharing, we will lose our freedoms, we will lose our way of life as we have known it in the United States and elsewhere.

Bureaucracies of mass data-collection and sharing grow slowly but relentlessly.  Will they build a web we can’t break by the time we think it’s time to fight back?  Will we be intimidated by the clever sounding “government-speak” and the researchers’ arrogance?

Or will we take back our identities, our privacy, our freedom?

If you have time, just look at the words they use:

“The Common Core of Data (CCD) is a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/

“Policy Makers – If you are an LEA or SEA policy maker, focus on Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of the User Guide.
“Data Modelers – If you are coming from a background in other data model domains such as banking, healthcare, etc. and want to familiarize yourself with the education data model domain, read Chapter 3: How to use the Data Model. Review Appendix C: Common Attributes. Then go directly to the Education Data Model…”

 

Look behind you.

If you were taking a nice walk in the park and someone said, “Look behind you. There’a a fast moving river of hot lava coming your way,” you could call that person a liar or a mad conspiracy theorist and keep enjoying your walk.

–Or you could just take that one look behind you.  What would it hurt to just turn your head and take a look?  Do you really not want to know?

http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/

This is what I’m asking you to do.

Just look for yourself.

Two Utahns and a Man From Massachusetts: Why Michael Sentance Should Be Utah’s New State Superintendent of Schools   Leave a comment

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55017971-78/state-education-superintendent-board.html.csp

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the three finalists vying for Utah’s honored position of State Superintendent of Education are two Utahns and a man from Massachusetts.

If I had a vote, I’d vote for Michael Sentance of Massachusetts.  Why?

Why would an out-of-state candidate even be considered?

Easy:

Massachusetts’ K-12 education makes Massachusetts the best-performing state in the nation and  internationally competitive: no other state can make that claim.

If Sentance was an integral part of Massachusetts’ rise to the very top, would it not make sense to hire him to make that happen in Utah?

In a City Journal article entitled “The Massachusetts Exception” we learn:

“It’s common knowledge that in 1983, a federal report called A Nation at Risk indicted the “rising tide of mediocrity” in American public education and called for a school system that would be among the best in the world. Far less well known is that only one state effectively responded to that challenge: Massachusetts. By passing the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993, which pushed content and high standards above all else, the state became an outpost of success in a landscape of academic failure…”

–That’s huge.

(full article: http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_3_massachusetts-education.html  )

So, Michael Sentance has served as the chief education advisor to two Massachusetts governors. In 1991, he was appointed as the Undersecretary of Education for Policy & Planning then as the Secretary of Education in 1995. Sentance joined the Governor’s staff in 1996 with the formal designation as the Senior Education Advisor to the Governor. Sentance chaired commissions on school finance, regulatory relief and accountability, and served on other boards and commissions including the Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education, the Governor’s Commission on School Finance, the Governor’s Commission on School Safety as well as the Education Commission of the States.

He was appointed by President George W. Bush to his position as the Secretary’s Regional Representative in October 2001. Sentance holds degrees from Georgetown University, Duquesne University and Boston University.

2012 FTC Alert: To Prevent Child Identity Theft at School   Leave a comment

FTC Consumer Alert:Protect Your Child’s Personal Information at School

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt056.shtm

First, here are a few bullet points for readers in a hurry:

  • children whose identities have been stolen usually don’t find out until they are adults.
  • parents have the right to opt out of allowing schools to share child data with third parties.
  • if you don’t put your opt-out request in writing at your school, the general public may have access to your child’s private information
  • parents have the right to see surveys and instructional materials before they are handed out to students
  • you have the right to ask to see your child’s records and to correct errors in them.

The following FTC Consumer Alert from August 2012 is reposted in full below.

FTC Consumer Alert

Protecting Your Child’s Personal Information at School

Back to school — an annual ritual that includes buying new notebooks, packing lunches, coordinating transportation, and filling out forms: registration forms, health forms, permission slips, and emergency contact forms, to name a few. Many school forms require personal and, sometimes, sensitive information. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to commit fraud in your child’s name. For example, a child’s Social Security number can be used by identity thieves and other criminals to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, cautions that when children are victims of identity theft, the crime may go undetected for years — or at least until they apply for a job, a student loan or a car loan, or want to rent an apartment.

Limiting the Risks of Identity Theft

There are laws that help safeguard your child’s and your family’s personal information. For example, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, protects the privacy of student education records. It also gives parents of school-age kids the right to opt-out of sharing contact or other directory information with third parties, including other families.

If you’re a parent with a child who’s enrolled in school, the FTC suggests that you:

  • find out who has access to your child’s personal information,and verify that the records are kept in a secure location.
  • pay attention to materials sent home with your child, through the mail or by email, that ask for personal information. Look for terms like “personally identifiable information,” “directory information,” and “opt-out.” Before you reveal any personal information about your child, find out how it will be used, whether it will be shared, and with whom.
  • read the annual notice schools must distribute that explains your rights under FERPA. This federal law protects the privacy of student education records, and gives you the right to:
    • inspect and review your child’s education records;
    • consent to the disclosure of personal information in the records; and
    • ask to correct errors in the records.
  • ask your child’s school about its directory information policy. Student directory information can include your child’s name, address, date of birth, telephone number, email address, and photo. FERPA requires schools to notify parents and guardians about their school directory policy, and give you the right to opt-out of the release of directory information to third parties. It’s best to put your request in writing and keep a copy for your files. If you don’t opt-out, directory information may be available not only to the people in your child’s class and school, but also to the general public.
  • ask for a copy of your school’s policy on surveys. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) gives you the right to see surveys and instructional materials before they are distributed to students.
  • consider programs that take place at the school but aren’t sponsored by the school. Your child may participate in programs, like sports and music activities, that aren’t formally sponsored by the school. These programs may have web sites where children are named and pictured. Read the privacy policies of these organizations, and make sure you understand how your child’s information will be used and shared.
  • take action if your child’s school experiences a data breach. Contact the school to learn more. Talk with teachers, staff, or administrators about the incident and their practices. Keep a written record of your conversations. Write a letter to the appropriate administrator, and to the school board, if necessary.

File a complaint

You may file a written complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920, and keep a copy for your records.

For More Information

To learn more about child identity theft and how to deal with its consequences, read Safeguarding Your Child’s Future or visit ftc.gov/idtheft.

You may have additional rights under state law: contact your local consumer protection agency or your state attorney general for details.

About the FTC

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a <a href=”https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/&#8221; data-mce-href=”https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/”>complaint</a&gt; or get <a href=”/bcp/consumer.shtm” data-mce-href=”/bcp/consumer.shtm”>free information on consumer issues</a>, visit <a href=”http://ftc.gov/&#8221; data-mce-href=”http://ftc.gov/”>ftc.gov</a&gt; or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;” data-mce-style=”text-decoration: underline;”><a href=”/multimedia/video/scam-watch/file-a-complaint.shtm” data-mce-href=”/multimedia/video/scam-watch/file-a-complaint.shtm”>How to File a Complaint</a></span>, at <a href=”/video” data-mce-href=”/video”>ftc.gov/video</a> to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the <a href=”/sentinel/” data-mce-href=”/sentinel/”>Consumer Sentinel Network</a>, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Sir Michael Barber leads Common Core’s “Deliverology” via EDI and Pearson   2 comments

Question:  What do Sir Michael Barber, President Barack Obama, and your own children –unless you live in “Common Core-less” Texas or Virginia– each share?

Answer:  Common Core national standards.

–True, you won’t hear President Obama use the term “Common Core,” because he’s still saying Common Core is state-led.  But it’s a thin disguise wearing thinner by the minute:

If you go to the U.S. Department of Education’s definitions page, you see that his (and Arne Duncan’s) oft-used code phrase for Common Core is “career and college readiness,” defined as Common Core in this way:

standards that are common to a significant number of States” http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions

Since there aren’t any other standards “common to a significant number of States,” it’s gotcha-education-reform, Obama and Arne Duncan style.

So, I keep learning more and more about Sir Michael Barber, another Common Core lover-pusher, much to my dismay.

   Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson, advises governments worldwide, including the U.K. and Pakistan, on how to nationalize education standards.  He’s advised governments on how to create “delivery units”.  He industrializes and streamlines things. Mercilessly.

What will Sir Michael Barber do for (or to) American education?  Well, let’s look at the evidence:

  • He uses cozy terms like “revolution,” “global citizen,” “human capital,” “irreversible reform,” “rightsizing,” “sustainable” and “common core” in speeches to the Council on Foreign Relations or at the British Education Summit, for example.
  • He praises Common Core and says not only national, but the same global educational standards are to be sought.
  • He says he wants data on every “global citizen.”  (So he’ll be working to get rid of states’ FERPA and other privacy laws, I guess.  Might not prove difficult with Arne Duncan on his side since Duncan’s Dept. of Ed recently changed federal FERPA without Congressional approval, to remove parental consent requirements over student data.)
  • He’ll narrow things down so far as to to wring meaningfulness out of them, to “deliver” any goal.
  • He’ll push for a political “green” agenda in schools that minimizes the goal of gaining knowledge. By the way– education reform is not a local matter, in Barber’s view, because it’s global, and without borders. He puts “green” training as the “ethical underpinning” that must be placed above general knowledge or the ability to think for oneself.  His formula is:
  • E (K + T + L)  –Knowledge, Thinking and Leadership are to be combined as equal in importance, while Ethical Underpinnings (sustainable “green” environmental awareness) are of number one importance.
  • His company, Pearson, is purchasing schools worldwide in “private-public partnerships” (PPP).  When a BBC interviewer accused him and his company, Pearson, of trying to take over the governance of schools worldwide, his defense was that Pearson would blend with the governments: “I worked for government. I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”
  • He congratulated the Council on Foreign Relations for getting into the education reform business, saying that education is now “an issue of national security and foreign policy.”
  • Barber’s preface, in “Deliverology 101,” states that he wrote the book specifically to American educators.
  • A co-author of “Deliverology 101″ is Achieve, Inc., which helped write the NGA/CCSSO’s Common Core.
  • Barber previously used deliverology methods in the U.K., where he made things worse. How? By focusing on a narrow goal to the exclusion of common sense and dignity.  According to Professor John Seddon, Barber’s fellow British countryman, deliverology is a management fad that harms what it touches.

  In England, Seddon said, deliverology met the goal of reducing emergency room wait times in hospitals by having emergency patients sit and wait indefinitely, in ambulances, rather than emergency rooms, or in designated “other rooms” next to the emergency waiting room.   –But oh, they delivered the goal.

  At California State University, Seddon said, deliverology met the goal of increasing graduation rates by 8% by:

  • paring down the number of classes required to get a degree
  • paring down the amount of writing students must do while in college
  • eliminating whole academic programs and departments
  • increasing student fees sharply
  • narrowing a campus’s geographical service area to restrict enrollment
  • laying off faculty and support staff

So nice.

See also CSU Professor Susan Meisenhelder’s “Cautionary Tale” ariticle:  http://www.calfac.org/post/cautionary-tale

Let us be wise.  We should politely say “No, thank you,” to Common Core, to Deliverology, to EDI, to Sir Michael Barber and to Pearson.  Please watch this video, from Professor John Seddon, on the subject.

And… Sir Michael Barber has created a legitimate-sounding “U.S. Education Delivery Institute” (EDI).  Sounds governmental. Well, it’s a business. The business of taking over meaningful classroom experience in favor of “delivering” whatever the government(s) mandate at any cost to teachers, students, or legitimate, meaningful learning.

EDI “hosts gatherings of its K-12 and higher education networks several times each year.  We also work closely with a number of the state systems, providing training and support.”

EDI is an “organization that focuses on implementing large-scale system change in public education.” They write, “Our mission is to partner with K-12 and higher education systems with ambitious reform agendas and invest in their leaders’ capacity to deliver results.  By employing an approach known as delivery, a proven methodology for effective implementation in the public sector, we help state leaders maintain the necessary focus to plan and drive reform.   http://www.deliveryinstitute.org/members/sir-michael-barber

It should scare us to think that Sir Michael Barber is creating for the United States “U.S. Education Delivery Units.”

As one British newspaper put it:

“[Barber] has set up a US Education Delivery Unit (albeit as a private sector rather than government venture), co-authored books that claim to identify what makes national education systems successful, and taken the joint chairmanship of a taskforce in Pakistan to establish “national standards”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru

How many thousands of American schools are already using Pearson technology, Pearson textbooks, Pearson webinars for teacher trainings?  Do we realize who is the man behind this?  Do we realize he is a zealot on the extreme left and he has every intention of indoctrinating our kids –what he calls his “human capital” –with his brand of global “green” citizens?

He said, he actually said these words:  “we want them to have some knowledge.”  Some, as in minimal, not so important.  The really big thing, Barber preaches, is the green “ethical underpinning” that must override minor things like knowledge, thinking for oneself, and learning leadership.

Remember his formula.

E(K+T+L)

Keeping Kids Safe: Radio Show   Leave a comment

Listen to internet radio with Keeping Our Kids Safe on Blog Talk Radio

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/keeping-our-kids-safe/2012/10/04/common-core-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-affect-your-family

Keeping Kids Safe is Bill Wardell’s radio show. He invited Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and I on his show today to discuss data privacy issues, Common Core national education, and what most parents do not know about Common Core.

Democratic Platform Hails Common Core, Praises Teachers – Politics K-12 – Education Week   Leave a comment

Obama’s Democratic Platform Takes Credit for Common Core – Article in Education Week.

Why this article matters: Obama is taking credit for his gift to the states: common core.  What was all that rhetoric about a people-invented, state-led initiative?

Posted October 3, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Video and Audio Menu: Interviews About Common Core, FERPA, Constitutional Education Issues   Leave a comment


(This one’s Jenni White, of Oklahoma’s Restore Oklahoma Public Education)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxgY3wxf0o


(This one is today’s GooglePlus Hangout –about Sir Michael Barber, Pearson and Common Core– with Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy, and me (Christel)


(This one is the video Renee Braddy and Alisa Ellis made before I’d even met them; in fact, watching this video brought me into the anti-Common Core fight.)

http://radiorecast.com/ktalk/archive/Red_Meat_Radio/2012%200714%20Crockett%20McAdams%20Jamie%20Gass%20Matt%20Piccilo%20Martell%20Menlove.mp3

(This one is Red Meat Radio’s Utah interview with Boston’s Jamie Gass of Pioneer Institute)

http://theflypod.com/episodes/common-core-standards/

(This one is a radio show interviewing Heather Crossin of Indiana)

http://www.4shared.com/mp3/YtQnhXx6/Impact_7-12-12_Pt_2_Christel__.html

(This one Impact, a Heber, Utah radio show, with Bob Wren and Paul Royall interviewing Renee Braddy and me (Christel).


(This one’s Professor John Seddon, speaking to California State University faculty on why they will ruin education if they use Sir Michael Barber’s “Deliverology” methodology, which harmed the UK.)


This one’s Sir Michael Barber, speaking at the August 2012 Education Summit about how education reform is a global, not a local, control issue; and that every child in every country should learn exactly the same thing, and that all learning in every land should be underpinned by one “ethic,” that of environmental sustainability.  See 2:55- 5:30 at least.


(This one’s me speaking to the Heber City Council about “Communities That Care” as a federally controlled, top-down, agenda-laden program we don’t want in Heber.


(This one is Jenni White of Oklahoma’s ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) being interviewed by the three moms about P-20 councils, data collection via schools, and common core.)

(This one’s Jenni White’s presentation about Common Core to Oklahoma legislature)

Deliverology destroys service: Professor John Seddon addresses the faculty of California State University   Leave a comment

Deliverology destroys service: Professor John Seddon addresses the faculty of California State University.

Why this video matters:  “Deliverology 101″ was written by Sir Michael Barber for American educators implementing COMMONCORE.  And Deliverology does not work.  It’s top-down morale-crushing, according to Professor John Seddon, who speaks in this video.

The Global Common Core   12 comments

In an ongoing quest to comprehend what (and why) Common Core is what it is, I’ve found Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson PLC.

Sir Barber, a passionate Common Core promoter with a nice British accent, is all about top-down, global McEducation –and global McEverything, actually, from transportation to jails.

“McEverything” is not Barber’s word.  His word is “Deliverology.”

His book, “Deliverology 101,”  is purposed, oddly, specifically for leaders of American Education reform.” But what motivates a British citizen to write a manual on American states’ nationalized standards?

Well.

At last month’s British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade”.

He spoke as if he’d just finished reading the United Nations Agenda 21 before coming onstage.  Creepy ideas, but said in such a nice way. http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA  – (This is Barber’s recent, August 2012, international speech.)

   Barber comes across as a nice, slightly weird, old British knight.  Actually, he is a knight: Sir Michael Barber was knighted for producing education reforms in England.

Yet some (who are also repected far and wide) scorn his philosophies.  John Seddon, British management guru and president of Vanguard, has a multi-part YouTube series entitled “Why Deliverology Made Things Worse in the UK.”

“I don’t go around the world bashing Deliverology, but I think I should,” said Seddon.

Seddon defines “deliverology” as “a top-down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”  http://youtu.be/2sIFvpRilSc

Seddon says “deliverology” imposes arbitrary targets that damage morale.  Just like Common Core.

But Barber will have none of that.  He seems to feel that education reform is too big an issue to pause for things like individual morale.

In Barber’s view, education reform is a “global phenomenon,” so reform is no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries; education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers.”  Hmm.

http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Barber shows a chart during his summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, which he calls a goal of “whole system revolution,” pinpointed as the sum of the following addends:  systemic innovation + sameness of standards + structure + human capital.  –Whole system revolution? Human capital?  What awful word choices, even for a chart.

Sir Michael Barber adds: “We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda.” (6:05)  –But who are the “we” that will control global data?  That one he does not answer.

    Barber’s collectivist, global-governance philosophy is everywhere.

http://youtu.be/ltAeLXUCqaQ .

In this clip, Barber praises Common Core (CC) at a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) interview, calling CC among other things, “internationally benchmarked.”  (That oft-repeated phrase, “internationally benchmarked” is one that Common Core Validation Committee Member, Professor Stotsky, calls false.  See http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf)

In another interview with the CFR, Barber says, “Can I congratulate the CFR for getting into this issue? I think it’s great to see education as an issue of national security and foreign policy as well as economic and domestic policy.” http://castroller.com/Podcasts/InsideCfrEvents/2695637

 

Then there’s the BBC interview.

   http://youtu.be/vTYMFzOv0wQ

In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines the benefits of “private and public partnership,” which just happens to be yet another United Nations Agenda 21 bullet point.  (See http://www.un.org/partnerships/unfip_partner.html)

Pearson “invests,” says Barber, by purchasing cheap schools in developing countries in partnership with governments.  (PPP)

Pearson works hand in hand with both nongovernmental agencies (NGA and CCSSO) and with governmental agencies (U.S. Department of Education) to promote global education and Common Core. Because they see global education and Common Core as one and the same.

Evidence? Look at 6:05 on http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA –the August Summit speech.  Barber says that every country should have exactly the same definition of what it means to be good at “maths”.

At 4:00 he says that “citizens of the world” including every single child, “all 9 billion people who will be alive in 2050″ must know    E(K+T+L) –which stands for (Knowledge + Thinking + Leadership) multiplied by “ethical underpinnings.”

Then Barber explains that the “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth and “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn.  Ethics, to Barber, have nothing to do with the supreme sanctity of human life, the idea of God, of individual liberty or the Golden Rule.  Nope, it’s about the collective, the earth-oneness.

So, now that we know where Barber stands, what do we do about Pearson?  Keep buying what they’re peddling, of course.

Pearson is very successful in selling Common Core curriculum, online assessments, teacher professional development, and technological resources nationwide.   http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11Uz

Common Core is big business.  The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO:

“‘It’s a really big deal,’ says Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson’s K-12 division,  Pearson School. ‘The Common Core standards are affecting literally every part of the business we’re involved in.’” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303674004577434430304060586.html

And Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc., which also happens to be a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101″ which happens also to partner “with NGA and CCSSO on the [Common Core] Initiative and a number of Achieve staff and consultants served on the writing and review teams”.  http://www.achieve.org/achieving-common-core

Sigh.

These combinations of corporations, governments, NGOs and elite philanthropists (Bill Gates) appear to literally be taking over the globe’s educational decision-making.

When the BBC interviewer accused Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ educational systems as a huge corporation, Barber said, as a defense, “I worked for government. I love government.  I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”

Well, yes indeed.  Advising countries from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education, is his specialty.

As the UK Guardian writes:

“…Barber and his graphs have gone global. As McKinsey’s hubristically titled “head of global education practice”, he has set up a US Education Delivery Unit (albeit as a private sector rather than government venture), co-authored books that claim to identify what makes national education systems successful, and taken the joint chairmanship of a taskforce in Pakistan to establish “national standards” in basic subjects. Now he’s becoming chief education adviser to Pearson, owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times and also, in its own description, “the world’s leading learning company”, with interests in 70 countries…”  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru

Double sigh.

Will any of this be easy to reverse?  Sir Michael Barber emphasizes the importance of what he’s dubbed “irreversible reform.”  He defines “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and aims to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents,” Barber says. Otherwise parents or traditionalists might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.”

Heaven help us.

State School Board This Week To Determine Citizen Privacy   2 comments

    Okay, this is a big one.  A dangerous one.

This week, the Utah State School Board will meet to discuss whether or not to change state FERPA policy.

Once Utah changes this policy, it will be next to impossible to get the privacy laws put back in place.  And it affects every student and his/her family’s household information.

Please call or write the board and demand that they NOT change our protective state FERPA policy to match the new, questionably legal, federal FERPA regulatory changes.

Why do I say “questionably legal federal changes?”

Congress made the original FERPA law many years ago to protect citizen privacy.  But recently, the Department of Education overstepped its authority in making regulatory changes to FERPA.  Regulations are not as binding as law. But the regulatory changes are being seen by some as federal mandates.

   Federal Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Meanwhile, the Department of Education’s actions have been so shockingly unacceptable to some (including me) that the Department of Education has been sued.  Yes, sued.  The lawsuit was brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and it’s in full gear, with an undetermined outcome.  If EPIC wins, the Dept. of Education will have to repeal its regulatory changes to federal protective FERPA law.

Why does anyone want to REMOVE parental consent over student privacy?

They want to make the government more powerful than parents for “research-based” reasons, they say.

They want the government to be able to study our data without interference or permission. And they assure us that this power will never be misused.  Hmmm.

Last month at the State School Board Meeting the changes relevant to  Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s new regulations of FERPA were discussed.
  Larry Shumway, Director of State School Board/ Superintendent
The State School Board decided to table the issue until this month as they wanted to review information on it.  Our Wasatch Superintendent was at the State School Board testifying about our local FERPA policy.  Wasatch local school board had changed our policy so that it had no protection in the spring, but thanks to great participation of emails from many citizens, the policy was changed again and strengthened.  Thanks to Renee Braddy for gathering information, teaching citizens and leading this charge.
Since that time, people who have talked directly to the US Department of Ed, verifying the fact that the new FERPA policy does not protect, but in fact loosens, the restrictions so more data can be collected without our knowledge.  If you would like to learn more about it directly from the US Dept. of Ed.  You can call this number and ask for Ellen Campbell in their FERPA policy division. 1-800-872-5327.
What we need to do now is to write the State School Board Members and ask them to leave our current State FERPA policy in place.  We have a good State Policy.  PLEASE NOTE – the new federal policy is VOLUNTARY.
You will be told that it is not, but you can verify that for yourself by calling the number above.  Superintendent Larry Shumway responded in an email to Renee Braddy that it was truly voluntary.  James Judd, Student Service Director, Wasatch County, stated publicy that indeed this policy does loosen the protections.
Be firm but polite. Remember that emails that are too long don’t get read:)
STATE SCHOOL BOARD -Board@schools.utah.gov  This will reach every member of the school board.
Another interesting point to note is that John Brandt, the technology director for all Utah schools and director of the inter-agency Utah Data Alliance, is a federal government worker and NGO officer via his membership in NCEE and his chair position on the Council of Chief State School Officers.  He is a man who feels great about Utah sharing data with the feds.  And he doesn’t answer emails on the subject. Ever.
Additional Research about FERPA- put together by Renee Braddy:

FERPA stands for “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act” (20 U.S.C. 1232g (US Code)

It was originally put into law in 1974 at the federal level to limit the amount of children’s personally identifiable information that could be given without parental consent.

(Legislative History of Major FERPA Provisions)

There are federal and state FERPA laws, as well as district FERPA policies.   In 2011, the US Dept. of Education created a new FERPA regulation that went into effect Jan. 3, 2012.  Regulations are usually created by non-elected departments and therefore DO NOT pass through congress, but in essence they are observed the same as law.

The US Dept. of Education created this new regulation (34 CFR Part 99) which significantly broadens the definition of “personally identifiable information” as well as the term “authorized representatives”.

According to the regulation, “personally identifiable information” includes:

The term includes, but is not limited to—

(a)  The student’s name;

(b)  The name of the student’s parent or other family members;

(c)  The address of the student or student’s family;

(d)  A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;

(e)  Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name;

(f)  Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or 

(g) Information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.

Wondering what in the world “biometric record” means and what is includes?

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

This allows for a collection of personal health records!

As a parent, I had to ask myself, to whom is this information being given?  The answer is found in the regulation with the definition of “Authorized representative”

Authorized representative” means any entity or individual designated by a State or local educational authority or an agency headed by an official listed in § 99.31(a)(3) to conduct – with respect to Federal- or State-supported education programs – any audit or evaluation, or any compliance or enforcement activity in connection with Federal legal requirements that relate to these programs.

So, our children’s personal information can be given to:  Pretty much anyone without parental consent.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  FERPA FINAL REGULATIONS

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf

Specifically, we have modified the definition of and requirements related to ‘‘directory information’’ to clarify (1) that the right to opt out of the disclosure of directory information under FERPA does not include the right to refuse to wear, or otherwise disclose, a student identification (ID) card or badge;

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/2012-final-regs.pdf

(6)(i) The disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to:

(A) Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests;

(B) Administer student aid programs; or

(C) Improve instruction.

What is predictive testing? Here’s one definition from Wikipedia.

Predictive testing is a form of genetic testing. It is also known as presymptomatic testing. These types of testing are used to detect gene mutations associated with disorders that appear after birth, often later in life. These tests can be helpful to people who have a family member with a genetic disorder, but who have no features of the disorder themselves at the time of testing. Predictive testing can identify mutations that increase a person’s risk of developing disorders with a genetic basis, such as certain types of cancer. For example, an individual with a mutation in BRCA1 has a 65% cumulative risk of breast cancer. Presymptomatic testing can determine whether a person will develop a genetic disorder, such as hemochromatosis (an iron overload disorder), before any signs or symptoms appear. The results of predictive and presymptomatic testing can provide information about a person’s risk of developing a specific disorder and help with making decisions about medical care.

Why would the federal government want to track genetic and medical information coupled with educational information in a cradle to grave longitudinal database? Why is the Gates Foundation funding biometric tracking? Why is the Gates Foundation also co-hosting the London International Eugenics Conference with Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) next month? Why would the Department of Health and Human Services under Kathleen Sebelius (responsible for the FERPA changes listed above) be offering $75 million in grants for schools to open health clinics inside their schools away from parental oversight?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the federal government is in the business of control and not pure education. Why aren’t Utah leaders moving to protect Utahn’s from these overreaches of the federal government?  Gates Foundation paid nearly $20 million to the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State Superintendents Organization to prompt them to create Common Core. Schools will soon be the ultimate laboratories in fulfillment of Marc Tucker’s dream for creating central planning for the American workforce.

–Many people contributed to the writing of this post.

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