Archive for February 2013

Professor Thomas Newkirk of University of New Hampshire Speaks About Common Core   1 comment

Thomas Newkirk image

Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire has laid out the problems with Common Core in Speaking Back to the Common Core.  It is well worth our time to read every word.  He eloquently addresses each of the following points that characterize Common Core:

1.  Conflict of Interest.

2.  Misdiagnosis of the problem.

3. Developmental inappropriateness.

4. A sterile view of reading.

5. Underplaying role of narrative.

6.  A reform that gives extraordinary power to standardized tests.

7.  A bonanza for commercialism.

8. Standards directing instruction.

9.  Drowning out other conversations.

Newkirk explains this so well that I find myself reading and re-reading his words.  Not all articles are created equally.  This one is above and beyond.  I’ll post the first half and then the link:

Speaking Back to the Common Core

Thomas Newkirk

The Common Core initiative is a triumph of branding. The standards are portrayed as so consensual, so universally endorsed, so thoroughly researched and vetted, so self-evidently necessary to economic progress,  so broadly representative of beliefs in the educational community—that they cease to be even debatable. They are held in  common; they penetrate to the core of our educational aspirations, uniting even those who might usually disagree. We can be freed from noisy disagreement, and should get on with the work of reform.

This deft rollout may account for the absence of vigorous debate about the Common Core State Standards. If they represent a common core—a center—critics are by definition on the fringe or margins, whiners and complainers obstructing progress. And given the fact that states have already adopted them—before they were completely formulated—what is the point in opposition? We should get on with the task of implementation, and, of course, alignment.

But as the great rhetorician Kenneth Burke continually reminds us, all arguments are from a debatable perspective— there is no all-encompassing position, no argument from everywhere. The arguments that hide their controversial edges, their perspective, are the most suspect. “When in Rome act as the Greeks” he advises us. So in that spirit I would like to raise a series of concerns.

1. Conflict of interest. It is a fundamental principle of governance that those who establish the guidelines do not benefit financially from those guidelines. We don’t, for example, let representatives of pharmaceutical companies set health guidelines, for fairly obvious reasons. But in the case of the CCSS, the two major college testing agencies, the College Board and ACT, were engaged to write the standards, when it was obvious that they would create products (or had created products) to test them. The College Board, for example, almost immediately claimed that “The SAT demonstrates strong agreement to the Common Core Writing Standards and there is very strong agreement between the skills required on the SAT essay and the Common Core State Standards” (Vasavada et al. 2011, 5). In fact, the College Board claims that there is also a strong alignment between other products, the PSAT/NMSQT and Redistep, which starts in eighth grade.

Clearly, there is a conflict of interest here.

2. Misdiagnosis of the problem. A central premise of the CCSS is that students are not reading difficult enough texts and that we need to ramp up the complexity of the texts they encounter. I would argue that the more serious problem is that students cease to read voluntarily, generally around middle school—and fail to develop the stamina for difficult texts (Newkirk 2008). Once they get to high school, they are “overmatched” by standard books like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird (Smith and Wilhelm 2002)—and they resort to SparkNotes and other strategies that allow them to avoid reading the books. This evasion is epidemic in our schools. Increasing the complexity of what they read—and requiring books like Grapes of Wrath in ninth or tenth grade, as recommended by the CCSS—will only exacerbate the problem. In order to develop fluency and real reading power (that will enable students to tackle the classics), students need abundant practice with engaging contemporary writing that does not pose a constant challenge (or maybe a range of challenges) to them. The reading workshop models of Penny Kittle and Nancie Atwell provide a much more plausible road map for creating readers who can handle difficulty.

3. Developmental inappropriateness. It is clear now that the designers of the CCSS took a top-down approach, beginning with expectations for eleventh and twelfth graders and then working down to the earlier grades. The process, it seems to me, is one of downshifting; early college expectations (at least what I do in my college classes) are downshifted to eleventh or twelfth grade, and the process continues right into kindergarten. The target student texts in Appendix C are clearly those of exceptional, even precocious students; in fact, the CCSS has taken what I see as exceptional work, that of perhaps the top 5 percent of students, and made it the new norm. What had once been an expectation for fourth graders becomes the standard for second graders as in this example:

Write informative/explanatory texts in which they [i.e., second graders] introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points and provide a concluding statement. Normally this would be the expectation of an upper-elementary report; now it is the requirement for seven-year-olds.

It might be argued that high standards, even if they are beyond the reach of many students, will still be useful in raising performance. But if legitimately tested, these standards will result in a substantial proportion, in many schools a majority, of students failing to meet them—thus feeding the narrative of school failure (already the case in Kentucky). Given the experience with the unrealism of the No Child Left Behind demand for 100 percent proficiency, it seems to me unwise to move to a new set of unrealistic expectations.

4. A sterile view of reading. Another serious issue is the view of reading that underlies the standards. This view is spelled out by two authors of the English/Language Arts standards, David Coleman (now President of the College Board) and Susan Pimentel (2011) in a set of guidelines that are designed to help publishers align their material. It is a revealing and consequential document that helps us move beyond generalities to the way standards are to be taught (and most likely tested). Much of what Coleman and Pimentel say is appealing. I like the focus on thoughtful reading—and rereading. I agree that discussions can move away from the text too often (I can think of many examples from my own classes). I like the idea of helping students engage with challenging texts. And I like that they urge publishers to refrain from making pages so busy with distracting marginalia that they come to resemble People magazine.

The central message in their guidelines is that the focus should be on “the text itself”—echoing the injunctions of New Criticism during the early and mid-1900s. The text should be understood in “its own terms.” While the personal connections and judgments of the readers may enter in later, they should do so only after students demonstrate “a clear understanding of what they read.” So the model of reading seems to have two stages—first a close reading in which the reader withholds judgment or comparison with other texts, focusing solely on what is happening within “the four corners of the text.” And only then are prior knowledge, personal association, and appraisal allowed in.

This seems to me an inhuman, even impossible, and certainly unwise prescription. Test it out yourself on the opening to Jennifer Egan’s

 A Visit from the Goon Squad:

Found Objects

It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. Sasha was adjusting her yellow eye shadow in the mirror when she noticed a bag on the floor beside the sink that must have belonged to the woman whose peeing she could faintly hear through the vaultlike door of the toilet stall. Inside the rim of the bag, barely visible, was a wallet made of pale green leather. It was easy for Sasha to recognize, looking back, that the peeing woman’s blind trust had provoked her. We live in a city where people will steal the hair off your head if you give them half a chance, but you leave your stuff lying in plain sight and expect it to be waiting for you when you come back. It made her want to teach the woman a lesson. (2011, 3)

My own reading focus was on Sasha’s thought process, how she is beginning to rationalize the taking of this woman’s wallet. But when I shared this opening with female readers, many of them picked up the detail of the yellow eye shadow, something I had totally ignored. What kind of woman wears yellow eye shadow? What do you say about yourself when you wear it? Combined with the fact that Sasha seems familiar with bathrooms in swank hotels, some speculated that she was a prostitute (not a bad guess as it turns out). But these readers were hardly staying in the four corners of the text; they were using their knowledge of makeup and the message it sends. It’s what readers do.

To get down to practicalities, there is bound to be great confusion about what a “text-dependent question” is. Must that question stay within the “four corners of the text” and not draw on prior experience or knowledge? Purely literal questions can be confined in this way, but any inference or judgment rests on some information not in the text (as in the case of the eye shadow). Even language itself evokes a world beyond the text. As two Stanford psychologists put it: “The bare text is something like a play script that the reader uses like a theatre director to construct in imagination a full stage production” (Bower and Morrow 1990, 44). We can never stay within the four corners of the text—even if we tried…

5. Underplaying role of narrative. The CCSS present us with a “map” of writing types that is fundamentally flawed—because it treats “narrative” as a type of discourse, distinguished from “informational” and “argumentative” writing. In doing so (and the CCSS are not alone in this), they fail to acknowledge the central role narrative plays in all writing, indeed in human understanding. Mark Turner, a cognitive psychologist and literary critic, puts the claim this way: “Narrative imagining—story—is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend on it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, of explaining”…

Read the rest: http://heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources%5CE02123%5CNewkirk_Speaking_Back_to_the_Common_Core.pdf

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Thanks to Professor Newkirk for his research, talent and the time spent on this topic –which must not be drowned out by the loud messages of those who benefit financially from the fact that few understand what Common Core really is.

Radio Podcast: The Rod Arquette Show with Alisa Ellis   Leave a comment

 

Last night, the Rod Arquette radio show discussed Common Core again with Alisa Ellis speaking.  Here’s the podcast.

Diane Ravitch on Common Core: First Do No Harm   Leave a comment

Christel Swasey:

Diane Ravitch has finally put her foot down. In this article, she explains that although she had long advocated voluntary national standards, the Common Core doesn’t meet the hope she had for them; the CCSS process is fundamentally flawed in the way these standards were foisted upon states and in the way that they can just as easily be doing harm, as doing good, to public education.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

I have thought long and hard about the Common Core standards.

I have decided that I cannot support them.

In this post, I will explain why.

I have long advocated for voluntary national standards, believing that it would be helpful to states and districts to have general guidelines about what students should know and be able to do as they progress through school.

Such standards, I believe, should be voluntary, not imposed by the federal government; before implemented widely, they should be thoroughly tested to see how they work in real classrooms; and they should be free of any mandates that tell teachers how to teach because there are many ways to be a good teacher, not just one. I envision standards not as a demand for compliance by teachers, but as an aspiration defining what states and districts are expected to do. They should serve as a promise that…

View original 1,126 more words

Posted February 26, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Children need more parental warmth and less institutionalization   1 comment

A friend forwarded the article below to me.  I have to repost the whole thing– there’s not a sentence I can leave out.  The authors, Raymond and Dorothy Moore, point out that parental time and warmth –and less child-institutionalization– benefits children in significant ways.  This method creates the success that eludes the institutions who attempt to force ever more government styled schooling upon ever-younger members of society.

This article validates what I see every day at home.  But before you read the Moore article, I want to explain why it means so much to me.

This is our first year doing homeschool and we’re thriving.  My fourth grader liked his public school teacher and the children in his class, but he so disliked being institutionalized.

He disliked the one-size-fits-all approach to computers, to math, to art, to most things.  He disliked the repetitious “sell-stuff” and “anti-bully” assemblies.  He disliked having so little time at home.  But he didn’t know how to articulate these things fully. He said that he was bored.

Now homeschooling my nine year old (and two year old) we have learned so much together.  (No matter how many degrees any adult has, there are so many knowledge gaps.  There is so much to learn or re-learn while teaching– in geography, biography, science, literature, history.)

We do a lot of out-loud reading.  And he reads alone plenty, too.

This year he has read books I couldn’t have imagined he was capable of comprehending and enjoying at age nine:  Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Twain’s Tom Sawyer, for example.  We’re starting Dickens’ Great Expectations this week.  Did I mention that he’s a fourth grader?

He was not previously a stand out academic at the top of his school class; yet now he’s far ahead of his age group.  Why?

His curriculum is so far beyond what the governments hope for: to  churn out worker bees –or “human capital.”

His curriculum’s limitless; it’s customized to his abilities, interests, faith  and curiosity;  he gets to independently explore; he gets to bask in the love of his family every day.  Who wouldn’t thrive?

He has come to the end of the 5th/6th grade Saxon math book (the old, trustworthy, pre-common core text) already; he has read U.S. History and world geography, learned about the elements, electricity and astronomy; studied the life of Joseph of Egypt, short stories and  Fairy Tales.  He has written Haiku, Limericks, fiction, a 500-word essay (for a contest) and all kinds of codes.

I give him a lot of freedom.  I rarely force anything because I want him to love learning and love life. I don’t impose things unless I feel very strongly about them, and then I do it in small amounts:  some cursive, some grammar, some sentence diagramming, some multiplication drills, all Swedish conversing all day (until my husband comes home).

On his own, he has studied volcanoes, cars, optical illusions, magic tricks, dinosaurs and inventions.  The things my nine year old loves, we do much more of:  math, talking, reading, and field trips.

Other things we minimize.  For example, although I wanted him to learn a lot of music (piano) he’s not that interested, so we only do a little.   I wanted him to do calligraphy, but he’s not that interested, so he draws.  I want him to do more reading in Swedish, but he only wants to do a little.  (He does speak Swedish with me, but doesn’t want to read much in Swedish.)

I let him take time to live life, to sit on a swing, to visit new places, see animals, play with his baby brother or his cars, his legos –or waste time in the bathtub long after his hair’s been washed, if there are experiments with bubbles or food coloring or squirt guns or thinking that he wants to do.  One day he spent hours making Valentine’s Day decorations; another day he spent hours organizing his drawers and his room.  We plant things and make things and I let him sit and think.

And the two year old?  Well, I don’t believe in “schooling” two year olds, but I do read to my two year old almost every time he wants to, and I speak only Swedish to him and ask him questions all day.  He shouts: “MAFF!” (math) and grabs a pencil and does his hieroglyphics in his way while the nine year old does his Saxon math lesson.  The two year old loves to point out letters of the alphabet everywhere we go.   And when the two year old interrupts the nine year old’s lesson one too many times, we don’t call for a babysitter.  We just go outside or take an early lunch or put on his favorite Swedish YouTube video, or move the lesson into the hallway, so we can distract the two year old with toys from another room.

I give this as an introduction to why I appreciate the article below so much.  It rings so true to me now.  I would not fully have appreciated it a year ago.

This article is enlightening for everyone, whether you choose to homeschool or not.  It shows a parent what a child really needs to thrive.

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When Education Becomes Abuse:

A Different Look at the Mental Health of Children

By Raymond S. Moore, Dorothy Moore

Reposted from http://www.moorefoundation.com/article/48/about-moore-home-schooling/moore-foundation/articles/when-education-becomes-abuse

“We need more parent education and less institutionalizing of young children.”

In Acres of Diamonds, Russell Conwell’s most famous Chautauqua story, Al Hafed sold his farm to finance his quest for a legendary diamond mine. He searched the world over until his fortune was gone. He died penniless, unaware that a vast diamond deposit had been discovered in the river sands which snaked through his own backyard, now the famed Golconda Diamond Mines.

America’s quest for excellence—for healthy, self directed, student minds—very well could have the same ending.

From the White House to the humblest home, Americans are groping for answers to declines in literacy, ethics, and general behavior which threatens our nation. Apparently, few have noticed the close relationship between the achievement, behavior and sociability we prefer, and the lifestyles that we impose on our children daily which may amount to our most pervasive form of child abuse. For example, a surprising ignorance or indifference exists to peer dependency, a mental health nemesis that is rampant even in preschools.

Instead of studying how best to meet their needs, we often put our “little ones” out of the home, away from environments that best produce outgoing, healthy, happy, creative children. In a federally-sponsored analysis of more than 8,000 early childhood studies, Moore Foundation concluded that the United States is rushing its little ones out of the home and into school long before most, particularly boys, are ready. [1] The effect on mental and emotional health is deeply disturbing. Dropout rates also are mute testimony, though in some cases, the dropout, like Thomas Edison, is more fortunate than those who stay.

From Piagetian specialist David Elkind in Boston to William Rohwer in Berkeley, Calif., top learning and development authorities warn that early formal school is burning out our children. Teachers who attempt to cope with these youngsters also are burning out. The learning tools of the average child who enrolls today between the ages of four and six or seven are neither tempered nor sharp enough for the structured academic tasks that increasingly are thrown at them. Worse still, we destroy positive sociability.

The sequence for the average child these days often spells disaster for both mental and physical health in a sure sequence:1) uncertainly as the child leaves the family nest early for a less secure environment, 2) puzzlement at the new pressures and restrictions of the classroom, 3) frustration because unready learning tools — senses, cognition, brain hemispheres, coordination — cannot handle the regimentation of formal lessons and the pressures they bring, 4) hyperactivity growing out of nerves and jitter, from frustration, 5) failure which quite naturally flows from the four experiences above, and 6) delinquency which is failure’s twin and apparently for the same reason.

RESEARCH

Indifference to the mental and emotional health of children is not new. The pages of history outline great cycles that began with vigorous cultures awaking to the needs of children and ending with surrender of family ties and the death of societies and empires.

Research provides a link from past to present and provides a moving perspective on children today. Persuasive reasons exist for declining literacy, academic failures, widespread delinquency, and rampant peer dependency. All four act in concert to deny our goal of happy, confident children who are healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

Whether or not we can be conclusive about causes, America’s decline in literacy from the estimated 90 percentiles in the last century to the 50 percentiles today parallels the parental scramble to institutionalize children at ever younger ages. [2]

Achievement

The Moore Foundation analyses [1] concluded that, where possible, children should be withheld from formal schooling until at least ages eight – ten. Elkind [3] warned against student burnout which has become pervasive in American schools. Rohwer [4] agreed, basing his conclusions in part on investigations in 12 countries by Sweden’s Torsten Husen. Husen subsequently confirmed Rohwer’s perceptions, according to a letter from Husen, Nov. 23, 1972. Rohwer, with deep concern for conceptual demands of reading and arithmetic, offered a solution:

“All of the learning necessary for success in high school can be accomplished in only two or three years of formal skill study. Delaying mandatory instruction in the basic skills until the junior high school years could mean academic success for millions of school children who are doomed to failure under the traditional school system.”

Torsten Husen: Conversations in Comparative Education

This solution would delay school entrance at least until the child is 11 or 12, ages which become critical.

In face of present practice, how can these remarks be justified, bearing in mind that the present and future health of the child is at stake? First, children normally are not mature enough for formal school programs until their senses, coordination, neurological development, and cognition are ready. Piagetian experiments have shown repeatedly that cognitive maturity may not come until close to age 12.

Interestingly, the ancient Bar Mitzvah of the Orthodox Jew provided no schooling until after age 12 when the child was considered able to accept full responsibility for his actions. Fisher, then considered dean of American psychiatrists, wrote in 1950 how he started school at 13, unable to read or write. Graduating from a Boston high school at 16, he thought he was a genius until he found that any “normal” child could do it. He added, “if a child could be assured of a wholesome home life and proper physical development, this might provide the answer to … a shortage of qualified teachers.” [5]

Nearly a century ago, Dewey [6] called for school entry at age eight or later. A half century ago, Skeels [7] proved that loving, though retarded, teenagers made remarkably good teachers.  A quarter century ago, Geber [8] demonstrated that mothers in the African bush brought up children who were more socially and mentally alert than youngsters of the elite who could afford preschool. Warmth was the key.

Still later, Mermelstein and others [9] proved that, at least until ages nine or ten, children who went to school did no better than those who did not attend school. De Rebello (unpublished data, January 1985) reported that dropouts who find employment are ahead of their peers in mental and social perception.

Few conventional educators understand this situation. We do not understand fully the damage of frustration nor denial of free exploration, nor the value of warmth as a learning motivator, nor yet the tutorial method which historically never has been equaled.

A UCLA study [10] of 1,016 public schools found that teachers averaged about seven minutes daily in personal exchanges with their students. This would allow for no more than one or two personal responses for each student. In contrast, our counts of daily responses in typical home schools ranged from about 100 to more than 300.

We should not be shocked then by the Smithsonian Report [11] on genius which offered a three -part recipe for high achievement, consisting of 1) much time spent with warm, responsive parents and other adults, 2) very little time spent with peers, and 3) a great deal of free exploration under parental guidance.

Study director Harold McCurdy concluded:

“the mass education of our public school system is, in its way, a vast experiment on reducing … all three factors to a minimum; accordingly, it should tend to suppress the occurrence of genius.” [11]

At the Moore Foundation we recently obtained the court-approved standardized test scores of children whose mothers or fathers were arrested for teaching at home. Most parents were of low socio-economic status with less formal education than usual, yet , the children averaged 80.1%, or 30 percentile ranks higher than the nation’s average classroom child.

Very young children do indeed learn very fast, as is commonly believed, yet only in proportion to their maturity.

The child who combines cognitive maturity with eight – ten years more of free exploration has developed thousands of “learning hooks” and an ability to reason consistently which is impossible for the younger child. Without this maturity, and confined to a classroom, the child often becomes anxious, frustrated, and eventually learning disabled.

Sociability

The common assumption these days is that well – socialized children require the association schools afford. Replicable evidence clearly points the other way. Cornell studies [12] found that children who spend more elective time with their peers than with their parents until the fifth or sixth grades — about ages 11 or 12 — will become peer dependent. Such “knuckling under” to peer values incurs four losses crucial to sound mental health and a positive sociability. These losses are self worth, optimism, respect for parents, and trust in peers.

The loss to boys is of particular concern academically, behaviorally, and socially. Despite their widely-acknowledged delay in maturity, we demand their enrollment in school at the same ages as girls. In recent years, many reports suggest that boys are several times as likely as girls to fail, become delinquent, or acutely hyperactive. Perhaps most ominous are recent (Education Week, March 14, 1984, p. 19) findings in American high schools that there are eight boys for each girl in classes for the emotionally impaired, and 13 boys for each girl are in remedial learning groups. Self worth, male identity, and respect for women are lost—unfortunate outcomes especially in today’s society.

A COMMON SENSE SOLUTION

We need more parent education and less institutionalizing of young children.

In the home school renaissance, hundreds of thousands of parents have re-evaluated their child-rearing roles and have begun to study warmly their children’s developmental needs. The result is higher achieving, better behaving, self-directed children.

Some demur, pointing to Head Start. Yet, the Ypsilanti study, the only long -range experiment consistently upholding Head Start, involves the home far more than typical programs. Even such key Head Start founders as Bloom and Nimnicht now laud the home as the best learning nest and parents as the best teachers. [13,14] In physical health and behavior — in exposure to disease (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 5, 1984) and to negative aggressive acts — the home is 15 times as safe as the average day care center.[15]

Several suggestions can help us improve the mental and emotional health of our children:

1) More of home and less of formal school;

2) More free exploration with the guidance of warm, responsive parents and fewer limits of classrooms and books;

3) More concern for readiness for learning and ability to think and less training to be simple repeaters;

4) More attention to educating parents and less to institutionalizing young children;

5) More and higher priorities to child-rearing and fewer to material wants; and

6) More old fashion chores —children working with parents—and less attention to rivalry sports and amusements.

To some educators and parents such ideas may appear prosaic or dull—like the backyard Al Hafed left. Yet, everyone likes diamonds, and that backyard can be an exciting place.

Anything else may be more child abuse than education.

References

1. Moore RS: School Can Wait. Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University Press, 1979, pp 175-186

2. The Adult Performance Level Project (APL). Austin, Texas, University of Texas, 1983

3. Elkind D: The case for the academic preschool: Fact or fiction: Young Child 1970; 25:180-188.

4. Rohwer WD Jr.: Prime time for education: Early childhood or adolescence? Harvard Education Rev 1971;41:316-341

5. Fisher JT, Hawley LSH: A Few Buttons Missing. Philadelphia JB Lippincott, 1951, p 14.

6. Dewey J: The primary education fetish. Forum 1898; 25:314-328

7. Skeels HM: Adult Status of Children with Contrasting Early Life Experiences: A follow-up study. Chicago, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1966.

8. Geber M: The psycho-motor development of African children in the first year, and the influence of maternal behavior. J Soc Psychol 1958;47: 185-195

9. Mermelstein E, Shulman LS: Lack of formal schooling and the acquisition of conversation. Child Dev 1967;38:39-52

10. Goodlad JI: A study of schooling: Some findings and hypotheses. Phi Delta Kappan 1983;64(7):465

11. McCurdy HG: The childhood pattern of genius. Horizon 1960;2:33-38

12. Bronfenbrenner U: Two Worlds of Childhood; US and USSR. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1970,pp97-101.

13. Bloom BS: All Our Children Learning. Wash. DC, McGraw-Hill, 1980

14. Hoffman BH: Do you know how to play with your child? Women’s Day 1972;46:118-120.

15. Farran D: Now for the bad news….Parents Magazine 1982 (Sept.)

Journal of School Health February 1986, Vol. 56, No. 2 73

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Thank you, Raymond and Dorothy Moore.

What One Person Can Do To Stop Common Core   19 comments

Across the nation, many people are beginning to raise concerns about implementing Common Core in our schools.

Wondering what you can do?  Here are some suggestions that add to what you’ll find in Truth in American Education’s action center tool kit.

1) Check this map of the U.S. to see if legislative educational liberty movements are happening in your state.

2) Check this spreadsheet to see if there are people fighting common core in your state and join them.

3) If nothing is happening at all in your state, do an internet search for Race to the Top application  (name your own state) and find the application from Jan. 2010
4) Go to your state school board’s minutes site and find out at which meeting the CCSS were approved (June 2, 2010 the standards were finalized… states such as Illinois approved them 22 days later!)
5) Like Truth in American Education because this is a main hub for national cooperation.

6) Start speaking to friends, teachers and family about common core — many use Facebook FB, Twitter, Pinterest, email, etc.

7) Call or write your state representatives.

8) Sign your state’s educational liberty petition  or start one.  If you need assistance, ask people from other states for help.

9) Attend local and state school board meetings and visit or call your state superintendent to find out who actually cares about this issue.  Sample questions to ask:

  • Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core and its tests?
  • What is the amendment process for Common Core standards if we find out they are not working for us?
  • Where can I see for myself the evidence that Common Core standards have been proven to be of superior quality and that they are internationally benchmarked?
  • Where can I see for myself evidence that Common Core’s transformations  (deleting cursive, minimizing classic literature, moving away from traditional math, etc.) –will benefit our children?
  • What is the American process of representation of individuals in the Common Core education and assessments  system?
  • Does it seem good that the meetings of the standards writers (the CCSSO/NGA) are all closed-door meetings?
  • I read that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; so what do we do if we need to add a whole lot more to actually prepare our children well?
  • Although I have been told that Common Core is state-led, I missed the invitation to discuss this before it was decided for me and my children; please explain the analysis and vetting process for the upcoming national science and social studies standards.
  • The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government.  Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”    In light of this, please explain why our state has agreed to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing.

 

ALABAMA DEBATES COMMON CORE WITHDRAWAL THIS WEEK   Leave a comment

 

This is a huge week for educational liberty and for the future quality of education in Alabama.  Other states are watching breathlessly.

The AL legislature will listen to testimony from both sides of the argument and will decide whether or not to pass SB 190.  If passed, the bill would:

  • prohibit implementation of Common Core;
  • prohibit state bodies from compiling/sharing data about students or teachers except under limited circumstances;
  • prohibit the State Board of Education from ceding control to an entity outside the state; and
  • require notice and public hearings before the State Board of Education adopts or implements any statewide standards.

 

This is such a good and important bill –for reasons that are academic, financial and constitutional.

Yet, Alabama’s pro-common core superintendent fears that Alabama will be “an island” if the state votes to withdraw from Common Core.

An island of educational freedom in a nation of now mostly fettered states– is bad thing?

An island of potentially high educational standards that could soar beyond the unpiloted experiment called Common Core– that’s a bad thing?

An island of educational solvency, no longer under mandate to implement the costly and unwanted technologies demanded by Common Core– also a bad thing?

Both the pro- and anti- Common Core groups cite detrimental effects on the economy and on the children’s academic achievements as reasons to implement –or to drop– Common Core.  Only the pro-common core side cites a fear of being isolated.

I’ll bet there were people in the 1700′s who feared withdrawing from Great Britain’s rule over the American colonies for the same reason.  There are always those who would prefer to risk dying like a lemming than to stand independently.

My questions to the AL superintendent would be:

How bad was it before, when we were “isolated,” before the advent of Common Core?  Were we unable to work collaboratively with other states before?  If not, what prevents us from working with others now?  We don’t have to be fettered to others to collaborate with the best they have to offer.

What Alabama –or any state– would be isolated from, would be great things to skip out on:  skip the unpiloted experiment, skip the micromanagement of state education data by the federal testing/data collection system; skip “standards” mandates coming forth from secret closed-door meetings of the CCSSO (the Council of Chief State School Officers, FYI, is a group that, along with whomever Bill Gates pays to join his agenda– created, and continues to create, the federally-promoted common standards.)

Many people across the nation are praying for Alabama this week.  We are praying that those who study this issue look at the whole issue and all of its intended and unintended consequences.

It is not enough to study common core on academic points, although they are in trouble on their own; the Common Core initiative hurts the states it touches in many ways– in academics, in finances, in constitutionality, and in the ability to have any voice in future decisions over local education.

 

Map of States Wanting Freedom From Common Core   1 comment

Which States Want Freedom from Common Core?   The red and blue states are strongest.  Click to see Truth In American Education‘s map.

Indiana Senate Votes to Halt Common Core   Leave a comment

man at common core rally

Indiana Senate Votes To Halt Common Core Standards

By Brandon Smith, IPBS

Reposted:   http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/house-senate-halts-common-core-standards-45398/

Indiana is a step closer to taking a momentary break from implementation of the Common Core educational standards. The state Senate Thursday passed legislation halting the nationally-developed set of academic standards adopted in 45 states.

The bill’s author, Indianapolis Republican Senator Scott Schneider, says he was initially approached by two parents concerned about the Common Core. His legislation originally eliminated the education standards; now, it halts implementation until the state Board of Education conducts public hearings in each of the state’s nine congressional districts.

Gary Democratic Senator Earline Rogers says not only has the state already spent money beginning to implement the standards*, but a wide variety of organizations, such as the Parent Teacher Association**, support Common Core.

—  —-  —

 *THE STATE ALREADY SPENT MONEY.   –SHOULD YOU CONTINUE TO TAKE EXPENSIVE MEDICINE AFTER IT IS KNOWN TO BE UNHEALTHY?

**THE NATIONAL PTA ACCEPTED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PROMOTE COMMON CORE.

 

THIS IS ONE SMALL STEP FOR INDIANA; BUT ONE GIANT LEAP OF HOPE FOR AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL LIBERTY. 

THANK YOU, SENATOR SCHNEIDER.

 

Which States Aim to Reclaim Educational Liberty?   46 comments

RECLAIM EDUCATIONAL LIBERTY

Many people –including bipartisan U.S. groups  and freedom fighters   in other nations– are working to save educational liberty.  We are waking up to shake off the chains that have settled over education.

Please leave a comment if you know of updates to this chart. 

United States Against Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

and Washington, D.C.

State  Websites Videos Other
1. Alabama http://www.auee.org/ http://vimeo.com/60017609
2. Alaska
3. Arizona http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com
4. Arkansas http://www.uaedreform.org/sandra-stotsky/
5. California http://cuacc.org/ http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/
6. Colorado www.parentledreform.org

http://nepc.colorado.edu/author/ohanian-susan

www.bobschaffer.org

http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Mathis_NationalStandards.pdf

7. Connecticut http://vimeo.com/60214843 https://blogush.edublogs.org/
8. Delaware http://education.nationaljournal.com/2012/05/common-core-makes-waves.php
9. Florida https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Florida/516780045031362 http://truthabouteducation.wordpress.com/
10. Georgia http://stopcommoncore.com/ http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4 http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com

http://www.dissidentprof.com/

11. Hawaii
12. Idaho http://idahoansforlocaleducation.com/
13. Illinois https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Illinois/388021897963618 StopcommoncoreIllinois@yahoo.com

jphjuly12@yahoo.com

14. Indiana  http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/ http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/house-senate-halts-common-core-standards-45398/
15. Iowa   http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com
16. Kansas http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/hb2289/
17. Kentucky  scholarmom@gmail.com
18. Louisiana http://soitgoesinshreveport.blogspot.com/
19. Maine
20. Maryland
21. Massachusetts http://pioneerinstitute.org/
22. Michigan  www.SCCinMichigan.com http://improvek-12schools.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Michigan/303312003109291

23. Minnesota  http://edlibertywatch.org/
24. Mississippi
25. Missouri http://moagainstcommoncore.webs.com/ http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com
26. Montana
27. Nebraska
28. Nevada
29. New Hampshire http://nhcornerstone.org

thomas.newkirk@unh.edu

http://networkforeducation.org/
http://nhfamiliesforeducation.org/
https://www.facebook.com/NHSchoolChoice

30. New Jersey http://youtu.be/rSEVsEa9XEg

http://youtu.be/wEkN8Sgca0I

http://www.aasa.org
31. New Mexico
32. New York http://gothamschools.org
33. North Carolina http://mgmfocus.com

http://www.nceducationalliance.org

34. North Dakota https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-North-Dakota/431076243650481
35. Ohio Ohio Common Core – Roots and Reality of Education Standards
36. Oklahoma http://www.restoreokpubliceducation.com/
37. Oregon http://zhaolearning.com/2009/08/06/96/
38. Pennsylvania  http://www.ceopa.org/education-standards.aspx reedmom54@gmail.com
39. Rhode Island http://youtu.be/sBSgchJe2Z0
40. South Carolina https://www.facebook.com/StopCommonCoreInSouthCarolina?ref=stream http://www.electmikefair.com/?p=220
41. South Dakota http://legiscan.com/SD/bill/HB1204/2013
42. Tennessee http://tnacc.weebly.com
43. Texas http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/03/15/how-common-core-is-dumbing-down-america%E2%80%99s-schoolchildren/

http://educatefortexas.wordpress.com

44. Utah http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/ http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4

http://youtu.be/5XBsbxYJHms?t=11s

http://sutherlandinstitute.org/
45. Vermont
46. Virginia http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/
47. Washington http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/
48. West Virginia
49. Wisconsin
50. Wyoming cruisebrok@aol.com

Video: Alabama Federation of Republican Women: Stand Against Common Core   2 comments

This week, the vivacious president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women spoke at the Wetumpka Tea Party meeting.

Here’s a video of the event.

“Would you like Obama in your child’s classroom?  How about Bill Ayers?”

In a related forum, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE) put out the following press release:

Contacts:

Sharon Sewell        Email:  intrepidlyjoyful@hotmail.com       Phone:   334/324-0035
Donna Burrage         Email:  wdburrage@bellsouth.net             Phone:  205/553-2888

CITIZENS TASK FORCE RESPONDS TO GOP HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Asks Alabama Legislature to Include Legislation that Returns K-12 Education to Parents

BIRMINGHAM, AL:   A new citizens group, formed to return K-12 education to parents, responded quickly to the Alabama House Speaker’s press release about the legislative priorities of the Alabama Republican House members and specifically about the absence of a bill to protect Alabama values and states rights in education.  The group, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE), met on January 18th to discuss mutual concerns of how to protect Alabama children from becoming part of a national database, mandated by Common Core, and their curriculum being controlled by the federal government.  The group feels that a bill to preserve state education sovereignty and to protect our children from becoming part of a national database and tracked without parental permission should be included as a top priority by the House.

Members of the citizens task force include parents, teachers, representatives from conservative organizations, and other concerned individuals who find that state’s rights and Alabama values are in jeopardy, and that Alabama has ceded its constitutional rights to decide what values and subjects our children study in schools.

Spokesperson and retired teacher Sharon Sewell, who served as a member of Alabama’s textbook committee, stated:  “We support the House’s focus on protecting the constitutional rights of Alabama citizens, but we notice the absence of what we consider the top priority — preserving the constitutional rights of parents and the state to decide what values and subjects our children study in school.  We are concerned about the transformational overhaul of K-12 now being implemented in our schools; and textbooks, which do not reflect Alabama values, are being aligned to Common Core.  Our bill is the only bill under discussion that can return education decisions to Alabamians.”

Kathy Peterson, another member of this citizens task force, stated, “While I applaud the idea of the Speaker of the House appointing a ‘Commission on State Rights and Alabama Values’ to solicit input from the public, the meetings were not publicly advertised, so attendance was scarce.”  Peterson stated she attended one meeting and commission members reported that the repeal of Common Core to return parental authority and local control was brought up at every meeting.  “Therefore,” she stated, “I can’t understand why a bill to defund and repeal Common Core is not backed by the Speaker.”

Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, stated: “I’m surprised that the Speaker did not choose to include repealing Common Core as a priority, especially since the school flexibility bill the Speaker cited does nothing to protect Alabama values, parental rights or state sovereignty in education.  It’s urgent that the legislature withdraw from Common Core this year since Common Core will be fully implemented in 2014.  We hope the House Caucus will add this goal to their priority list to protect Alabama citizens from the federal government.”

—- —- —-

Go, Fight, Win, Alabama!

8th Grade Teacher: You Don’t Get Harmony When Everyone Sings the Same Note – VIDEO   3 comments

There’s an 8th grade teacher by the name of Paul Bogush in Connecticut, who writes a blog called BLOGUSH.  He says:

“I don’t think anyone would teach using a unit on tolerance given to them by the enemies of civil rights.  No teacher would put up with that.

But yet, teachers (including myself) will start off this year fully supporting the Common Core in the classroom.

I feel as though every day when I come home I need to take a shower, because I have spent my day in bed with the enemy.”

Strong words.

Bogush has researched the corporate web of common core promoters, has studied the standards themselves, has felt the pressure of having to teach lessons that feel, he says, more like advertisements than education, and  recently, he’s made a video that expresses his feelings about Common Core.

The video’s funny.  It’s smart.  And it’s sad.

The funny part is when he shows the absurdity of micromanagement on the sports field.  A coach lifts a player up under the armpits to make sure she’s jumping high enough.  A coach runs right behind a soccer dribbler, almost making it impossible for the player to play.  You get the idea.

Then he says:  If micromanagement doesn’t work in the field, why would it work in the classroom?

He points out that Common Core standards tell a teacher what, when, and how to teach –and it comes from people who are not teachers, and who don’t know HIS kids.  This, he notes, also comes with 13 years of continuous testing of the little ones.  Sad music plays as the video ends.  Worth watching.

 

The Common Core Price Tag   1 comment

To Heck With Diamonds:

Common Core is Forever

By Jenni White

Reposted with permission from: http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/02/to-heck-with-diamonds-common-core-is.html

Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) has been closely following the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) cost issue, since NO ONE in charge of public education in Oklahoma – including the purse string holders at the state legislature – have been able to tell Oklahomans what the Common Core will cost Oklahoma taxpayers.

I wrote an article last month that was published in the American Thinker titled “The Ed Tech Scam”, to shed light on the fact that the CCSS have become an unfunded state mandate – specifically in the area of technology requirements.

Yes, the CCSS lovers say,

“Adopting new materials isn’t really a cost of the Common Core, it’s just a cost in education of providing relevant materials to students that are there anyway.”

However, when you have at least one Oklahoma Superintendent honestly reporting (to a national education magazine) how pinched he is to get technology in place prior to the roll out of the Common Core tests, we are inclined to suspend belief.

Once you get into a testing situation, you have to be able to support it without interruption,” said Mr. Kitchens, who added: “I do not think this is going to be a cheap exercise at all.”

As we’ve reported previously, legislators cemented the Common Core State Standards into Oklahoma law in order to get Race to the Top funds without even a cursory review of draft forms of the standards as there were none available at that time. This would seem a clear violation of the public trust.

Legislators to taxpayers,

“Hey guys, you’re responsible for funding these, but we have no idea exactly what’s in them or how much they’ll cost the state or what they’ll do to Oklahoma education, but trust us.”
Obviously the trust wasn’t warranted. Currently, fourteen states have some form of legislation against the CCSS.

Clearly all is not well in CCSS-land.

Indiana recently threw out their Chief For Change (Jeb Bush/Foundation for Educational Excellence) state Superintendent Tony Bennett in favor of relatively unknown candidate Glenda Ritz, mainly because of flap over the cost and effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards. Directly on the heels of this upset comes legislation to force the Indiana state legislature to examine the cost of the Common Core before continuing their implementation.

Tony Bennett has not left the building, however. He now presides over the Florida State Department of Education, where, interestingly, the Florida state Board of Education is questioning whether or not the Florida education juggernaut is ready to roll out and administer the PARCC tests because of their cost.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.
Hoosiers have already caught on to the fact that their former State Supe has gone to another state and told Floridians they just can’t afford the reform measures he was deposed for pushing inside their borders. I’m not sure how this could inspire confidence in any Common Core state.

Then there’s the fact that so much of today’s ‘education reform’ efforts have been tied to private funding by Bill Gates.

In a clear, well-researched article written for the Heartland Institute on this topic, Joy Pullman quotes Betty Peters’ (Alabama State School Board member) concerns,

“A lot of private foundations are making decisions that would normally be left up to a public institution that would be accountable to the taxpayers.”
As often as we have heard the word “accountability” from our Oklahoma State Department of Education, this should be an eye-opener.

How in the world can the Council of Chief State School Officers or the National Governor’s Association (architects of the Common Core State Standards, funded in part by the Gates Foundation) be held accountable to Oklahoma taxpayers for education ‘reform’ efforts such as the CCSS? They are all copyrighted so they can’t be modified yet the CCSSO and the NGA have a disclaimer;

“NGA Center and CCSSO do not warrant, endorse, approve or certify the information on this site, nor do they make any representation as to the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, or timeliness of such information. Use of such information is voluntary on your part. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by NGA Center and CCSSO.”
Then there is the Jeb Bush factor. As information trickles into the public domain reporting the methods in which the Foundation for Educational Excellence writes educational policy through Janet Barresi and other Chiefs for Change, jaws should drop. Why should Oklahoma taxpayers be supporting Florida education reforms – especially those shown not to be as successful as first advertised?

This session in Oklahoma, Senator Clark Jolley has drafted a bill (SB447) which will usher in yet another new education ‘reform’ measure. MORE new tests! Yes, Oklahoma has chosen to believe the CCSSO’s verdict that most students will fail the PARCC ‘assessments’ when they are to be instituted in 2014.

Certainly, Oklahoma’s public school students cannot fail these tests with so much riding on them (the A-F school designation for one). Consequently, not only is Senator Jolley advocating that we must buy another set of tests (formative tests) to be given up to four times per year before the summative PARCC tests come on line, but that we should support this plan by cementing it into law – as with all other Race to the Top education reforms Oklahoma is currently implementing – without RTT funds.

Why must these tests be written into law? Every teacher gives (or should give) formative tests over content taught – something akin to chapter tests. These allow teachers to see whether or not students are ‘getting it’ in time to re-teach or re-direct learning to improve concept understanding. Certainly, this type of testing is better than summative (high stakes) type testing, but why should Oklahoma teachers have another law to follow?

Oklahoma teachers have enough on their plate without being mandated to follow another type of test. Even formative tests can be misused in such a way as to force teachers to teach to the test and isn’t that all PARCC tests are doing?

It has come to my attention this week that a company called Bellwether Education Partners supplies this type of “transitional national achievement test”.

I did a little research on Bellwether and found they work with such organizations as Chiefs for Change and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We know Dr. Barresi is a Chief for Change. One must wonder if there is a connection here as with the other education ‘reforms’ to which she’s been linked. Again, Oklahoma should not be implementing education ‘reforms’ simply because they are being done elsewhere or because another foundation is willing to ‘help’ Oklahoma with their implementation.

From what source is the money going to materialize to pay for these new tests? We haven’t even figured out how to pay for the PARCC tests. It must be taxpayer funded – all government is. Maybe that’s why Dr. Barresi has asked for a whopping $75 to $100 million in extra funding for next year. The press release sent out by her office lauding Senator Halligan and Senator Ford – from whom the funding requests were submitted – quotes Senator Ford as saying,

“We have three areas in education we must address, including statutory requirements to fund programs such as medical benefits, additional appropriations to pay for reforms we’ve already enacted, and additional funding at the local level that school boards can use to address specific needs in their individual districts,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville.
Why are you asking taxpayers to fund these reforms AFTER you enacted them into LAW, Senator Ford? Why should taxpayers be jumping up and down to fund ‘reforms we’ve already enacted’ when they haven’t originated in Oklahoma, were never read by those who enacted them, never had any functional testing demonstrating their efficacy and have been shown not to work in Florida from where they did originate?

Certainly, taxpayers deserve an answer to that question.

In closing, several interesting polls have come out recently regarding the Common Core.

Whiteboard Advisors, Education Insider “conducts an anonymous survey of a small group of key education influential (policymakers, though leaders, and association heads) to get their thoughts and commentary about the context of the current debate and possible outcomes.”
Their survey for February 2013 that polled ‘insiders’ on the Common Core show that support for PARCC testing is falling. In addition, 87% of respondents say they expect more states to drop out of the Common Core Assessment Consortia (like Alabama and Utah), “as they start to get a fuller picture for the implementation costs of assessments and professional development and get very unhappy about what they have signed up for in a budget constrained environment.”
77% of respondents believe schools will not have enough bandwidth to meet the Consortia’s recommended specifications in time for the tests to come on line.

The 2013 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, shows that only a maximum of 24% of teachers and principals either believed the Common Core would improve student achievement or prepare students for college and the workforce (page 76).

So why are we doing this ed ‘reform’ thing again?

I get the sneaky suspicion it’s not about kids…

 

—– —– —–

Thank you, Jenni White and R.O.P.E.

Oklahoma Pastors’ Letter Against Common Core   8 comments

My hat is off to the wonderful pastors of Oklahoma who have joined together this week to write this letter to Oklahoma’s governor, state school board –and to all Americans.

http://www.restoreokpubliceducation.com/node/751

February 19, 2013
To the Honorable:
Governor Mary Fallin
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb
State School Superintendent Janet Barresi
Members of the Oklahoma Legislature

 

The most concerning thing about last November’s Presidential election was not the outcome, but that almost 60 million people thought reelecting Barak Obama was a good idea. How did a man who openly supports unfettered abortion, homosexual marriage, record setting deficit spending and the redistribution of wealth garner the support of nearly 60 million voters? The reason: That is what the voters have been taught in an educational system that is controlled by the Federal Government.

Beginning with LBJ’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Federal Government began an unconstitutional power grab over public education. Then in 1991, President
George H. W. Bush tied American education into the standards set by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization. Since then, every few years the Federal government rolls out the latest version of the same old UN standards. Whether you call it Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, or Core Curriculum it’s the same old junk and we keep buying it.

The Founder’s design was for local control of education. Unfortunately, the school busses in my town still say “Edmond Public Schools”, but they really aren’t. They are the Edmond branch of an educational system controlled by Washington D.C. We voluntarily have sold our freedom for the sake of funds that come from a bankrupt government, that forces conservative, God fearing Oklahoma children to abide by the government mandated curriculum which is birthed by UNESCO with the intent on creating a sustainable earth
without borders.

We have kicked God out of school and replaced Him with Darwin and Marx. If there is no God, then government is the grantor of all rights including my Obamaphone and Obamacare. That is why American Exceptionalism is no longer taught, but evil American Imperialism is.

Rather than teaching our kids to be thrifty, hardworking and self-reliant, we are taught government dependency. Since God doesn’t exist, there is no absolute truth and consequently right and wrong has been replaced with tolerance and intolerance. We are taught that Islam is good and Christianity is bad. We are not taught to be good citizens (as our founders demanded) we are taught to be global citizens. We are taught about “rights”, but we aren’t taught responsibility. We aren’t taught that no one has a right to do wrong.

Core Curriculum may be the most dangerous Trojan Horse that has yet been brought to our gates for the following reason. With the new push toward the [Common] Core Curriculum Standards, the ACT and SAT tests are adjusting to reflect those same standards. All text books will then conform to these new standards as even “homeschool” and “private school” will be forced to be taught to the test. If we do not stop this program now, it will become America’s next Medicare or Social Security and millions of children will be lost inside a one size fits all system to create equal mediocrity among the new “global citizens.”

Let’s restore American exceptionalism and reject the [Common] Core Curriculum. We’re smart enough to make decisions about our own children and our own schools. Let’s return Oklahoma
Schools to Oklahoma control.

Sincerely,

Pastor Paul Blair, Fairview Baptist Church – Edmond

Reverend Dr. Perry Greene, South Yukon Church of Christ

Reverend Tim Gillespie, Seminole Free Will Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Steve Kern, Olivet Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Tom Vineyard, Windsor Hills Baptist Church

Reverend Gerald R. Peterson, Sr. Pastor, First Lutheran Church – OKC

Reverend Dan Fisher, Trinity Baptist Church – Yukon

Reverend Christopher Redding, Stillwater

Reverend Dr. Kevin Clarkson, First Baptist Church – Moore

Reverend Bruce A. DeLay, Church in the Heartland – Tulsa

Reverend Chilles Hutchinson

Reverend David Evans, Highland Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Bruce A. Proctor
Reverend Dr. Jim D. Standridge, Immanuel Baptist Church – Skiatook

Reverend Donnie Edmondson

Reverend Paul Tompkins

Reverend Craig Wright, Faith Crossing Baptist Church – OKC

Reverend Jesse Leon Rodgers, Gateway Church of Ada

Reverend Ken Smith, Sunnylane Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Charles Harding

Reverend Rod Rieger, Newcastle Christian Church

Reverend Ron Lindsey, Suburban Baptist Church

Glen Howard, Retired Pastor / Missionary and current host of Senior World Radio

Reverend Dr. Jim Vineyard, Pastor Emeritus, Windsor Hills Baptist Church

Reverend Brad Lowrie, CBC Edmond & Lighthouse Ministries

Jerry Pitts, Minister, Jones First Christian Church

Reverend Jerry Drewery, Norman First Assembly of God

Reverend Mark McAdow, First Methodist Church of OKC

Reverend Jack Bettis

Reverend Stephen D. Lopp, First Baptist Church – Jones

Reverend Pastor Mark D. DeMoss, Capitol Hill Baptist Church – OKC

Reverend Jason Murray, Draper Park Christian Church

Reverend Dr. Eddie Lee White, Muskogee

Reverend Mike Smith

Reverend Alan Conner, Northwest Bible Church – OKC

Reverend Dwight Burchett, Eastpointe Community Church

Reverend Bill Kent

Reverend Keith Gordon, First Christian Church – Crescent

Reverend Wendell Neal

Elder Gary Matthews

Elder Reed Downey, Jr.

Elder Don Crosson

Elder Michael Nimmo

Paul Sublett, Reclaiming America for Christ

Bob Dani, OKC High Noon Club

Charlie Meadows, OCPAC

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, Tulsa 9.12 Project

Ralph Bullard, Christian Heritage Academy

Jack Clay, Christian Heritage Academy

John Merrell, Christian Heritage Academy

Sharon A. Annesley, Oklahoma Liberty Tea Party of Blanchard

Karen Yates, OKC 9.12 Project

Robert B. Donohoo, Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

Jenni White, Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Lt. Colonel (Retired) Daniel M. Ward, OKC Tea Party

Joyce Stockton, Grady County TEA Party

Deb Corbett, ERWC

Don Spender, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association

Amanda Teegarden, OK-Safe, Inc.

Catherine White, Muskogee Patriot Townhall

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Amen.

Public-Private-Partnerships: What Osmond’s Preschool Bill and Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 have in common   3 comments

My brother called the other day to ask me what I thought of the radio ads for “Prosperity 2020.” In my gut I knew there was something bad about it, but I couldn’t put my finger on what.  But thanks to Professor Steven Yates’ white paper on the subject of public-private partnerships, now I get it.

It wasn’t just “Prosperity 2020″ that made me do this research.  I’d also been working out why UT Sen. Osmond’s early childhood education bill, SB17, was so wrong.  It was more than SB17′s way of tempting low income parents to drop their kids in the free government daycare to go to work that made me so uncomfortable.  It was also, I now clearly see, the fact that Osmond’s bill uses private money to create a public service.

The Governor’s project is Prosperity 2020; Osmond’s is  SB17.

So why are both Governor Herbert and Senator Osmond –two Utah Republicans who call themselves conservatives– pushing for public-private partnerships (PPPs)  in Utah?

I still believe that these are decent men who honestly believe their respective projects will benefit Utah.

But sincerity does not trump truth.

Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 and Osmond’s SB17  create public-private partnerships that compromise vital American principles of free enterprise and limit the self-control of citizens’ lives by allowing unelected businesspeople, with government, to view individuals as collectively owned  “human capital.”

There’s nothing wrong with businesses and government working in harmony; of course, that is what a good society does.  Problems come when business leaders (unelected) begin to shape binding government policies.  An elected politician is accountable to his consituency of voters who can unelect him. But who, for example, is Microsoft’s or Pearson company’s constituency?  When Pearson or Gates help set binding education / business policies for Utah, how can voters alter that?

(It must be especially difficult for Senator Osmond to recognize the trouble with blending business and government, since he sits on the Senate Education Committee while being employed by Pearson, the company Utah has partnered with to provide educational technology and educational products.  –But that’s a topic for another day. )

It’s not that these men are calculating socialists.  Not at all; they’re just short on research.  They don’t recognize what their new alignments of public-private partnerships (PPPs) end up creating.

Many have explained the trouble with blending business and government in partnership. They call it soft fascism:  I think of it as fascism by consensus.  In the case of Prosperity 2020, it’s soft, consensual fascism via good marketing.  (Have you heard the many recent radio ads for Prosperity 2020?)

I’ve never seen PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) better explained than by Professor Steven Yates, whose white paper on the subject was presented at a conference at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in 2006.  I’m going to quote him extensively here.

His paper, “Sustainable Development: Public-Private Partnerships, the undermining of free enterprise, and the emergence of soft facism Sustainable Development: the Hidden Threat to Liberty,  was published a few years ago: http://files.meetup.com/1387375/LIBERTYGARDEN-PPP.pdf   (www.freedom21santacruz.net)

Professor Yates’ paper is long but great.  See it here. 

I’ve taken the time to scoop up his main points.

 

  • Public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice
  • The individual person does not own himself; he exists to serve the state or the collective
  • Public-private partnerships bring about a form of “governance” alien to the founding principles of Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed
  • The PPP system is fascist since it involves corporations and governments working together to make policy; it is soft fascist because it is not overtly totalitarian.
  • Vocationalism in education makes sense if one’s goals are social engineering, since it turns out worker bees who lack the  tools to think about the policies shaping their lives

Yates also writes:

“What is a public-private partnership? What purposes were they supposedly created to serve? What, on the other hand, is free enterprise? Are the two compatible? In answering these questions we shall see that although advocates of public-private partnerships frequently speak of economic development, public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice being built…

…How did the enthusiasm for public-private partnerships begin, and what do they have to do with sustainable development? We can the idea of the comprehensively planned society at least to Plato, who envisioned such a society in his Republic. In the Republic, there is a place for everyone and everyone knows his place. Properly educated philosopher-kings rule—because by virtue of their educations they are most suited to rule.

…In modern times we must cite the collectivism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau…  And we could cite G.W.F. Hegel (author of The Philosophy of Right and other works), inventor of the idea of the state as the historical manifestation of the Absolute. In the Hegelian vision, the individual belongs to the state.

…Characteristic of all these visions is that once implemented, the individual person does not own himself; he exists to serve the state or the collective. He is not to be allowed to direct his own paths, but is compelled down paths laid by those in power…

…The long-term goal here is what can be increasingly envisioned as an emerging world state with many facets (the three E’s of sustainable development being equity, economy, environment—with a prospective ‘fourth E’ being education).

This world state will gradually subsume and eradicate nation-states until the phrase United States of America names not a sovereign country but a large tract of micromanaged real estate—at least half of which will be off-limits to human beings.

By the start of the 2000 decade, one city or town after another all across the country was bringing in “consultants” and having “visioning” sessions.

… Communities began to be transformed from within, typically with the full cooperation of mayors and other elected officials, other local government officials, business groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce, presidents of local colleges, and neighborhood-association groups. Plans with names such as Vision 2025… would result from these sessions.

The idea was to build up a form of capitalism that would transform itself into socialism via the collectivization of its participants through, e.g., self-directed work teams...Education had become entirely group-focused through group projects and group grades. Thus the business personnel turned out would have no moral center other than the collectivist one. It also became increasingly vocation-focused….

…In some cases, the use of public-private partnerships to facilitate the construction of more government schools has been promoted. On other occasions, public-private partnerships actually get involved in instruction and curriculum development themselves, sometimes beginning with very small children, e.g., the Child  Care Partnership Project. This entity serves as a kind of incubator for public-private partnerships between state-level child care administrators and businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and other groups.

Education, unsurprisingly, is a preoccupation of elite groups such as the World Economic Forum, which sponsored the Global Education Initiative… The vision for the Global Education Initiative (GEI) was conceived during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2003. Together, business leaders of the Information Technology and Telecommunications Community of the Forum launched an initiate to create new sustainable models for education reform in the developing world through public-private partnership.

 

School-To-Work education, of course, emphasizes vocation at the expense of academics, i.e., traditional subject areas

Vocationalism in education makes sense, if one’s goals are social engineering. It will turn out human worker bees who lack the mental tools to think about the policies shaping their lives.

… [The US] first integrated education and government via the Goals 2000 Educate America Act, then education and business via the School-to-Work Opportunities Act and finally business and government with the others via the Workforce Investment Act.

…Among the casualties of this system are traditional academic subjects, which are relegated to the status of decorations as job training is ratcheted up.

Students are compelled to select a “career cluster” as early as the eighth grade. As they near graduation they find themselves sent to work sites for labor training instead of in classrooms learning reading, mathematics, history, government, and so on.

Public-private partnerships are fundamentally different from previous organizations and collaborations that have involved businesstheir widespread adoption is bringing about a form of “governance” that is alien to the founding principles of the United States (Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed) and inimical to individual liberty.

We have begun to see government not by consent of the governed, but “governance” (i.e., control) by committee, and by bureaucracy.

This brand of “governance” employs an arsenal of tricks imported from behavioral psychology, such as the use of Delphi technique to coerce a “consensus” by intimidating and marginalizing critics.

Government  “partnerships” … do not stem from its mandate to protect life, liberty, and private property...

Public-private partnerships do not fit into the conceptual model of free enterprise. 

… We should be vigilant to the possibility—probability—that something has gone badly wrong even if the language of free enterprise is still used…  A public-private partnership will always have as its goal a business-making venture that requires some form of “governance.”  The question is, since the players will vary in experience and wealth, who has the most power? We know from life itself that whoever has the most money has the power… Representative government loses… free enterprise is compromised. The economic system begins its move from a one based on liberty and productivity to one based on control

If corporations have the most money—as is often the case—they will obtain levels of power that make them as dangerous as any government not on a constitutional leash.

[Soft fascism] can be understood only in the context of the “fourth E” of sustainable development: education.

American history discloses two broad philosophies of education, what I will call the classical model and the vocational model.

The classical model incorporates the full scope of liberal arts, including history and civics, logic and philosophy, theology, mathematics as reasoning, economics including personal finance and money management. Its goal is an informed citizen who understands something of his or her heritage and of the principles of sound government and sound economics generally.

The vocational model considers education sufficient if it enables to graduate to be a tradesman or obedient worker.

History, logic, etc., have little to contribute to this, and so are ratcheted down, as in the School-To-Work model.

Mathematical education, for example, will be sufficient if it enables students to use calculators instead of their brains…

He will go along… according to the Hegelian model of education that subordinated the individual to the “needs” of the state or of society.… vocational programs “school” students to fit the needs of the “global economy” seen as an autonomous, collective endeavor, instead of educating individuals to find their own ways in the world, shaping the economy to meet their needs.

This system is fascist since it involves corporations and governments working together to make policy; it is soft fascist because (due to the lack of genuine education) it is not overtly totalitarian.

… This is not a “conspiracy theory,” even though you will not hear it reported on the 6 o’clock news. It is as much a fact as gravity. It is not even hidden from us; the documents supporting such claims, penned by their own advocates, are readily available to anyone willing to do some elementary research…”

—– —— —–

It is worth your time to read all of Yates’ white paper.

   Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 and Osmond’s SB17  create public-private partnerships that compromise vital American principles of free enterprise and limit the self-control of citizens’ own lives by allowing unelected businesspeople, with government, to view individuals as collectively owned  “human capital.”

Obama and UT Senator Push For Government Preschools: Why it’s So Wrong   1 comment

 

Interesting.  In the same month, both President Obama and Utah’s Sen. Aaron Osmond are pushing to get more toddlers in the arms of the government.  Are they concerned for the well-being of the little ones?  Then why are they doing this?  Why does government desire to hold our babies while we work?

Two reasons: both titled “human capital.”

1.  HUMAN CAPITAL.  Government sees toddlers as property.  Socialist-styled governments increasingly are using the term “human capital” to refer to the people they plan to feed, work, tax, and yes, teach.  They want to imprint upon their capital their ideas and values as early as possible.  Yes, it’s creepy.  But it’s no secret; it’s very openly admitted and promoted.  “Education for all” (UNESCO’s term) has now become “Preschool for all” (Obama’s term.)

2. HUMAN CAPITAL. Government sees mothers (or fathers) as property. The socialist-styled governments are increasingly hoping to redistribute the parents; if a parent is highly educated or trained, it is not in the best interest of those who view those parents as human capital to “allow” them to be home, raising children, when they could be serving the government in other ways.  It is a basic choice that is being taken away from a parent when the government financially or in other ways, incentivizes the leaving of babies in daycare so that the adults will work and be taxed.

Think I’m making this up?

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s speech:  “Improving Human Capital in an Competitive World– Education Reform in the United States”  here:

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTEDUCATION/0,,contentMDK:22848251~menuPK:282425~pagePK:64020865~piPK:149114~theSitePK:282386,00.html

Then read Sweden’s Mireja Institute’s sad “lessons learned” on the topic, here:  http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso

We are not the government’s human capital.  We are free human beings, children of God.

Let’s not be asleep while our leaders turn our society into a socialist/communist styled nanny-government nation and manipulate our babies out of our arms.

Recognize the wrong-minded, popular notion that socialism is good, that government is the ultimate provider, and that individual families are inept caretakers for their own offspring.  This should be taken as false doctrine in any church, in any family, in any reasonable mind.  Government can never provide a thing; it can only forcibly take from you to redistribute to me, or, forcibly take from me to redistribute to you.  But government is not a provider– it’s only a forcible redistributor.

I believe these words on the subject, from Ezra Taft Benson:

It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.

“We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence.

“It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.

“Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.”
http://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/11/the-honored-place-of-woman?lang=eng

 

 

 

Florida short $300 million for next year’s Common Core implementation   2 comments

The Orlando Sentinel reports that education leaders worry schools won’t be ready for common core in time to meet its mandates and that there’s not enough money for implementation.

By Leslie Postal,  reposted from Orlando Sentinel  February 18, 2013

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-02-18/features/os-schools-common-core-technology-20130218_1_new-standards-new-tests-florida-schools

Florida schools are scrambling to be ready for new Common Core academic  standards – and the new computer-based tests that go with them – by 2015.

At their meeting Monday in Orlando, some members of the State Board of  Education questioned if schools had made enough progress training teachers  on the language arts and math standards and on preparing for a new batch of  online tests.

“It’s now February. We have be ready to roll the next calendar year,” said  board member Kathleen Shanahan.

The state’s new “readiness gauge” shows more progress on the standards than  the technology, as many schools still don’t have the computers, bandwidth or  high-speed Internet access needed for the tests and the state’s overall  “digital learning” push.

The State Board requested more than $400 million for new school technology  in the next year, but Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a smaller hike of $100  million.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara  Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett praised the new standards, which 45  states have adopted, as academic guidelines that “will transform the way our  students learn.” The new tests, he said, were key to making sure they are  well taught.

But he said there are “complexities” to implementing both, among them the  “technology readiness” of the 22 states, Florida included, that plan to use  the new tests from the Partnership for  Assessment of Readiness for College  and Career. They are to replace FCAT math, reading and writing exams.

He said within the next few months his staff will devise a “Plan B” in case  implementation cannot proceed as planned by 2015.

orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-schools-common-core-technology-201
30218,0,5142892.story=

South Dakota House Bill 1204: No Common Core Without Public O.K.   Leave a comment

State of South Dakota
EIGHTY-EIGHTH SESSION
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2013

HOUSE BILL NO. 1204

Beginning on July 1, 2013, the Board of Education is hereby expressly prohibited from
adopting any standards proposed through the Common Core State Standards… without the approval of the Legislature first obtained.

Why is Senator William Ligon Running a Bill to Withdraw Georgia from Common Core?   1 comment

Why is GA Senator William Ligon running the Georgia bill to withdraw from Common Core?

 

From the Senator: http://www.senatorligon.com/newsroom.html

  • There is no reason to usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.
  • Common Core State Standards were developed behind closed doors and are owned and copyrighted by unaccountable third parties in Washington, D.C.
  • These standards were never vetted by the people of Georgia in an open, accountable process.
  • Terms of the grant forbid the state from changing the standards or even adding content that exceeds the threshold of 15 percent.
  • General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant.
  • The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.
  • Our students and our teachers will be in a federal straight-jacket, and our school districts will be at the mercy of national and international vendors making money off this federal program.

Common Core Usurping Local and State Control of Education

Capitol Update:  by Senator William Ligon (R- Brunswick)

It was an honor this past week to host the visit of the former Texas Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott. I invited him to Georgia to meet with Governor Nathan Deal, our State School Superintendent, Dr. John Barge, the Senate and House Education members, the Republican leadership, and other members of the Georgia General Assembly. Sen. Lindsey TippIns, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee also extended an invitation for Scott to address the Joint Meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees before a standing-room only crowd on Wednesday afternoon.

As background, Scott, as the Texas Commissioner of Education, advised Governor Rick Perry to avoid the Race to the Top federal grant competition, with its requirement that the State adopt the Common Core State Standards. I wanted our leaders to understand his reasoning because I believe Gov. Perry made the right choice to keep Texas independent of the mandates of the grant and this federal focus to create uniform curriculum standards across the nation.

As most educators in my district have known for a while, Georgia’s former Governor, Sonny Perdue, and our former State School Superintendent, Kathy Cox, committed our state to the Race to the Top competition. This agenda never went before the Georgia Legislature and thus bypassed the voice of the people. Race to the Top is currently driving all school districts into “one-size-fits-all” curriculum standards in math and English language arts. Our students and our teachers will be in a federal straight-jacket, and our school districts will be at the mercy of national and international vendors making money off this latest federal program.

During Scott’s visit at the Capitol, he explained that the Common Core State Standards were developed behind closed doors and that they are owned and copyrighted by unaccountable third parties in Washington, D.C. These standards were never vetted by the people of Georgia in an open, accountable process, and the terms of the grant forbid the state from changing the standards or even adding content that exceeds the threshold of 15 percent.

Scott explained that the State of Texas was wooed by the federal government with a promise of $700 million to sign onto Race to the Top and Common Core. However, after his calculations, he realized that scrapping his state’s current standards and implementing the terms of the grant would cost between $2.5 to $3 billion. In his eyes, it was a sorry trade to shackle Texas to federal mandates, rob Texas citizens of their right to control education standards, and then stick taxpayers with a bill of at least $2 billion to make up the difference. To add insult to injury, that amount did not include the ongoing maintenance of the system for the years ahead beyond the four years of the grant.

Here in Georgia, though we are receiving $400 million in federal funds over a four-year period, the General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant. The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for these types of decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.

Further, the accompanying tests, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC national testing consortium, will create such testing demands that this will probably become better known as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Scott informed us that the PARCC will cost approximately $30 to $37 per student, in comparison to Georgia’s current costs of between $5 to $10 per student. These estimates do not take into account the additional technology, both in hardware and bandwidth, that will be required at the local level for online testing.

The bottom line is that the people of Georgia pay over $13 billion in state and local taxes for K-12 education (every year). There is no reason that a $400 million federal grant (over four years) should usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.

———-

Reposted from Senator Ligon’s website: http://www.senatorligon.com/newsroom.html

Georgia May Withdraw from Common Core   Leave a comment

Great news for those who care about educational liberty in America:  Georgia may break free of Common Core.

The article below is reposted from Heartland.org news.  Joy Pullman reports:

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/15/bill-would-withdraw-georgia-common-core

A lawmaker has filed a bill that would withdraw Georgia from Common Core national education standards and prohibit personal information that tests collect from being shared outside the state.

This makes Georgia the eighth state to formally reconsider the Common Core, a list defining what K-12 tests and curriculum must cover in math and English. Forty-five states adopted the Core, nearly all within three months in 2010.

“What has really been surprising to me is how many of our legislators had no idea Georgia was doing this,” bill author and state Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) told School Reform News. “Such a huge tremendous policy shift was not vetted by the legislature, not vetted by the people in the state.”

Common Core means changes in curriculum, testing, teacher preparation, and teacher evaluations. Ligon said his central concerns were higher expenses and a loss of local control. Just the new, computer-based Common Core tests cost $30 per student, or $37 for a paper version, while Georgia’s previous tests cost $5 per child, he said. That’s an extra $30 million per year.

Teachers ‘Overwhelmed’ This school year was the first most Georgia schools began implementing the Core within every grade in English and K-9 in math, according to the state department of education.

So, until a few months ago, most parents have had little contact with it, while teachers started training for it in January 2012. Some 80,000 Georgia teachers have received some form of Common Core training, according to the department.

“Teachers are truly overwhelmed with the Common Core,” said a Georgia educator who asked to remain anonymous to maintain good relations with local school officials. “It takes every breathing moment they have to figure it out.” She described the scene as “chaotic” because the standards are confusing. For example, English teachers in her district are incorporating social studies into their lessons because of the Core, and they’re not trained in the subject.

“Who knows what damage is going to be done with the kids not having quality math and quality language arts,” the teacher said.

Untested Program Ligon introduced Senate Bill 167 Thursday, but officials in Georgia’s department of education had not seen it so refrained from comment, said spokesman Matt Cardoza.

Several superintendents, school board members, and teachers have voiced concerns to Ligon and Jane Robbins, a Georgian and senior fellow for the American Principles Project, both said. Teachers and superintendents are afraid of speaking out publicly: it “would be a career-ending move,” Robbins said. “The education establishment is so invested with this.”

Especially rural districts will struggle with the technology requirements for Common Core tests because they are all online, Ligon said.

“This is a program that has never been policy tested, and it’s not wise to jump into this without that,” he said.

Local Control Concerns “People in Georgia are very concerned about local control in education,” Robbins said. “They don’t trust anything that comes out of Washington telling them ‘This is what you will do and you have no choice about it.’”

Just a few years ago in Georgia, she noted, parents widely disliked a shift in math instruction, so they raised a “hullabaloo” and changed the standards.

“This is the kind of thing we can’t do any more,” Robbins said. “When things were not working, we were able to fix it.”

On Feb. 6, Senate Education Committee Chairman Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) rearranged the schedule of a joint education committee meeting with the House so former Texas education Commissioner Robert Scott could speak about the Common Core. That meeting prompted Ligon’s bill.

“The majority of the parents we’re talking to and hearing from are telling us they don’t like this,” Ligon said. “They want Georgia to retain control of its curriculum and testing standards.”

A 2010 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study comparing all states’ standards to the Common Core rated Georgia’s standards equal in quality, but Ligon says he would like Georgia to simultaneously keep control over its standards and improve them through public meetings and input from teachers and Georgia colleges and universities. He plans to propose bill to that effect next week.

Learn more: Former Texas education Commissioner Robert Scott speaks to the Georgia House and Senate education committees, February 6, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcpMIUWbgxY, part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5fHQlj9JQw.

RELATED STORIES:

Reposted from Heartlander  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/15/bill-would-withdraw-georgia-common-core

Why Won’t Utah Pull Out of Common Core? An Email Exchange   2 comments

Today’s string of interesting emails

(between my State School Board representative, Dixie Allen, and me)

 

On Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 7:45 AM, <dixieleeallen@gmail.com> wrote:

There is some very informative information in this weeks Ed Week – Thought you might gain some valuable insight – if you have time to check it out.

Dixie

 ——–

 

Dear Dixie,

 

Thanks again for including me in your loop.

 

Were you aware that Ed Week, like so many organizations that promote Common Core, is a Gates’ product?

 

I can’t take Ed Week seriously because it is published by Gates’ funding and its articles support his unelected-dictatorial influence over American education policy.

 

Christel

 ——–

Christel – that saddens me because most of their articles are written by educators and of all the participants involved in education – I trust teachers, students and parents most.

I also believe it is important to keep an open mind.

Best Wishes,

 

Dixie

  ——–

Dixie,

 

Openmindedness is great, but sincerity does not trump truth. Teachers and parents have written articles on both sides of the Common Core debate. I hope you listen to all of us, not just those published by Gates. There are some teachers and parents whose side of this story has been published elsewhere, because Gates will never publish the side that hurts his well-intentioned but unrepresentative agenda.

 

Christel

 ——–

 

Yes Christel, I do — however, in Utah where we are the lowest funded state in the nation by a long shot for per student expenditure, it would be so costly to throw out the Core curriculum that we have adopted and try to put in place another curriculum — especially the way we have developed curriculum over the past many years I have been in education (over 30 years).

 

The way we have created core standards over time is to bring teachers and other educators together from all over the state and decide which standards work in specific curricular areas and grade level expectations. By adopting the Common Core we upgraded all the curriculum by grade level for both Language Arts and Mathematics. Up until that time our State ranked about a C in Language Arts curriculum and a B for our Mathematics curriculum. So the issue of rewriting the curriculum is just not economically possible for this state — the best we can do is take standards that we know work and change those that we don’t believe will work.

 

When a state like Utah funds education at such a low level, there are many parts of the educational process that we must borrow from others who have the funding to develop them. In some cases that has been other states, that allowed us to use some of their identified quality education practices — so you may be right that those with lots of money have influenced this core — however, I know from experience that our State Office and many experts in the fields of educational mathematics and language arts were really the ones who wrote the standards — not the Bill Gates of the world.

 

Please, in conjunction with your fellow educators who have concerns – share those concerns with us or the State Office of Education and allow us to work on improving what we can with the little funding we do have now and over time. But don’t ask us to throw out the Core, because we cannot afford to do that, either in time or money.

Thanks for your passion.

 

Dixie

  ——–

 

Dear Dixie,

 

Thanks for continuing to talk with me.

 

As you know, Utah districts are funded primarily by local taxpayers, then some by the state, and then a small fraction of funding comes from the federal government. So, the fact that the people who pay the most have the least say, and the people who pay the least have the most say, is absurd. I’m sure you agree.

 

We can’t afford NOT to toss out the core. Although we have invested tens of millions (at least) in the tests and standards and PD so far, this is a drop in the bucket. California and Mississippi and other states are publishing news articles about the painfulness of having to implement all Common Core’s platforms without having the financial support from those who invited us to join Common Core. It’s a huge burden that will only become heavier with time.

 

The cost of creating our own Utah standards need not be exorbitant. In fact, I can almost promise you that it could be FREE. Many of the top curriculum and standards writers in our nation are on the stop common core side of this debate. ELA standards have been posted and published for free, for use by us or any state, for example, here: http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky-Optional_ELA_standards.pdf

                       

Math standards, I am sure would also be available for free if we were to ask, from such giants in the math and curriculum fields as James Milgram, Ze’ev Wurman, Christopher Tienken, William Mathis, Jim Stergios, David Wright, and others who are true friends to education and to Utah.

 

The CCSSO/NGA have published that they solely developed the standards, so I don’t know how any Utahns can claim to have done it.

 

The CCSSO meetings are closed-door without transparency for some reason, so there is no way that we will ever be able to find out who really did what. Nor can we influence what they’re doing with social studies and science right now. Nor can we amend the many problems we see, and/or that teachers and parents will be seeing over the next few years. By then it may be way too expensive to pull out.

 

That’s why I feel the time is now. Thanks for listening.

 

Christel

 ——–

 

Kansas Joins Anti-Common Core Fight – CJOnline.com   2 comments

Kansas, too, is joining the debate on whether it was foolish or wise to adopt national, untested, unpiloted, unproven, expensive and highly criticized Common Core standards and tests.  Read about it here:  Critics pan Common Core in House hearing | CJOnline.com.

 

Congressman Rob Bishop Advises Utah Senate: Common Core is a Hook   Leave a comment

Congressman Rob Bishop in this month’s address to the Utah Senate.  At min. 12:17, he addresses questions from Utah legislature concerning Common Core.  He advises the Utah Senate that they “should be concerned” and that Common Core is a hook that used “Stimulus Money” to hook states into the federal agenda for education.

 

Replacing Common Core With Something Great: An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework – by Sandra Stotsky   Leave a comment

Before Common Core began its disfiguration of the best in American education, Massachusetts had the highest standards in the nation.  Massachusetts’ students scored best in 2005, in 2007, in 2009 and in 2011 –in all four major NAEP categories.  Massachusetts senselessly dropped its high standards in order to apply for the Race to the Top.

Professor Sandra Stotsky  was the developer of those excellent, pre-common core standards for Massachusetts.  Now she has answered the question so many people have asked: “With what shall we replace Common Core?”  Professor Stotsky has written a model curriculum framework  for anyone to adopt, in lieu of Common Core ELA standards, at no cost.

If your state doesn’t decide to use Stotsky’s model curriculum,  I suggest using it as an individual teacher or parent, to help your child achieve much more than the limited Common Core.

The ELA Curriculum Framework of Dr. Stotsky is available online here and I also will post a portion of the 83 page framework here.  Forgive my imperfect formatting; pasting words from a PDF file doesn’t create perfect formatting;  I just can’t refrain from sharing the document’s highlights anyway.

 

 

An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools

An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework
for American Public Schools:  A Model
For use by any state or school district without charge
Chief author: Sandra Stotsky
Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas
February 2013
An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools

Table of Contents

Purpose and Sources of this Curriculum Framework   3
Guiding Principles   4

Overview of General Standards and Learning Standards:   7
1. Discussion and Group Work   10
2. Oral Presentation   12
3. Structure and Conventions of Modern English   15
4. Vocabulary and Concept Development   17
5. Formal and Informal English   21
6. Foundations of Reading and Spelling   24
7. Nonfiction   31
8. Fiction   36
9. Poetry   39
10. Drama   41
11. Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature   43
12. The Research Process   48
13. Analytical Writing   51
14. Persuasive Writing   54
15. Personal Writing   56
Appendix A: Suggested Authors and Illustrators Who Reflect Our Common Literary and
Cultural Heritage
Appendix B: Suggested Authors and Illustrators of World Literature and Twentieth-
Century American Literature
Appendix C: Glossary of Terms
Appendix D: A Perspective on the Goals and Content of English Language Arts
Instruction in this Country
Appendix E: The Limited English Proficient Student in the English Language Arts
Classroom
Appendix F: How Literature Can Be Related to Key American Historical Documents
Appendix G: Independent Evaluative Comments
An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools  3

 

 

Purpose of this Curriculum Framework

This curriculum framework provides standards designed to guide reading and English teachers in  the development of a coherent English language arts curriculum from PreK to 12. It is based on
two premises: that learning in the English language arts should be cumulative and that the reading of increasingly challenging literary and non-literary works as well as the writing of increasingly
extensive research papers are the basis for developing the independent thinking needed for selfgovernment.
The four discipline-based strands in this framework—Listening and Speaking, Language Study,  Reading and Literature, and Research and Composition—are interdependent. At all grade levels,
a sound English language arts curriculum integrates concepts and skills from all four strands.  A sound reading and literature curriculum also expects students to apply their language skills to
increasingly challenging material linked in ways that promote cumulative learning. A coherent  sequence of reading, research, and writing assignments ensures that students both broaden and
deepen their base of literary/historical knowledge. It is this broadening and deepening knowledge  base that stimulates intellectual growth and enhances their capacity for independent critical
thinking.
Sources of this Curriculum Framework

The four discipline-based areas reflected in the 15 General Standards are broad statements of  what students should know and be able to do in the English language arts. They are then broken
down into Learning Standards for each grade from PreK to 12. These General Standards and Learning Standards come from a long-planned revision of the 2001 Massachusetts English
Language Arts Curriculum Framework. The final draft of the revised framework, completed in  November 2009, reduced the 27 General Standards in the 2001 framework to 15 in order to
eliminate repetition and call attention to more demanding reading and literary study in the high  school grades; expressed the 2001 Learning Standards with greater clarity; and offered additional
learning standards for beginning reading and spelling, a sequence of new standards for nonfiction  reading in the elementary and middle grades, and a richer sequence for vocabulary development.
This draft framework was never sent to the board of elementary and secondary education for a  vote to send it out for public comment. It went to the board in July 2010 only as a working draft
(http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/ela/0610draft.pdf) and simply for the board’s information.  It accompanied Common Core’s final version of its English language arts standards and other
materials expressly developed to support the board’s adoption of Common Core’s standards.  The ten Guiding Principles come from the 2001 Massachusetts English Language Arts  Curriculum Framework; they articulate a set of beliefs about the teaching, learning, and assessing  of the English language arts. Appendix A is from the original, 1997 version of this framework; it  is a suggested list of authors and illustrators who reflect our common literary and cultural  heritage. Its K-8 list was reviewed, organized, and approved by the editors of The Horn Book  using, as requested in 1997, one criterion: literary quality; the 9-12 list was reviewed by literary  scholars from diverse backgrounds. Appendix B is from the 2001 curriculum framework and is a
suggested list of twentieth-century American authors and illustrators, as well as of past and  present authors from other countries and cultures. Appendix C, a glossary explaining technical
words and phrases, as well as Appendices D, E, and F, also come from the 2001 framework.  Appendix G, which contains an evaluation of the 2010 draft revision of the 2001 Curriculum
Framework, is from the Fordham Institute’s 2010 review of state standards.

An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools

 Guiding Principles

The following principles are philosophical statements to guide the construction and evaluation of  English language arts curricula.

Guiding Principle 1

An effective English language arts curriculum develops thinking and language together through interactive learning. Effective language use both requires and extends thinking. As learners listen to a speech, view a documentary, discuss a poem, or write an essay, they engage in thinking. The standards in this framework specify the intellectual processes that students draw on as they use language. Students develop their ability to remember, understand, analyze, evaluate, and apply the ideas they encounter in the English language arts and in all the other disciplines when they undertake increasingly challenging assignments that require them to write or speak in response to what they are learning.
Guiding Principle 2

An effective English language arts curriculum develops students’ oral language and literacy through appropriately challenging learning. A well planned English language arts instructional program provides students with a variety of oral language activities, high-quality and appropriate reading materials, and opportunities to work with others who are reading and writing. In the primary grades, systematic phonics instruction and regular practice in applying decoding skills to decodable materials are essential elements of the school program. Reading to preschool and primary grade children plays an especially critical role in developing children’s vocabulary, their knowledge of the natural world, and their appreciation for the power of the imagination. Beyond the primary grades, students continue to refine all their language skills.

Guiding Principle 3
An effective English language arts curriculum draws on literature from many genres, time periods, and cultures, featuring works that reflect our common literary heritage.  American students need to become familiar with works that are part of a literary tradition going  back thousands of years. Thus, the curriculum should emphasize literature reflecting the literary  and civic heritage of the English-speaking world. Students also should gain exposure to works  from the many communities that make up contemporary America as well as from countries and  cultures throughout the world.  Appendix A of this framework presents a list of suggested authors and illustrators reflecting the  common literary and cultural heritage of students attending public schools in this country.
Appendix B presents lists of suggested twentieth-century American authors and illustrators, as well as past and present authors from other countries and cultures. In order to foster a love of
reading and prepare students for a meaningful high school diploma, English and reading teachers  need to encourage a great deal of independent reading outside of class. School librarians play a
key role in finding books to match students’ interests and in suggesting further resources in public  libraries.

Guiding Principle 4

An effective English language arts curriculum emphasizes writing as an essential way to develop,  clarify, and communicate ideas in expository, persuasive, narrative, and expressive discourse.
At all levels, students’ writing records their imagination and exploration. As students attempt to  write clearly and coherently about increasingly complex ideas, their writing serves to propel
intellectual growth. Through writing, students develop their ability to think, to communicate ideas, and to create worlds unseen.

Guiding Principle 5

An effective English language arts curriculum provides for the study of all forms of media.  Multimedia, television, radio, film, Internet, and videos are prominent modes of communication
in the modern world. Like literary genres, each of these media has its unique characteristics, and students learn to apply techniques used in the study of literature and exposition to the evaluation
of multimedia, television, radio, film, Internet sites, and video.

Guiding Principle 6

An effective English language arts curriculum provides explicit skill instruction in reading and  writing.  Explicit skill instruction can be most effective when it precedes student need. Systematic phonics  lessons, in particular decoding skills, should be taught to students before they try to use them in  their subsequent reading. Systematic instruction is especially important for those students who  have not developed phonemic awareness — the ability to pay attention to the component sounds  of language. Effective instruction can take place in small groups, individually, or on a whole class  basis. Explicit skill instruction can also be effective when it responds to specific problems in  student work. For example, a teacher should monitor students’ progress in using quotation marks  to punctuate dialogue in their stories, and then provide direct instruction when needed.

Guiding Principle 7

An effective English language arts curriculum teaches the strategies necessary for acquiring  academic knowledge, achieving common academic standards, and attaining independence in
learning.  Students need to develop a repertoire of learning strategies that they consciously practice and  apply in increasingly diverse and demanding contexts. Skills become strategies for learning when  they are internalized and applied purposefully. For example, a research skill has become a  strategy when a student formulates his own questions and initiates a plan for locating information.   A reading skill has become a strategy when a student sounds out unfamiliar words, or  automatically makes and confirms predictions while reading. A writing skill has become a
strategy when a student monitors her own writing by spontaneously asking herself, “Does this  organization work?” or “Are my punctuation and spelling correct?” When students are able to
articulate their own learning strategies, evaluate their effectiveness, and use those that work best  for them, they have become independent learners.

Guiding Principle 8

An effective English language arts curriculum builds on the language, experiences, and interests  that students bring to school.  Teachers recognize the importance of being able to respond effectively to the challenges of  linguistic and cultural differences in their classrooms. Sometimes students have learned ways of  talking, thinking, and interacting that are effective at home and in their neighborhood, but which  may not have the same meaning or usefulness in school. Teachers try to draw on these different  ways of talking and thinking as bridges to speaking and writing in Standard American English.

Guiding Principle 9

An effective English language arts curriculum develops each student’s distinctive writing or  speaking voice. A student’s writing and speaking voice is an expression of self.  Students’ voices tell us who they are, how they think, and what unique perspectives they bring to  their learning. Students’ voices develop when teachers provide opportunities for interaction,  exploration, and communication. When students discuss ideas and read one another’s writing,  they learn to distinguish between formal and informal communication. They also learn about their  classmates as unique individuals who can contribute their distinctive ideas, aspirations, and  talents to the class, the school, the community, and the nation.
Guiding Principle 10

While encouraging respect for differences in home backgrounds, an effective English language  arts curriculum nurtures students’ sense of their common ground as present or future American
citizens in order to prepare them for responsible participation in our schools and in civic life.  Teachers instruct an increasingly diverse group of students in their classrooms each year.
Students may come from any country or continent in the world. Taking advantage of this  diversity, teachers guide discussions about the extraordinary variety of beliefs and traditions
around the world. At the same time, they provide students with common ground through discussion of significant works in American cultural history to help prepare them to become selfgoverning
citizens of the United States of America. An English language arts curriculum can  serve as a unifying force in schools and society.

Appendix A: Suggested Authors and Illustrators Who Reflect Our Common Literary and Cultural Heritage

All American students must acquire knowledge of a range of literary works reflecting our common literary heritage. It is a heritage that goes back thousands of years to the ancient world. In addition, all students should become familiar with some of the outstanding works in the rich body of literature that is their particular heritage in the English-speaking world. This includes a literature that was created just for children because its authors saw childhood as a special period in life. It was also the first literature in the world created for them.

The suggestions below constitute a core list of those authors and illustrators (and a few specific works) that comprise the literary and intellectual capital drawn on by those who write in English, whether for novels, poems, newspapers, or public speeches, in this country or elsewhere. Knowledge of these authors and illustrators in their original, adapted, or revised editions will contribute significantly to a student’s ability to understand literary allusions and participate effectively in our common civic culture.

A curriculum drawing on these suggested lists will also provide significant support for the major reason statewide learning standards were developed—to ensure equity and high academic expectations for all students. A literature curriculum should include works drawn from this list and contemporary works of similar quality, drawn from cultures around the world from many historical periods. It is then possible to assure parents and other citizens that all students will be expected to read at a high level of reading difficulty. By themselves, even the most carefully crafted learning standards cannot guarantee that expectation for all students.

Effective English language arts teachers teach all students to comprehend and analyze a variety of significant literature. To ensure that all students read challenging material, teachers may choose to present excerpts of longer works, or vary the amount of class time devoted to a specific work or cluster of works. As all English teachers know, some authors have written many works, not all of which are of equally high quality. We expect teachers to use their literary judgment as they make selections.

In planning a curriculum, it is important to balance depth with breadth. As teachers in schools and districts work with this curriculum framework to develop literature units, they will often combine works from the two lists into thematic units. Exemplary curriculum is always evolving. We urge districts to take initiative to create programs meeting the needs of their students.

The suggested lists of Appendices A and B are organized by the grade-span levels of PreK-2, 3-4, 5-8, and 9-12. A few authors are repeated in adjoining grade-spans, giving teachers the option to match individual students with the books that suit their interests and developmental levels. The decision to present a Grades 9-12 list (as opposed to Grades 9-10 and 11-12) stems from the recognition that teachers should be free to choose selections that challenge, but do not overwhelm, their students.

PreK-2*

For reading, listening, and viewing:   Mother Goose nursery rhymes, Aesop’s fables, Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, Selected Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, Selected French fairy tales, The Bible as literature, Tales including Jonah and the whale, Daniel and the lion’s den, Noah and the Ark, Moses and the burning bush, the story of Ruth, David and Goliath

Picture book authors and illustrators: Ludwig Bemelmans, Margaret Wise Brown, John Burningham, Virginia Lee Burton, Randolph Caldecott, Edgar Parin and Ingri D’Aulaire, William Pène du Bois, Wanda Gág, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Kate Greenaway, Shirley Hughes, Crockett Johnson, Robert Lawson, Munro Leaf, Robert McCloskey, A. A. Milne, William Nicholson, Maud and Miska Petersham, Alice and Martin Provensen, Beatrix Potter, H. A. and Margaret Rey, Maurice Sendak, Vera Williams

Poets: John Ciardi, Rachel Field, David McCord, A. A. Milne, Laura Richards

Grades 3-4*

The Bible as literature: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, David and Jonathan, the Prodigal Son, the visit of the Magi, well-known psalms (e.g., 23, 24, 46, 92, 121, and 150) Greek, Roman, or Norse myths; Native American myths and legends; stories about King Arthur and Robin Hood

British authors: Frances Burnett, Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, Dick King-Smith, Edith Nesbit, Mary Norton, Margery Sharp, Robert Louis Stevenson, P. L. Travers American authors and illustrators L. Frank Baum, Beverly Cleary, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Mary Mapes Dodge, Elizabeth Enright, Eleanor Estes, Jean George, Sterling North, Howard Pyle, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Carl Sandburg, George Selden, Louis Slobodkin, E. B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Poets: Stephen Vincent and Rosemarie Carr Benét, Lewis Carroll, John Ciardi, Rachel Field, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Edward Lear, Myra Cohn Livingston, David McCord, A. A. Milne, Laura Richards *Authors and titles were reviewed by the editors of The Horn Book.

Grades 5-8*

Selections from Grimm’s fairy tales, French fairy tales, Tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Rudyard Kipling, Aesop’s fables, Greek, Roman, or Norse myths, Native American myths and legends, Stories about King Arthur, Robin Hood, Beowulf and Grendel, St. George and the Dragon

The Bible as literature: Old Testament: Genesis, Ten Commandments, Psalms and Proverbs New Testament: Sermon on the Mount; Parables British and European authors or illustrators James Barrie, Frances Burnett, Lucy Boston, Lewis Carroll, Carlo Collodi, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Daniel Defoe, Leon Garfield, Kenneth Grahame, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Edith Nesbit, Mary Norton, Philippa Pearce, Arthur Rackham, Anna Sewell, William Shakespeare, Johanna Spyri, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift, J. R. R. Tolkien, P. L. Travers, T.H.White

American authors or illustrators: Louisa May Alcott, Lloyd Alexander, Natalie Babbitt, L.Frank Baum, Nathaniel Benchley, Carol Ryrie Brink, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Esther Forbes, Paula Fox, Jean George, Virginia Hamilton, Bret Harte, Irene Hunt, Washington Irving, Sterling North, Scott O’Dell, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Ellen Raskin, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Elizabeth Speare, Anna Sewell, Booth Tarkington, Mark Twain, James Thurber, E. B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder, N. C. Wyeth

Poets: Stephen Vincent and Rosemarie Carr Benét, Lewis Carroll, John Ciardi, Rachel Field, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Edward Lear, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, David McCord, Ogden Nash

Grades 9-12: American Literature

Historical documents of literary and philosophical significance: Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, The Declaration of Independence, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Lecture

Major writers of the 18th and 19th centuries: James Fenimore Cooper, Stephen Crane, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Thomas Jefferson, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman

Major writers of the early-to-mid 20th century: Henry Adams, James Baldwin, Arna Bontemps, Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Countee Cullen, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Jessie Fauset, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Gilman, James Weldon Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, O. Henry, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Sarah Orne Jewett, Flannery O’Connor, Ayn Rand, Gertrude Stein,  John Steinbeck, James Thurber, Jean Toomer, Booker T. Washington, Edith Wharton, Richard Wright

Playwrights: Lorraine Hansberry, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson

Major poets: Elizabeth Bishop, e e cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Robinson Jeffers, Amy Lowell, Robert Lowell, Edgar Lee Masters, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, John Ransom, Edward Arlington Robinson, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, Alan Tate, Sara Teasdale, William Carlos Williams

The European, Asian, Caribbean, Central American and South American immigrant experience (e.g., Ole Rolvaag, Younghill Kang, Abraham Cahan), the experiences of Native Americans, and slave narratives ( e.g., Harriet Jacobs)

Grades 9-12: British and European Literature

The Bible as literature: Genesis, Ten Commandments, Psalms and Proverbs, Job, Sermon on the Mount, Parables

A higher level rereading of Greek mythology

Selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Major poets: Homer

Epic poets: Dante and John Milton

Sonnets: William Shakespeare, John Milton, Edmund Spenser

Metaphysical poets: John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell

Romantic poets: William Blake, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth

Victorian poets:  Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Modern poets: W. H. Auden, A. E. Housman, Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats

Playwrights: Classical Greek dramatists, William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde

Essayists:

British: Joseph Addison, Sir Francis Bacon, Samuel Johnson in “The Rambler,” Charles Lamb, George Orwell, Leonard Woolf, Virginia Woolf

From the Enlightenment: Voltaire, Diderot, and other Encyclopédistes, Jean Jacques Rousseau

Fiction: Selections from early novels: La Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes, Don Quixote, Joseph Andrews, The Vicar of Wakefield, Selections from Pilgrim’s Progress

Selections from satire and mock epic, verse, or prose: Lord Byron, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift

19th century novels: Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Victor Hugo, Mary Shelley, Leo Tolstoy

20th century novels: Albert Camus, André Gide, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, D. H. Lawrence, Jean Paul Sartre, Virginia Woolf

Appendix B: Suggested Authors and Illustrators of Twentieth Century American Literature and of World Literature

…As all English teachers know, some authors have written many works, not all of which are of equally high quality. We expect teachers to use their literary judgment in selecting any particular work. It is hoped that teachers will find here many authors with whose works they are already familiar, and will be introduced to yet others. A comprehensive literature curriculum balances these authors and illustrators with those found in Appendix A.

Grades PreK-2

Aliki, Mitsumasa Anno, Edward Ardizzone, Molly Bang, Paulette Bourgeois, Jan Brett, Norman Bridwell, Raymond Briggs, Marc Brown, Marcia Brown, Margaret Wise Brown, Eve Bunting, Ashley Bryan, Eric Carle, Lucille Clifton, Joanna Cole, Barbara Cooney, Joy Cowley, Donald Crews,Tomie dePaola, Leo and Diane Dillon, Tom Feelings, Mem Fox, Don Freeman, Gail Gibbons, Eloise Greenfield, Helen Griffith, Donald Hall, Russell and Lillian Hoban, Tana Hoban, Thacher Hurd, Gloria Huston, Trina Schart Hyman, Ezra Jack Keats, Steven Kellogg, Reeve Lindberg, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, Gerald McDermott, Patricia McKissack, James Marshall, Bill Martin, Mercer Mayer, David McPhail, Else Holmelund Minarik, Robert Munsch, Jerry Pinkney, Patricia Polacco, Jack Prelutsky, Faith Ringgold, Glen Rounds, Cynthia Rylant, Allen Say, Marcia Sewall, Marjorie Sharmat, Peter Spieg, William Steig, John Steptoe, Tomi Ungerer, Chris Van Allsburg, Jean van Leeuwen, Judith Viorst, Rosemary Wells, Vera Williams, Ed Young, Margot and Harve Zemach, Charlotte Zolotow

Grades 3–4

Joan Aiken, Lynne Reid Banks, Raymond Bial, Judy Blume, Eve Bunting, Joseph Bruchac, Ashley Bryan, Betsy Byars , Ann Cameron, Andrew Clements. Shirley Climo, Eleanor Coerr, Paula Danziger,Walter Farley, John Fitzgerald, Louise Fitzhugh, Paul Fleischman, Sid Fleischman, Mem Fox, Jean Fritz, John Reynolds Gardiner, James Giblin, Patricia Reilly Giff, Jamie Gilson, Paul Goble, Marguerite Henry, Johanna Hurwitz, Peg Kehret, Jane Langton, Kathryn Lasky, Jacob Lawrence, Patricia Laube, Julius Lester, Gail Levine, David Macaulay, Patricia MacLachlan, Mary Mahy, Barry Moser, Patricia Polacco, Daniel Pinkwater, Jack Prelutsky, Louis Sachar, Alvin Schwartz, John Scieszka, Shel Silverstein, Seymour Simon, Mildred Taylor, Ann Warren Turner, Mildred Pitts Walter

Grades 5–8

Isaac Asimov, Avi, James Berry, Nancy Bond, Ray Bradbury, Bruce Brooks, Joseph Bruchac, Alice Childress, Vera and Bill Cleaver, James and Christopher Collier, Caroline Coman, Susan Cooper, Robert Cormier, Bruce Coville, Sharon Creech, Chris Crutcher, Christopher Paul Curtis, Karen Cushman, Michael Dorris, Paul Fleischman, Russell Freedman, Jack Gantos, Sheila Gordon, Bette Greene, Rosa Guy, Mary Downing Hahn, Joyce Hansen, James Herriot, Karen Hesse, S. E. Hinton, Felice Holman, Irene Hunt, Paul Janeczko, Angela Johnson, Diana Wynne Jones, Norton Juster, M. E. Kerr, E. L. Konigsburg, Kathryn Lasky, Madeleine L’Engle, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Lipsyte, Lois Lowry, Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKissack, Margaret Mahy, Albert Marrin, Milton Meltzer, Jim Murphy, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Naomi Nye, Richard Peck, Daniel Pinkwater, Philip Pullman, Ellen Raskin, J. K. Rowling, Cynthia Rylant, Louis Sachar, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gary Soto, Mildred Taylor, Theodore Taylor, Yoshiko Uchida, Cynthia Voigt, Yoko Kawashima Watkins, Janet Wong, Laurence Yep, Jane Yolen, Paul Zindel

Grades 9–12:

Twentieth-Century American Literature

Fiction: James Agee, Maya Angelou, Saul Bellow, Pearl Buck, Raymond Carver, John Cheever Sandra Cisneros, Arthur C. Clarke, E. L. Doctorow, Louise Erdrich, Nicholas Gage, Ernest K. Gaines, Alex Haley, Joseph Heller, William Hoffman, John Irving, William Kennedy, Ken Kesey, Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jon Krakauer, Harper Lee, Bernard Malamud, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim O’Brien, Edwin O’Connor, Cynthia Ozick, Chaim Potok, Reynolds Price, Annie Proulx, Richard Rodrigues, Leo Rosten, J. D. Salinger, William Saroyan, May Sarton, Jane Smiley, Betty Smith, Wallace Stegner, Amy Tan, Anne Tyler, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Alice Walker, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, Thomas Wolfe, Tobias Wolff, Anzia Yezierska

Poetry: Claribel Alegria, Julia Alvarez, A. R. Ammons, Maya Angelou, John Ashberry, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Amirai Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Bly, Louise Bogan, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Hayden Carruth, J. V. Cunningham, Rita Dove, Alan Dugan, Richard Eberhart, Martin Espada, Allen Ginsberg, Louise Gluck, John Haines, Donald Hall, Robert Hayden, Anthony Hecht, Randall Jarrell, June Jordan, Galway Kinnell, Stanley Kunitz, Philip Levine, Audrey Lord, Amy Lowell, Robert Lowell, Louis MacNeice, James Merrill, Mary Tall Mountain, Sylvia Plath, Anna Quindlen, Ishmael Reed, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Karl Shapiro, Gary Snyder, William Stafford, Mark Strand, May Swenson, Margaret Walker, Richard Wilbur, Charles Wright, Elinor Wylie

Essays/Nonfiction (contemporary and historical)

Edward Abbey, Susan B. Anthony, Russell Baker, Ambrose Bierce, Carol Bly, Dee Brown, Art Buchwald, William F. Buckley, Rachel Carson, Margaret Cheney, Marilyn Chin, Stanley Crouch, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, W. E. B. Du Bois, Gretel Ehrlich, Loren Eiseley, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Doris Goodwin, Stephen Jay Gould, John Gunther, John Hersey, Edward Hoagland, Helen Keller, William Least Heat Moon, Barry Lopez, J. Anthony Lukas, Mary McCarthy, Edward McClanahan, David McCullough, John McPhee, William Manchester, H. L. Menken, N. Scott Momaday, Samuel Eliot Morison, Lance Morrow, Bill Moyers, John Muir, Anna Quindlen, Chet Raymo, Richard Rodriguez, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Carl Sagan, William Shirer, Shelby Steele, Lewis Thomas, Walter Muir Whitehill. Malcolm X

Drama

Edward Albee, Robert Bolt, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Archibald MacLeish, David Mamet, Terrence Rattigan, Ntozake Shange, Neil Simon, Orson Welles

Grades 9–12: Historical and Contemporary World Literature

Fiction

Chinua Achebe, S. Y. Agnon, Ilse Aichinger, Isabel Allende, Jerzy Andrzejewski, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Babel, James Berry, Heinrich Boll, Jorge Luis Borges, Mikhail Bulgakov, Dino Buzzati, S. Byatt, Italo Calvino, Karl Capek, Carlo Cassola, Camillo Jose Cela, Julio Cortazar, Isak Dinesen, E. M. Forster, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nikolai Gogol, William Golding, Robert Graves, Hermann Hesse, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Aldous Huxley, Kazuo Ishiguro, Yuri Kazakov, Milan Kundera, Stanislaw Lem, Primo Levi, Jacov Lind, Clarice Lispector, Naguib Mahfouz, Thomas Mann, Alberto Moravia, Mordechi Richler, Alice Munro, Vladimir Nabokov, V. S. Naipaul, Alan Paton, Cesar Pavese, Santha Rama Rau, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ignazio Silone, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alexander Solshenitsyn, Niccolo Tucci, Mario Vargas-Llosa, Elie Wiesel, Emile Zola

Poetry

Bella Akhmadulina, Anna Akhmatova, Rafael Alberti, Josif Brodsky, Constantine Cavafis, Odysseus Elytis, Federico García Lorca, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Czeslaw Milosz, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Jacques Prévert, Alexander Pushkin, Salvatore Cuasimodo, Juan Ramon Ramirez, Arthur Rimbaud, Pierre de Ronsard, George Seferis, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Wole Soyinka, Marina Tsvetaeva, Paul Verlaine, Andrei Voznesensky, Derek Walcott, Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Essays/Nonfiction

Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Steven Hawking, Arthur Koestler, Margaret Laurence, Michel de Montaigne, Shiva Naipaul, Octavio Paz, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Alexis de Tocqueville, Voltaire, Rebecca West, Marguerite Yourcenar

Drama:  Jean Anouilh, Fernando Arrabal, Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Albert Camus, Jean  Cocteau, Athol Fugard, Jean Giraudoux, Eugene Ionesco, Molière, John Mortimer, Sean O’Casey, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Luigi Pirandello, Racine, Jean-Paul Sartre, Tom Stoppard, John Millington Synge

Religious Literature:  Analects of Confucius. Bhagavad-Gita, Koran, Tao Te Ching, Book of the Hopi, Zen parables, Buddhist scripture

Professor William Mathis and NEPC: Common Core Unlikely to Improve Learning or Close Achievement Gap   Leave a comment

In case you don’t read the whole thing, I’m starting off with a bullet point list from a recent academic article from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) by Dr. William Mathis, entitled “Research-based Options for Education Policymaking,” available here, which among other things, gives advice for educators and policymakers, including these facts:

The nation’s “international economic competitiveness” is unlikely to be affected by  the presence or absence of national standards.

Common Core standards and assessments are unlikely to  improve learning, increase test scores, or close the achievement gap.

• As testbased  penalties have increased, the instructional attention given to non-tested areas has decreased.

Policymakers need to be aware of the significant costs in  instructional materials, training and computerized testing platforms the CCSS  requires as it is unlikely the federal or state governments will adequately cover these  costs.

For schools and districts with weak or non-existent curriculum articulation, the  CCSS may adequately serve as a basic curriculum.

• Schools must take proactive steps to  protect vital purposes of education such as maximizing individual student talents 

 

Here is the rest of the article:

RESEARCH-BASED OPTIONS FOR EDUCATION POLICYMAKING
Common Core State Standards
William Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder
October 2012

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have ardent supporters and strong critics.1 The actual effect of the CCSS, however, will depend much less on the standards themselves than on
how they are used. Two factors are particularly crucial. The first is whether states invest in the  necessary curricular and instructional resources and supports, and the second concerns the
nature and use of CCSS assessments developed by the two national testing consortia.

The movement toward nationwide curriculum standards began in 2009 and has been led  by the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers,
accompanied by the Gates Foundation’s fiscal support. The CCSS goal is to assure a highlevel  “internationally competitive” set of standards, help teachers organize their lessons,
and assure educational continuity for mobile students.2 A claimed advantage is that an  economy of scale is created (particularly for corporations supplying professional  development, instructional materials, and standardized testing).3 Another claimed benefit  is the facilitation of comparisons among states, although such information is already  provided by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Since the CCSS has not been implemented, many questions cannot be definitively  answered. Yet, there are informative lessons from related research. There is, for example,   no evidence that states within the U.S. score higher or lower on the NAEP based on the  rigor of their state standards.4   Similarly, international test data show no pronounced testscore
advantage on the basis of the presence or absence of national standards.5 Further,  the wave of high-stakes testing associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has resulted  in the “dumbing down” and narrowing of the curriculum.6  Owing to the historically limited educational role of the federal government, those behind  the CCSS have taken care to avoid having the effort characterized as “national standards”  or a “national curriculum.”7 Four states (Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia) have, as of  October of 2012, declined to participate, and Minnesota has agreed to adopt CCSS in only  one subject area. (Five currently participating states are considering legislation to slow  down implementation 8). But that refusal has come at a cost. For a state to be eligible for  federal Race to the Top or NCLB waivers, for example, it must adopt “college and career  ready standards.”9 Nevertheless, in many minds, curriculum and standards are a state
responsibility, and the CCSS represents federal over-reach.10  Since the 1994 passage of the Goals 2000 legislation, state standards have been  increasingly linked to large-scale assessments of those standards. With NCLB, high-stakes  consequences were attached to the test scores. As a predictable consequence, the  assessments have driven curriculum and instruction much more than the state standards  themselves. It is now again predictable that the nature and use of the CCSS assessments  will largely determine the impact of CCSS. Two national assessment consortia (the Smarter  Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for  College and Careers) are developing computer-based testing for a scheduled  implementation in 2014-15. 11

Among the unresolved issues are:

1) the amount and impact of testing time required for the new assessments;
2) whether the results have enough validity and precision to justify high-stakes applications currently being eyed by lawmakers (e.g., evaluation of principals and teachers);
3) the ability of the two consortia to sustain the effort given the current fiscal needs and  available resources;
4) whether the assessment systems will be ready on time; and
5) most important, whether the tests will create incentives for teaching a rich, engaging,  comprehensive curriculum.12

A paramount issue is whether, given the current status of federal and state budgets, there  will be the political will to provide schools and students the professional support and  learning resources necessary for the effort to be successful.  As the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity,  educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to  expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by  itself. 13

Key Research Points and Advice for Policymakers

• The adoption of a set of standards and assessments, by themselves, is unlikely to  improve learning, increase test scores, or close the achievement gap. 14
For schools and districts with weak or non-existent curriculum articulation, the  CCSS may adequately serve as a basic curriculum. 15
• The assessment consortia are currently focused on mathematics and  English/language arts. Schools, districts, and states must take proactive steps to  protect other vital purposes of education such as citizenship, the arts, and  maximizing individual talents – as well as the sciences and social sciences. As testbased  penalties have increased, the instructional attention given to non-tested  areas has decreased. 16
• Educators and policymakers need to be aware of the significant costs in  instructional materials, training and computerized testing platforms the CCSS  requires.17  It is unlikely the federal or state governments will adequately cover these  costs. For the CCSS to be meaningful depends directly on whether it is adequately  supported.
• The nation’s “international economic competitiveness” is unlikely to be affected by  the presence or absence of national standards.18
• Children learn when they are provided with high-quality and equitable educational  opportunities. Investing in ways that enhance these opportunities shows the greater  promise for addressing the nation’s education problems.

Notes and References

1 In support, see Finn, C.E. Jr. (2010, March 16). Back to basics. National Review Online. Retrieved October 2,  2012, from http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/229317/back-basics/chester-e-finn-jr/.
For a strongly critical voice, see Greene, J. P. (September 21, 2011). My testimony on national standards before  US House. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://jaypgreene.com/2011/09/21/my-testimony-on-nationalstandards-before-us-house/
Finn and Greene are both generally on the political “right” on educational issues. But similar division is found on  the “left.” In support, see Weingarten, R. (2010, June 3). Statement by Randi Weingarten, president, American  Federation of Teachers, on Common Core standards. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.
Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://www.aft.org/newspubs/press/2010/060310.cfm/.
And in opposition, see Ravitch, D. (2012, July 9). My view of the Common Core standards (blog post). Diane  Ravitch’s Blog. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://dianeravitch.net/2012/07/09/my-view-of-the-commoncore-standards/.

2 NGA, CCSSO, Achieve (2008).Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U. S. Students Receive a world-Class  Education. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/0812BENCHMARKING.pdf
3Ash, K. (2012, February 29). Common core raises PD opportunities, questions. Teacher PD. Retrieved October 2,  2012, from http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2012/03/01/02common.h05.html/.
4 Whitehurst, G, (2009, October 14). Don’t forget curriculum. Brown Center Letters on Education, #3, 6.  Washington, DC: Brown Center on Education Policy, Brookings Institution. Retrieved February 11, 2010, from  http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2009/1014_curriculum_whitehurst.aspx/.
Bandeira de Mello, V. D., Blankenship, C., & McLaughlin D. (2009, October). Mapping state proficiencies onto  NAEP scales: 2005-2007. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education  Statistics. Retrieved March 20, 2010, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2010456.asp/.
5 Kohn, A. (2010, January 14). Debunking the case for national standards: one size fits all mandates and their  dangers. Retrieved January 13, 2010, from  http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/national.htm/.
McCluskey, N. (2010, February 17). Behind the curtain: Assessing the case for national curriculum standards,  Policy analysis 66. Washington: CATO Institute. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11217/.
6 Robelen, E. (December 8, 2011) Most teachers see the curriculum narrowing, survey finds (blog post).  EdWeekOnline. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/12/most_teachers_see_the_curricul.html/.
Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. (1999, Fall). Are state-level standards and assessments aligned?
WCER Highlights, 1–3. Madison, WI: Author.
Amrein, A. & Berliner, D. (2002). High-stakes testing, uncertainty, and student learning. Education Policy  Analysis Archives, 10(18). Retrieved October 4, 2012, from  http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v10n18.
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4–14.  Phillip Harris, Bruce M. Smith,B. M. & Harris, J. (2011) The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell  You What You Think They Do. Rowman and Littlefield, 100-109.
7 Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “The idea that the Common Core standards are nationally-imposed is a  conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.”  Duncan, A. (2012, February 23). Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, on a legislative proposal  in South Carolina to block implementation of the Common Core academic standards (press release). Washington,
DC: U.S. Departmentof Education. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from  http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-1/.
8 Klein, Alyson (2012, September 26). Rift seen among Republicans on Common Core. Education Week, 32 (5), 19.
9 Obama, B (2012, February 9). Remarks by the President on No Child Left Behind Flexibility. Washington, DC:  Office of the Press secretary. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/02/09/remarks-president-no-child-left-behind-flexibility/.
Note that these standards need not be the CCSS, although in all cases but one the CCSS has been used. Virginia was  granted a waiver based on college- and career-ready standard other than the CCSS.
Klein, A (2012, June 29). Five more states get NCLB waivers (blog post).Politics K-12/Education Week..  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/06/five_more_states_get_nclb_waiv.html)…

See Full List of Notes and References Here:  http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Research-Based-Options/02-Mathis_CommonCore.pdf

IN Scott Schneider: Why This State Senator Opposes Common Core   Leave a comment

Reposted from:

http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/senator-scott-schneiders-nuvo-article-on-common-core/

http://www.nuvo.net/PerspectivesinEducation/archives/2013/01/17/perspectives-in-education-scott-schneider#.UPw1hKUYHe4

 

Perspectives in Education: Scott Schneider

Posted by on Thu, Jan 17, 2013

Confronting the Common Core Standards

By Indiana State Sen. Scott Schneider

The Common Core Standards (CCS) were developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) and written by a Washington, DC non-profit called Achieve. The new standards dictate what will be taught in English and math for grades K-12.

Indiana educators had little to no input in the writing of these standards as evidenced by the list of contributors released by the developers.

Many Hoosiers, including myself, are concerned that adopting the CCS was a significant step backward from the nationally recognized education standards Indiana previously had in English and math. I am worried that CCS was pushed on Indiana without proper review of what it will mean for students and teachers, which is the impetus for Senate Bill 0193, which would prevent the Indiana State Board of Education from using any educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Proponents of the Common Core Standards which are being implemented in 2012-2014 for English and math promised to use international benchmarks. Indiana’s former standards used this standard, but Common Core has not met this qualification.

Experts testified that CCS documents point to no country or region as the comparison country. In fact, members of the standards validation committee repeatedly asked for evidence of international benchmarking and received nothing. Therefore, five members of this committee refused to sign off on the CCS.

More than 500 people attended a Jan. 16 Senate Education Committee hearing on my bill. The committee will vote to send it to the full Senate as early as next Wednesday, Jan. 23.

While the education system in Indiana may not be perfect, solutions should come from the teachers and parents involved in the daily activities of educating our children.

But under new CCS rules, Indiana cannot change or delete any of the standards because they are copyrighted by the developers the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers.

Historically, Indiana held sole control over our student test (I-STEP). Now, a consortium of 22 states, of which Indiana is a member, is developing a new measuring stick for students and teachers called thePartnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

While the new CCS agreements allows states to add some material to the standards, this information would not be covered on the new PARCC test, which determines adherence to the CCS. In the world of high-stakes testing, I find it unlikely that anything that is not tested would be taught.

Little is known about what this test will look like and how it will be scored, yet its influence is evident as teachers and school districts are under tremendous pressure to meet performance standards.

The current state of education has many people feeling left out of the decision-making process. With the adoption of the CCS, distance grows between teachers, parents and local education policy makers. The topdown, centralized approach of the CCS does not allow for the voices of teachers and parents to influence decisions; this dynamic also fuels frustrations among parents and teachers about the influence of highstakes testing.

Because of the Common Core Initiative, there are now 22 states deciding how we test Indiana students, what cut scores will be, how we define students with disabilities, etc. The loss of power is enormous. Indiana elects her Superintendent of Education for a reason, so that decisions are made by someone we choose. We should never cede this control to any outside organizations.

When academic standards and high-stakes testing are no longer in the hands of the people of Indiana, we lose control over the important policies to which students and teachers are held accountable.

Improvements in our schools will only come through the local efforts of Hoosiers in the field; any measure that removes them from the decision-making process is wrong.

State Senator Scott Schneider is a Republican from Indianapolis. First elected to the State Senate in 2009, Schneider is a former member of the Indianapolis-Marion County City County Council. He is a board member for the Indiana Schools for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the recipient of School Choice Indiana’s 2012 Charter School Warrior of the Year Award.

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Many thanks to Senator Schneider and to Hoosiers Against Common Core.

 

Bills and Resolutions Against Common Core: South Carolina, Indiana, Missouri and Alabama   5 comments

 I’m posting the bills from South Carolina, Indiana,  and Missouri which have attempted to reclaim state educational decision-making for those states.  I’m also posting the resolution unanimously passed by the Alabama Republican Women’s Federation, cosponsored by the Republican Women’s Federations from Delaware, Tennessee, Nebraska, etc.

So far, we have nothing like this in Utah, although at every political meeting I go to or hear about, the majority of citizens are extremely interested in getting our state free of Common Core. 

Utah representatives, do you hear your constitutents?

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SOUTH CAROLINA S.604

South Carolina General Assembly
119th Session, 2011-2012
Download This Bill in Microsoft Word format

S. 604

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senators Fair, Grooms, Bryant, Campsen, Bright and S. Martin

Introduced in the Senate on February 23, 2011

Summary: Common Core State Standards

——————————————————————————-
2/23/2011 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 19)
2/23/2011 Senate Referred to Committee on Education

A BILL  TO AMEND ARTICLE 5, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 59 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING EDUCATION, BY ADDING SECTION 59-1-490 TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS MAY NOT BE IMPOSED ON SOUTH CAROLINA.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Article 5, Chapter 1, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 59-1-490. The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio.”

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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INDIANA SENATE BILL No. 193

DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL

Citations Affected: IC 20-19-2-14.5.

Synopsis: Common core state educational standards. Provides that the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Voids any action taken to adopt common core educational standards.

Effective: July 1, 2013.

Schneider

    January 7, 2013, read first time and referred to Committee on Education and Career Development.

First Regular Session 118th General Assembly (2013)

SENATE BILL No. 193

    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning education.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 20-19-2-14.5; (13)IN0193.1.1. –>     SECTION 1. IC 20-19-2-14.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2013]: Sec. 14.5. (a) As used in this section, “common core standards” refers to educational standards developed for kindergarten through grade 12 by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.     (b) Notwithstanding section 14 of this chapter, the state board may not adopt as standards for the state or direct the department to implement any common core standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.     (c) After June 30, 2013, any action taken by the state board before July 1, 2013, to adopt common core standards as standards for the state is void.

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MISSOURI SENATE BILL 210

FIRST REGULAR SESSION
SENATE BILL NO. 210
97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY SENATORS LAMPING AND NIEVES.

Read 1st time January 24, 2013, and ordered printed.

TERRY L. SPIELER, Secretary.
1218S.01I

AN ACT
To amend chapter 161, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the
Common Core Standards Initiative.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Chapter 161, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new
2 section, to be known as section 161.855, to read as follows:      161.855.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, 

2 the state board of education and the department of elementary and
3 secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State
4 Standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative. Any
5 actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
6 as of the effective date of this section are void. Common Core State
7 Standards or any other statewide education standards shall not be
8 adopted or implemented without the approval of the general assembly.

http://www.senate.mo.gov/13info/pdf-bill/intro/SB210.pdf

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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION

Defeat National Standards for State Schools

Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011

 

WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;

WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;

WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;

WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);

BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing,  (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.

Submitted by:  Alabama Federation of Republican Women

Elois Zeanah, President

Co-Sponsors:

Nebraska Federation of Republican Women, Delaware Federation of Republican Women, Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women,  Georgia Federation of Republican Women,  Tennessee Federation of Republican Women

Unelected Philanthropists Using Money for Policy Change Without Consent or Representation of People   12 comments

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/11/education-policies-led-gates-not-states?nocache=1

Does Bill Gates’ money circumvent the American process?

Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman writes about the funding and promotion of Common Core;  that while it is common for foundations to fund research, it is out of the ordinary to watch the way the Gates Foundation is working.  For example, Pullman notes that “Twenty-six of the 32 people who testified against a bill to withdraw Indiana from the Core are members of organizations the Gates Foundation funds.”

Pullman quotes the dean of Claremont Graduate University, who notes:

It’s the way [Gates is] doing it that we think is curious,” Thomas said. “It’s an intrusion into the public sphere more directly that has not been seen before. They’re jumping into the policy process itself. That’s an interesting position, for a nonprofit to be involved in things that look a lot like lobbying.”

Also:

Gates’ financing for initiatives like the federal Race to the Top (RTT) grant competition and in creating “intermediate organizations” to carry out its mission: “Heavens, this is some pretty direct stuff.”

Fourteen of 16 RTT-winning states received Gates funding for consultants to help write their applications for federal money. RTT grants also committed winning states to the Common Core before it was written.

“The Gates Foundation’s agenda has become the country’s agenda in education,” Michael Petrilli, vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2009 after four Gates employees moved to the U.S. Department of Education. Two US DOE transfers from Gates received Obama administration waivers from its conflict of interest policy banning lobbyists from becoming high-ranking federal employees.

“Gates has a sort of magnetic force” to attract media attention, other donors, and politicians Reckhow said, noting “the single-mindedness with which they pursue an agenda.” Because of this, Gates priorities can “crowd out” others.
The foundation has directly sponsored state departments of education and myriad groups who aim to influence policymakers. In 2012, it gave $1.9 million to the Kentucky Department of Education “to examine the use of high-quality curriculum to accelerate common core state standards implementation.” The Pennsylvania Business Roundtable got $257,391 “to educate Pennsylvania opinion leaders, policymakers, the media, and the public on Common Core State Standards and the Common State Assessment.” The Foundation for Excellence in Education received $151,068 “to complete a statewide communications campaign in Florida … on why there is a drop in school grades, why it is temporary, and how raising the bar on education standards leads to greater student success.”

For more examples of Gates’ influence on one education policy, view this spreadsheet of all its grants related to the Common Core, which include development, money for states to put it in place, and messaging to target groups like politicians, teachers, and business leaders.

Nearly everyone interviewed for this article agreed Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation’s employees are, as Greene put it, “good people trying to do good things.” But that does not quell their concerns.

“I don’t think many people will quibble the good intentions of these foundations, but that they subvert the basic democratic processes designed to help encourage liberty and equality is what we should be concerned about,” Thomas said.

Read the rest.

Posted February 11, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

TX Education Commissioner Robert Scott: Testimony Opposing Common Core 2-6-2013   2 comments

Robert Scott was the Texas Commissioner of Education when Common Core rolled into town on the Race to the Top grant application train.

In this video, he says many important things.  None are more important than his opening, where he states that his experience with the Common Core started:  “when I was asked to sign on to them before they were written. I was told I needed to sign a letter agreeing to the Common Core and I asked if I might read them first, which is, I think, appropriate and I was told they hadn’t been written but they still wanted my signature on the letter.  And I said, ‘That’s absurd; first of all I don’t have the legal authority to do that because our law requires our elected state board of education to adopt curriculum standards to be done with the direct input of Texas teachers, parents and business.  So adopting something that was written behind closed doors in another state would not meet my state law.”

This is an extremely important testimony for anyone weighing the decision of remaining tied to Common Core rules, or breaking free.

Department of Education Stealth in Data (Surveillance) Setup   50 comments

After a recent town hall meeting, I stood in line to mention to my visiting Congressman that the Department of Education had gone behind Congress’ back to alter FERPA (family privacy law) that circumvented parental consent and broadened definitions of who gets access to personal student data, including nonacademic and family data.

This is, of course, dangerous to student privacy and ultimately, to citizen autonomy.

The Congressman said he was interested in more information about what the Department of Education had done.  So, here is what I have shared, and I share it here, too, for anyone who’s interested in parental consent laws or student privacy protection.

The interplay of the several Dept. of Ed. actions  reveal to me that a main reason the Executive Branch alloted so much money toward incentivizing Common Core to states, is this fact: common, national tests will collect so much data, to be perusable by the federal government –and others.

“Others” will include public-private-partnerships (PPP’s) as modeled by global-education sales giant Pearson. Pearson’s CEA,  Michael Barber –who is quoted often and praised by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan– says that  education standards should be the same globally, and that global data must be  perused “without borders”.  See Pearson’s new global education data bank .

Arne Duncan  is aware of the limitations of the federal role in educational decision making and data collection, legally, in America.

Still, he meddled.  He altered the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations to benefit the Dept. of Education’s testing/data collection goals; the FERPA alterations will continue to benefit corporations, notably Pearson; and will link to various state and federal agencies under the Data Quality Campaign. Any “authorized representative” who claims to be a “stakeholder” –even a school “volunteer” can access the now loosened rules about seeing personally identifiable information (PII) unless a school refuses to collect it in the first place. You will notice that the Federal Register speaks out of both sides of its mouth about loosening and preserving privacy rights. It is impossible to do both, and the Dept. of Education has not done both.

It loosened the requirement that school systems previously were under; previously, schools had to get parental consent (or above 18-yr-old students’) consent, before sharing data.  It also altered definitions of terms including “directory information” and “educational agency.”  Very dangerous stuff.

The alterations by the Dept. of Education really need a context, to understand the motives, and why the Dept. didn’t wait for Congressional approval.

So, in addition to recommending you read the incredibly boring but vital Federal Register vol 76.232:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/html/2011-30683.htm  which laid out the alterations to FERPA– in addition to that, I’m also recommending reading:

1. A link to the lawsuit filed by EPIC (Electronic Privacy Info Center) against the Dept. of Ed: http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

2. A “Cooperative Agreement” – another super boring but vital “governmentspeak” document that shows the Sec. Arne Duncan micromanagement and oversight that the Dept. of Ed plans to have over citizen data, via national test consortia: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

3. A link to the National Data Collection Model’s recommended data points, for schools to collect (including health-care history, family income, nicknames, family voting status, gestational age of students at birth, student ID number, and bus stop times among other pieces of information on the student and the families. http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary

4. The official White House push for “robust data” for tracking of citizens (students): http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ed_data_commitments_1-19-12.pdf  and by Sec. Duncan: http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/06/06082009.html

5. The SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System) information. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/index.asp  SLDS was bought with ARRA Stimulus money; every state bought one and they must be interoperable; they track students/citizens using personally identifiable information that includes biometric, psychometric, nonacademic and academic info.

6. A link to the Race to the Top application, since it shows that one of the points necessary was the SLDS people-tracking database. http://www.schools.utah.gov/arra/Uses/Utah-Race-to-the-Top-Application.aspx  The No Child Left Behind waiver pushes the same thing. See: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/federalized-education/facts-about-the-no-child-left-behind-waivers/  and http://pdflike.com/read.php?url=http://www.nsba.org/SchoolLaw/Issues/NCLB/NSBAFederalGuidanceDocumentsandPublications/ESEA-Flexibility-Request.pdf

7. Another link to how FERPA alterations of the USDE allow DNA, fingeprints, voiceprints and other biometric records to be used to identify persons. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf  This link states: “’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.”

By stealth, and by financial incentivization to states (increasingly to school districts directly, in states that rejected Common Core data collection tests), it appears that the Department of Education used school systems to create a strong citizen surveillance web, better known as “robust data.”

It turns out that the Constitutional rights-saving fairies are off duty.  They’ve left it up to you and me.

We, the People, must call the Dept. of Education on this.

Utah Bill SB100   7 comments

If you live in Utah, and if you are concerned about the “global governance” (U.N. over U.S.) agenda in books and many schools, please contact your senator and tell them we want to AMEND OUT the part of the bill that gives advantages to students who enroll in the IB (a global governance indoctrination program) International Baccalaureate (IB).

We will want to defeat the bill if it stays in its present form, but we are asking for AN AMENDMENT to take the expensive and not-America-centered “IB” portion out.  Why? Because IB teaches our kids that no country is blessed with a superior system; all governments are equally acceptable.  (That includes communist, socialist, dictatorship-based and all other systems.)

Children should hold our U.S. Constitution and our nation’s great, God-fearing founders in a place of honor.  IB does not teach this.

PLEASE CONTACT UTAH SENATORS – START WITH YOUR OWN SENATOR — be sure to let them know you are a constituent.   (See contact info below)

SB-100 HIGHER EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP AMENDMENTS (Sponsor: Jerry Stevenson)

See bill text here: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillint/sb0100.pdf

This bill passed committee and will be debated and voted on in the Senate.  It “allows the Board of Regents to assign additional weights to grades earned in International Baccalaureate program courses in determining scholarship eligibility in the Regents’ Scholarship Program.”  We must educate our Senators about the downsides of the International Baccalaureate program.

Facts About International Baccalaureate (IB)

(International Baccalaureate Organization — IB Diploma Programme)  http://www.ibo.org/become/guidance/

http://youtu.be/n_6u9a6xiKo?t=45s  -news broadcast on I.B. in Idaho

IB Magazine: http://www.ibo.org/ibworld/jan2010/index.cfm

Fiscal-Accountability-Research Considerations

•The IB is neither transparent nor accountable to the Utah State Office of Education or the Utah State Legislature.
•The IB is expensive and lacks fiscal restraint when Utah shows nearly $20 billion in debt.
•The IB requires an international contract with arbitration under Swiss law.
•The IB is over-rated and lacks substantive research and shows no significant difference against competitive programs such as the Advanced Placement Program to justify its costly materials and professional development.

Political-Philosophical-Religious Considerations

•In 1924 at Oxford University the finest progressive political/philosophical minds founded the IB with the intent to educate children of League of Nations, and later U.N., employees and ambassadors from many nations.
•In 1984 President Ronald Reagan withdrew US membership from UNESCO, calling it “un-American.”
•UNESCO was a founding sponsor and continues to be its close ally and collaborator.
•Until it became unpopular, the IB publicly endorsed the UN’s radical Earth Charter as its foundational philosophy, crafted by Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, chairman of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit whose declaration document was entitled Agenda 21.
•Both The Earth Charter and Agenda 21 share the same tenets: ◦Global unilateral disarmament (a violation of the Second Amendment);
◦Population control (including abortion on demand);
◦Extremist environmental policies that infringe on private property rights and that do not need scientific research to prove they are valid;
◦Redistribution of wealth through a global environmental tax, already in force federally and through foreign aid to eradicate poverty, undercutting domestic prosperity and free enterprise.

Because of all of the links to UN organizations and the global agenda indoctrination that is part of the IB curriculum, many parents will opt to keep their children out of IB programs. It is NOT fair that their students will then be at a disadvantage when applying for scholarships!

(go here to find your Senator: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp)

Express  concerns over giving weighted consideration to IB, and ask them to VOTE “YES” on Amendments to take IB out of the bill!

Sen. Luz Robles 801-550-6434 cell
Sen. Jim Dabakis 801-815-3533 cell
Sen. Gene Davis 801-647-8924 cell
Sen. Pat Jones 801-278-7667 hm
Sen. Karen Mayne 801-968-7756 hm
Sen. Wayne Harper 801-566-5466 hm
Sen. Deidre Henderson 801-787-6197 cell
Sen. Brian Shiozawa 801-230-3406 hm
Sen. Wayne Niederhauser 801-942-3398 hm
Sen. Aaron Osmond 801-888-8742 cell
Sen. Howard Stephenson 801-572-1038 hm
Sen. Daniel Thatcher 801-759-4746 cell
Sen. Mark Madsen 801-361-4787 wk
Sen. John Valentine 801-224-1693 hm
Sen. Margaret Dayton 801-221-0623 hm * NO NEED TO CALL HER – SHE GETS IT!
Sen. Curt Bramble 801-361-5802 cell
Sen. Peter Knudson 435-730-4569 cell
Sen. Stuart Reid 801-337-4182 cell
Sen. Allen Christensen 801-782-5600 hm
Sen. Scott Jenkins 801-731-5120 hm
Sen. Stuart Adams 801-593-1776 hm
Sen. Todd Weiler 801-599-9823 cell
Sen. Ralph Okerlund 435-979-7077 cell
Sen. Lyle Hillyard 435-753-0043 hm
Sen. Kevin VanTassell 435-790-0675 cell
Sen. David Hinkins 435-384-5550 hm
Sen. Evan Vickers 435-817-5565 cell
Sen. Steven Urquhart 435-668-7759 wk

The Bill Sponsor is Sen. Jerry Stevenson 801-678-3147 cell
Make sure he understands IB and is willing to amend it out of the bill!

HERE ARE E-MAIL ADDRESSES

dhinkins@le.utah.gov
kvantassell@le.utah.gov
lhillyard@le.utah.gov
rokerlund@le.utah.gov
tweiler@le.utah.gov
jsadams@le.utah.gov
jwstevenson@le.utah.gov
sjenkins@le.utah.gov
achristensen@le.utah.gov
screid@le.utah.gov
pknudson@le.utah.gov
curt@cbramble.com
mdayton@le.utah.gov
jvalentine@le.utah.gov
mmadsen@le.utah.gov
dthatcher@le.utah.gov
hstephenson@le.utah.gov
aosmond@le.utah.gov
wniederhauser@le.utah.gov
standoc10@comcast.net
dhenderson@le.utah.gov
wharper@le.utah.gov
kmayne@le.utah.gov
pjones@le.utah.gov
gdavis@le.utah.gov
jdabakis@le.utah.gov
lrobles@le.utah.gov
surquhart@le.utah.gov
evickers@le.utah.gov

Video from Nevada Principal – How I.B. compares to A.P.

This video assesses the qualities of I.B. and A.P., tells which program most universities prefer, which program offers more choices to students, what similarities exist between A.P. and I.B. programs; the principal prefers A.P.

Video: Dr. Christopher Tienken – End Standardization of Common Core; Diversify   4 comments

Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall has spoken out against Common Core because it’s made such wide-reaching education policy– based on dataless claims.

He speaks of the “educational crisis myth” and of “educational malpractice.”

In this video, he explains how the Common Core fails us. He calls Common Core an anti-intellectual, illogical version of “imitate and regurgitate” rather than teaching innovation, creativity and meaningful, high quality education.

So where should we go?

Tienken says we must end standardization. We should commit to a guiding paradigm that puts the interests and abilities of individuals first. He says, “We can do better than myths, fears and lies; we need to expand, enrich and diversify.”

Incredibly well done video:

The 2013 New Year’s Resolution of the Utah State School Board   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin

Last month I learned that the New Year’s Resolution of famous political analyst Michelle Malkin is to stop Common Core.

See her syndicated column and blog here: http://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/23/rotten-to-the-core-obamas-war-on-academic-standards-part-1/

So I wrote to the Utah State School Board, asking what their New Year’s Resolutions were. I received one response, from Dixie Allen, a stauch common core and Obama supporter.  I ‘ll post Dixie’s response after my query.

(You’ll be interested to see that my board representative is super excited about adopting Common Core rules for additional academic subjects, (Social studies and science) and that she shows no signs of enlightenment or concern that lost Utah freedoms due to Common Core are getting harder,  the further we invest state time and money, to reclaim.)

— —- —

Dear State School Board,

http://michellemalkin.com/ http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/338428/common-core-corrupts-michelle-malkin

This year, Fox News Political Analyst Michelle Malkin’s widely publicized new year’s resolution is to expose Common Core for the disaster it is, to return America to high quality education and to reinstate educational constitutional freedom. So is mine.

I wonder, what is your educational New Year’s resolution?

Christel Swasey
— — —

Christel,

As one of my constituents, I owe you a response to your question. My New Year’s resolution is to work to be sure that our Core Curriculum contains all the objectives necessary to be sure our students are Career and College Ready [Career and College ready is Obama's code word for Common Core national education standards] as they leave our system of education. That will require our readdressing our Social Studies and Science Curriculum and evaluate if there are any issues with our current Core Curriculum in Math and Language Arts that needs additions or tweaks. This is a constant job of the State Board and our specialists at USOE. However, it is a very worthwhile assignment that truly needs to happen on a continuous basis, as our students change and require different methods of instruction and sometimes different learning objectives to insure they are ready for the 21st Century of higher education and work and are capable of competing on the world’s stage.

Thanks for asking!

Dixie

— — —

Dear Dixie,

Those sound like noble goals.

In order to reach the goals the state board will need to –in writing and on the official Utah website– define “Career and College Ready” higher, and in a more academically sound way than the Dept. of Education has defined it.

The Dept. only defines it as having the same standards as other states. Sameness, as you know, has nothing to do with adequacy. (See the ed.gov website definitions page.)

Since Common Core defines vocational school, 2-year and 4-year college prep as the same thing, it defines college readiness way, way down. It hurts the average and above average student. Please redefine that term for Utahns. Reassure us that we have standards beyond “staying the same as the pack.”

I agree with you that the common core math requires a lot of “tweaking”. It is a very weak math that is far behind impressive nations (and far behind impressive state standards like Massachusetts’ standards were before Common Core. )

To ensure that we retain the power to tweak our math, we will need to make sure that the 15% cap on the standards, that was placed by the Dept of Education, is not recognized as applying to our Utah math standards. The same would apply to their not allowing literature beyond 30% in high school English classrooms, too. We want to give teachers and school districts the freedom to teach as much classic literature as they feel is proper college prep.

Can you get that in writing for us?

Pleas also get in writing from the DOE and from the copyright holders, the NGA/CCSSO, that we will not be limited by the NGA copyright nor by the 15% cap the DOE placed on the copyrighted standards?

We need to proactively assert our own authority over our own Utah standards or we will have no voice very soon.

Thank you for your response.

Christel
—- — —

But she neglected to respond to those questions.  I really wish she would have.  Are they not important enough??

If any of you want to write to the board: Board@schools.utah.gov

Utah Legislation Going On Right Now   Leave a comment

Senator Aaron Osmond

State School Board Chair Debra Roberts

Representative Kraig Powell

Governor Gary Herbert

We are not put here on earth only to eat cupcakes, to quote one another and make each other feel lovely.  We are here to STAND UP and DO something when we see our freedoms being threatened, or when we see corruption or cruelty or lying or any wrong thing.

One verse that I particularly relate to in the Book of Mormon is this:  “And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.”  (Alma 59:13)

I could paste it right into my diary:  “And it came to pass that Christel was angry with the [Utah State School Board, Federal Dept. of Education, Governor Herbert, Representative Powell and Senator Aaron Osmond] because of their indifference concerning the [educational] freedom of the country.”

In the Book of Mormon, there are two Moronis.  This Moroni was a military captain, a great patriot, of whom it was previously written:  “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. (Alma 48:17)

Where are our local Moronis?  I think in D.C. we have two:  I’ve seen Senator Chaffetz and Senator Lee each valiantly take on corruption and assaults on America’s freedom.  Lee fought Hillary Clinton’s U.N. “Let’s take over the American oceans” treaty.  Chaffetz put the “Fast and the Furious” corruption on trial at the Executive level.  I haven’t followed all they’ve done, but what I’ve seen matches the spirit of Moroni’s fight for freedom.

But locally, we could really use more.

Today, I’m extremely upset with Senator Aaron Osmond for promoting SB100, a bill sponsored by Sen. J. Stevenson.  I realize these legislators don’t have malicious intent, but neither do they seem to see what is so clear when you have studied what socialism is, and what our Constitution is supposed to protect.  They just haven’t studied enough!

If you go to the Utah Legislative website right now it will say that the bill is passing merrily along with no trouble.  Why?  Have these legislators really not done any homework at all, or are they complicit with the socialist/globalist goals of those who wish to degrade the United States? SB100 gives preferential treatment to IB schooling in Utah, (and permits the expense of IB).  International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, curriculum and tests are in no way accountable to Utah teachers, parents or the State School Board. It is a program run globally out of Switzerland, with tests graded by IB staff, and no say for any local voice in what is tested or taught. None. Additionally, IB curriculum promotes global citizenship, meaning that any country or system (such as the U.S. Constitution and its God-respecting principles) is no better or worse than ANY other– it’s equally to be taught and honored as is the communism of China, the socialism of Sweden, or the evil dictatorship of North Korea.  IB cloaks itself in tolerance and global awareness, but it is anti-American in its refusal to acknowledge the superiority and goodness of any political system over another.  There are other problems with IB.  But that is the only one that is a real dealbreaker for me.

Meanwhile, Representative Kraig Powell has bought, hook, line and sinker, the notion that “global warming” and “climate change” are settled science– so much so that he’s pushing a bill run by environmentalist extremists in Utah.  If you read the Twitter feeds or the newspapers, you will see it.  http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55764715-90/utah-climate-committee-bill.html.csp?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

It’s funny because just this week, there’s also news that makes Rep. Powell’s ideas look silly, saying that science shows humans are not creating global warming, even if it is somehow legitimately ever proven that the earth is warming, that it’s going to do real damage, or that legislation can alter its outcomes.  Read that science here:  http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/11/19/study-drought-trends-estimates-possibly-overstated-due-to-inaccurate-science/ and here: http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/13919-new-report-man-made-global-warming-is-a-farce

I’ve never spoken to Sen. J. Stevenson, but have repeatedly spoken with Senator Osmond and Kraig Powell about these bills and I’ve asked them to run bills helping Utah to shake itself free of the chains of Common Core.  Neither will act.  Senator Osmond, of course, is an employee of Pearson Company, the main purveyor of Common Core and global same-education implementation products worldwide, (and Pearson has huge contracts with the State School Board of Utah) so Osmond’s not motivated to even study this stuff.

Powell, I can’t figure out.  I see him in the hallway at church sometimes and we smile at each other and there’s no animosity from either of us.  He knows a ton about Common Core because many of us in Heber have knocked ourselves over trying to educate him and get him to help us in this fight.  But he has a lot of liberal and socialist friends, and friends in education who believe the claims of the proponents of Common Core.  And I guess that’s why he won’t act.  I don’t know, really.

Then there’s Governor Herbert.  Just this week he was in D.C. testifying about how wonderful it is that Utah is aligning education with business to create a managed workforce.  Sorry, but the whole Prosperity 2020 thing sounds exactly like socialism to me: manage the people; use your “human capital,” and I don’t see much liberty or individuality in that. Our Governor is likewise doing nothing about the data collection invasion that his state technology director, John Brandt, is foisting upon Utah, using six Utah agencies in his Utah Data Alliance.  Brandt gives speeches for the federal agencies like NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) as well.  He cannot be ignorant about the damages he’s doing to student and citizen privacy in our state.  Can the governor be?

I hope and pray that better people will be willing to study these important issues, compare them to the original founding fathers’ documents, and to scripture, and to common sense, and to real, actual, empirical science.

I hope many of these good people then decide to run for office or school board or city council –or at least teach those who do, by studying the political movements and by trying to influence them correctly.

We need more people with good brains and solid hearts, who have an abiding testimony that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of freedom and truth, that the Constitution is a tangible reality to honor –and not something to claim that you honor while you write socialist bills.

I get the feeling that Herbert, Powell and Osmond actually like people like me.  They see us as cheerleaders for the Constitution and for the GOP.  They pat us on the head, figuratively, and say, “Run along now, dearie, and thanks for your enthusiasm,” while they continue to lead us down the path toward total socialism, which is the same thing, years down the developmental (progressive) path, as communism:  total control of the state of each individual, including the absorption of property rights and family authority over the child.  This is what I see as the result of  Powell’s climate philosophy, Osmond’s education bill, and Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 (business-and-education-partnership).

Yes, I’m angry.  We deserve more from these men.

Want to “shake the powers of hell” like Moroni?  Vote in some guys like this ancient defender of freedom:

“And Moroni was… a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood… this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.” (Alma 48)

Moroni wrote a letter to his political representative.  He said:

“Great has been your neglect towards us.  And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.  Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?” (Alma 60)

And that is how I feel.  The neglect of Herbert, Powell, the State School Board and Osmond is not a lack of sending provisions, but in their having done so little research homework, or, if they have done their research, the neglect is in not acting upon the truth when they learned it.

Common Core Videos: Council of Great City Schools vs. American Principles Project   Leave a comment

The Council of Great City Schools

The Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) is paid by the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core.  CGCS makes videos such as “From the Page to the Classroom: Implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Literacy”

Watchable here:

CGCS also made this video http://vimeo.com/51933492  to  supply the background for the Common Core Standards. (But there’s no mention in these videos that The Council of Great City Schools received many millions of dollars to promote Common Core, from Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation.)

Jane Robbins,  Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project

Compare those two CGCS videos to this short video series put out by the American Principles Project, together with Concerned Women of Georgia.  Watching them together is quite an education.  http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/stop-the-common-core/

To Honor, Uphold and Sustain the Law… Even When You Think You Have a Really Good Reason To Do Otherwise   Leave a comment

Utah Board of Education Chair

Debra Roberts

————————————————————————————————————————————

Thanks to Alyson Williams for this explanation of how our state board of education abdicated local autonomy.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

TO HONOR, UPHOLD AND SUSTAIN THE LAW
… even when you think you have a really good reason to do otherwise

by Alyson Williams
February 5, 2013

Board members insist that these standards are better… They also insist that there are benefits to having the same standards across states. They use these assertions as the justification for their acting outside their authority.

The Utah Constitution and related statutes establish the Utah State Board of Education and assign them authority to set standards for Utah students. Members of the State Board of Education are appointed or elected from a narrowed field of candidates to represent the citizens of Utah.

In adopting the Common Core State Standards it appears that the Utah State Board of Education abdicated their control over standards to unelected bodies* outside the jurisdiction of the State or Federal government, and usurped the role of parents or citizens to monitor or give feedback to the process.

This is not how standards have been established in our state before.

The authority to do it this way can’t have been implied or hidden in their legal commission, because this is a newly invented process. This is a creative path to national standards through private brokers who are not constrained by federal laws that would prevent the Federal Government from doing the same thing.

Abdicating authority (whether voluntary or motivated by federal or financial considerations) is not an option established under the constitutional commission given to the State Board of Education. Any right not specifically given to the Board by law is a right that is retained by the people.

The people of Utah did not vote directly, or indirectly through the representative voice of the legislature, to transfer the standards-setting authority to another body.

Board members claim to have retained control by representing the citizens of Utah during the standards writing process. Again, this was not their commission. Furthermore, the Board can point to no specific input or influence they had on the final, copyrighted, standards. In light of the fact that 46 other states were also involved, and they had zero input on who was hired to write the standards, any influence real or imagined would have been highly diluted.

There is broad disagreement on the quality of the standards. The term “scientifically-based” seems to have been re-defined to mean the opinions of few “experts” rather than peer-reviewed research. The wording of certain standards doesn’t just specify what the student should know, but how they should be able to demonstrate that knowledge which in some cases requires or favors specific, controversial methods of teaching.

Still, board members insist that these standards are better than Utah’s previous standards. They also insist that there are benefits to having the same standards across states. They use these assertions as the justification for their acting outside their authority.

Even if they were the best standards ever, or if the arguments for homogeny outweighed the real challenges of aligning demographically and financially diverse states, the end does not justify the means.

Despite a well-documented timeline and recorded statements that would suggest a correlation between the adoption of the standards and federal incentives in the form of Race to the Top grant money and a waiver from No Child Left Behind, the Board insists that Common Core does not represent a Federal overreach in violation of the 10th Ammendment and several other federal laws.

Finally, the Common Core State Standards do not represent the competing opinions of a diverse group of education experts. The writers were a group of like-minded education reformers. The writing, evaluation and promotion of the standards was paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. While the State Board of Education can assert that they themselves were not influenced by the special interests of those funding the process, they cannot claim that the standards themselves were not wholly influenced by the education reform ideals of the funders.

It is a violation of trust that our elected officials would be complicit in a re-organization of the standards setting process that favors well-funded outside interests over the voice of the people.

* Unelected bodies include :

–the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

– the National Governors’ Association (NGA)

– the Department of Education (USDE)

–the 2 testing consortia: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and

–Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC)

DATA COLLECTION UPDATE   1 comment

WHAT WE KNOW:

1. ALL UTAHNS ARE TRACKED VIA SCHOOLS USING A FEDERALLY PROMOTED AND PAID-FOR SLDS.

I have an email from the State School Board that says there is no possibility for my student to opt out of being tracked. When a parent signs his/her child up for school, the information is gathered and added to, throughout the life of that child because of the State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS). The SLDS was paid for by the federal government and all states accepted the money and built this interoperable system. It works with the P-20 (preschool through workforce) council, which is appointed by the Governor.  http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=UT

2. THE TRACKING OF CITIZENS GOES BEYOND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND STATE OFFICE OF EDUCATION.

The Utah Data Alliance, directed by John Brandt, links six state agencies to share the data collected by schools. These include workforce services; the system is a socialist program to align education and workforce and manage the people as “human capital,” one of their favorite phrases. According to a John Brandt online powerpoint, federal agencies also receive access to the data in the Utah Data system. According to the Joanne Weiss, chief of staff of the Dept. of Education, federal agencies are mashing data and are going to be “helpful” to states “wishing” to do the same.

3. INTEROPERABILITY WAS REQUIRED OF ALL SLDS SYSTEMS FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES.

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=WA

4. REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN ALTERED WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL CONCERNING PRIVACY LAW.

The Dept. of Education changed definitions and broadened allowances of the Family Education Rights Privacy Act. Though they have been sued for this move, the fact remains that without parental consent, researchers, federal agencies and any “authorized” volunteer can look at the collected data, which includes biometric information (personally identifiable).

5. DATA POINTS TO BE COLLECTED BY STATES HAVE BEEN “RECOMMENDED” BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income, family voting status, gestational age of students at birth, student ID number, and bus stoptimes among other pieces of information on the student and their families. You can view the National Data Collection Model database attributes (data categories) at http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary

6. DEPT. OF EDUCATION COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS CONTRACTED WITH TESTING CONSORTIA MANDATE INFORMATION SHARING

This means that there is a triangulation of tests, test data and federal supervision (all highly illegal under G.E.P.A. law and the 10th Amendment).  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:

1. John Brandt has not revealed the exact number of people or agencies in Utah (or elsewhere) who have access to the personally identifiable information collected by schools on individuals. He does not return emails or phone calls.

2. At what point does “allowance” to share information turn into “must” share information? The FERPA alterations right now only removed the requirement for schools to keep the data on students private without parental consent. They have not yet mandated that schools must share the data without parental consent. But we also don’t know which identified information is being shared with which agency in Utah, or which agency outside Utah. We just don’t know.

3. What effect will the Common Core (national) testing have on the data collection and ease of persual by the federal agencies? Is there a “Cooperative Agreement” between Utah’s test writer, the American Institutes for Research, and the federal government, as there is with the other testing consortia SBAC and PARCC?

Indiana Department of Education: “It’s Not Easy To Get Rid of Common Core”   Leave a comment

An article in today’s Heartland Institute, by Joy Pullman, quotes Indiana’s State Superintendent and the Department spokesman saying that Indiana must re-evaluate the Common Core Standards and that “It’s not easy to get rid of Common Core.”

 http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/05/bipartisan-leaders-rethink-indianas-common-core-participation

Bipartisan Leaders Rethink Indiana’s Common Core Participation 

by Joy Pullman

A bill to withdraw Indiana from Common Core national education standards is morphing into a bipartisan bid to have the state reconsider with more public input.

When 46 states signed the initiative in 2010, few held public hearings. Kentucky even agreed to adopt the requirements for what K-12 kids should know in English and math before they were published. Even now, nearly three years later, legislators, teachers, parents, and the general public routinely report in interviews and opinion polls they’ve never heard of the Core.

Lack of public input is a central concern of state Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), Senate Bill 193’s original author. During a January 16 hearing on the bill, however, he publicly noted testimony from Indiana Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Vice President Derek Redelman. Redelman worried that by overriding a state board of education vote to adopt the Core, the legislature was thwarting established procedure.

A Senate Education Committee vote on SB 193 was scheduled for Jan. 23, but has been moved back several times and now is slated for Feb. 13. The delays reflect a pending amendment to the bill “to make it more acceptable to a greater number of members on the committee,” said Education Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn).

Once senators pin down the amendment, the bill will likely put the Common Core on hold in Indiana, Kruse said. That means it would stay in place for kindergarten and first grade, where the state has already phased it in. Between the bill becoming law and the end of 2013, it would have the state department of education hold one public hearing in each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts. The bill would also require the governor’s budget office to analyze the Core’s costs to the state over the next five years. After that, the bill may require the Education Roundtable, a board under the governor’s purview, and state board of education to publicly reconsider their 2010 decision.

“More people are aware of [Common Core] now than the first time around,” Kruse told School Reform News. “So even though groups may try to approve it again, we’ll have more people involved in the decision.”

Despite these accommodations to ICC concerns, the chamber has issued email blasts to members, asking them to pit their state senators against SB 193.

“Common Core is under assault from a contingent of out-of-state special interests, tea party activists and conservative Republican legislators,” reads one email from ICC President Kevin Brinegar.

Since 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Common Core’s underwriter stationed in Washington state, gave the ICC’s parent organization $3.8 million to “engage the business community” to support national standards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce then disseminated this money and advocacy to its state and local members, according to public tax documents.

Newly elected state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat and former teachers union president, has signaled her support for SB 193 based on concerns she’s heard from teachers, administrators, and parents around the state, said Indiana Department of Education spokesman David Galvin.

“Indiana had exceptional standards before Common Core,” Ritz said in a statement. “The Indiana Department of Education, and its board, must re-evaluate Common Core Standards to determine what parts we will accept or reject and determine which of our current Indiana standards should be retained.”

Ritz also plans to withdraw Indiana from Common Core tests because she is against high-stakes testing, Galvin said, and is investigating whether she can decide that herself or if that move requires approval from the governor or board of education.

The idea is to make an Indiana standard, to take the best of these programs and make our own,” Galvin said. Ritz agrees with conservative critics that the Core constitutes “removal of local control. That’s something the superintendent wants to reinstall,” he said.

Ditching the Core may cost the state federal education money, he noted, because its federal No Child Left Behind waiver requires involvement.

“It’s not easy to get rid of Common Core,” he said.

— — —

Declaration of Independence from Common Core   2 comments

Declaration of Independence from Common Core

–inspired by the 1776 Declaration of Independence

February 5, 2013.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary…[for parents and teachers] to dissolve the [educational policy] bands which have connected them with [Common Core Governance] and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, [Educational] Liberty and the pursuit of [Educational] Happiness [while free from surveillance tracking by government longitudinal databases and P-20 Councils].

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government [such as the Common Core Initiative] becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it [Common Core Initiative], and to institute new [education policy], laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that [High standards, such as those held previously by Massachusetts, California and other states] long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations [such as those brought by Common Core and its testing and data collection] pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government [False Educational Standards], and to provide new Guards for their future security.[State-vetted standards]

–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies [States] ; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government [Education policy]. The history of the present  [Governance of Common Core] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

[Common Core Governance refuses to allow those governed by it, to vote or consent to its standards, tests, data collection and rules] which is wholesome and necessary for the public good.
[Common Core Governance has made promises of academic grandeur without showing empirical evidence or references for these claims; when pressed, Common Core governance has] utterly neglected to attend to them.

[Common Core Governance has, by sliding under the public radar, essentially forbidden state legislators] to [have time to see rules] of immediate and pressing importance, [dealing with Common Core's cost and academic veracity.

[Common Core Governance] has refused to [allow Constitutional education and has asked]  large districts of people [to]   relinquish the right of Representation in the [Common Core Governance], a right inestimable to them…

[Common Core Governance] has called together [teacher professional development conference] bodies at places… for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
[Common Core Governance has bribed and/or deceived state leaders and thus] has dissolved [the rights of sovereignty of states and school districts] repeatedly, [and has dismissed with mislabling, as extremists, any who stand] opposing with manly firmness [these] invasions on the rights of the people.

[Common Core Governance has refused to provide a method of amendment for the Common Core] and has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States [from having a fair voice in their creation]; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for [writing and amendment of standards]; refusing to [ask Congress] before altering family privacy regulations; and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of [Private Student Data], the States remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of [privacy] invasion from without, and convulsions within.
[Common Core Governance] has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by [breaking Constitutional law and the General Educational Provisions Act] by [entering into micromanaging Cooperative Agreements with test-writing consortia].

[Common Core testing Governance] has made [all schools and teachers] dependent on [its] Will  for the tenure of their offices, and the [continued] payment of their salaries.

[Common Core Governance] has made [school districts and teachers] dependent on [its] Will [even in states that rejected Common Core, such as Texas, by bribing districts with money under Race To The Top], a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.

[Common Core Governance] has erected a multitude of New Offices, [and technologies] and sent hither swarms of Officers [propaganda-wielding spokespeople] to harrass our people, and eat out their [hearts and minds] substance.
[Common Core Governance]  has kept among us… standing [educational standards and citizen surveillance tools, including P-20 Councils and federally funded State Longitudinal Database Systems] without the Consent of our legislatures.
[Common Core Governance]  has affected to render the [unelected boards such as Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors' Association] independent of and superior to the Civil power.
[Common Core Governance]  has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; [this includes quoting from, accepting money from, and/or aligning with the goals of, anti-constitutional activists such as Bill Gates, Bill Ayers, and Sir Michael Barber and UNESCO,] giving  Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of [unwanted educational rules such as the rule that eliminates cursive writing for all children, the deletion of the majority of classic literature for all students, and the diminishment of traditional math teaching] among us:
For protecting them, [the unwanted rules] by a mock Trial [Common Core Validation Commttee], from punishment for any [damages] which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our [ability to innovate via the 15% limit on improvements to Common Core]:

For imposing [Common Core education, data collection, and tests] on us without our Consent [nor a vote]:

For depriving us … of the benefits of [a standards] Trial [the standards having not been tried anywhere before their imposition on the States]:

For [figuratively] transporting us beyond Seas to be [indoctrinated into 'global citizenship' above U.S. citizenship]
For abolishing the free System of [state sovereignty over education], establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies [States]:

For taking away our [local control], abolishing [or severely altering] our most valuable Laws [such as the Family Educational Rights Provisions Act], and altering fundamentally the Forms of our [local educational] Governments:

For suspending our own [local decisionmakers], and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all [educational testing, datat collection and standards] cases whatsoever.
[Common Core Governance] has abdicated [Constitutional] Government… by declaring [Common Core to be state-led],  thus waging educational War against us [using lies].

[Common Core Governance] has plundered our [literature], ravaged our [math], [ended our cursive writing lessons], and destroyed [freedom from student surveillance and longitudinal tracking] of our people.

[Common Core Governance] is at this time transporting large Armies of [social studies and science standards] to compleat the works of [educational damage]….

[Common Core Governance] has constrained our fellow [teachers] taken Captive on the high [propaganda] to bear [false witness in support of Common Core] against their [consciences], to become the [executers of Common Core and its tests] upon [students] friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by [losing their jobs].
[Common Core Governance] has excited domestic [corporations] amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [Common Core Implementation Opportunist] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of [formerly cherished traditional education] for all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. An [Educational Governance system] whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the [educational sovereign] of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our [state school boards]. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by the [Common Core Governance] to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our [high quality and control of education]. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the [teachers and parents] in the  united States of America… appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these [local school districts], solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be [Educationally] Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the [Common Core Governance]  and that all political connection between them and the [Common Core Governance] is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as [Educationally] Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy [Educational standards], conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish [non-CC-aligned educational] Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which [Educationally] Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our [Educational] Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

——————————————————————————–

Truth in American Education vs. “A Complete Resource Guide for Utah’s Core Standards”   1 comment

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/debunking-misconceptions-the-common-core-is-state-led/

Of all the things that the Truth in American Education site has posted, my favorite thing is that title.

Truth in American Education.  The title itself teaches a fact most Americans still don’t realize: that there are loads of lies parading as education reform improvements that need exposure via verifiable, well researched facts.  It does not matter if good people with good intentions, merely parroting information received from other organizations, tell those lies in all sincerity.  Sincerity does not trump truth.  Facts are still facts and the consequences for all of us are huge for aligning our school systems with such lies.

Our children’s futures are at stake, yet few parents stand up.  Why?  For those of us who are naturally nonconfrontational and trusting, the title, Truth in American Education, is a wakeup call that we should ask questions, verify claims and demand references for promises being spoken by authority figures in education reform today.  We should know our educational rights under the Constitution and know our rights as parents.  Don’t take unreferenced promises as answers.

Speaking of which: today I became aware of a 204-page document put out by the Utah State Office of Misinformation Education.

It’s called “A Complete Resource Guide  On Utah’s Core Standards.”

You can access the 204-pager here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B745qngYVLvVWXRFeU9MRUIzRTQ/edit?usp=sharing

http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/Utah-Core-Standards/CommonCoreResourceGuide.aspx

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an education scholar and whistleblower, one who is often quoted at the Truth in American Education website, happens to have read the 204-page Utah document, “A Complete Resource Guide  On Utah’s Core Standards.”

Stotsky previously served on the official Common Core Validation Committee and was among those who refused to sign off that the Common Core standards were, in fact, adequate.

Of “A Complete Resource Guide  On Utah’s Core Standards,” Stotsky states, “lies and unsupported claims” abound in the document.

She also writes:

“the writers didn’t even get the committee I was on right.  I was appointed to the Validation Committee, not the Standards Development Committee, and along with the one mathematician on the Validation Committee (and 3 others) declined to sign off on the final version of Common Core’s standards.

The writers keep repeating ad nauseam that Common Core was a state-led effort.  Everyone knows most of the effort was financed by the Gates Foundation and that Gates chose the standards writers who had no qualifications for writing K-12 standards in either ELA or math (David Coleman and Jason Zimba).

… I frankly can’t spend time on people who can’t document with citations their claims.   What country was used for international benchmarking?  Where’s the evidence?
The document simply repeats the false claims made by CCSSO from the beginning.”
— —– —
Despite not being willing to spend time rebutting a resource guide that fails to document its claims with citations, Dr. Stotsky took the time to bust 5 myths that the document contains:

1. Myth (Lie): Common Core was a state-led initiative.

Truth: Common Core was funded and directed behind-the-scenes by the Gates Foundation at every step. Gates funded NGA and CCSSO to serve as the front organizations, selected key people to be on the standards development committees (mostly from testing agencies), and funded many organizations, including the Fordham Institute and the PTA, to promote its adoption. Fordham was funded in particular to ensure that Common Core’s math and ELA standards (no matter what their condition) were given a high grade in a comparison review so that most states would accept the lie that CC’s standards were fewer, clearer, and more in-depth than whatever they had. Most states were willing to accept this lie because the USDE dangled RttT funds before their eyes. Gates and the USDE worked together on the incentives to states. Gates also funded the writing of many states’ applications for RttT funds by hiring consultants to write the applications for them.

2. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s standards were developed by the states—or by experts.

Truth: CC’s standards were written by people chosen by the Gates Foundation to write the standards: David Coleman and Jason Zimba, in particular. Coleman had no credentials for writing ELA standards, had never taught at any grade level, and was not a literary scholar. (Nor had his associate—Susan Pimentel. She had taught only in Head Start and had no degree in English.) Zimba, too, had never taught in K-12 mathematics, and had no experience in developing or writing math standards.

3. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s standards are internationally benchmarked.

Truth: Common Core’s standards were never internationally benchmarked because they couldn’t be. They are about two grades lower than what most other countries accept as “college readiness”. No countries have ever been mentioned by CCSSO as “benchmarking” countries.

4. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s standards prepare students for college or university.

Truth: Jason Zimba told the Massachusetts Board of Education in March 2010 that college readiness in mathematics means readiness for admission to a non-selective community college. (This is recorded in the minutes of the meeting.)

5. Myth (Lie): Common Core’s ELA standards promote literary study.

Truth: Coleman’s 50/50 mandate requires English teachers to teach to 10 informational reading standards and 9 literary standards each year. His mandate reduces literary study because English teachers must add informational texts to their curriculum. There is no research base showing that an increase in informational reading in the English class leads to greater college readiness. Just the contrary. The evidence, historical and empirical, shows that a focus on reading and discussing complex literature in high school leads to college readiness.

——————
What more can I possibly add to Dr. Stotsky’s clear corrections to the Utah State Office of Education?
–Maybe an acronym translator:
ELA – English Language Arts
NGA – National Governors’ Association (the group that with CCSSO created Common Core)
CCSSO – Council of Chief State School Officers (the group that with NGA created Common Core)
USDE (U.S. Department of Education)
RTTT – Race To The Top (a competitive grant opportunity that the federal government used to incentivize Common Core adoption to the states)
PTA (Parent-Teacher Association, a national group that promoted Common Core because Bill Gates paid them to)

Facebook: Governor Herbert Versus Parents on Education and Workforce Alignment   1 comment

Here’s a facebook thread from today that I think is significant.

Governor Gary R. Herbert wrote:

Preparing to testify before Congressional Committee on education and workforce alignment in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. Talking to Rod Decker about how Utah continues to impress the nation. Tomorrow I will tout Utah’s goal to attain post-secondary degrees or certificates for 66% of Utah’s working age population by 2020.

Like · · Share · 2 hours ago

15 people like this..

Alisa Olsen Ellis wrote:
I wish it were true that UT was leading out but in actuality we’re just following the crowd. We may be louder but we’re just going along with Obama’s 2020 goal. Look around every state has a 2020 plan. Even many other countries have a 2020 plan. UT’s was originally named Vision 2020 along with most other states but then we changed it to Prosperity 2020. Google Vision 2020 and you’ll see we’re just a follower. I wish you luck though….

Jason Christensen wrote:
Yes, please explain where exactly the 20 million is coming from and where the feds are to get the 20 million from? Or the near 1 billion cost to move the prison? Or your sell out on Obama’s/UN’s Common core? Or why you just will not have a back bone to enforce the US Constitution against the feds?

2 hours ago · Like · 3..

Christel Lane Swasey:
I wish that our state actually stood for Constitutional principles as it thinks it does. Whether it’s agreeing to obey federal gun control initatives above the 2nd Amendment, or agreeing to Obama’s 2020 plan (and calling it Utah’s) or whether it’s adopting the Common Core takeover of education and giving up our local control, I do not see Utah taking the lead in sustaining and defending the sacred Constitution.

26 minutes ago · Like · 5..

Anissa Wardell:
And we are giving personally identifiable information to the state without knowing how the state (office of education) is collecting and storing this information and giving it to other state programs who are tracking our children. Let’s be real honest here, Governor. We are not in that great of a position, and parents are just beginning to wake up to the fact that our own state school board has sold us out and you are siding with state employees on this issue as well as large corporations who stand to make a great deal of money with our children’s information not to mention with all the new curriculum that we will be having our money spent on! Utahns have entrusted people to protect our children and you are our very last line of defense and even you won’t stand up for them! Be a real Republican and stand up for constitutional principles….

10 minutes ago · Like · 1..

Alisa Olsen Ellis:
I couldn’t have said it better. I keep hearing reports from across the State that Common Core is one of the main topics brought up at town halls and yet we’re still doing nothing about it! The people with money and power want it and the parents DO NOT! What are we going to do about it? The career push is sickening. Do we seriously care about appearing as the “best managed state” so much that we’re willing to match education to the workforce and create a managed economy? Cradle to Career reform doesn’t match the values of this state…

Anissa Wardell:

What is happening is we are being turned into a socialist state…grooming our children for trades rather than letting them choose when they have a better idea of what really interests them. I changed my mind from 6th grade (which is where I hear they are beginning this garbage) through graduation at least 4 times! I want smart kids, I don’t want pre-programmed workers! The Utah State School Board/local school districts/the state of Utah are now in the business of data tracking and no guarantee as to the safety of this information has ever been given to parents. Maybe its time to get with LifeLock and suggest some products that the state can purchase for our children to guarantee their personal info is safe (at the expense of the state, not the children/parents)! Listen to the parents, Governor, not your business buddies!”

National Federation of Republican Women: Defeat Common Core   3 comments

The document I’ve pasted here is co-sponsored by the Republican Women’s Federations of Alabama, Nebraska, Delaware, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Do you think it is time for Utah to join them?

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION

Defeat National Standards for State Schools
Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention
Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011

WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;

WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;

WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;

WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);

BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing, (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.

Submitted by: Alabama Federation of Republican Women
Elois Zeanah, President

Co-Sponsors:

Nebraska Federation of Republican Women
Delaware Federation of Republican Women
Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women
Georgia Federation of Republican Women
Tennessee Federation of Republican Women

Lessons Learned from Sweden: Mireja Institute Calls Early Childhood Education Anti-Family   3 comments

  In light of Utah’s senator Aaron Osmond’s new early education bill in Utah, and similar U.S. errors happening nationwide, I think it’s appropriate to study the Mireja Institute website, with its many articles documenting the errors and lessons learned from Swedish  researchers who study problems of anti-family governmental policies, including early separation of children from parents.

Thank you to Jonas Himmelstrand of the Mireja Institute.

http://www.mireja.org/Resources/himmelstrand_lisbon_statement.pdf

The following article addresses how early childhood education hurts families.

Are the Swedish State family policies delivering?

by Jonas Himmelstrand
Member of the Haro national board, Sweden, http://www.haro.se.

 Lisbon May 25-27, 2010
in the Focus group of the Existential field: State Family Policies

Contact information:
Jonas Himmelstrand
Box 1837
SE-751 48 UPPSALA, Sweden
E-mail: jonas.himmelstrand@mac.com
Phone: +46 18 10 14 50
3 (18)

_____________________________________________________________

Professor Kimmo Jokinen from Finland ended his presentation this morning by saying that Sweden is regarded as the perfected welfare State with the best State family policies. This is indeed the picture that Sweden enjoys worldwide.

I will challenge that picture with statistical information and with observations from my professional and personal experiences in Sweden. My conclusion will be that the Swedish model should be researched carefully by people from outside Sweden if anyone is truly to know what the model actually delivers.

Most of you are familiar with the Swedish model. Our daycare is subsidised up to 90% by the State. A place in daycare is guaranteed within three months for any requesting parent of a child between ages 1 and 5. Sometimes the demand for daycare expands so
quickly there is no time to build new buildings. Instead we now have daycare centres on buses, which are promoted to the public with the idea that it is good for children to travel around and see new environments.

Sweden has a definite trend of de-familiarisation. This is openly stated as being a good thing, because parents are not deemed able to train and foster the development of their children on their own. State intervention is deemed necessary from one year of age on.
This has been a very clear message, voiced continuously by our State institutions, and it is now a part of Swedish culture.

This message also takes the form of encouragement to go to work directly after a mother’s 16-month parental leave. When a mother takes her soon to be one year-old baby for a medical check-up she will typically be asked: ”How do you feel now about going back
to work soon, because you are going back to work aren’t you?” When the child is 18  months of age many nurses will say: ”You really need to go back to work now, because your child needs to be in daycare and you need to work.”

Now deeply rooted in the culture in Sweden is the notion that State professional care is needed for a child to develop properly and that family care is not enough. At the foundation of this argument you typically find notions of gender equality, in Sweden only
seen as women working in paid employment equally as much as men.

Let me provide some background information to help you understand how I came from a focus on management consultancy and training to concerns about State family policies and child development. I have been a self-employed management consultant
for nearly 30 years. About ten years ago I was struck by the increasing frequency and intensity that people in Sweden were getting burnt-out in their jobs. In nearly every work place where I intervened, I would hear the story of an enthusiastic co-worker
who had ”hit the wall” as it is expressed in Sweden. At the same period in time a large political debate was in process on the subject of sick-leave. Sweden had the highest sick-leave in all of Europe in the years around 2002, and still ranks among the highest.

The facts seemed incongruous. Sweden being materially rich and having admired social policies should not be having these problems. Also at the time I was leading study days for faculty in the public schools, and teachers kept coming and saying to me: ”The  psychological health of our pupils has deteriorated alarmingly in the last 20 years. We don’t know what to do any more. How do we manage this in our classrooms? What is happening in our society?”

At the same time as the high sick-leave rates were being debated there were young mothers in my training groups who had just come back to work with a one year old child now in daycare. Again and again they were saying: ”I felt so bad leaving my child to daycare, only one year old, and so small and tender.” The hidden, unexpressed question seemed to be: ”Can this really be the right thing to do?” As an management consultant I asked myself how productive these women could be when they were feeling so much guilt and stress inside. Such guilt is one more added factor of stress and increases the likelihood of succumbing to a stress related infection or disease and going on sickleave.

I saw other signals of societal change. Among other sorts of workshops, I give training on presentation technique. This training can be quite stressful, especially when we use a video camera. Over the years I noticed changes in how participants behaved. I began
my workshops of this kind in the mid-eighties. Participants were mainly 25 to 30 years old, born in the sixties, and they were becoming managers. In the early days, participants did not really have a problem with the training. They thought my courses were a
bit tough because the expectation to become inspiring presenters stretched them and it was a challenging experience to be filmed. But almost all of them were basically okay with the situation. By the end of the nineties I was receiving trainees from a later generation born in the seventies. The training process became more difficult. On nearly every course there was a participant or two with serious self-esteem issues. These were still highly educated people, often with a masters degree in business administration
or similar. Every now and then, it began to happen that a participant would leave the course early, because the experience had become too stressful for them. This had never happened in the eighties.

I began asking myself, ”Am I starting to get a generation with greater difficulties to handle this typical personal growth stress? Why could this be happening? What is it in our life that sets our threshold for handling stress? When does it happen?”
These experiences and others and the questions they provoked drove me to try and understand what was happening and to write my book about it. My investigation led back to our youngest age and earliest experiences in life. I have three children of my
own who have been at home most of the time, and during this investigation, my experience with them has been a form of personal reference. If my book had an English title it would be “Following your heart – in the social utopia of Sweden.”

A shorter version of the book in English may become available in the future. To finish my personal introduction, in addition to my consultancy and being on the Haro national board, I also run a small think-tank, The Mireja Institute, and I am the president of the Swedish Association for Home Education known – Rohus.

Let us now turn to Swedish statistics. First let’s look at the well-known Swedish statistics that has made Swedish social policies famous.

• Sweden has the lowest infant mortality in the world. In Sweden we take care of pregnancy relatively well and pregnant mothers will easily find support in our public medical system. There are only three deaths among a thousand children before the age
of five. No country has a lower number than this.
• Swedish people enjoy a long life expectancy. A Swedish man’s life is on average 79 years, and a women’s is 83 years. Still, Japanese women live even longer with an 86 year life expectancy.
• Sweden has a relatively high birth rate in the European context with 1.7 children per woman of child rearing age, although I hear that Finland is now surpassing Sweden. Many other European countries have a much lower birth rate. But 1.7 is a quantity
measure. Based on what I will share later in this presentation it makes sense to also add a quality measure. Are we actually producing a next generation which has the psychological maturity, and the ability to handle stress, that life in a future knowledge society
will require? I will let that be an open question for now.
• Sweden has a low level of child poverty: 13%. It is not as low as one may expect, but it is still lower than the European average.
• Sweden has a very high spending on education. We have among the highest expenditures per child, if not the highest, whether in daycare or in school. But we are not getting the learning results from that spending that we should be getting.
• Sweden has a strong culture of equality and gender equality. The Nordic countries have hardly ever had any class system, so there is a strong tradition of equality. Also gender equality has a very strong position in our public debate since about 30 years
back.
• Perhaps someone can contradict me, but Swedes say that we have the best parental leave in the world. We have 13 months at 80% of our salary up to a certain level, with an additional 90 days at a lower level. Perhaps this makes people believe that Sweden is
the best country for families. What most people outside of Sweden don’t understand, however, is that after these 16 months the door closes. Finland has a general home care allowance. Other countries have lower taxes or tax benefits making home care financially
possible. During the last two years in Sweden there has been an allowance which is not national and only discretionary for every municipality. The allowance is small by Swedish standards, about 300 euros per month, with no pension benefits. Only one
third of all Swedish municipalities currently offer this home care allowance. This voluntary allowance is not fully supported by Parliament. If there is a shift in Government in this year’s coming elections, the home care allowance will probably be taken away
completely. Other than this there are no tax benefits of any kind for parents not wanting to use the public daycare system.
The Swedish system is designed for the dual earner household. This is the expressed policy of our Government and is supported by both sides of the political spectrum.

Our current Government calls it the ”work policy” and signifies that everybody should be engaged in full-time paid employment after parental leave. Most parties also argue that parental leave should ideally be split in half between the mother and the father,
and some parties want to make such an equal split a requirement. Now let us take a look at the neutral statistics.

The neutral statistics

• Close to 90% of all children between 18 months and 5 year old are in daycare, often for 6 to 10 hours a day. There are even cases of 11 hours per day. Depending on your values, this can either make you happy, because it shows that Sweden has managed to
implement a system of daycare for nearly every child. But it can also make you sad. A couple of weeks ago I was at a family conference with child psychologists and family counsellors in Canada. They were in tears about these facts.
• Daycare group sizes for the under-3s are never below 10 children, except perhaps in some transitory phases. In the eighties the group size for small children was regulated to 10 children or fewer. But since the responsibility for daycare was moved to the
Ministry of Education there are no longer any national regulations on either group size or child-to-staff ratios. According to regulations, quality has to be good, but it is up to every municipality to decide what ”good quality” means. The consequence is typically that the finances of the municipality determine daycare group sizes and child-to-staff ratios. A common group size for the under-3s is 14 children, but there are groups of up to 17 small children. Such groups often have three staff, of which one may be part-time. When one of the staff is on sick-leave, which is common among day-care staff and pre-school teachers, there is often no replacement for financial reasons. There are even situations where there is only one staff for 17 small children below three years of age. Three Swedish experts recently wrote a book collecting all these statistics. Their conclusion is that Swedish daycare is no longer of the quality required for a healthy development in children. They say there are many children at risk because our daycare is no
longer of sufficient quality. It should be added that these three experts all hold a positive general view on daycare.
• The average daycare child-to-staff ratio for all ages is 5:1. This is pretty good for older children. But Swedish daycare regulations lack awareness that the under-3s demand much more adult attachment – and thereby higher staff-to-child ratios – than
older children. Awareness of this fact is more profound in other countries, for example in England and the US. In the US there are recommendations of child-to-staff ratios of 3:1 or 4:1 for smaller children in group sizes of six or eight children. Some states in
the US have implemented these recommendations. In England there are regulations of similar child-to-staff ratios for small children.
Sweden has no regulations on child-to-staff ratios, and ratios of 7:1 and even 10:1 do exist in Swedish daycare.
• The cost of the Swedish daycare system, according to a recent study by the Swedish Parliament research department, is 􀂪 15000 per child per year, of which more than 90% is paid by the State. When you consider the group sizes and child-to-staff ratios
mentioned above, you realise that bringing Swedish daycare to high quality for under- 3s would probably bring the price tag close to 􀂪 25000 per child per year. Of course, the question then is at what price is it more profitable to pay the parents to take care
of their own children rather than put the children in daycare and send both parents to work. The price of high quality daycare for the under 3s could provide a fairly generous home care allowance.
• Our present centre-right government is presenting a new school law expected to be passed by Parliament in June. The new school law further strengthens the ideas that the State fosters child development better than parents and that daycare is a form of
school. The new school law will severely restrict home education, which has become a growing and very successful educational trend in the Western world. Home education is already highly restricted in Sweden compared to most other countries in Europe.
Also pupils will be severely restricted from obtaining time off from school during winter to join their family for a long family trip, thus lessening the opportunities for families to have common family experiences. The penalties for breaking the school law will
be fines. The new law also makes prison a possibility. One member of Parliament has raised the concern that making daycare a form of school, could be a first step to making daycare compulsory in Sweden.
This brings us to the more uncomfortable statistics.

The uncomfortable statistics

• During the last 30 years Sweden has seen a severe decline in the psychological health among our youth. Mild psychological disorders such as re occurring headaches, stomach aches, worries and anxiety have tripled from about 9% to 30% since the eighties
for girls, and slightly less for boys. Several studies by Government institutions confirm these statistics. However, no plausible official explanation has been given.
During the years 1986-2002 the psychological health for 15 year old’s in Sweden declined faster than in ten other comparable countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Wales, Spain and Scotland.
• Sweden has very high rates of sick-leave, especially among women, and particularly among women over 50 years of age, statistics which are at the top in Europe. Psychosocial explanations dominate. Few women today actually work until 65 years of age.
Many take early retirement of some form as soon as age 55. This is, of course, the first generation of women who have had to combine motherhood with full-time work, excepting for parental leave. These data are shown in a study published in the Swedish
medical journal, Läkartidningen in 2005.
• Educational outcomes in Swedish schools are plummeting. Twenty-five years ago  Swedish children were among the best in the world in reading, writing and mathematics. Today, we just about make it to average, and in mathematics we are below average.
• Swedish schools have severe discipline problems. According to our present Minister of Education, Jan Björklund, Swedish schools have among the highest truancy, the greatest classroom disorder, the most damage to property and the most offensive language
of all comparable nations. Björklund has been criticised for exaggerating, but official reports confirm that these problems in Swedish schools are significant. Also, one who visits Swedish schools for professional reasons can bear witness to the situation.
• The parental skills of Swedish parents are deteriorating. Britta Johansson was one of several researchers in a EU-sponsored study of Swedish schools and daycare. One thousand five hundred teachers and daycare staff were interviewed. Britta Johansson
wrote an article about the results in one of Sweden’s national morning papers, Svenska Dagbladet. The interviewed educators voiced deep concern about the lack of parental skills in the parents of their pupils. The survey results showed that even healthy, intelligent
and reasonable Swedish parents have difficulties in being parents today. According to Britta Johansson they lack knowledge about children’s needs and they cannot set limits. She writes (my translation): The public offer of full day child care seems to make many parents lose the grip on their own responsibility. They trust that their children are better fostered by the pre-school and school and that the experts on their children are found there. Britta Johansson also says that pre-school and school cannot fill the gaps caused by lack of parental time with their children and trust in parents role in rearing their children.
• Sweden has a highly segregated labour market, with men mostly working in the private sector with reasonable salaries, and women mostly working in the public sector at low salaries. Many women never made their own choice to work, rather they were more
or less pushed into the labour market when the tax benefits for families with home mothers were abolished in 1971. Even forty years afterward, today’s polls regularly show that a majority of Swedes would prefer the financial possibility for parents to be
at home with their children for the first four years.

Possible causes based on current knowledge

I will now offer an attempt to explain the possible causes of these statistics using some available theoretical models.
• Today we know from child psychology and neuroscience that early separation of infants from parents can create chronically low thresholds for stress in some children. This can lower the threshold for anxiety for the rest of the child’s life. Early separation
would be expected to lead to a less resilient future generation. Medical technology today can actually measure stress levels in the saliva easily and clearly, making stress research easy to perform, also in small children.
• We also know today that early exposure to large groups of peers leads to peer-orientation, which has detrimental results on psychological maturation, learning, and the transference of culture between generations. Canadian psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld
has explored in detail the causal connections of the sorts of phenomena we have been discussing. His work is reported in his book Hold on to your kids – why parents need to matter more than peers.
How does peer-orientation happen? Consider a typical day in the life of a ten year old in a Stockholm suburb. The child is left by his parents at 7.00 in the morning at  the school for before-school-child-care. When school begins the child is already tired
and hungry. After a long day in school there is after-school-child-care while the child waits for the tired parents to return at perhaps 5.00 or 6.00 in the late afternoon. In the evening the child may be having another activity outside home, which most ambitious
Swedish parents believe is good for their children. Where does the child find emotional security? One needs someone for comfort and closeness. The parents are inaccessible for too long. In the best case scenario there will be a caring adult in school. But for
most children it will be a peer or a gang which offers emotional support during school hours. This is the genesis of peer orientation. It fills the lack of meaningful relationships with trusted adults interested in the development of the child. The problem with peer
orientation is that peers, especially during the teens, do not have the maturity themselves to handle the difficult feelings about differences, conflicts, failure, rejection and deceit. The limited maturity of peer-orientation results in conformism, gangs, bullying,
aggression, and sometimes violence. Also as youngsters attach themselves to peers, they are in the process emotionally detaching themselves from the adult world, including their parents.
• The culturally endorsed separation of infants in Sweden causes stress in parents, manifested in many as sick-leave. According to a meta-study by Dean Ornish, M.D, high-quality, close relationships are the strongest health factor, superior to and more
important than all other health factors combined. In Sweden we don’t have much time for close relationships in families. The high frequency of stress related disease can be seen as a consequence. According to research by Sir Michael Marmot too little control over one’s personal life situation is another risk factor to health. Through its family policies Sweden has given
the State a controlling position in the bedroom of every Swedish family – a clear risk factor to health.
• High levels of State intervention in family life reduce parents’ sense of responsibility for their children. Swedish Governmental agencies have been very successful in promoting the idea of daycare as more than a convenience and as the best child care solution
for everyone. Unfortunately, unintended drawbacks and consequences have not been anticipated. When parents loose their sense of responsibility, they do not develop in younger years the strong relationships with their children which are essential for them to provide guidance to them especially through adolescence.

Effects on democracy

The three experts on daycare referred to previously also raise a sensitive subject about our democracy. They report that discussing this whole issue is very difficult in Sweden because it brings up feelings of guilt in parents. The Swedish people have had the
daycare solution largely forced upon them both culturally and financially after parental leave. They seldom made their own considered choice because of lack of options. They saw no choice but to accept the situation and suppress their feelings, and they don’t want to be reminded of this. Similarly, the media seldom discuss this topic. One might compare the Swedish situation to a dysfunctional family where everyone may know that daddy drinks to much, but no one admits it. They cover it up because talking about it is too uncomfortable. In Sweden most people know in their hearts that our family policies are seldom in our children’s best interest, but no one talks about it. It is simply too painful.

I confess that it would be nearly impossible in Sweden to have a presentation like this one, except for certain specialised groups. These matters are not supposed to be talked about. It makes parents uncomfortable to awaken the thought that they may not have
made the choice they wanted, so they get defensive. Staff at daycare centres do not tell parents of the hardships their child may have suffered during the day because they do not want to disturb the parents feelings. Instead they say that the day was wonderful
even it is was not, and even if the child had to face some painful situations. There are many witnesses of this behaviour. The three experts write extensively about it. I have seen it myself. I get told completely different stories whether I go to daycare in the role
of a parent or in the role of a consultant.

This means that we have created a family policy that is difficult, or not at all possible to discuss through normal democratic processes. This is in itself is a serious democratic problem. A democratic country should never implement policies that cannot be discussed through democratic means.

The concluding hypothesis

My concluding hypothesis is that Swedish State family policies are not emotionally sustainable, and thus not sustainable in either health, psychological maturation or learning.

Quality of parenthood is very strongly a matter of intergenerational inheritance, and we are already seeing definite problems in the Swedish parental generation today. Many of them have never had a close relationship with their mother or father in the way that
their grandparents had. Swedish State family policies may not even be democratically sustainable as there are definite difficulties in even discussing these policies.

The consequences of Swedish family policies should therefore be investigated through thorough, comprehensive, and comparative procedures conducted by research institutions outside Sweden before any other nations attempt to copy the Swedish State family
policies.

—Jonas Himmelstrand, May 2010

Sources

”Att följa sitt hjärta – i jantelagens Sverige”, by Jonas Himmelstrand. ISBN 978-91- 975836-1-9. Swedish. (Swedish book title: ”Following your heart – in the social utopia of Sweden”.)
English link: http://www.thehappycompany.eu/follow_heart.html ”Ungdomar, stress och psykisk ohälsa”, SOU 2006:77.
(Swedish Government publication on ”Youth, stress and psykological ill health”.)
Swedish link: http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/6293/a/67472
”Vem orkar ända till 65? Inte kvinnorna – mer än hälften avslutar arbetslivet i förtid”, by Kristina Orth-Gomér et al. Läkartidningen nr 34, 2005, volym 102. (Swedish medical journal, presentation of research on middle-aged womens sick leave and early retirement.)
Swedish Link: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17054366 ”TIMSS 2007: Försämrade skolresultat i matematik för svenska elever”, Skolverket, pressmeddelande december 2008. (Swedish Government Education Agency on plummeting
results in maths and science in Swedish schools.) Swedish link: http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/2006/a/14303
”Att våga sätta gränser”, by Britta Johansson, SvD 070126. (Swedish researcher on Swedish middle-class parents difficulties in their parenting role.) Swedish link: http://www.svd.se/opinion/brannpunkt/artikel_195247.svd ”Why Love Matters – How affection shapes a baby’s brain”, by Sue Gerhardt. Brunner-Routledge 2004. ISBN 1-58391-817-5. English link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1583918175
Read more: http://www.stratletter.com/brev.lasso?id=324557917262356
”Förskola för de allra minsta – på gott och ont”, by Magnus Kihlbom, Birgitta Lidholt and Gunilla Niss. Carlssons förlag 2009. ISBN 978-91-7331-267-7. (Three leading Swedish daycare experts about the severely decreasing quality in Swedish daycare.) Swedish link: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/pressroom/carlssonbokforlag/ pressrelease/view/dagens-foerskola-paa-gott-och-ont-349038
”Are There Long-Term Effects of Early Child Care?” by NICHD Early Child Care
Research Network. Child Development vol. 78 Issue 2 Page 681-701, Mars/April-07.
English link: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/117957245/abstract?CRETR Y=1&SRETRY=0
”Stress in Daycare”, by Sir Richard Bowlby. Social Baby.com.
English link: http://socialbaby.blogspot.com/2007/04/richard-bowlby-stress-in-daycare.
html
”Hold on to your kids – why parents need to matter more than peers”, by Dr. Gordon Neufeld. ISBN 0-375-50821-X.
English link: http://www.gordonneufeld.com/book.php
Read more: http://www.stratletter.com/mna.lasso?id=371631139072144 ”Love and Survival – How good relationships can bring you health and well-being”, by Dr. Dean Ornish. Vermilion 2001. ISBN 0-09-185704-X.  English link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/009185704X
”Status Syndrome – How your social standing directly affects your health”, by Michael Marmot. Bloomsbury Publishing 2005. ISBN 0747574081. English link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0747574081 Read more: http://www.stratletter.com/mna.lasso?id=272422439552148
”Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization”, by professor Richard G. Medlin.
Peabody Journal of Education, 75 (1&2 ), 107-123. 2000. English link: http://www.
informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a785831043~db=all
”Full daycare – national standards för under 8s daycare and childminding.” (England)
English link: http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode=publications&ProductId=DfES+0651+2003&
”National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home
Child Care Programs.” (USA) English link: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/ccquality-ind02/#Staff1

Links

• Haro – Swedish organisation for freedom of choice, equality and parenthood,

http://www.haro.se

• Jonas Himmelstands speech on the future role of family; at a seminar in the Swedish
Parliament December 8, 2008. http://www.stratletter.com/dec10speech.html
• Mireja – The Mireja Institute, welfare and development through family,

http://www.mireja.org

• Rohus – The Swedish Association for Home Education, http://www.rohus.nu
• Articles in English by Jonas Himmelstrand, http://www.mireja.org/articles.html

Californians Against Common Core   8 comments

http://cuacc.org/

California Republicans and Democrats are coming together to fight a common problem: the Common Core takeover of education.

At the Californians United Against Common Core website (CUACC) you can purchase Orlean Koehle’s book, “Common Core: A Trojan Horse for Education Reform” and see the growing list of Californian individuals and organizations opposing the Obama-backed initiative:

Eagle Forum of California – Orlean Koehle, President
Eagle Forum of Long Beach – Jeanne Goodin, President
Eagle Forum of Sonoma County – Carol Pascoe, Vice President
Pacific Justice Institute – Brad Dacus, President
Pacific Research Institute – Lance T. Izumi
David Geer – City Council Member Modesto
Redding Tea Party – Erin Ryan
Angela Weinzinger – President of Travis Unified School Board
Rosa Koire – Director of postsustainabilityinstitute.org – democratsagainstUNAgenda21.com
Nina Pellegrini – Californians For Property Rights
Heather Gass – President CitizensTownHall.org and East Bay Tea Party

Dare to Home School   6 comments

 Dare to Home School

Education is the continuation of God’s creation of a human life.

This idea comes from author and scholar Dr. Neil Flinders. Think about it: the instant the baby leaves the womb  –and even before leaving the womb–  he/she is beginning to learn. He gains knowledge from us as parents, from the beginning– language skills, the ability to eat, to feel love, to hear music and to absorb all our “norms”.

Why do so many parents feel pain when they send their five-year-olds to kindergarten– and cry?

They are giving away the child.  For most of the day, for the rest of their lives, that child belongs to the school system, not to the parent.  It often feels like the wrong thing to be doing. And maybe it is.

When I mention that I’m home schooling my fourth grader, I often get this response: “Oh, I wish I could do that. I don’t dare. I am not ____ enough.”   (adjectives vary– organized, smart, brave, educated, confident, etc.)

It is sad that there are parents out there who long to spend more time with their own children, who would be experiencing the academic miracles and family joys that home school parents see, but something holds them back.

So I’m writing today to the parents who are almost ready to home school their children.  I encourage you to jump in. Those who want to home school, but don’t do it, usually state either: 1) I don’t know what I would teach, or 2) My child needs peers for social development:

1. I don’t know what I would teach/ I am not educated enough to teach.

There is a misperception that “real” teachers have fairy dust or all-powerful diplomas that make them fundamentally different from you. But every parent, like every child, has got a combination of gifts and weaknesses.

The teaching diploma is Dumbo’s feather. (Remember the story? Dumbo did not really need the feather to fly; it made him think he could fly but he already had that ability without it.)

I know this because I learned next to nothing of actual value in my CSUSB teaching program. The valuable stuff came from mentors and from personal experience.

And, guess what? Even though I am a credentialed teacher and have taught third grade, high school and college for years and years and years, still, when it came time to make the choice whether to home school or not, I froze.

I felt a heavy responsibility to make sure my son received the very best education I could possibly acquire for him. Could I do it without authority figures and lists of rules and tests and bureaucratic ideals to follow? Seriously! I was nervous.

That heavy responsibility is on us whether we choose to home school or not.

The responsibility for what a child learns and becomes is not the government’s or the school system’s. It’s ours as parents, and always has been.

There are so many curricula, programs, textbook series, online ideas and sets of standards that your problem won’t be: “what will I teach?” It will be “what must I leave out” because there is so much you can do.

Just start researching what other successful home school parents do. Then make up your own mind which method sounds the very, very best– to you. You are in charge and you know your child better than anyone on the earth.

So trust your judgment as you would have trusted a favorite principal or mentor in the past.

Studies show that even home schooling parents with low levels of education wind up with children that are better educated than children who attend public schools.   See:  http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso

I can see why. Home school works more like the brain works. A child studies a topic, thinks about it, gets questions, and goes to find answers for those questions almost immediately. You don’t have to wait for the whole class to get to the topic. Curiosity stays fresh. Students learn more quickly and more specifically to how the mind works.  And if a child especially loves art, math, physics or sewing, he/she may advance in that area much more than he or she could in most one-size-fits-all public systems.

If there’s a subject you fear teaching, GET OVER IT.  Those oft-hated subjects, of math, history or science are only hard when you have had boring teachers in your past. There’s a spoonful of sugar element most math-haters or history-haters or other subject-haters, have never seen.

When people say “I’m not a math person,” or some similar comment, to me, it’s like saying, “I don’t speak French.” That’s nothing but exposure, baby. You can enjoy any subject with love, patience and determination.

I am teaching traditional Saxon math  to my son right now, who went from 4th to 6th grade math ability in five months’ time by homeschooling.  I also teach him the same things I taught my remedial college writing classes– parts of speech, diagramming sentences, using commas properly, writing complex sentences, using more interesting and rich vocabulary, and HAVING FUN by writing about interesting things.  His writing skills did the same thing that his math skills have done– soared.

He was not a strong writer last autumn.  But last week, he volunteered to write and submit a 500 word essay to a local political essay contest on a very hard topic.  No kidding.  He did it on his own.  And it was good.

No matter what else we do on any given day– and it varies widely; some days we’re swimming and diving at the pool; some days we’re picnicking at the park; some days we are a museum or a grandparent’s house or a quilting bee or touring the local university– but we never skip the Saxon math lesson or the essay writing. 

Now, essay writing might mean writing a poem, or creating a powerpoint on the computer with sentences under each photo, or writing a letter to Santa or to a grandparent; it might mean writing a fictional story.  It might mean writing about the first five presidents of the United States after we’ve studied them in our history lesson. It varies, but we never skip the writing, nor the math. That’s my way.  But you’ll have your own.

I make sure to add in the things that Common Core is deleting from public education:

  1. Cursive- every day, my son writes a verse from the scriptures in cursive, and on many days, I have him write his whole essay in cursive.  Because it’s beautiful.
  2. Traditional math- as I’ve said before, I do not like the common core “constructivist” math programs and most textbooks are aligning now to common core.  I purchase old, pre-common core text books from Saxon (there are other traditional programs, too).
  3. Classic literature – the only place “informational text” is read in my home school is when we are studying subjects other than English, such as history, science, math, geography, and now, journalism.  When we choose reading materials, we choose actual literature: Tom Sawyer, The Hobbit, Swedish Fairy Tales, Great Expectations, etc. The vocabulary’s so rich; the imagery and metaphors and good versus evil concepts and life-lessons are no where else in such abundance as they are to be found in classic literature.  Kids need it.

2. My child needs to be surrounded by his or her peers for social development.

The second concern parents usually raise is that their child needs socialization and that’s only available in public school.  Really?

With sports teams, scouting, church activities, neighborhood friends, cousins, siblings, parents, field trips, and other, outside-our-home, homeschooling events, I never feel that my homeschooler is socially deprived.

In fact, the opposite is true. He now receives more one-on-one teaching time and talking time with me than he did when he attended public school. Even when I’m not teaching, I’m teaching. He’s conversing with an adult much of the day, and that is educational. He’s not just told to be quiet and listen and occasionally to raise his hand. He talks with me all day long. And we go out of our way to make sure he gets peer play time, as well.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, he mentioned that one of his favorite traditions in public school was decorating a box to receive valentines in. So we made creative boxes for each member of our family and displayed them on the piano. We are putting cards and candies in them all month long. And mailing valentines to cousins, missionaries and others, just for fun. There are very few positive public school activities that cannot be recreated in home school. And many useless ones that can be skipped.

Additionally, there are other home school families either in your neighborhood or online that you can connect with.

Last week, four homeschool families in my neighborhood got together for a “snow day.” The children went sledding while the parents had a teachers’ conference. One mother who had only been home schooling for a few weeks was so excited that she brought all her history curriculum and her children’s binders and was showing us what they’re doing. The children love it so much that when they have free reading time, they are still reading their history books.

Home schooling is hard work; yes, but it absolutely works –and it is so much fun.

One of the most wonderful things about home school is that I get to teach my child faith in God, something government schools are forbidden to do. And I do.  The teaching of all subjects under the umbrella of “God is real and God is love” makes a huge difference in the approach we take to any subject.

I will close with one fine example.  It’s a video I showed my son as part of our science curriculum this week, that features a renowned scientist, Dr. Lewis, a NASA advisor, explaining his beautiful faith in God and how he combines science with faith.

Enjoy.    http://youtu.be/JR8qIrJcJh4

Jennifer Kabbany: Some Californians Note ‘Overall Lack of Rigor,’ Lost Control with Common Core   Leave a comment

‘COMMON CORE’ STRIPS LOCAL POWER ON EDUCATION

By U-T San Diego – Jennifer Kabbany

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jan/28/tp-common-core-strips-local-power-on-education/?print&page=all

Changes are headed to your child’s school — big ones — and they’re not good.

The federal government has mounted a massive effort to control what students are expected to learn, how they are to be tested, what they will be tested on, and so forth.

These changes are called “Common Core State Standards,” but any time the feds try to run anything, it never turns out well. Yet the folks in Washington think they know best what and how to teach Southwest County kids? Yikes.

But the changes are afoot. California schools chief Tom Torlakson, in an announcement last week, stated that with the state budget fiasco averted, education officials can now focus on fully implementing these so-called common core standards. Education leaders in other states are taking similar measures.

Meanwhile, longtime Murrieta Valley Unified School District Trustee Paul Diffley shares my concern and has voiced grave reservations about the impending changes at recent school board meetings and to local parents.

Problem No. 1, Diffley said in an interview last week, is that parents don’t even really know it’s happening.

“Oh, it’s not on the radar, and that’s what’s scary,” he said. “I have mentioned this to parents, and they look at me and say, ‘What is common core?’”

Bureaucrats have billed common core standards as a way to align what students learn nationally, so everyone is on the same page, so to speak. Both Diffley and I agree, however, it’s more about the federal government controlling schools and what students are taught.

Once common core is instituted, “school boards and local superintendents will be largely meaningless, and what we have to say about curriculum, and what we have to say about the particular needs of particular students, will be meaningless,” Diffley said, adding that’s a big problem.

“Students in Murrieta are not the same as students in Compton, students in the Silicon Valley, or students in Mississippi or Louisiana,” he said.

The common core academic changes proposed also hurt the learning experience, Diffley said, referring to their emphasis on nonfiction for English classes at the expense of literature and creative writing.

“We are going to lose a lot of fiction, where the core of rich vocabulary is learned,” he said.

What’s more, common core math standards eliminate Algebra I in the eighth grade. Instead, it will be taught in ninth grade. Another change pushes division from fifth to sixth grade.

“They have an overall lack of rigor,” Diffley said. “It’s the dumbing-down of education.”

People need to contact lawmakers and make a big deal about this, before it’s too late.

Contact Jennifer Kabbany at Jennifer.Kabbany@gmail.com

———————

Thanks to Jennifer Kabbany for permission to repost her article here.

Jenni White: Common Core Makes School Choice No Choice   Leave a comment

School Choice?  What’s That?

By Jenni White

There is no way choice and the Common Core can exist simultaneously.

See:  Restore Oklahoma Public Education  http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/01/school-choice-whats-that.html

This week is School Choice Week across the nation. For a number of years now, Republican-based organizations from Heritage Foundation to Friedman Foundation to our own OCPA, have been calling for School Choice.

We here at ROPE believe that parental choice is of ULTIMATE importance in the creation of education that works for students and families. Gone should be the days in which children are locked into districts whose Board of Educations are NOT responsive to the needs of their students and parents.

After much study, however, we also believe that until the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS (CCSS) are removed from the states that have adopted them (including OKLAHOMA) THERE CAN BE NO CHOICE IN EDUCATION! In fact, there is no way Choice and the CCSS can exist simultaneously.

Why would you, as a parent, move your child from one school to another when the same COMMON standards shape the curriculum at EVERY school in the district or city? Yes, one school may have a better teaching staff, or one might be perceived to be ‘safer’, but if the teaching curricula of all schools are derived from the same COMMON standards, how can one school produce a more exceptional student than another? How can schools in states who have adopted the CCSS really differentiate themselves one from another when the basis of all educational knowledge is derived from the same COMMON standards? Where is the ability for any school to create a student that excels beyond what is “common”?

Sadly, it’s not simply government schools that are effected by the COMMON CORE phenomena.

Did you know that private schools and charter schools are turning to Common Core so they will have books to use that contain “COMMON” curricula developed for the standards so private school students will have the same advantage as government school kids on tests such as ACT – which are being shaped to match the standards?

Many large textbook companies like Pearson, threw their lot in with the Council of Chief State School Officers (a private national association) and the National Governor’s Association (also a private association to which NOT all governors belong) to create and insinuate the CCSS in American government schools. The free market is wonderful, but in this case, textbook companies with smaller market share are forced to mold their materials to the CCSS or lose business to those companies producing CCSS-aligned texts.

This also works with education retailers. Did you know that companies who sell to the home school market, like Mardel, are selling Common Core materials?

Not only that, but what if home school students are forced to test to the Common Core as they are implemented across states? What if universities will no longer take transcripts of home school students if they haven’t been taught using the COMMON standards or they haven’t taken the CCSS standardized tests? In fact, the Home School Legal Defense Association has condemned the CCSS for these and other reasons.

In closing, why follow blindly behind School Choice advocates when there is really NO CHOICE in education as long as states are perpetuating the CCSS?

It is important – no necessary – to make sure Republicans pushing these Obama/Duncan overreaching education reforms understand that parents understand the issue of Core vs Choice. Let’s let legislators, the media and School Choice advocates know we will NOT raise COMMON children here in Oklahoma and that Common Core is NOT OK!

Every child deserves better than a COMMON education!

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Thanks to Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Education (ROPE) for sharing her research.

Orange County Register: Private and Home Schools Work to Stop Common Core Invasion   2 comments

In an op-ed this month in the Orange County Register, Robert Holland of Heartland Institute explains why private schools, religious schools and home schools are becoming increasingly involved in the anti-Common Core movement.

 

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/home-383422-ccss-schools.html

By ROBERT HOLLAND / For the Register

Defenders of home schooling are beginning to worry about the Common Core K-12 standards morphing into a national curriculum that will stifle the family-centered creativity that has fostered high rates of achievement and growth for home education.

Their concerns are well-founded, even though the official Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as originally adopted in 2010 don’t expressly apply to home or private schools.

Unfortunately, many private and parochial schools, including those of 100 Roman Catholic dioceses across the nation, already are adopting the CCSS prescriptions for math and English classes as they start rolling out in public schools. Their debatable reasoning is that the rush of most state governments (45 so far) to embrace the national standards means publishers of textbooks and tests will fall in line, thereby leaving private schools with no practical alternatives for instructional materials.

The Home School Legal Defense Association sees an even more insidious intrusion on educational freedom stemming from the vaunted “college- and career-ready standards,” and it most assuredly is not about to throw in the towel.

In a Dec. 17 web article, the HSLDA’s federal-relations specialist, Will Estrada, noted that the “College Board – the entity that created the PSAT and SAT – has already indicated that its signature college entrance exam will be aligned with the CCSS. And many home-schoolers worry that colleges and universities may look askance at home school graduates who apply for admission if their high-school transcripts are not aligned with the CCSS.”

Besides the potential of home-schoolers being placed at a severe disadvantage by the SAT’s alignment with a single curriculum, “our greatest worry,” Estrada concluded, “is that if the CCSS is fully adopted by all states, policymakers down the road will attempt to change state legislation to require all students – including home school and private school students – to be taught and tested according to the CCSS.”

The linkage of the SAT to the nationally prescribed academic content is far more than a hypothetical threat. Former Rhodes Scholar David Coleman, a chief architect of the Common Core, embraced that very objective before taking over as the College Board president in October.

An Education Week report in October reached the surprising conclusion that religious schools are prominent among private institutions beginning to adopt the Common Core. Not all private schools are hopping on the bandwagon, of course.

An official of the National Association of Independent Schools spoke of the centrality of “local control, school by school, of what to teach and how to teach” and emphasized that “decision-making through a national effort runs counter to our very being.”

A middle-road approach is the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative by which educators from parochial schools and Catholic universities hope to develop ways Catholic values can be integrated into instruction based on the Common Core standards. A fair question to ask is how appealing such compromised schools will be to parents seeking to use tax credit scholarships or vouchers to find alternatives to government-controlled education.

One might think truly independent-minded educators would want to examine skeptically government-subsidized standards that already are compelling English teachers to cut out many of the classics of children’s literature in favor of boilerplate text issued by government agencies. Because home-schoolers have had to fight continuously for their educational freedom, it really isn’t surprising that they ultimately are the ones to see through the folly of education nationalization in a tremendously diverse country, and to identify ways to fight it. Estrada makes this relevant point:

“Due to laws prohibiting the creation of national tests, curriculum, and teacher certification, governors and state legislators are the only policy makers who can actually decide whether or not to adopt the CCSS. While the federal government has encouraged the states to adopt the CCSS through federal incentives, the states are completely free to reject the CCSS.”

The HSLDA is reminding parents that they can make a difference by raising this issue with governors and legislators and those who aspire to those positions. Home-schoolers have been instrumental in stopping federal overreach before, and they could do it again. The Common Core is not a permanent fixture – states can repudiate it as too costly, too shallow and too intrusive.

Robert Holland is a senior fellow for education policy with The Heartland Institute.

Alabama Bursts Free of 2 Common Core Testing Consortia Memberships   Leave a comment

Alabama has cut its membership ties with both of the Common Core testing consortia– with PARCC and SBAC.

This is big news because those who want to federalize eduation and control citizens thereby cannot do so very easily without the shackling effect of having virtually every person in America labeled and tracked using the common testing data collection system.   Yay for Alabama.

Alabama hasn’t cut ties with the whole Common Core State Standards Initiative, but according to Truth in American Education, Governor Bentley of Alabama said:

“Every state is different. Every Legislature is different. I think having one standard goes against the intent of the founding fathers of the United States.” 

The Governor cast his vote against the standards.  State Board of Education Members Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters also voted against the standards.

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/uncategorized/governor-bentley-alabama-condemns-common-core-standards/

And Ed Week’s Catherine Gewertz reports:

“In an email to EdWeek, the state’s assessment director, Gloria Turner, confirmed that Alabama has bowed out of both the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. She said the department of education “has decided to go in another direction,” but didn’t offer any more detail.

The move wasn’t yet official within the two consortia, since the requisite processes haven’t yet been completed. The decision leaves PARCC with 22 members and Smarter Balanced with 24.

Alabama, you might recall, has been one of the dwindling number of states that have been playing ‘participating,’ or ‘advisory’ roles in each consortium.”

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/02/alabama_withdraws_from_both_te.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

Wasatch County Republican Party Essay Contest   Leave a comment

The Wasatch County Republican Party has invited citizens to write essays answering the question:

How do conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?”

The winning essay will be presented at next week’s Lincoln Day breakfast, where Utah’s Governor Herbert, Senator Van Tassel, Senator Chaffetz, Representative Powell and many others will be in attendance and/or will be speaking.  The deadline for entries is tomorrow.

I’m posting my essay here. Because the conservative principles that touch me most are “consent of the governed” and “local

control” (especially, of course, of children’s education)

The Consent of the Governed/ Local Control

A University of Utah exhibit recently displayed original letters, newspapers and books that had been written by colonial American freedom fighters such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. On display also were original documents written by British loyalists.
Never before had I read both the freedom fighters’ side of the argument and the other side’s articulate point of view. A heated argument ran through the documents. It boiled down to this: either you stood for local freedom, or you stood for remaining a managed colony under England’s non-representative system.
The arguments illustrated the conflict that exists between conservative principles– government by the consent of the governed and local control– versus opposing principles: rule assumed by the will of others, (such as rule by a king) or top-down, unrepresentative, distant control.
In retrospect, it feels obvious that the freedom fighters’ side of the issue was right.

But during the debates of the 1770′s it was not so clear. Both sides had reasoning that made some sense.

Similar, confusing battles about freedom go on in America today– battles for local control, independence, and real representation. These battles continue because some Americans think –or hope– that we live in a top-down kingdom, with the President like a Pharaoh ruling over the states. But our nation is a Constitutional Republic, ruled by laws and by a separation of powers into three branches, each of which is equal– the Supreme Court, Congress, and the Executive Branch. There is a balance of roles for the states and the federal government to play. There is no Pharaoh.

Because I’ve been a teacher most of my life, my freedom-focus is on the ongoing battle for local educational freedom. This is a Constitutional right I wish to preserve. But it will not be, unless enough people: a) realize that we’ve recently given away that right, by adopting Common Core standards and tests, and: b) realize the strength of our position to reclaim our educational sovereignty, because of the Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution gives states the sole right to set education policy. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States…or to the people.” States should never have given that power away to a federal agency nor to any out-of-state test writing consortia, regardless of any federal incentives, but many did.

An additional law, the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) states that the federal government is forbidden to “exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system…”

Yet the Common Core State Standards, which were incentivized and promoted by the Department of Education, lured Utah and many other states from their previously held educational autonomy.

How did Common Core take over? It slid under the public radar, wearing the sheep’s clothing of a grant opportunity called Race to the Top (RTTT). When Utah applied for the lottery-styled RTTT grant, one condition the federal agency had set to improve a state’s chances of winning was that states would agree to adopt Common Core. Although Utahns hadn’t read it, the school board agreed to it without public vetting. The board wanted the funds and the deadline was short.

RTTT money went to a some states, but not to Utah. Still, states who applied had agreed to adopt Common Core regardless of the money. States adopting Common Core “sold their educational birthrights without even getting the mess of pottage,” observed S.C. Senator Mike Fair.

But who noticed? With Common Core came loud promises of grandeur. Common Core claimed it would increase college readiness and would promote international competitiveness, and it was said to be “state-led”–without federal strings attached. Sadly, the claims were the opposite of what Common Core would actually do.

Along with questions of the Common Core harming quality education, creating huge data privacy invasions and gouging taxpayers, the bigger issue, which newspapers seemed to miss, was an irreparable concern –beyond the educational standards themselves. It was the principle of local control; educational free agency. Standards and tests would no longer be set by states.

Nationwide, debate about Common Core asks: Is student-centered or teacher-directed learning more effective; is cursive important; is common core math an increase in rigor or a dumbing down?

Calling the Common Core an improvement seems unreasonable, since its deletes cursive, minimizes narrative writing, eliminates a majority of classic literature and stunts math teaching. But even if the Common Core standards were actually good, the debaters miss a much bigger picture: they have given up local control over changing the standards; have given up the right to meaningfully argue about standards anymore.

Common Core standards are tightly controlled. First, they are under copyright by the CCCSSO/NGA, groups which claim to be the “sole developers”; second, there is no amendment process, thus no way citizens can vote out those who write the standards; and last, the federal government has put an additional 15% cap on top of the copyright, so no state may add anything to the standards.

But the standards don’t need federal police enforcement or the 15% cap; the tests themselves will motivate compliance. Teachers, prodded by the knowledge that their jobs are at stake if students test poorly on the tests, will naturally teach only the Common Core standards and will use the model curriculum being created by the federally funded test writers.

Where’s the freedom in that? Where’s the local control?

Common Core proponents say, “We can exit Common Core anytime we like.” That’s like a 1770′s colonist saying, “We can toss tea into the ocean any time,” while deliberately investing their personal fortunes and their children’s apprenticeships in British tea.

It is true that states may withdraw from Common Core, but it is unlikely to happen. The public has been led –by falsehood– to believe that the standards are good for our children, and the public has been denied a truthful taxpayers’ cost analysis of the implementation price tag of Common Core.

Now, with every Common Core textbook we purchase, with every Common Core teacher development seminar we fund, with every day that brings us closer to the Common Core national tests of 2014, we incrementally give up the likelihood that we will ever again govern education locally. The academic and financial costs are inestimable.

The Department of Education is poised to encroach further. After providing funds to make longitudinal database systems for all states to be interoperable with other states’ agencies, the Department made sure its system (via the National Center for Educational Statistics model and via alterations to FERPA privacy regulations) would have access to personal, nonacademic student data and academic data without parental consent.

The Department has made sure it can view the state-collected student data via the Common tests. The Department signed “Cooperative Agreements” with consortia representatives which bound states to share testing ideas and results with other testing consortia, under the eye of the Department of Education.

One of America’s strengths has long been its educated people; the world has flocked to American universities; we have had one of the most intellectually diverse education systems in the world. But an additional, painful cost to American freedom will be the loss of diversity and excellence to come soon to American universities. Common Core’s rigid K-12 tests, and also the new college entrance tests, will force everyone, from preschool through college, to march to the same dreary tune: governmentally-capped standards and tests.

The new president of the U.S. College Board, David Coleman, who also led the writing of the ELA Common Core, is aligning college entrance exams (SAT) with Common Core. So universities, via the common tests, will necessarily cater to the Common Core, which will do them significant harm. (Remember, Common Core minimizes literature, deletes cursive, reverts Algebra II from 8th to 9th grade, and reverts Calculus from high school to college level. –Among other damages.)

What can be done?

South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri have written legislation to withdraw their states from Common Core. If Utah does not follow suit, and declare independence from Common Core, the state will be increasingly managed as an educational colony under federal and CCSSO/NGA rules, with no say in testing, standards or over the privacy of students. Our founding fathers gave states the responsibility to educate in our Constitutional Republic. Unless we remember and use this privilege, it’s gone.

Thomas Paine described the 1776 opportunity to depart from England’s rule: “like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak, the wound would enlarge with the tree, and posterity read in it full grown characters.”

Our current opportunity to declare independence by withdrawing from a national Common Core is just as real.

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