Archive for August 2013

The German Government Versus the Wunderlich Family   1 comment

The Wunderlich Family of Germany was attacked by their own government yesterday, as armed police stormed into their home and took away their four children.

There was no criminal charge of any kind– other than home-schooling.

This, in a so-called free nation? Although millions of children are home schooled legally in in many places, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Peru, Botswana, and so on, it is a sad fact that home school is now a punishable crime in Germany, Sweden, Beijing, and elsewhere.

And– while technically not illegal in the countries of France, Greece or Norway, it is extremely tightly –and sometimes cruelly– controlled by the governments there and elsewhere.

This nightmare treatment of the Wunderlich family, the Romeike family, the Himmelstrand family and others undermines the right for children to belong with and belong to their families, not to a government.

Our own President Obama said in his recent State of the Union address that he hopes the U.S. system will soon be more like Germany’s educational system. How can he admire it?

German educational-workforce tracking is efficient, sure. But it’s totally lacking in liberty; a heartless,worker-bee creating, human-dignity-sapping educational system.

By the way, Obama also derides private, religious schools, for being what he calls “divisive.”

Did we just get that right? The President of what is supposed to be the freest country on earth doesn’t approve of private or religious schools and likes the German example of education? So, does Obama approve of Germany’s actions against these families? His Attorney General Eric Holder sure does.

Would they approve of U.S. police taking away custody of the millions of U.S. children who are home schooled here, as well?

Considering the fact that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder kicked the Romeike family out of the USA, how far off are we from truly having to fight this fight?

Huge kudos to Congressman Marlin Stutzman of Indiana and the 26 additional members of Congress who recently signed a powerful letter to Attorney General Eric Holder saying what needed to be said: “Americans don’t subscribe to the European notion that children belong to the community or the state—they belong to their parents.” The letter also said:

Dear Attorney General Holder,

We respectfully ask that, as the chief law enforcement officer of a nation founded as a safe haven for those who seek liberty, you grant asylum to the Romeike family who fled to the United States in 2008 after suffering persecution from the German government as a result of their decision to homeschool their children.


A decision to deny the Romeikes the opportunity to educate their children freely is a decision to abandon our commitment to freedom.
Doing so would put America alongside those countries that believe children belong to the community or state. A country founded on freedom should stand for the fact that they belong to their parents.

Read the rest here.

Huffington Post Audits the Gates-Led –not State-led– Common Core   2 comments

Yesterday the Huffington Post published “A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending.” I learned from this article.

I already knew that Bill Gates spends billions implementing his personal version of education reforms –without any approval from American voters, without any authority other than his cash.

I already knew that Gates had singlehandedly paid for the development, creation and marketing of Common Core, which the Post noted, “demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions.” (The only part of Common Core that the federal government funds is common testing and interoperable longitudinal database set-up.)

I already knew that those promoting CCSS are deliberately misleading the public to believe that Common Core is ‘state-led’ when it is in fact “Gates-led.”

I already knew that with the help of Gates’ funding and connections, “strong state-federal partnerships” were colluding to accomplish the actually illegal goal of creating national education standards.

But I didn’t know, before reading the article, the extent to which Gates was involved in Common Core’s twin sister, the personal student data collection racket.

The article pointed out:

Gates gave $47.1 million to CCSSO …with the largest amount focused on data “access” and “data driven decisions“:

… Gates funded CCSSO an additional $31.9 million, with the largest grants earmarked for CSSS implementation and assessment, and data acquisition and control:

… [Gates' stated] Purpose: to support the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in helping States’ to build their data inoperability capability

… Purpose: to partner with federal, state, public, and private interests to develop common, open, longitudinal data standards Amount: $3,185,750 …” (The list, when you read the whole article, is much longer.)

Also, I did not previously know that the company that Common Core lead creator David Coleman (a noneducator) started in 2007, Student Achievement Partners, has no work other than CCSS. They live and breathe to push Common Core on all of us.

David Coleman first created the SAP company. Then he led the creation of the Common Core standards, on which his company depends to survive. Then, when Coleman moved over to the radically influential position of College Board president, he aligned college entrance exams to his creation, Common Core. He benefits from the whole deal at the expense of legitimate education and local control, as does Bill Gates, who has now partnered with the word’s largest education sales company, Pearson, to create more money-making curriculum for all of us who are trapped under the Common Core.

I am not against people making tons of money. That’s not the issue; American capitalism and entrepreneurship are wonderful inventions.

What I oppose are these unrepresentative, public-private partnerships (often called P3′s). All Americans ought to oppose the circumvention of the American voter by any “philanthropy” that creates new governance structures over previously representative educational systems.

Who is Gates’ constituency? Who elected him? Nobody. And nobody can vote him out –except by not cowering to his grantmaking wand.

As the author of yesterday’s Huffington Post article put it:

“So much Gates cash, and so many hands willing to accept it. Bill Gates likes Common Core. So, he is purchasing it. In doing so, Gates demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions… Can Bill Gates buy a foundational democratic institution? Will America allow it? The fate of CCSS will provide crucial answers to those looming questions.”

Read the whole article here.

Please Pray for the Defeat of Common Core   26 comments

A long list of powerful groups endorse Common Core, despite all evidence that Common Core is academically and constitutionally illegitimate: the U.S. Army endorsed it; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University, the national P.T.A., Exxon, Chevron, Jeb Bush’s Foundation, the Bill Gates-Pearson partnership, the National Governors’ Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, etc. etc…

Yet parents and others who are fighting Common Core are STILL making a huge dent in the monster– so much so that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has had to appeal to national news editors, asking them to help him end the Stop Common Core rebellion. That says something.

Now, additional storm clouds are gathering, in the form of millions of new marketing dollars and in the form of government’s tax-funded propaganda campaigns and political videos being created by proponents of Common Core in many states, aiming to quash the uprising of parents and others fighting Common Core. Here in Utah, the state office of education tells its teachers in professional development conferences that only the misinformed “common core crazies” see dangers to Common Core.

We know cannot come up with multimillions to compete with Bill Gates; and we cannot compete with the marketing resources (tax money) of the Utah State Office of Education nor the U.S. Department of Education used to promote Common Core.

But we have the documented truth on our side.

Doesn’t truth trump everything?

It would seem we’re outnumbered.

But: as you talk to people all across this nation who are fighting Common Core, you realize something: Common Core fighters are people of faith– people of various faiths. I do not think this is a coincidence. People who value God’s truth and prize liberty, easily detect lies and the loss of liberties.

This is why I have hope.

When people of faith petition God for help, if the petition is good and the timing is approved, He helps. It’s proven; it’s documented throughout all Scripture.

We remember that God made an ocean of water stop so that the children of Israel could walk through on dry ground. We remember that the walls of Jericho fell down when the people of God marched around Jericho and made a loud noise, in faith. We remember that the colonists in America were saved from the massive destruction planned by the French fleets that outnumbered them in 1746, when they fasted and prayed and God sent storms to upset the fleets. We remember the many prayers of our founding fathers.

He conditions His interventions on faith and our acting on that faith.

So pray.

Please, if you are a prayer, actually petition God. Pray that many, many more people will feel compelled to seek out and learn the whole truth about this initiative and its roots, which so affect children and the quality of our future society and its freedoms; pray that many people will rise and exercise their citizenship and use their voices, so that Common Core and its tangled web of unwanted controls will be defeated by the facts and by the truth, so that time-tested education and local control of it will be restored.

Thank you.

A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test   27 comments

When I saw, both in a Politichicks article and in a Blaze article, that it was on the recommended reading list of Common Core for 11th grade students to read “The Bluest Eye,” a book that graphically, vividly narrates sex crimes of a child molester in first person, I found it hard to believe that this would be approved in my state.

I wrote to my state school board member.

“Dixie, please tell me that in Utah, we have not approved “The Bluest Eye” for our students’ English reading which is on the Common Core’s list of approved readings. Please tell me that our curriculum committee is more selective. This is disgusting child pornography.
Thank you for finding out the answer.”

She wrote back after consulting with someone at the Office of Education with an assurance that although it was recommended by Common Core, it was not recommended by the Utah State Office of Education. Here is that letter:

“I hope this helps-was what I thought but wanted to be sure.

Dixie

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Dickson, Sydnee”
Date: Aug 25, 2013 10:43 AM
Subject: RE: Common Core approved reading: The Bluest Eye
To: “Allen, Dixie”
Cc: “Hales, Brenda”

Dixie,
You are correct in that there are no prescribed texts for the Common Core. There are examples of texts that could be used for text complexity by grade level but this is certainly not one of them in Utah. When you go to our Appendix A and look at the suggestions for 11th grade, you will not find Bluest Eyes listed http://schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartelem/Core-Standards/ELA-Color-Standards-8-12-13.aspx. When you look at Appendix B (pg. 154) in the document published by CCSSO and NGA you will find the following brief excerpt from Bluest Eyes considered as a piece of text with complex language. This is not a recommended book but a section of brief text from the book.

[Excerpt was shared here from Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"]

We have not recommended this excerpt nor is it published in our Core ELA Standards documents. Because the Common Core is NOT a prescribed curriculum, districts, schools, and teachers are free to use texts and materials that comply with their district policies. This is not a book or text that would be likely be approved by schools in Utah. Also, we are developing digital texts by teachers for teachers and have started with 6-8. Those can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartsec/Digital-Books.aspx. Last, and most importantly, we have the RIMS review process that is conducted by a commission of appointed community leaders, parents, and educators. They create a list of published materials that are recommended, recommended with reservation, or not recommended. That list can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/imc/RIMs-Search.aspx. You will not find Bluest Eyes on that list as it has not been requested to be reviewed by either a publisher or a school/district.”

————————————————————————–

For a moment, I was relieved. Utah students were off the pedophilia-literature hook, it seemed.

But then the wheels started turning in my head again. Ms. Dickson had written that the book was not recommended reading in Utah. But we know that Utah’s teachers must follow the national Common Core to prepare children for a nationally-aligned Common Core test (AIR test) this year.

It would seem that an excerpt from this book or any Common Core approved book could be used on Utah’s AIR test, since AIR writes the test to Common Core alignment. Since I wasn’t completely sure whether AIR writes to Utah’s recommended reading list or to Common Core’s recommended readings, I asked Dixie to find out for me. I’m waiting very anxiously to hear back.

Meanwhile, I fact-checked the Blaze article’s statement that said that the Common Core expected students to read the whole texts, not just excerpts. Sadly, that was correct!

At the official Common Core website, it says: “When excerpts appear, they serve only as stand-ins for the full text. The Standards require that students engage with appropriately complex literary and informational works; such complexity is best found in whole texts rather than passages from such texts.”

So, “improving college and career readiness” and “rigor” means, to the architects of Common Core, exposing 11th graders to the literature of pedophilia.

I’m worried about what kinds of “literature” may appear on the Common Core test that Utah students will be exposed to this year. I’m also worried about their exposure to the new version of the ACT/SAT –since David Coleman has both led the creation of Common Core and is now the College Board president. He’s said he’s altering college entrance exams to match his vision of what college and career readiness means. I do not like and do not trust that man.

Then there’s this:

In Utah, there’s a law that 15 parents will be chosen to serve on a test watching committee. These 15 can see the test questions for the new Common Core AIR tests. I applied to be on the 15 parent panel. (I hope many, many Utah parents apply.) The state wrote back to say they received my application, and that I should know that there is a confidentiality agreement. So if any parent serving on this committee sees anything we find unacceptable like this, we can not speak out and specify what we saw. This seems to defeat the purpose of having the committee.

All of this makes me despise the Common Core Initiative, it’s nontransparent testing and nonrepresentative decision making, more and more and more.

Speech: Maine State School Board Member Heidi Sampson at No Common Core Maine Rally and Press Conference   2 comments

“On a daily basis, people are realizing for the first time the significant impact of Common Core and are becoming increasingly concerned. This is not another educational fad that will pass away. The people of Maine must become informed and let their voices be heard.” - Heidi Sampson, Maine State School Board

heidi sampson -2013-1529

It’s not just parents anymore. You can find local and state school board members, local and state superintendents, congressmen, senators, local and state representatives, principals and teachers who are speaking out against Common Core.

One such notable example is Heidi Sampson of the Maine State School Board.

Maine’s Bangor Daily News reported that the Maine Equal Rights Center and No Common Core Maine (co-founded by Maine State School Board member Heidi Sampson) have launched a citizens’ petition to repeal Common Core.

The effort will create a ballot question which will go to a November 2014 referendum if petitioners gather enough signatures. This is the first nationwide referendum to stop Common Core.

Already, a TV 5 Maine WABI poll this week found that, 85% of polled Mainers feel Common Core should be repealed.

Apparently, when a state school board member and countless parents begin to speak out against an unvetted education reform, people listen.

Read more of the news article here.

——————————————————

Rally Speech

Heidi Sampson has provided the full text of her August 21 No Common Core rally speech, below. It was given Wednesday night in Augusta, Maine.

“Welcome to our first No Common Core Maine Rally.

My name is Heidi Sampson. I want to welcome you tonight. I welcome you as a mom; actually a homeschooling mom, a very soon to be grandparent and a concerned citizen.

I am one of the founders of NO COMMON CORE MAINE. I am also a member of the State Board of Education and the Maine Charter School Commission whom I do not represent tonight.

No Common Core Maine – is a grassroots organization made up of parents, grandparents, teachers, legislators and concerned citizens. We are an autonomous group united for the common cause of removing CC and it’s assessments from our schools. We welcome any and all who are interested and would like to come along side us and offer their support. We are not a mutually exclusive group however, we do stand
independently. With that being said, if you represent a specific group and you share our vision, talk to one of the NO COMMON CORE MAINE Team. You will see folks in the
audience with No Common Core Maine pins or T-Shirts on…talk to any of them should you have questions.

My life was pretty full even before accepting the governor’s nomination to the State Board of Ed. But since I have been given an ‘up close and personal’ view of the way things are working with respect to education in this nation and especially in this state, I cannot stand idle! So with this effort, my life is about the get a whole lot fuller!!

Folks, we as a whole are inadvertently being dragged unwittingly down a path that is destructive to the future of our children, our state and our nation! The price tag alone will bankrupt us, ruining the future for our children! The catch phrases that are neatly wrapped in appealing terminology, has set us off guard. We will be losing all
our parental rights from curriculum to privacy once Common Core is fully implemented next year! This is not something that is a fad in education…there are too many strategic
pieces in place to slam the door tightly shut.

The people of Maine have not been given the respect they deserve! There has been a deliberate effort by the proponents of the Common Core State Standards to bypass the
public, the legislature to a great extent in order to quietly lock this unpiloted, untested and significantly dumbed down agenda into place before anyone notices and wakes up to smell the coffee.

• People, do you believe in our state’s sovereignty?

• Do you believe in local control?

• Do we the people of Maine have a right to reclaim what has been stolen from us?

• Do we have a right to re-claim our children?

As a parent and a resident of this state – I am deeply troubled, actually – incensed by this whole movement!

What you see tonight is the beginning of a grassroots effort to nullify the Common Core State Standards and the entire tangled web this state has already entangled us in with
regard to the assessments. We intend to take this to the people of Maine, let them hear the facts….the rest of the story and then decide at the polls.

Do we have any teachers in the audience? [Several hands shot up.] Teachers – we support you!!

Teachers have become the fall guys to a system that is being destroyed from the top down. Teachers are being stripped of their profession being replaced by a machine that is going to determine their career future.

I just got this note from a wonderful teacher – a teacher of the year, actually:

“It’s always a pleasure and refreshing to hear your views. What you stand for is a strong belief of many (teachers), trust me. The belief I love the most is how you stand up for teachers and seeking that they are treated as professionals and not turned into a robot
or machine. I look forward to watching and following your rally on August 21, it should be very interesting to see what happens. … I enjoy the articles on facebook and the
website as you get to see the other views, instead of just the same information being forced down people’s throats

The plan to track teachers as well as the students they have taught is very troubling.

I have to confess that I wouldn’t have wanted any teacher’s career dependent upon my test taking abilities; I’d get bored and then try and figure out different designs I could make by filling in the dots. I actually figured out how to make a pine tree once and thought that was pretty cool. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has done that…just the only one who is will to admit it!

Where’s the human factor? It’s a human being who can inspire and motivate.

• It’s a human being who can show a child a world they have never imagined.

• It’s human being who can encourage a child to explore an area they at first might think not interesting, only to discover what makes them tick!!

• It’s a teacher who can connect with a child and give them a vision and a purpose!!

Did you know there are rules in the law to provide mentoring programs for teachers to help them to develop and become effective and inspiring?

Again, it’s the human factor that can make this great!!!

Empower, train, prepare and equip teachers to be excellent!

Guess what? There is no money to fund this simple effort.

The cost for this would be well worth it and would be minimal compared to the insane cost of paying for assessments.

However, instead of following laws that are currently on the books, this state has decided to make new laws (with really NO public input) forcing the state to spend over $4 million every year (way more than we spend now) forcing our children to take test created by a detached organization in California called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia.

We give up all local control for education – our sovereign right, btw! The teachers, the principals, the superintendents, the school boards will have neither say nor power to change any of it. Teachers’ futures hang in the balance. As I speak, droves of teachers are leaving their profession – utterly exasperated, frustrated and destroyed! This is a travesty!! Why aren’t they speaking up?

Even though we passed an anti-bullying law… I dare say those most victim to bullying now are the teachers!! What happens if they speak out? We are speaking for them!!!

Why can’t we have seasoned, experienced, knowledgeable teachers work with new teachers? There’s nothing like a dynamic, inspiring, motivating teacher engaging with their students. This will never happen with the computer directing their learning or determining their academic ability! Teachers should be allowed to exercise their skills and hone their profession like any other professional. They should not be relegated to simply being a mentor or a glorified baby sitter. This is insulting to a profession that used to be respected and treated with dignity.

So where do we go from here? I’ll give you a hint!

What is Maine’s motto? Dirigo = I lead!

That means we are the head, not the tail!

I say – stop experimenting on our kids!

Do we really need a center for ‘best practices’ – simply nice looking experiments?

Or do we want proven practices – practices that actually work and have worked over time!!!

It’s proven practices that will allow us to lead!!

We can lead!!

We can lead with better math standards, Maine used to be 5th
(back in 2001)! What happened?

I say – We can do that again!

We can lead with proven English Language Arts standards!

Massachusetts had them! They led the nation for 10 years and were truly internationally ranked! Now that they’ve adopted CCSS they are slipping in their ranks – hmmm that’s
interesting!

We can lead with proven practices!

We can do better!!! Our children deserve better – why limit their potential???

I tell you if you raise the bar and they will reach it!

They will excel!

They will lead!

We don’t need to listen to those who play word games using terms like internationally benchmarked, rigor and college & career readiness.

Experts say that just isn’t so!! Those words are nothing more than semantic deception!!!

We can just by-pass all that – chart our own course and set sail on the Highest Sea!

Become informed and share what you learn! They want us to be dumbed down… this is the antidote… GET INFORMED!

Check out our website: http://www.commoncoremaine.com

facebook – No Common Core Maine

We have a great line up of speakers for you tonight!

Detailed bios in packets

Jamie Gass- is Pioneer Institute’s Director of the Center for School Reform.

Erin Tuttle- is one of Two Moms Against Common Core from Indiana.

Christel Swasey is one of the 3 moms in Utah. Check out their website. It’s most impressive.

Erika Russell – Sidney, Maine, Mom and one of several folks responsible for bringing awareness about Mass Customized Learning in RSU18 – you may have read some articles about that whole issue.”

——————————————————-

Thanks to Heidi Sampson for sharing her speech and for showing exceptional courage and leadership in the movement to stop Common Core in Maine and nationwide, as a member of the Maine State School Board.

Without Authority: The Federal Access of Private Data Using Common Core   5 comments

Data Baby


On Wednesday, I gave this talk at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta, Maine. I spoke alongside Erin Tuttle, Indiana mother against Common Core; Jamie Gass, of Pioneer Institute; Heidi Sampson, board member of the Maine State School Board, and Erika Russell, Maine mother against Common Core. I hope to publish the other speakers’ speeches here soon.

——————————————————-

Speaking with legislators in Utah, I’ve learned that the number one concern that Utah constituents repeatedly bring up to representatives is the Common Core and its related data mining.

Utah has not yet followed the lead of Indiana, Michigan and other states in pausing and/or defunding the Common Core, but I believe Utah legislators will soon take a stand. They have to; the state school board and governor won’t, even though the Utah GOP voted on and passed an anti-common core resolution this year, and even though thousands of Utahns are persistently bringing up documented facts to their leaders showing that Common Core damages local liberties and damages the legitimate, classical education tradition that Utahns have treasured.

My talk today will explain how federal data mining is taking place with the assistance of the Common Core initiative.

………………………

The Declaration of Independence states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed”.

So, I ask: Have voters given consent to be governed in matters of education, by the federal government? Nope.

Does the federal government hold any authority to set educational standards and tests, or to collect private student data?

Absolutely not.

The Constitution reserves all educational authority to the states; the General Educational Provisions Act expressly prohibits the federal government from controlling, supervising or directing school systems; and the Fourth Amendment claims “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”.

Clearly, the federal government lacks authority to search private data, to produce common tests, or to promote common standards, yet using private institutions, secretive regulatory changes to privacy laws, long-winded grantmaking contracts, and a well-intentioned governors’ club and superintedents’ club as smokescreens, it is overstepping its bounds and is falsely assuming these powers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is fully aware of these limitations placed upon his agency.

This summer Duncan made another speech, saying critics of Common Core were making outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t.”</strong>

I need to get that quote cross-stitched and framed.

For years, Duncan has been saying that, “Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more…”

Translation: Duncan and Obama won’t let pesky laws nor the U.S. Constitution stop them from their control grab even though they’re fully aware of the laws of the land.

Are they really collecting student data without parental knowledge or consent?

How are the Common Core standards and tests involved?
There are at least six answers.

The U.S. Department of Education is:

1. STUNTING STANDARDS WITH A PRIVATE COPYRIGHT AND A 15% CAP FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRACKING STUDENTS:

Why would the federal government want to stunt education? Why would they say to any state, “Don’t add more than 15% to these common standards.” ? Simple: they can’t track and control the people without a one-size-measures-all measuring stick. It is irrelevant to them that many students will be dumbed down by this policy; they just want that measure to match so they can track and compare their “human capital.”

The federal Department of Education works intimately with the Superintendents’ club known as the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). After the CCSSO wrote and copyrighted the Common Core standards –in partnership with the governors’ club (NGA)– the federal government put a cap over that copyright, saying that all states who adopted Common Core must adhere to it exactly, not adding any more than 15% to those standards, regardless of the needs, goals or abilities of local students. This stunting is embarrassing and most state boards of education try to deny it. But it’s published in many places, both federal and private: That 15% cap is reiterated in the federal Race to the Top Grant, the federal NCLB Waiver, the federal Race to the top for Assessments grant, the SBAC testing consortia criteria, the PARCC eligibility requirement, the Achieve, Inc rules (Achieve Inc. is the contractor who was paid by CCSSO/NGA/Bill Gates to write the standards).

2. CREATING MULTIPLE NATIONAL DATA COLLECTION MECHANISMS

a) Cooperative Agreement with Common Core Testers

In its Cooperative Agreement with the testing group known as Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) the federal government mandated that tests “Comply with… requirements… including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis… subject to applicable privacy laws.” Making student-level data available means that personally identifiable student information, such as name, academic scores, contact information, parental information, behavioral information, or any information gathered by common core tests, will be available to the federal government when common core tests begin.

b) Edfacts Data Exchange

Another federal data collection mechanism is the federal EDFACTS data exchange, where state databases submit information about students and teachers so that the federal government can “centralize performance data” and “provide data for planning, policy and management at the federal, state and local levels”. Now, they state that this is just aggregated data, such as grouped data by race, ethnicity or by special population subgroups; not personally identifiable student information. But the federal agency asks states to share the intimate, personally identifiable information at the NCES National Data Collection Model

c) National Data Collection Model

It asks for hundreds and hundreds of data points, including:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
– and even cause of death.

People may say that this is not mandatory federal data collection. True; yet it’s a federal data model and many are following it.

d) CCSSO and EIMAC’s DATA QUALITY CAMPAIGN and Common Educational Data Statistics

The Dept. of Education is partnered with the national superintendents’ club, the CCSSO in a common data collection push: common data standards are asked for at the website called Common Education Data Standards, which is “a joint effort by the CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.

Also at the same CCSSO site (remember, this is a private Common Core-creators’ website, and not a voter-accountable group) CCSSO we learn that the CCSSO runs a program called the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) with this purpose: “improve the overall quality of the data collected at the NATIONAL level.” – See more at: http://www.ccsso.org/What_We_Do/Education_Data_and_Information_Systems.html#sthash.L2t0sFCm.dpuf

The CCSSO’s Data Quality Campaign has said that
“as states build and enhance K12 longitudinal data systems they continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce and with other critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

Let that sink in: linking data from schools, medical clinics, and criminal justice systems is the goal of the USDOE-CCSSO partnership.

And it’s already begun.

There are state data alliances that connect data in state agencies, and there are federal data alliances, too. In Utah, the Utah Data Alliance uses the state database to link six agencies that enables examination of citizens from preschool through the workforce. On the federal level, the Department of Defense has partnered with the Department of Education.

3. PROMOTING CORPORATE DATA COLLECTION

Data-mashing across federal agencies and is not the only way in which data is becoming accessible by greater numbers of eyes. It’s also across corporate entities that data sharing is becoming more and more of a push.

At a recent White House event called “Datapalooza,” the CEO of Escholar stated that Common Core is the “glue that actually ties everything together.” Without the aligned common standards, corporate-aligned curriculum, and federally-structured common tests, there would be no common measurement to compare and control children and adults.

4. BUILDING A CONCEALED NATIONAL DATABASE BY FUNDING 50 STATE DATABASES THAT ARE INTEROPERABLE

Every state now has a state longitudinal database system (SLDS) that was paid for by the federal government. Although it might appear not to be a national database, I ask myself why one of the conditions of getting the ARRA funds for the SLDS database was that states had to build their SLDS to be interoperable from school to district to state to inter-state systems. I ask myself why the federal government was so intent upon making sure every state had this same, interoperable system. I ask myself why the grant competition that was offered to states (Race to the Top) gave out more points to those states who had adopted Common Core AND who had built an SLDS. It appears that we have a national database parading as fifty individual SLDS systems.

5. SHREDDING FEDERAL PRIVACY LAW AND CRUSHED PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIREMENT

There was, up until recently, an old, good federal law called FERPA: Family Educational Rights Privacy Act. It stated, among other things, that no one could view private student data without getting written parental consent.

That was then. This is now.

Without getting permission from Congress to alter the privacy law, the Department of Education made so many regulatory changes to FERPA that it’s virtually meaningless now. The Department of Ed loosened terms and redefined words such as “educational agency,” “authorized representative,” and “personally identifiable information.” They even reduced “parental consent” from a requirement to a “best practice.”

The Department of Ed formally defined the term “biometric” on a list of ways a student would be personally identified: “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.

For all of this, the Department has been sued.

6. RELEASING A REPORT PROMOTING BIOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL DATAMINING TECHNIQUES

In his speech to the American Society of News Editors this year, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that there is no federal collection of student data, and then he said, “Let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping. This work is interesting, but frankly, not that interesting.”

This was another attempt to mock those who are doing their homework, and to further deceive the American people. Because biometric data mining (biometric is defined by the Dept. of Ed as biological and behavioral characteristics of students –see above–) is exactly what Duncan is advocating. In the 2013 Department of Education report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance” the federal government recommends the use of data-mining techniques that use physical responses from biofeedback devices to measure mood, blood volume, pulses and galvanic skin responses, to examine student frustration and to gather “smile intensity scores.” Using posture analysis seats, a pressure mouse, wireless skin conductors, schools are encouraged to learn which students might lack “grit, tenacity and perserverance” in engaging with, or in believing, what is being taught.

Grit sensors

We can call the bluff on the Department of Education and on the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have no authority to gather private student data without parental knowledge or consent. We can help state leaders understand and fight against what is going on, and help them to say no to what the CCSSO terms their “coordinated data ask.” Strong legislation can be written and SLDS systems can be reworked to end privacy threatening interoperability frameworks.

Here’s a To-Do list for state representatives:

— We can stop the 50 states’ SLDS interoperability.

— We can make it possible for parents and students to opt out of the Common Core tests without penalizing the student academically.

— We can make it possible for parents and students to opt out of the SLDS tracking and surveillance databases.

— We can stop the educational and data mining malpractice that is clearly happening under the Common Core Initiative, remembering what Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University said: “When school administrators implement programs and policies built on faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice.”

We, the People, have to call them on it.

Video Speech of the Most Courageous Superintendent in America at His Stop Common Core Rally   3 comments

Dr. Joseph Rella, Superintendent of Comsewogue School District in New York State, spoke to about two thousand parents on Saturday at a rally the superintendent called for, in order to stop Common Core.

Parents cheered wildly throughout the speech. One voice shouted out, “You’re our hero, Dr. Rella!” and the crowd broke out into loud cheers and applause over and over.

Countless parents in other school districts all over America are praying that their own superintendents will show the kind of courage and leadership that Dr. Rella displayed on Saturday. Thank you, Dr. Rella.

Here is the video of the speech Dr. Rella gave at the history-making event.

At minute 00:30 Dr. Rella said:

“To a greater or lesser extent, all of us have felt helpless, demoralized, frustrated, scared, angry, frightened for our children’s futures… Things have changed so much; they have, haven’t they? Well, remember. We– all of us– have been passengers on a plane being built in mid air, as our commissioner described his APPR initiative, but it applies to so many other things that are happening. There are a lot of planes. The Common Core plane, the PARCC plane. Well, none of that sad stuff today. None. No long faces because today, we are cancelling our flight reservations.

…Today’s message is a very simple and very important one. The New York State Common Core Initiative, its implementation and testing regimen is hurting our children and it must stop now.

… Any test designed to have 70% of the children taking it, fail, is abusive. We have to ask the question: what’s right about it? What’s right about any initiative that puts families in turmoil, puts dedicated people in fear of losing their livelihoods, and now the ultimate… damaging a child’s self-image and altering perhaps permanently a child’s self-definition? They should be ashamed of themselves.

… If you want to know how your child is doing in school, ask your child’s teacher. Ask your child’s principal.

…The Common Core Initiative is hurting our children. It must be examined by educational professionals, not businessmen.

…STOP IT, FIX IT, or SCRAP IT.

…I would like to put this as a motion before this magnificent assembly, a motion to approve the following resolution:

Whereas, the New York Common Core Initiative, implementation and testing regimen hurts children, and whereas, we believe that our children are a light, a beacon, and that this light is in serious jeopardy of being extinguished by this abusive initiative, now therefore be it resolved; we call upon the Governor, the Regents, the Commissioner of Education, and the state legislature, to call a halt to it immediately and have it examined by educators.

If it’s capable of being fixed, fix it. If it is not, then throw it out. Stop it, fix it or scrap it. Do I have a second for that motion? All in favor say Aye. [Cheering- AYE!] All opposed? [silence] The motion carries.”

Maine Hosts Stop Common Core Rally and Press Conference This Wednesday   3 comments

Please come if you can, or spread the word if you have contacts in or around Maine:

On Wednesday, August 21st at noon, there will be a Stop Common Core press conference in Augusta, Maine, at the Capitol in the Hall of Flags led by Maine State School Board member Heidi Sampson.

There will also be a Stop Common Core Rally at 6:00 pm that night at the Governor Hill Mansion, Augusta, Maine.

I am excited. I get to participate in person.

Speakers will include Heidi Sampson, of the Maine State School Board; Emmett McGroarty, of American Principles Project; Jamie Gass, of Pioneer Institute; Erin Tuttle, activist mom from Indiana; and me– Christel Swasey, from Heber City, Utah.

The East Coast is suddenly exploding with new energy dedicated toward stopping Common Core and reclaiming education.

Last weekend in New York, we saw the tremendous, unprecedented example set by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rella of Comsewogue, NY, at his high school football stadium rally with parents against Common Core.

And now, Heidi Sampson, a member of the Maine State School Board, steps up to the plate, leading citizens of Maine to see the facts and take action against the damages of Common Core.

If you visit some of the parent-led websites on Facebook and elsewhere, representing states all up and down the East Coast, you’ll see No Common Core Maine, Stop Common Core of Florida and Stop Common Core of Georgia and Stop Common Core in North Carolina and Stop Common Core in South Carolina and Stop Common Core New Hampshire, and you will be impressed– Each site tells the same story: parents and educators are hosting increasing numbers of town hall meetings and informational presentations; on radio stations, in churches, in conference calls, in auditoriums, at State Capitol Buildings, and in their homes– all over, from Miami, Palm Beach, Rome, Greenville and Raleigh, to Concord, Alfred, Augusta, and more.

And in New York State, on September 21st, there’s going to be an important forum, put on by the parent-led Stop Common Core in New York State with grassroots activists, esteemed professors and think-tank professionals flying in from across the country to participate.

The big boys and their millions cannot, can not, stand up to the tens of thousands of Mama and Papa bears who are here to protect our children.

Common Core is going out. Liberty and local control are coming back. We the People are taking back the educational rights and privacy rights of our children. Count on it.

Right Under Our Noses: EIMAC   16 comments

My heart was pounding with indignation when I read today that the CCSSO (–that’s the State Superintendents’ Club– a private group, not accountable to the public and in no way under voters’ influence– the same group that created and copyrighted Common Core–) this CCSSO has a division called EIMAC. It stands for Education Information Management Advisory Consortium.

Why was my heart pounding? 2 reasons:

1) EIMAC’s formation is even more proof that America is being led into a system of nonrepresentative governance, an un-American, nonvoting system.

2) U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a liar, a deliberate, conscious liar. (I only dare make such an awful accusation because it’s obvious to anyone who does even a small amount of fact checking on his statements.)

So let me explain. EIMAC declares, out loud, that its purpose is to network state education agency officials tasked with data collection and reporting; EIMAC advocates to improve the overall quality of the data collected at the NATIONAL level - See the rest at: http://www.ccsso.org/What_We_Do/Education_Data_and_Information_Systems.html#sthash.UZIBs53C.dpuf

Ah, did they just say: DATA COLLECTED AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL?!??

Does anyone remember that earlier this summer, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a speech to the American Society of News Editors, in which he claimed that there is NO NATIONAL COLLECTION OF STUDENT DATA?

Secretary Duncan’s exact words were these:

“Critics… make even more outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t.”

FACT: Duncan collects student level data directly from the Common Core testing consortia, as mandated in his Cooperative Agreement with these testing groups.

FACT: Duncan collects K-12 state school data directly at the federal EdFacts Exchange.

FACT: Duncan collects personally identifiable information indirectly via the 50 federally paid-for, fully interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS) that could be called a separated, but interlocking, national database in matchable segments.

FACT: Duncan has direct access to personally identifiable information indirectly via the National Data Collection Model, Data Quality Campaign, and Common Educational Data Statistics.

FACT: Most angering of all, Duncan circumvented Congress to destroy the power of the longstanding federal privacy law called FERPA. His damages there mean that parents have no guarantee, no legal stand, no rule saying that they MUST be asked for consent, before their child’s personally identifiable information will be accessed by governmental and corporate “stakeholders” who have been redefined as “authorized representatives.”

The longitudinal databases don’t just track students; they track people throughout their careers. This is lifelong citizen tracking, without our vote, without our consent, and without most people’s knowledge.

Secretary Duncan has made the unconscienable, legal.

He’s done what he’s done with the blessing of President Obama, whose four pillars of education reform are stated to alter these four things: COMMON STANDARDS, GREATER CONTROL OF TEACHERS, and ALTERING OR CLOSING OF SCHOOLS, and DATA COLLECTION.

Right Under Our Noses.

Superintendent Joseph Rella’s Rally Against Common Core Propels Movement to Stop Common Core in New York State   5 comments

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rella made a big, bold splash today when he led the unprecedented rally against Common Core as a school district leader.

Dr. Rella’s letter to legislators, his phone call to parents, the rally he held at his high school football stadium today, and his statement that he is willing to risk losing his job if Common Core is not to be given the boot, are huge hits to the federal-corporate takeover of education, known as Common Core.

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Dr. Joseph Rella led today's rally against Common Core in New York.

Dr. Joseph Rella led today’s rally against Common Core in New York.

Parents at today’s rally provided the photos that documented the rally.

Joseph Rella’s phone message to the parents of his district went viral within hours of its release. That message is quickening the rate at which the truth about Common Core is seeping out past the Common Core facade, despite federal promotion and despite millions of marketing dollars that Bill Gates has spent pushing the agenda on businesses, teachers, the PTA, politicians and the general public.

For those who want to get involved: a strong parent-led movement called Stop Common Core in New York State has planned a public forum for next month, which is free and open to all interested attendees.

The parent-led movement emphasizes the fact that this is not about being on the Left or the Right of the political spectrum. In fact, the Stop Common Core in New York State website opens up with a red, white and blue graphic that says, “It’s not about Left or Right. It’s about Liberty.”

Stop Common Core in NY’s forum in September will include a variety of speakers from CATO Institute, Pioneer Institute, American Principles Project, Seton Hall University, Education New York, and parents/teachers:

RENEE BRADDY

In Renee’s own words “I live in Highland, Utah with my patient and supportive husband and our 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son. I count it as one of my greatest blessings that I am fortunate enough to be a stay at home wife and mother. I graduated with a teaching degree from Brigham Young University and taught at Canyon Crest Elementary for 9 years. I have a love for education and children. Over the last couple of years as I have devoted countless hours researching Common Core, my life has been turned upside down and my laundry has often piled higher than I care to admit. I have felt compelled to protect my children and hopefully along the way inspire others”. Her continued commitment and perseverance to keeping education at a local level is what she has been fighting for not only for her children but for your children as well. Be sure to watch her video below where she discusses the role of the government and education and where it should **really** be — at the local level NOT the Federal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piczxpQdul8

ALISA ELLIS

Alisa Ellis is a mother of seven children ranging from pre-k to 10th grade. She and her husband currently live in the beautiful Heber Valley. In the Spring of 2011 she became concerned with apparent changes in her children’s curricula and has spent countless hours researching and presenting her findings in public forums, radio appearances, and meetings. She touches not only parents who live in Utah but parents nationwide especially with this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI0XjBzsIfM

Alisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family, Home and Social Sciences.

JAMIE GASS

Pioneer Institute’s Director of the Center for School Reform. At Pioneer, he has framed and commissioned over 60 research papers on education reform topics. Jamie has more than two decades of experience in public administration and education reform at the state and municipal levels. Previously, he worked at the Massachusetts Office of Educational Quality and Accountability as Senior Policy Analyst-Technical Writer and in the state budget office under two Massachusetts governors. In the 1990s, Jamie worked for the Dean of the Boston University School of Education/Boston University Management Team in its historic partnership with the Chelsea Public Schools. He has appeared on Boston media outlets: WBZ’s Nightside with Dan Rea, WRKO’s Tom & Todd Show, WBZ’s Keller at Large, WGBH’s Callie Crossley Show, WBUR, as well as talk radio across the country. He has been quoted in The Economist, Education Week, and The Boston Globe, and his op-eds are regularly published in The Boston Herald, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, The Lowell Sun, The Providence Journal, other regional newspapers, as well as pieces in magazines, such as Education Next and City Journal. Jamie speaks on school choice, academic standards, and school district accountability at events throughout the country. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Boston University.

SHEILA KAPLAN

A longtime independent education researcher, publisher, consultant, program developer, and advocate for students’ rights. Sheila founded Education New York Online in 2005 as a one-stop website for state and national education news, research on information policy and children’s privacy rights, and issues in education. In 1997 Sheila founded Education New York, at the time the only independent education publication in New York. Sheila has brought state and national attention to the issue of children’s privacy rights under federal education law and has identified gaps in the system that leave students vulnerable to breaches of their personal privacy. She has consulted with federal officials on making the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) more responsive to the 21st century challenges of protecting students’ education records in the electronic information age. Sheila’s comments submitted in May 2011 to the U.S. Department of Education on the proposed amendments to FERPA focused on the failure of the proposed rules to adhere to the highest standards of practice in protecting students’ privacy and confidentiality. (http://www.educationnewyork.com/)

NEAL MCCLUSKEY, Ph.D.

Neal McCluskey is the associate director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom. Prior to arriving at Cato, Neal served in the U.S. Army, taught high school English, and was a freelance reporter covering municipal government and education in suburban New Jersey. More recently, he was a policy analyst at the Center for Education Reform. He is the author of the book “Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education”, and his writings have appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, and Forbes. In addition to his written work, Neal has appeared on C-span, CNN, the Fox News Channel, and numerous radio programs. Neal holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University where he double-majored in government and English, a master’s degree in political science from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from George Mason University. (http://youtu.be/oo13VIX2aTg)

EMMETT McGROARTY, ESQ.

The Executive Director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project. Preserve Innocence works to protect parental rights and to promote government policies that protect the innocence of children and to fight those policies that drive a wedge between the parent-child relationship. It is working to stop the federal education takeover. Emmett has provided commentary and analyses on the federal education takeover and its affronts to the underpinnings of our democratic republic. Emmett received his bachelor’s from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctorate from Fordham School of Law. (http://americanprinciplesproject.org/)

CHRISTOPHER H. TIENKEN, Ed.D

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Education Management, Policy, and Leadership. He has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, director of curriculum and instruction, and elementary school assistant principal. He began his career in education as an elementary school teacher. He is currently the editor of the American Association of School Administrators Journal of Scholarship and Practice and the Kappa Delta Pi Record. – See more at: http://christienken.com/

Video: Oklahoma 1st Grade Teacher Speaks Out: Money Skills Are Gone. Calendaring is Gone. Patterning is Gone.   6 comments

At a filmed “Understanding Common Core” forum in Oklahoma a week ago, a passionate elementary school teacher spoke up. This is what she said.

(She speaks just after minute 50:08 to 52:00.)

“My name is Olivia Goodwin and I’m a first grade classroom teacher. You have used the phrase ‘if Common Core is implemented’ . We’ve been implementing it in our classrooms for almost two years…. so it’s not a question of if. It’s already happening.

“We’re spending our own time and money doing a lot of professional development on how to incorporate it into our classrooms because there is no state funding or professional development, or it’s really vague.

“With that being said: you’ve said that Common Core is going to be raising the bar and increasing the rigor. From my first grade standards in math, nothing has become more rigorous. The standards are exactly the same as what the past was. They’ve just taken some away.

“I’m no longer teaching my first graders about money. They don’t get any money skills in kindergarten. They no longer get money skills in first grade. They don’t get any money skills until second grade. Calendar skills are gone. Fractions are gone. Patterning is gone. That’s all moved up to a higher grade. So how is Common Core more rigorous when in my personal experience with my first grade math standards, nothing has become more rigorous? They’ve just taken stuff away.”

In response, one of the forum leaders waffles for awhile: “I can speak to what I’ve read so far… They are focused on making sure students learn… to build on knowledge over time… I’m not a teacher so I don’t know all the terminology, but it is an attempt to raise standards.”

The elementary teacher then repeats, “But how is that bar being raised if it’s taking away a portion of standards that we previously taught, but it’s not being made more rigorous?”

Then the forum speaker then says, “I don’t have an answer to your specific issue… I think it would be an issue that– what does your principal say?”

The teacher says, “We don’t have a choice. We have to teach common core.”

Some teachers, like this Oklahoma teacher and many others, say the standards are not at all rigorous. Other teachers say they are much, much too rigorous. It depends on the grade level taught, the subjects taught, and the level of Common Core exposure. So, what’s to be done?

One more story.

A very close friend of mine teaches fifth grade Common Core. She says that she isn’t so sure about liking the math, but she does like the Common Core English Language Arts.

I say, “Even if you loved both ELA and math today, what happens when the unelected D.C. groups that wrote and copyrighted the standards change them next year to something you really hate? The heart of this issue isn’t the standards themselves. It’s a battle for control of who gets to set them and who’s writing the tests and books for them.”

Come on, America. We can do better than to marry the concept of standardization and give up our constitutional responsibility to drive education locally.

We can shake this thing off our shoulders if many keep gathering courage and speaking up.

The Most Courageous Superintendent in America   10 comments

At this link, Joseph Rella, superintendent of Comsewogue School District in New York, takes a courageous stand, one of many he’s taken this year.

This is a link to his robocall that went out to parents. It’s a must hear!

Rella also wrote a letter to his representatives and called on the Governor, Regents and Commissioner to help him help the kids.

He asked his leaders to remove him from his job if they won’t remove Common Core.

Highlights of the robocall:

The Superintendent invited parents to attend a stop common core rally this Saturday at noon at Comsewogue High School, 545 Bicycle Path in Port Jefferson Station, NY.

The Superintendent told parents that Common Core hurts students. The catalyst for the planned rally was the fact that in his district, as was echoed all over New York State, 70% of students failed the Common Core tests. Rella says that sends a message that “70% of you aren’t college material. That message hurts kids. That message is wrong.”

In a letter to his political representatives, Rella wrote:

“Please help us… If not, then I request on behalf of our residents – your constituents – you initiate proceedings to have me removed as superintendent. IF this system is truly valid, then during my tenure as superintendent, our students went from about 90 percent proficient to about 30 percent proficient.”

Two additional articles on the superintendent’s rally:

http://www.independentsentinel.com/common-core-revolt-on-long-island-at-comsewogue-school-district/

http://portjefferson.patch.com/groups/schools/p/comsewogue-supe-help-us-with-state-testing-or-remove-me

If more superintendents, commissioners, principals, teachers, parents and school board members displayed this courage and integrity, Americans would still have local control of education.

There is a growing list of not just teachers, but now also administrators and board members who are doing just that.

Thank you, thank you, to these courageous, job-risking pioneers who stand up for liberty in education administration!

Joseph Rella (New York local superintendent)
Cindy Hill (Wyoming state superintendent)
Betty Peters (Alabama state school board member)
Heidi Sampson (Maine state school board member)
Wendy Hart (Utah local school board member)
Angela Weinzinger (Calif. local school board member)
Brian Halladay (Utah local school board member)
Robert Scott (Texas former state commissioner of education)

Stand up!

What Is Being Data-Mined Without Parental Consent?   14 comments

Even though the columns will be gone and it will be confusing and messy, I’m going to cut and paste a truckload of attributes from the National Data Collection model’s spreadsheet. You can click on the link to see the actual site and its spreadsheet so it’s not confusing or messy. http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary

These are the hundreds and hundreds of data points– personal details that the federal government is seeking to know about children. It’s absolute abuse of the trust we’ve put in our state and its schools, as now schools are forced to act as agents for state data collection without parental consent, through the use of many resources, including the standardized tests that are aligned to common standards, known as Common Core, and the housing of data in the State Longitudinal Databases (SLDS) that the federal government paid every state to build, for the purpose of reporting the K-12 data to the federal government.

Although this vast federal program (common nationalized standards, tests, and databases) started off appearing to collect just aggregated versions of data (not personally identifiable) the “aggregated” status is rapidly changing, as many state policies change, because the “big dogs” –such as the national association of state superintendents (CCSSO)– and others, have been working to fulfill their openly stated commitments to the DISaggregation of students’ data.

So, unless the National Center for Education Statistics deletes this information from its site, we can all see this information and then insist that elected representatives make a U-turn away from this nightmare of privacy invasion, and back to reason.

Step one: know what is happening. Step two: stop the state’s use of SLDS. I wish I could say Step two was to opt your child out of the SLDS tracking, but that is not allowed, at least not in Utah.

Below are the hundreds and hundreds of data points you’ll find there; my favorites include:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
– even cause of death.

How they justify tracking students even beyond academics, even beyond death, I do not know.

–Keep in mind that this is the National Data Collection Model from the National Center for Educational Statistics, a federal agency. Keep in mind that it is illegal under G.E.P.A. law, and under the Constitution, to have a federal database for innocent citizen surveillance.

This illegality is why the federal government had to pay each of the 50 states to create interoperable STATE longitudinal databases, so that they’d acquire a national database parading as 50 independent ones.

Compare the information below (National Data Collection Model) to the data points being sought at other federal sites, such as the Data Quality Campaign or the Common Educational Data Statistics site.

Realize, too, that they are not just using standardized tests or first-day-of-school paperwork to track children. They hope to increase the use of school biological sensory tracking devices that are recommended on page 44/62 of the Department of Education’s recent report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance”. There are descriptions and even photos of the biological detection devices that measure attitudes, engagement, and beliefs of students. http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf

They say this out loud? They publish for all to see online the recommended use on students of:

Facial Expression Cameras
Posture Analysis Seats
Pressure Mouses
Wireless Skin Conductance Sensors

How will such detailed, personal information about individuals be used or misused long-term? If a student is labeled –or mislabeled, will he/she lose future opportunities for jobs, education, political trust, or face gun ownership restrictions– based on tests or sensory devices or notes innocently scribbled by a gradeschool teacher, sent to the district-state-national databases?

Dear readers, if you are alive and breathing, you can do something to stop this. It’s your right and your duty. Contact your legislators and your governor. Show them the facts. Most simply haven’t been exposed to the facts and documentation yet.

Stand up and let your voice be heard. Our children cannot fight this fight for themselves; we have to do it.

Know that this is not theory. It is a real agenda, an openly documented plot: the federal government is in fact persuading test builders and governors of states to give away each child’s privacy rights, by building networks and databases and by secretly reducing formerly protective laws that once required written parental consent to access student data, but now call that just an optional “best practice.”

—————————————————————————

Early Childhood Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS)
National Household Education Survey (NHES)

Elementary/SecondaryCommon Core of Data (CCD)
Secondary Longitudinal Studies Program
School District Demographics System
Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)
more…

International Activities Program (IAP)

Library Library Statistics Program

Postsecondary Baccalaureate and Beyond
Career/Technical Education Statistics (CTES)
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS)
more…

Data Systems, Use, & PrivacyCommon Education Data Standards (CEDS)
National Forum on Education Statistics
Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program – (SLDS)
more…

ResourcesK-12 Practitioners Circle
National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC)
Statistical Standards Program
more…

Data; ToolsCustom Datasets; Tables
Search Tools
Peer Comparison Tools
Questionnaire Item Banks
States/District Profiles, Comparisons, and Mapping

Offsite Archive of NCES Data

Tables; Figures Search Tables/Figures
Popular Keyword Title Searches

For Kids

Fast Facts Assessments
Early Childhood
Elementary and Secondary
Library
Postsecondary and Beyond
Resources

School Search Search for Schools, Colleges and Libraries
College Navigator

Other Search Tools Public Schools
Public School Districts
Private Schools
Public Libraries

News; Events What’s New at NCES
Conferences/Training
NewsFlash

About NCES
Education Leadership Artifact
Information Exchange
Instruction Artifact
Operations Artifact Organization
PersonClientBeneficiary
Child
Education Completer
Learner
Library Patron
Parent/Guardian
Student Elementary Seco…
Students – Postsecondar…

Physical Characteristic

Service Provider
Person
Place
Program
Common Attributes
Entity Identifier
Locus
Organization Characteristic
Person Characteristic
Core Entities
Course
District
School
Section
State
Student
Teacher

Student Elementary Secondary (studentElementarySecondary)
Definitions

Source: Handbooks
An individual for whom instruction, services and/or care are provided in an early childhood, elementary or secondary educational program under the jurisdiction of a school, education agency, or other institution or program.

Relationships
Entity
Student Elementary Secondary

has Associated Accommodation
Student Elementary Secondary

Assessment Response

Student Elementary Secondary

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Remember– the Utah State Office of Education’s official statement still goes like this:

Nothing in Utah’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards promotes data mining of student’s personal information or other inappropriate use of student data. The Utah State Board of Education is committed to student and teacher privacy and will not share personally identifiable data.

–Please contact the state school board! I don’t think they understand what the Utah SLDS is doing, nor how weak the current policy is, against the mighty designs of the federal government, how the Common Core standards and tests play into the data mining scheme, or what the U.S. Department of Education has done to circumvent parents and Congress.

The Utah State School Board’s group email address is Board@schools.utah.gov

Three Things to Simplify Your Fight Against Common Core   2 comments

More and more sinister facts about Common Core are surfacing. Proponents are running scared. They are glossing over, avoiding, lying about and making fun of, those in possession of the powerful and ugly truths about Common Core.

For example, there’s a taxpayer-funded Utah propaganda campaign that the Utah State School Board is to employ this year to “correct the misinformation” that the board members won’t actually, directly address, at all. (See page 232-236 of the 518-page document) There’s the fact that the USOE refers to critics of Common Core as “The Common Core Crazies” in teacher development trainings. This has been verified to me directly by multiple teachers who’ve attended Utah teacher conferences this spring and summer.

Open debate is out of style. Freedom of speech, thought or expression seem politically incorrect. Proponents of Common Core are opposed to discussing pros and cons, and certainly won’t reference, source, or provide documented empirical studies (because they don’t exist) to prove the claims of Common Core’s proponents to be true.

This fear of standing in light should signal to honest seekers of truth that there’s something very wrong: intellectual honesty (defined by empirical evidence and pilot testing of new programs) and freedom of speech and thought (defined by two-sided conversations) are concepts that the proponents of Common Core dismiss in favor of hand-me-down,Gates-funded “talking points.” It’s: One Size Fits All. (“If the shoe doesn’t fit, you still have to wear it.”)

You may have seen the back and forth of national education analysts and former governors and assorted others.

These attacks, aimed at critics of Common Core, is actually great news: It’s evidence that we are making a dent in this power-grabbing beast.

Please remember three simple facts to spread the truth and to cut through Gates’ marketing noise:

It’s a shaky academic experiment; it slashes local control; it’s the glue in the unconstitutional surveillance program.

1) Common Core is an academic experiment on our children that will affect not just K-12 but also universities.

Nothing they say changes its experimental nature. There’s no empirical testing that’s ever been done, no pilot study, no proof that these standards are academically an improvement. It’s just marketing– the repetitive use of the misused words “rigorous” and “internationally benchmarked” which, just as any grocery item that’s labeled “new and improved” — isn’t remotely new or improved. But who fact-checks? And yes, we should be rattled; these are radical changes: less literature; untested, way-different math. The time-tested, classical instruction’s flown out the standardized-common-testing window with the massive increase of testing. The ACT/SAT/GED/AP are all aligning to the experiment. And don’t forget about the massive increase of nonacademic student data-mining linked to the Common testing. It’s not small potatoes, folks.

2.) Common Core circumvents local authority and hands power to those who are furthest from the children/teachers.

The copyright by NGA/CCSSO is one proof. The 15% rule of the feds, that disallows soaring, is another proof. The micromanagement of the feds over the testing is another. The lack of any coming together to create a state-led amendment process is another proof. The monopoly on thought (via all texts being aligned, all ACT/SAT/GED/AP tests aligned) is another. There is no local control when the standards and tests are created from “on high.” There is no legitimacy when the standards and tests are experimental in nature and lack empirical validity. So even if the standards WERE excellent, states/districts have no control over those entities (NGA-CCSSO) who can alter them without our consent, sooner or later. When you lose control, you lose control. It doesn’t come back.

3) Common Core tests further entrench the surveillance of teachers and students by the government without parental consent.

If you remember these three points– and know where the links are to document them, you can stand up to the bullies, or to those who are uneducated about what Common Core is really all about.

All the opinion editorials in the world are not going to make the day night, or night day. Truth is truth whether people choose to believe it or not.

Utah Student Tracking in Edweek Article   1 comment

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2013/08/utah_personalizes_learning_with_portable_records.html

This week, an Edweek article focuses on Utah’s “robust” data collection system and portable “backpack” records that track students. The article doesn’t mention the fact that parents were never asked whether they wanted their children to be tracked (stalked) by the government. Nor does it mention the fact that parents have no recourse to opt out of this state surveillance program. (I know this because I asked and got a response from the State School Board.)

The article also fails to mention word one about the federal shredding of FERPA law (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) that takes away the parental consent requirement and makes students sitting ducks for snoopy vendors, federal snoops and virtually any snoop who calls himself an “authorized representative”. Check out the lawsuit against the Federal Department of Education for more on that.

The article does expose the fact that “In addition to demographic information, state testing data, and supplementary student supports” new recommendations will be “tracking additional information” which has long being sought from numerous federal education agencies. Here and here and here.

And Utah law has created “data backpacks” so all student data is in one place. Here’s the lead to that article:

———————————————————–

Utah Personalizes Learning With Portable Records

By Tom Vander Ark on August 7, 2013 9:25 AM Coauthored by Robyn Bagley and Tom Vander Ark

In October, Digital Learning Now! published Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles . The paper makes the case for portable academic K-12 transcript that follows students grade to grade and school to school. In addition to demographic information, state testing data, and supplementary student supports, the paper recommended tracking additional information in order to represent a more holistic picture of student achievement–such as a gradebook of standards-based performance data and a portfolio of personal bests–and better capture the student’s progression at any moment in time. Since this data would follow students to each new learning experience, learning could be tailored to meet their individual needs from the first lesson rather than the extra time teachers must spend diagnosing student needs and abilities.

Robyn Bagley, Parents for Choice in Education, saw the paper and knew Utah’s existing data system infrastructure gave them a big head start on a portable record. She talked to a champion of Ed Tech policy and personalized learning, Senator Jerry Stevenson who agreed to sponsor a bill. Together they were able to knock out this groundbreaking legislation in one session, placing Utah schools one step closer to tailoring education to the individual needs of the student by providing those closest to them with access to meaningful data.

The Student Achievement Backpack bill, Utah Senate Bill 82, was signed into law in March. It provides for access by a student’s parent/guardian or school/district to the electronic record. The bill gives schools until June 30, 2017 to fully incorporate the expanded record into their student information system.

When fully implemented, The Student Achievement Backpack will use cloud-based technology to create a common Student Record Store. Senate Bill 82 implementation will occur in three phases:

•Phase one creates a cloud-based repository for all grades.
•Phase two functionality will expand the data collected from student information systems into the Student Record Store.
•Phase three will ensure final mobility integration of all required data collected in the Student Record Store into all LEA student information systems; and made available to all authorized users in an easily accessible viewing format to include administrators, teachers and parents no later than June 30, 2017.

… Utah has one of the most robust longitudinal data collection systems in the nation due to federal grants adding up to nearly $15 million plus an investment of over $6 million appropriated by the Utah Legislature…

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Read the rest here:

Informational Meetings Coming Up in Utah: You Are Invited   2 comments

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. there will be an informational meeting about Common Core concerns in Tooele, Utah, at the Deseret Peak complex. Speakers: Carie Valentine, Christel Swasey, and another member of Utahns Against Common Core (TBA). http://www.deseretpeakcomplex.com/venues/dpfire.htm

August 15th at 7:00 p.m. there will be an informational meeting about Common Core concerns at the Duchesne Library, Duchese, Utah. Speakers: Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and Christel Swasey.

The first week in September, there will be an informational meeting in Iron County, with details to be announced on the Utahns Against Common Core events website as soon as they are available.

If you are unable to attend one of these meetings but wish to learn about Common Core’s full agenda, a good place to start is with the linked documents available at the UACC website. You can also listen to the 2-hour, detailed discussion from yesterday’s KTALK radio, by clicking on the archived link titled, “Gayle, Christel and Carie” at this site: http://www.k-talk.com/index.php/archive/

Chicago Democrat Activist High School Teacher: Common Core a Massive Fraud   12 comments

Paul Horton is a Democrat, a political activist, and a Chicago high school history teacher who stands up against Common Core. He writes:

“I will vote for a Republican for governor who will get rid of Common Core and PARCC, if the Democrats can not produce a candidate who will. Thousands of Democratic voting teachers and parents are willing to the the same.”

Here’s Paul Horton’s most recent open letter, to Illinois Senator Kwame Raoul.

State Senator Kwame Raoul

Suite 4000 Chicago, Illinois; 60654

August 6,2013

Dear Senator Raoul,

We know from every measure that the Wilmette-Winnetka, Niles, Hinsdale, and Naperville schools are excellent. They are the highest achieving public schools in the state of Illinois. Their average SAT and ACT scores and the percentage of students enrolled in AP classes, not to mention exemplary performance on AP tests, makes these districts respected by competitive colleges all over the
country. Indeed, there is a national competition for graduates of these districts.

Why do we need another measure that we cannot afford? Why are we going to pay Pearson Education millions of dollars for products that will force many exemplary schools to lower their standards?

You will see what a massive fraud the Common Core Curriculum is when these schools are forced to lower their standards to teach Common Core and then their achievement will be denigrated by invalid measures designed to make all public schools look bad. When the New York public schools were required to take Pearson Education developed tests this spring, dozens of exemplary schools
and districts that have similar profiles to the Illinois public schools mentioned above, received substantially lowered school ratings. The same thing happened in Kentucky last year: scores went down in the best schools, and scores reflected preexisting conditions in underserved schools and communities.

Shame on the public officials of this country for turning their backs on the Northwest Ordinance, a document that precedes the Constitution in American history and law! The Ordinance made an historic commitment to public education. Federal and state governments have turned their backs on public schools because of their dependence on Wall Street funding for political
campaigns. How can we allow this to happen?

If Bill Daley is the Democratic nominee for governor and he plans to support the current state school board, I will vote for the Republican candidate if the nominee will do something about Superintendent Koch, Common Core, and the PARCC assessments. Superintendent Koch received paid trips from Pearson Education and the state then hired Pearson to develop its Common Core standardized tests.

I am a life long Democrat whose family has proud connections to the Civil Rights movement in the South. This administration and its operatives like Mayor Emanuel, have all but abandoned the country’s historic commitment to public education. When will an element within the Democratic party of Illinois stand up for common sense in Education?

Senator Raoul, you have stood very bravely in defense of teacher pensions. Can you stand up for the teachers and parents of Illinois, and buck Mayor Emanuel, Secretary Duncan, and the Democrats for Education Reform who seem more interested in attracting Wall Street money to Democratic campaigns in exchange for support of school privatization? Alderman Burns (the President’s local political protégé) will not do so for obvious reasons. I hope that you will consider a run against the plutocrats who currently control the Democratic Party in Illinois.

The citizens of Woodlawn where I live are sickened by what is happening to their neighborhood schools. An insurgent candidate for governor could gain the support of disaffected Democrats of many stripes.

All the best,

Paul Horton

History teacher, 1365 E 64th, #1; Chicago, Illinois, 60637; 773-241-9085

Intimidated? Stand Strong Against the Bully of Common Core   8 comments

I’ve spoken with one of the highest-ranking education leaders in Utah about Common Core. His primary reason for wanting Utah to remain tied to Common Core was to make Utah’s children ready for the altered college testing; ACT and SAT are now aligning to Common Core. I pointed out to this man that lemming-like adherence to Common Core, regardless of the fact that these standards are LOWERING high school graduation requirements for most states, and are ending local control of education, might be unwise. But he wanted to be a lemming. (Not his exact words.) If ACT/SAT was aligning, Utah would align. Hmmm.

Do you think it’s never going to become household knowledge that these standards are unpiloted, untested, and that they dumb down high school graduates? Do you really think that the ACT, SAT, and other tests will maintain their former levels of respect and authority once people realize that they’ve lowered themselves into the academic murk of Common Core math and its diminishment of classical English standards that used to lead out with classic literature?

Already, the truth is seeping into the general consciousness. The ACT and SAT are going to lose credibility with thousands if not millions, of Americans.

Proponents of Common Core are running scared. We are onto their racket. So, evidence that damns Common Core and its appendages is disappearing, lately. Did you notice that the video where the current College Board President David Coleman, (lead architect on Common Core English standards) curses and demeans student narrative writing– is gone? The video where MSNBC spokesperson Melissa Harris-Perry promotes collectivism/socialism, saying that “we have to break away from the notion that children belong to their parents–” is gone! Even our local Utah State Office of Education broke the link to the portion of their “Utah Core Standards” that said that Utah only modified our local standards after getting permission from the unelected D.C. group called CCSSO. Gone!

But proponents can’t cover up everything. The evidence trail is so wide and so damning. Dozens and dozens of links to documents, videos and government reports are still online and openly available. Please read them. Share them.

What I really think about the whole now-college-consuming monopoly of Common Core, via David Coleman making sure that every formerly respected college-related test in America now aligns with his Frankenstein (Common Core): it’s just a puffed up bully tactic, an intimidation technique. Without long-term muscle.

When I see articles describing how the ACT/SAT/GED/AP/textbooks/K-12 testing are ALL ALIGNING to this new monopoly on thought: Common Core? I think it’s no scarier than any other schoolyard bully intimidation game.

Why? Because we can choose not to fall for it, no matter how many big name companies and institutions Bill Gates’ dollar bills have persuaded to “endorse” Common Core alignment.

We can choose to opt out of the now experimentally-aligned tests, and we can still get our kids into good colleges. We can stand strong and have higher expectations for colleges and schools, and work to make sure alternatives materialize.

Liberty– and legitimate, time-tested education: That’s where I’m placing my bets.

Because what do the proponents of Common Core really have? Nothing real, just marketing and money. They don’t own our children’s futures.

They just want us to think they do.

Dozens of Links Documenting Common Core System Far More Harmful Than Good   7 comments

Common Core Concerns

Please click on the links to get to the original source documents that verify Common Core does far more damage than good.

The Race to the Top Grant Application – In this, Utah got points toward possibly winning grant money. Points were awarded in this application for the state’s having a student-tracker, this federally funded, nationally interoperable SLDS database system. (It is illegal to have a national student database; yet, all 50 states have matching, interoperable SLDS systems. The 50 SLDS’s effectually function as a national student database.

States submit K-12 data to the federal Edfacts Exchange –despite the U.S. Constitution and GEPA law which makes such accountability to the federal government illegal. Note that it is not allowed for any Utah student to opt out of being tracked, and parents are not notified nor asked for consent for this P-20 (preschool through grade 20) surveillance.) Also in this application, Utah got points to adopt the Common Core (without having seen any empirical data to prove Common Core academically legitimate). This lure of federal money was how Utah got in to the current bind. Despite not winning any grant money, Utah unfortunately chose to remain in both the Common Core and what amounts to the federal student surveillance program.

It is noteworthy that despite claims that only aggregated data is submitted to Edfacts Data Exchange, the CCSSO (state superintendents society that copyrighted Common Core) has a “stated commitment to disaggregation of data” and numerous federal websites do model student data standardization and invite states to use common data sets which makes it easier to share personally identifiable information, including biometric and behavioral data.

The No Child Left Behind Waiver – This shows the 15% cap the federal government put on top of the copyrighted Common Core. The 15% rule limits innovation and excellence, being enforced in the common core aligned test systems and by textbook sales companies’ near-monopoly on any thought beyond Common Core. The 15% rule is also echoed in multiple documents from governmental and common core corporate developers.

The State Longitudinal Database System Grant – This is the federally paid-for database that every state in the U.S. has. It tracks students within the state. But each SLDS can communicate with another. There is no apparent limit to how much information is being collected by schools, and no permission is collected from parents to have such information, nor is there any limit on how much information can be given by states to the federal government about students, because of Department of Education alterations to federal FERPA regulations. Vendors, volunteers and other unwanted “stakeholders” can now be considered “authorized representatives” to access data. Parental consent has been reduced from a requirement to a “best practice.”

The lawsuit against the Department of Education – The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the U.S. Department of Education for shredding previously protective federal FERPA law. The lawsuit explains which terms were redefined, which agencies now have legal access to the private data of students, and much more.

Utah’s Core Standards – This document (link below) has been removed, but it used to show on page four, how Utah lost local control under Common Core. Utah had to ask permission from an unelected D.C. group to alter its own state standards. It said: modified by permission from CCSSO 2010.

http://schools.utah.gov/CURR/mathelem/Core-Curriculum/Utah-Core-Standards-in-Mathematics-Approved-Versio.aspx

The copyright on Common Core held by CCSSO/NGA – The fact that there are “terms of use” and a copyright shows that Utah has no local voice in altering the national standards, which were written behind closed doors in D.C. and which can be altered by their creators at any time without representation from the states governed by them.

The report entitled “For Each And Every Child” from the Equity and Excellence Commission – This report was commissioned by Obama. It reveals that power to forcibly redistribute resources, including teachers, principals and money, is a key reason that federal education reformers want a national education system.

The Executive Summary of Race to the Top – see page 3, part D 3. This clearly shows the same tactic: the federal education reformers hope to gain the power to redistribute teachers and principals to their definition of “ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.”

The Cooperative Agreement between the Dept. of Education and the testing consortia – Even though Utah escaped the SBAC and is not bound by the Cooperative Agreement directly, Utah’s current testing group, A.I.R., works closely with SBAC. This document shows how clearly the Department of Education has mandated a synchronizing of tests and the sharing of data to triangulate the SBAC and PARCC under the watchful eye of the Department.

The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education – He claims Common Core was Obama’s plan. He also states that he hopes to make schools replace families as the center of people’s lives, with schools open seven days a week, all year round, almost all day long. See video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuO_nB7WY9w

The speeches of President Obama on education – Obama’s 2020 goal is to control teachers, tests, money, and toddlers.

The speeches of the CEA of Pearson Ed, Sir Michael Barber – Barber wants every school on the globe to have the same academic standards and he promotes the underpinning of global education standards with environmental extremism. He promotes ending diversity, using global sameness and uses the term “irreversible reform.” His ruthless book, Deliverology, is dedicated to American education reformers. It advocates delivering a set goal at any price and at any cost. Pearson is the world’s largest education sales company; it’s now partnered with Bill Gates, the second wealthiest man on earth, to promote global common education, devoid of any academic empirical proving that the standards are beneficial rather than harmful.

The speeches of the main funder of Common Core, Bill Gates – He’s funded Common Core almost completely on his own; he’s partnered with Pearson; he says “we won’t know Common Core works until all the tests and curriculum align with these standards” and he’s writing curriculum for all. He also speaks of the usefulness of having students be “a uniform customer base.”

The speeches of David Coleman, non-educator, and the lead architect of the Common Core ELA standards who has been promoted to College Board President. He mocks narrative writing, has diminished the percentage of classic literature that’s allowable in the standards, promotes “informational text” without studying the effect of the reduction of classic literature on students long term, and, although he’s not been elected, yet he’s almost single-handedly reduced the quality and liberty of the high school English teacher’s options. As College Board President, he’s aligning the SAT to his version of what Common standards should be. This will hurt universities, which now know, for example, that students are not learning Calculus nor much classic literature in high school any more.

Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance – see p. 62/44 – This U.S. Dept. of Education report assures all that data about behavioral and attitudinal indicators of students are desperately wanted by the federal government. It’s all about controlling students by knowing their inner thoughts. Facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, pressure mouses, wireless skin sensors are all recommended as ways to collect data about children in a continuous stream, in this document.

The federal websites such as the EdFacts Exchange, the Common Education Data Standards, the National Data Collection Model, and the Data Quality Campaign, sites -Three of these four ask states to match other states’ personally identifiable information collection. – The first link shows what we already give to the federal government; the others show what the federal government is requesting that all states do, which does include collecting intimate, personally identifiable information such as bus stop times, nicknames, parental voting record, academic scores, health information, mother’s maiden name, social security number, etc.

The Common Core English and Math standards – These are the actual standards. (CCSS)

The CCSS were rejected by key members of their validation committee, who have published and testified extensively that Common Core is an academic mistake that dramatically weakens high school standards.

American Institutes for Research - AIR’s common core implementation document shows that AIR is not an academic testing group but a behavioral research institute partnered with the federally funded and federally controlled SBAC testing group. Parents and teachers may not see these subjectively written, attitude assessing test questions; and students cannot succeed in this computer adaptive test, which guarantees that all students fail about half the questions.

HB15 – This bill shows that Utah law requires the assessment of behavior and attitudes. See line 59.

SB 175 – proposed amendments to this bill show that it is Utah educational leadership’s will that any student who opts out of Common Core testing will be punished academically (see line 135) and his/her school will be punished as well (see line 168)

Legislators in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and elsewhere are working to write protective laws guarding data privacy, upholding parental and local teachers’ voices in education, and halting education dollars for unpiloted, experimental Common Core trainings and tests.

They aren’t only concerned that time and money are being invested in an academic train wreck. It’s a precendent-setting liberty issue. Unelected groups now set governance policies that Utahns must abide by. Surely, CCSSO, NGA, Achieve, Inc., or Bill Gates have no constituency. Yet the whims of this group are ruling teachers, administrators and students in Utah.

This is un-American governance.

TV News Covers Utah’s Common Core Protest – ABC 4   Leave a comment

http://www.abc4.com/content/news/slc/story/Teachers-parents-protest-outside-School-Board/nos_toxK3EOh_R8VASWnvg.cspx

Yay! Click on the link for the text/t.v. clip, showing students, teachers and parents who rallied at the Utah State Office of Education today to protest Common Core.

Yet Another Utah Parent Speaks Out: Why No Open Debate on Common Core?   1 comment

This parent’s letter has to be shared.

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To the members of the Utah State School Board:

I am writing to voice my displeasure at the path you are taking to silence legitimate opposition to your new Utah Core Standards, otherwise known as the Common Core. Rather than spending your time and our tax dollars on propaganda and talking points, why not spend them on a series of public meetings and serious open debate and discussion of the pros and cons of this new way of doing things in Utah public education.

Debra Roberts, at the meeting of the Interim Education Committee of the Utah State Legislature, said that “in four years, we have made major, major changes” in Utah public education. My question to you is why are these “major, major changes” being made behind closed doors?

If your decisions are sound and your defense of them valid, why not air them in the open and let others see the wisdom of your ways? I propose that instead of 30 minutes of restricted public comment, we engage in at least 30 days of widely publicized public meetings and open debate and discussion prior to the upcoming school year and the next regular session of the Legislature. Instead of paid advertisments, let’s have a townhall-style public debate between your representatives and the opposition’s. Truth and sound judgment need not fear scrutiny. What are you trying to hide?

Sincerely,

A Northern Utah
Concerned parent and citizen

Your Children: Free Thinkers or Socialist-Owned Cogs?   1 comment

An opinion editorial by Glenn Jacobs in today’s Daily Caller says that the Common Core should be renamed the “Lowest Common Denominator.” He suggests that American schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education, thus “ensuring workers who will never be tempted to better their stations in life.”

What do you think of that?

Considering the fact that common core creator Jason Zimba admitted that Common Core only prepares graduates for 2-year nonselective colleges or vocational careers, and considering the fact that top common core validation committee members refused to sign off on the standards; and considering the fact that career-orientation is one of the primary reasons that the younger children must now face common core tests, I really agree.

Glenn Jacobs also writes:

Common Core is designed to churn out young people who will be educated enough to work, consume, and pay taxes, but who are not encouraged to be creative, or to use critical thinking, or to develop anything remotely characteristic of those who possess superior minds and the ability to achieve great things…. it should be students, not bureaucrats, who determine what path their lives take: be it as workers, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, architects, artists, or whatever.”

Of course. It should be up to the student, not up to a force-fed common test, and up to the government’s latest “need” list.

But nowadays, superior minds and the ability to truly achieve are damnable qualities in education reformer circles where collective, business-and-governmentally shared, top down control, are valued. Equity and equality and redistribution are the trendy words in education, far above concepts like individual superior achievement or individual worth. But what made America so great? Liberty. People showing off. People magnifying their gifts, not slowing down to fit into a common denominator.

Truly great achievements won’t happen in the educational future without freedom. Yet our Utah leaders fail to guard against these losses of freedom in education. The reformers want equity and equality so desperately that they are willing to sacrifice liberty and innovation– or maybe, they don’t realize that they have sacrificed it. But think it through: equity as defined by new U.S. Dept. of Education reports, now means forced, mandated redistribution of all things, including teachers, principals, standards, tests and money.

This sameness, the one-size-for-all that claims to ensure that no one can fail only ensures that no one can soar. This is their terrible plan.

It is, unapologetically, communism.

Jacobs explains:

“…Common Core sets a very low bar for students. Its language arts component is so lacking that Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a professor emerita at the University of Arkansas and a member of the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to approve the program. Common Core’s mathematical component is no better. The Validation Committee’s Dr. James Milgram, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, also refused to sign off on Common Core, saying that the math standards are “as non-challenging as possible. … The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations.”

However, many Americans are falling for the outright lie– the line that Obama’s “college and career readiness” catch phrase means raising, rather than lowering, the educational bar for high school graduates. They don’t fact-check. They don’t ask for empirical evidence. And they are fooled –or bribed into pretending to be fooled.

Even the Chamber of Commerce, the national PTA, and Harvard– are fooled by the words “rigorous” and “benchmarked” (or paid by Bill Gates) to assume that Common Core is an improvement –and most have not fact-checked claims of Common Core.

How dare I say that the special interest groups who copyrighted the Common Core, or my own governor, my President, my Utah Chamber of Commerce, my State School Board, and some of my favorite teachers, are all working toward a goal that will ultimately numb and dumb the population? (I realize that most of these people don’t realize what they are doing. Still, the effect happens, whether the intentions were good or not.)

The answer is that those who feel they are experts feel entitled to control the freedoms of the general population. They don’t care that we don’t want to be leashed. They are imposing a parental role over free adults. And weak people allow it.

Some believe that the economic stability of the state is ensured by the educational leashing and tracking of young citizens. But, after studying the promises used by proponents about Common Core, comparing them to government-produced reports and source documents, one can NOT reconcile common core claims with the truth. It becomes clear that proponents are either looking at a very narrow piece of the sky, or they are lying, or they are paid by others to pretend to believe the talking points.

Please read the many source documents with your own eyes, and plead with everyone you know to study these for themselves. Only by educating ourselves can we escape this disaster.

And it is a disaster. It is, truly, communism. Proof?

Multiple U.S. Department of Education reports show that the forcible redistribution of Americans’ earned wealth, and of teachers and principals, is a key goal of Common Core education reforms.

Redistribution of teachers, principals and wealth are tentacles of education reforms that most educators don’t see yet. Study “For Each and Every Child” — a Dept. of Education report. Study the videos of Linda Darling-Hammond, SBAC staff member and Obama advisor. Study the Executive Summary of Race to the Top. Do word searches for “equity” and “equality” and “redistribution.”

Those who do see, know that Common Core and its accompanying reforms are sobering and dangerous to personal liberty, to clusters of good schools, to ownership of locally-controlled education, and to innovative and independent thought.

Our children deserve not to have their teachers redistributed to worse (or better) schools by the government’s reforms. They deserve to learn more than a government-designed worker bee’s lowest common denominator version of learning. They deserve to be free to choose and change their life paths.

But Common Core tests and SLDS tracking systems coerce students into predetermined career paths, and U.S. Dept. of Ed documents push the forced redistribution of teachers, principles, and money.

Is this what we want, America?

Glenn Jacobs’ thoughts echo those of Daniel Coupland of Hillsdale College, who said:

“When a nation expands workforce training so that it crowds out other things that rightly belong in education, we end up turning out neither good workers nor good citizens… Yes, man is made for work, but he’s also made for so much more… Education should be about the highest things. We should study these things of the stars, plant cells, Mozart’s requium… not simply because they’ll get us into the right college or into the right line of work. Rather, we should study these noble things because they can tell us who we are, why we’re here… If education has become –as Common Core openly declares– preparation for work in a global economy, then this situation is far worse than Common Core critics ever anticipated. And the concerns about cost, and quality, and yes, even the constitutionality of Common Core, pale in comparison to the concerns for the hearts, minds, and souls of American children.”

The late, great C.S. Lewis couldn’t agree more. He wrote:

“Vocational training … aims at making not a good man but a good banker, a good electrician, a good scavenger, or a good surgeon. You see at once that education is essentially for freemen and vocational training for slaves. – C.S. Lewis

So when you hear the Utah Chamber of Commerce endorsing Common Core, when you see your local PTA endorsing Common Core, when you hear the Governor’s radio ads pushing Prosperity 2020, an appendage of Common Core, remember the thoughts of Jacobs, Coupland, and Lewis.

Free people are lifelong, joyful learners, and are not just technically-educated, government-ordered, cogs in the state machine.

Wyoming Teacher of the Year Stands Up For Liberty in Education   2 comments

Cindy Hill, State Superintendent of Wyoming, stood up against federal insurgence into the state-held right to educate. She stood up against nationalized testing. She opposed Common Core.

For having the backbone and integrity to do these things, she has been stripped of her Wyoming Constitutional rights as superintendent, has been given ceremonial duties only, has been moved out of her office into a museum, and she’s had her former role replaced by an invented position dubbed “Department of Education Director”.

Big Wyoming newspapers slam Cindy Hill. Small Wyoming papers defend her. Thousands of citizens signed a petition to get Cindy Hill reinstated. A lawsuit on the matter is ongoing.

Cindy Hill keeps fighting– not just for her job and her rights, but for the proper role of government in this precedent-setting drama.

Here’s a letter to the editor of WYOfacts news, in defense of Cindy Hill, that moved me. It’s written by former teacher of the year Joan Brummond.

Thank you, Joan, for setting the example in speaking out, regardless of personal consequences.

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July 22, 2013

To the Editor:

I worked for Cindy Hill before she became Superintendent of Public Instruction. She is a problem solver like few administrators. She keeps the kids in mind in everything she does. I am amazed at her energy and work ethic. I am not at all surprised that in her abbreviated term heading the Wyoming Department of Education, test scores in reading and math went up, an unprecedented improvement. And I know, though she denies it, she is responsible for this positive result. She says it wasn’t her but the teachers who did the work. Well, that’s true, but it takes a leader with the ability to stay focused to do the hard work and achieve the results for kids.

As a life-long educator, a former Teacher of the Year for Wyoming, a member of Leadership Wyoming and a former president of the National State Teachers of the Year, I know a remarkable leader when I see one. Cindy Hill is that person. As a registered democrat, I voted for her because personal knowledge of a person’s integrity and mission to improve the school lives of students, trumps politics every single time.

So I have been outraged and disgusted by the politics behind SF 104. What is going on, political leaders? Why ignore the facts that she did her job and did it legally, morally and responsibly? Why deny the Constitution that gives her general supervision of our schools? Why use my money—and that of all taxpayers—to hold one sham investigation after another. Why make a mockery of the law by trying to impeach her?

No investigation ever uncovered any valid offense. Yet, the legislature is doggedly moving ahead with plans to impeach her, making expensive investigatory committees filled with people who voted against her in the first place. What’s fair about that? We teachers wouldn’t put up with this kind of unfairness on the playground; why put up with it from our lawmakers?

All this furor makes me wonder what her enemies are trying to hide? It makes me wonder if other politicians and bureaucrats need to be investigated, those who just might be skimming off the taxpayer’s bounty.

It’s a dark day in Wyoming politics. I’m like a lot of other people—I’d rather keep my head down and do my own life. But when should we Americans stand up? I’m old enough to remember the Holocaust, to remember and take to heart the words of the minister, Martin Niemoller, who said:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

It’s the American way to stand up. I do it on behalf of the truth and our way of life. Let’s reinstate Cindy Hill to do her work and cut out the nonsense. Our students are losing precious time.

Joan Brummond, former Teacher of the Year

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