Archive for the ‘Democrats and Republicans agree’ Category
I love this educator’s site, entitled Betrayed –by Laurie Rogers.
This most recent article on the Betrayed website is greatly enriched by Laurie Rogers’ use of Animal Farm quotes, like: “He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” (Animal Farm)
Article reposted in full, with permission from Laurie H. Rogers
Click on link to read the original, with electronic links to referenced items.
Children are the key to America’s future. The government wants control of that key.
Those who exert the first influence upon the mind, have the greatest power.– Horace Mann, Thoughts
The writing is on the wall. In a June 7, 2013, statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said President Obama is planning to “redesign” America’s high schools. This redesigning will take place through “competitive grants” (also known as “bait”). Who will pay for this redesigning? (Taxpayers will, as we always do.) How much will it cost? (The secretary and president haven’t said, as they rarely do.) Does the president have the legal or constitutional authority to “redesign” America’s high schools? (No.) According to 20 USC 3403, Obama and Duncan also lack the authority to direct standards, curriculum and teaching approaches. That isn’t stopping them. They say their interventions are for our own good.
He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? (Animal Farm)
Please take note of the language in Duncan’s press release. The “redesigned” high schools will entail:
•”Project- or-problem-based” learning
•”Real-world experiences” and “real-world challenges”
•”Evidence-based professional development”
•Engaging in “complex projects” and working with others to apply knowledge
•Moving “away from the traditional notion of seat time”Uh, oh.
Math advocates will recognize that language. It typically alerts us to reform math – to fuzzy content, “discovery learning” (or constructivism), excessive group work, teachers who don’t directly teach, and lofty concepts presented before skills. That approach has not worked well for students for the last three decades.
It seems Duncan is a reformer, and why wouldn’t he be? Public education systems, colleges of education, curriculum developers and policy makers all have been bathed in reform philosophy and approaches since the 1980s. The president’s new mandate – excuse me, his new initiative – appears to mandate an instructional model that has completely failed children for 30 years.
Duncan and Obama also push the controversial Common Core initiatives, which are leading many districts to fuzzy math and weak English programs. The CC math standards contain a separate section, called the “Standards for Mathematical Practice.” Many states and districts are emphasizing the SMP, and the SMP supports a constructivist approach. Voila: more reform math.
It’s noteworthy that the publisher of Singapore Math – a series long praised by traditionalists – released a new “discovery” version based on the CC. Other publishers also have done so. They appear to believe the CC embraces constructivism, and they’re going along with it.
And now we have this high-school initiative, announced with the same language used by proponents of reform math. After three decades of grim failure, reform approaches to math are unlikely to suddenly work for students just because the feds throw another trillion taxpayer dollars at them.
In April, Obama also announced plans to “expand” early learning programs for 4-year-olds, rolling them into the K-12 system. Initially, children will be from low-income families, but other families and toddlers are to be rolled in, too. “Preschool for All” is estimated to cost taxpayers $75 billion over 10 years.
This de facto federal takeover of public education is cunning and devious. Many Americans have been persuaded that the Common Core and related initiatives are “state-led” and academically better; that nothing is federally mandated; that our right to privacy is intact; and that the Standards are the key.
Proponents say the CC initiatives are voluntary; internationally benchmarked; research-based; rigorous; proved to work; that they’ll save money; they’ll provide commonality and consistency; and that they aren’t “one-size-fits-all.”
The CC initiatives were never internationally benchmarked or academically sufficient. They aren’t grounded in scientifically conducted, replicable research. They’re unproved, with no student data behind them. They’re a national experiment on children. They won’t save taxpayers money. A base cost estimate just to get started is $140 billion nationwide (14,000 school districts x $10 million each).
The CC initiatives are voluntary only in a technical sense. States and districts have been threatened with the loss of federal funds, with the loss of money for impoverished students, and (ironically) with punishments under the No Child Left Behind Act if they don’t comply.
This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. (Animal Farm)
The CC initiatives aren’t “state-led.” The feds are pushing them very hard. They were rammed through states before they were completed, with many proponents appearing to have had a financial reason to support them. The Department of Education has yet to fulfill my FOIA request from four years ago on its role in the development of the CC, but even if the initiatives really were “state-led,” why do the organizations in charge claim to not be subject to public-disclosure laws?
The nature of the CC also is expanding rapidly. Initially, this was K-12 standards in mathematics and English/language arts, but now it’s to be a complete nationalized educational program – with standards, tests, curricula and professional development; from cradle through workforce (P-20); in all subjects, all grades and all schools; in daycares, preschools, K-12 systems and colleges.
The CC initiatives also include an intrusive national database on children and their parents and guardians. Data and information are to be collected and shipped around public agencies, corporations and organizations without our knowledge or consent. Certain state and federal laws were altered or ignored in order to allow and facilitate this sharing of private information. Citizens were not informed.
At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. … [N]ear at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. (Animal Farm)
The CC initiatives appear to entail serious violations of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Code. The overall deceit is so huge, few believe it. Fewer in leadership have questioned it. Legislators on all sides, media, state agencies, governors, districts, money advocates, unions, corporations and foundations have lined up at the Common Core trough, ready for a treat and a pat on the head.
The birds did not understand Snowball’s long words, but they accepted his explanation, and all the humbler animals set to work to learn the new maxim by heart. (Animal Farm)
How long will it be before the feds threaten the loss of taxpayer dollars if states don’t comply with the new high school “grant” initiative or the new early learning initiative? How long before states and districts shrug off questions from parents and taxpayers, saying they had no choice in these matters?
Considering the unproved and dictatorial nature of these federal initiatives, they can’t be about academics. I expect the feds will find it necessary to redesign middle schools to “align” with redesigned high schools. Elementary schools will have to “align” with redesigned middle schools. Preschools will have to “align” with redesigned elementary schools. Colleges are already aligning. It will be one brick at a time, each ripped from the fabric and foundation of the country. This is about control.
With this incredible taxpayer expense – and with academic programs that continue to be as weak as a White House explanation – the children and the country will sink into economic and academic dust. Education policy makers have learned nothing over three decades. Or, perhaps they’ve learned everything. Choose your poison. No doubt, Obama and Duncan will report great improvements.
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer – except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. (Animal Farm)
The Department of Education is now dictatorial and intrusive, assisted by non-government organizations and corporations working together behind our back. Did you think fascism was just for right-wingers? Read up on “fascism” (but do look beyond Google’s definition). This is educational tyranny.
There are some things you can do, however:
Help your child. Fill in academic gaps. Leave the public system if it isn’t working for your child.•Support Alabama Representative Martha Roby’s effort to rein in the U.S. Department of Education. Ask your representatives to support H.R.5 (the Student Success Act 2013), introduced in Congress on June 6, 2013. This bill won’t undo everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Say no to the intrusive data collection that comes with a district’s participation in the CC. Don’t tell them anything about your family that you don’t want Bill Gates, Pearson Education, the ED, the IRS, the Department of Justice, and other government agencies to know. Refuse questionnaires and surveys. Don’t tell them your voting status, political preference or religion.
“In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king…” (BBC series Sherlock). Don’t let them have the key.
Rogers, L. (June 2013). “Children are the key to America’s future. The government wants control of that key.”
Retrieved June 17 2013 from the Betrayed Web site: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com
A friend of mine says that her husband gets angry on the Fourth because of hypocrisy– the people waving the flags and celebrating as if unaware that our nation is losing all its liberties, one by one.
My husband’s co-worker, who is from another country, says that America is less free than his home country. It’s so regulated, and there are so many licenses and rules; the government puts its nose into every aspect of life, he says.
These people may be right.
But I still believe in people. I believe that they believe in liberty. As they wake up to the fact that it’s quickly going away, they will stand up.
They will see through the socialist lies. They will preserve this beautiful country and the freedom that made it so great.
I plan to celebrate this year’s American Independence Day as never before. So much is still right and many U.S. liberties are still reclaimable– including educational liberty.
I thought about this last night, at our boy scout camp, after a day of BB-gun shooting, archery, geology, flag history, boondoggle, and picnics, at a closing campfire.
Three Native Americans did a “retiring” for a huge, old American flag as we all sat in a wide circle their huge teepee. They reverently unfolded the flag, held it high, and lowered it over the fire. A woman sang a native warrrior song and beat her drum. I felt tears filling my eyes as we remembered the warriors who fought to earn and keep the liberty that the flag stands for.
Experiences like this are rare.
Patriotism is being marginalized by the current administration, and global citizenship is promoted in schoolbooks as the thing to seek, over local citizenship, so it’s never been more important to teach our own kids to love our country, and to be loyal to the principles of individual liberty, local sovereignty, and the U.S. constitution. How can you do it?
This year, we’re attending kids’ patriot camp.
We’re going to do as many of the amazing activities as possible at this year’s Provo Freedom Festival. http://www.freedomfestival.org/events/
At home, we’re reading the stories of American history together from the book “The Making of America.”
And we memorized the 50 States song this year in home school and practiced making the U.S. map puzzle to learn where the states are located. We really had fun with it.
There is so much we can do. And we really have to do it.
Hooray, Hooray! Today, the Deseret News published my op-ed. Here’s the link and the text:
Utah state delegates officially disapproved Common Core when they passed the anti-common core resolution this year by a 65 percent vote.
Was that not enough for our state school board and governor?
Gov. Gary Herbert continues to promote the Common Core-dependent Prosperity 2020 initiative. And the state school board continues to label teachers and others who long to reclaim local control and who want legitimate, non-experimental education standards, “the misinformed.”
The fact is, we are not misinformed; we know what Common Core is, and we reject it.
The board won’t even respond to requests for specifics about what we’re so misinformed about.
Now, despite the Utah anti-common core resolution passing; despite the examples of Michigan, Indiana and other states passing time-out bills against Common Core implementation; despite Obama’s recent announcement that he plans to tax Americans to pay for Common Core technologies in his ConnectEd Initiative; still, Utah’s school board has not softened its rigorous-praise-of-Common-Core talking points and is moving it forward as if nothing is wrong.
In fact, the board markets Common Core as being beyond debate; it’s so minimalistic, so consensually adopted, so protective of privacy rights and so academically legitimate (none of which is true) that it is too big to fail and is beyond any future need for amendments (which is indeed fortunate for them, since there is no Common Core amendment process).
Something is truly amiss when experienced Utah teachers with credentials, like me, are perpetually rejected for requests to the state school board to discuss the pros and cons of Common Core. The board doesn’t want a two-sided discussion.
The board is silent on these simple questions:
Where is a shred of evidence to support the claim that Common Core improves education?
Where are any studies showing that the reduction of literary study improves college readiness?
Where is some evidence that slowing the age at which students learn math algorithms improves college readiness?
Where is any amendment process for Utah’s math and English standards, under the copyrighted Common Core?
How can one opt out of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) tracking and the Common Core tests?
Where is the legal — constitutional — authority for people outside our state to set our local standards and to create and monitor our tests?
Why does Utah stand by while Obama announces that he will redesign schools and tax all Americans to pay for it, without Utah putting up a fight?
Why is there a spiral of silence culture now, that demands everyone pretend to agree; where is freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the common agenda, now that teachers and principals don’t speak out for fear of losing their jobs?
How on earth can anyone call Common Core “state-led” when unelected boards that operate behind closed doors, that are not accountable to the public, developed and copyrighted the standards, bypassing voters and the vast majority of teachers and legislators?
Where is the line-item cost analysis of taxpayers’ money being spent on Common Core technologies, teacher training and texts?
When will state leadership address Common Core’s specific damages with the people who elected these leaders to serve us, rather than bowing to every federal whim?
Will the board and governor ever stand up to the Department of Education’s tsunami of assaults on liberties?
Will they continue to fight against local teachers and citizens who rightfully demand local liberty and who rightfully ask for proven, non-experimental, amendable standards — following the example set by the national and world-leading education system in Massachusetts, prior to Common Core?
Truth in American Education also published the article. This one’s actually a later draft, and is a bit better, with links to references. http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/were-not-misinformed-we-know-what-common-core-is-and-we-reject-it/
The heavyhanded education reform machine, by which I mean both the federal Department of Education and the corporate education business machine that’s led by the Bill Gates/Pearson folks, could never get away with what they are getting away with, taking over public education, testing, privacy, and the direction of textbook alignment nationwide, if the average American understood –and demanded– his/her constitutional rights.
1. There’s the right to representation.
Remember the rallying cry of the American colonists against Mother England in the 1700′s? No Taxation Without Representation. I don’t see many people carrying signs down at the Capitol today that read, “No Education Without Representation.” Yet, under Common Core, we have no representation. Putting aside for a moment* the fact that it’s constitutionally illegal to even have nationalized education in this country– if it was legal, it should at least be representative! But the copyrighted Common Core standards are written behind closed doors by private, unelected groups (NGA and CCSSO) that have no public accountability and are not subject to the laws to which elected groups (like Congress) are subject. The two groups are tricky; for example, using the official sounding name of National Governors’ Association (NGA) one group fooled most of us into believing that they were a representative, legitimate governing group. No. NGA has some governors as members, but it is a private group with zero accountability to you or me.
We weren’t represented when our legislatures were bypassed and our states adopted Common Core as part of a grant application signed by only two Utahns.
And we weren’t represented when the money and influence of Bill Gates (not a public vote) produced the whole Common Core, partially by bribing the national PTA and countless other influencers to call this “state-led” and to call it good for kids. Even though it never was.
2. There’s the 10th Amendment* which we are now taking back.
It says that all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, to the people! That means that education is reserved to the states, to the people. There is no such thing as accountability to the Department of Education– unless we stupidly accept grants with strings attached, from that department. Then we are accountable to whatever we agreed to under the conditions of the grant.
3. There’s the right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Many people still don’t realize that unreasonable searches are happening electronically, using schools to collect personal and family information about individual students. And too many of those who do realize it, are unalarmed.
As NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden recently explained, “The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change… People will know the lengths to which government is going to grant themselves powers– unilaterally– to create greater control over American society and global society but they won’t be willing to take the risk necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interest…. the only thing that restricts surveillance activities are policy… They’ll say that because of the dangers… we need more authority… it will be turn-key tyranny.” (see minute 10:48)
4. There’s the right to pursue happiness.
–Not the right for groups to take away others’ happiness or rearrange the happiness distribution of citizens.
The pursuit of happiness for teachers and students is being threatened by new plans for the redistribution of teachers and of wealth, wrapped up in the education reforms that we’re all having rammed down our throats.
If you read the Executive Summary of Race to the Top, (RTTT was the original grant contest that lured states into the Common Core movement) you will see this on page 3:
(D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.
What will this look like?
As one teacher recently noted:
“I can’t make teachers understand that the equitable distribution of effective teachers mean that they get moved if they do a good job. Principals don’t get this either. They will no longer have the ability to retain their best teachers. They will be placed. I can just imagine, a teacher does a good job and has high test scores, so her reward is to be placed in a failing school and as a bonus, she will now be deemed a “leader” charged with extra responsibilities on her new PLC team. That won’t possibly cause problems, will it? And what about the people who move into a certain attendance area because they like the teachers and principals? Schools will become revolving doors with no stability or consistency. We will be on a hamster wheel forever. Well, maybe when principals find out they will lose their best and brightest, they might stop drinking the Kool-aid. They’ve been fed a dribble of this for years and now they just accept it! By the way, this includes them as well. They will be rewarded by being moved to a turnaround government-run school… They have to begin actively recruiting minorities and start hiring a certain amount. No longer the best teacher for the job, but the best minority who might not be as good as [another] applicant. What happened to opportunity for all? When I interview for a job, I would like to think that I get a fair shot.”
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are founding American rights. Redistribution of wealth and redistribution of teachers is totally un-American.
Emmett McGroarty: “This is a mom-led movement, really… If you dig down deep enough, there’s a bedrock principle that almost all Americans can agree upon… that includes the idea that parents should have a say in what children learn.”
MSNBC: “Should the federal government have zero role?”
“Here’s the problem… They never answer the question: ‘Accountability to whom?’ You can’t have accountability running to the federal government and running to parents and local officials….
…I am against the federal government having a role[in education].”
USA Today has published an op-ed by Emmett McGroarty. The author quotes Alisa Ellis of Utah and Anne Gassel of Missouri, parents who typify the Mama and Papa bears in opposing Common Core.
From Alisa Ellis: “Administrators want parents like me to step back and be quiet, but we will not. These are my children, and my voice will be heard.”
From Anne Gassel: “Parents and their legislators were cut out of the loop. Even now we can’t get straight answers.”
McGroarty also writes that “Although Common Core is regularly described as “state-led,” its authors are private entities, which are not subject to sunshine laws, open meetings or other marks of a state-led effort.”
The author also points out that the federal government gave states the incentive to adopt the Common Core and to use aligned, federally funded standardized tests which, “with teacher evaluations geared to them, will act as an enforcement mechanism.”
McGroarty points out that Bill Gates has told the National Conference of State Legislatures that this is more than minimal standards: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well — and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”
Lastly, McGroarty points out that while Common Core developers claim the standards are “research and evidence based,” “rigorous” and “internationally bench-marked,” that’s not true:
He quotes Professor Sandra Stotsky, a member of the official Common Core validation committee, who wrote that the English standards of Common Core actually “weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” He also quotes Stanford professor James Milgram who concluded that the math standards “are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades eight to 12,” and who also wrote that Common Core math doesn’t even fully cover the material in a solid geometry or second-year algebra course.
Read the rest of the article here: http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/2413553
Thank you, Emmett McGroarty, for pointing out the awful, hidden truth about Common Core, and for supporting parents in our quest to reclaim authority over what our own children will learn in our local schools.
The following videos are from last Tuesday night’s forum,”Can Common Core Standards Make Massachusetts Students Competitive?” at the Worcester Public Library in Massachusetts.
At minute 2:15 on the first video, adjunct professor Donna Colorio says, “The bottom line is that there are serious questions and overwhelming evidence that Massachusetts currently has a higher academic standard than the Common Core. Why, when we are among the top in the nation in academic standards and testing, would we change? After 17 years of revising our standards… would we abandon our standards and our curriculum? Just like that? These national standards are unproven, untested, and underfunded.”
At minute 3:04, Colorio says, “It was the best kept education reform secret yet. Do a little experiment. Ask random parents at your next meeting if they know what the Common Core is…. parents, elected representatives, school committee members… were largely bypassed.”
In this next video, Professor Sandra Stotsky speaks. She was the expert who served on the official Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the adequacy of the standards.
In this next video, Ted Rebarber of Accountability Works, speaks about the costs associated with Common Core.
To see all of the video clips from this forum, click here: http://www.youtube.com/user/EndCommonCore
Dr. Gary Thompson is an African American Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Utah.
He doesn’t mess around.
He recently posted the following letter, which he wrote in response to the Common Core testing company, American Institutes for Research (AIR). The letter has to be shared. If you don’t have time to read it all, here’s the toothpaste-cap-sized serving of what he’s saying:
1. A.I.R., the testing company to which Utah has written out a check for $39 million to write Common Core tests, will not answer specific, professional, focused questions and lacks the professional qualifications to do what it has set out to do.
2. Dr. Thompson says that “The continued dissemination of non-data supported conclusions of Common Core by leaders in our education community, and specifically AIR, regarding testing and privacy issues, despite receipt of well documented concerns from educational, legal and psychology experts from around the country, is nothing short of malfeasance of duty.”
3. Dr. Thompson calls for the resignation of John Jesse, Director of Assessment for the Utah State Office of Education; Brenda Hale, Associate Superintendent of Public Schools; and Debra Roberts, Chairperson for the Utah State Board of Education.
Here is the intro.
Public Response Letter to Mr. Jon Cohen – American Institutes for Research
*Note: In light of Dr. Thompson’s recent appointment to the Board of Trustees at the Utah Law & Disability Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, it must be noted for the record that his opinions are independent, and do not represent the official positions of any one Board member or employee of the Center or their affiliates.
In early March of 2013, we as concerned parents of children in public schools in Utah, wrote a detailed letter upon the request of Utah State Superintendent Dr. Martell Menlove regarding our serious trepidations about privacy and testing issues surrounding the implementation of “Common Core.” In it, we expressed strongly that our children would be pulled from Utah public schools unless these concerns were addressed, or in the alternative, at least acknowledge that they were “a work in progress”.
After I accepted a national television appearance, Dr. Menlove was kind enough to invite both Mr. Flint and I into his office where the conversation started out with him sincerely asking, “What can we do to ensure that your daughter Zoey will be enrolled in a Utah public school Kindergarten?”
We described our concerns verbally, but we were asked to write down our apprehensions, as well as appropriate suggestions for changes for the Utah State Office of Education to consider implementing prior to Common Core arriving at full speed in the State of Utah.
We both spent an entire weekend drafting our 12-page letter to the Superintendent and presented an email copy to him, as well as to the entire Utah State Board of Education. Dr. Menlove was kind enough to call my home three weeks later to let me know that our concerns “were heard”, our clinic was a “wonderful asset” to the community, and he appreciated all of the hard work that we do for the children in the State of Utah.
Apparently he forwarded the letter to AIR, and AIR responded to Dr. Menlove specifically about our concerns. The original AIR letter link in response to our concerns is cited below:
http://www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/Adaptive-Assessment-System/AIR-Letter-to-Superintendent.aspx. The following is our joint response to the letter:
Here is the whole letter.
Dear Mr. Cohen:
The Utah State Office of Education was kind enough to post your rejoinder to our inquiries into possible professional practices regarding AIR on their state webpage. Both Attorney Edward D. Flint and I have reviewed your letter. We would both like to thank you in advancefor the kind tenor of your response. In our state, apparently a titanic issue with parents is whenever many of them have questioned the accuracy or efficacy of issues surrounding Common Core, they are publically branded as “right wing, conspiracy theorists wearing tin foil hats.”
We both wish to thank you for your professional tone by not dragging political or religious ideology into an issue that is purely about science, law, parental choice, and common sense. Clearly, neither Mr. Flint nor myself have ever been accused of, or confused with being “right wing nut bags.”
The vast majority of your response letter dealt with Mr. Flint’s privacy concerns. I will cut and paste Mr. Flint’s direct response in the latter parts of this letter under the section titled “Privacy Issues”.
As for the issues regarding disability and learning disorders, you devoted a grand total of exactly 74 words (compared to my to my 8 pages of written concerns) regarding issues associated with Adaptive Testing and Common Core. Here is the exact quote from your letter regarding disability issues and the Common Core:
“On a final note, Dr. Thompson expresses concern about the tests appropriately serving students with disabilities. AIR has a long history of serving students with disabilities, and we have invested in making our testing platform the most accessible possible. In addition, we always advise our clients to design tests that adhere to the principles of fair testing outlined by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities guidelines for adaptive testing, which can be found at http://www.c-c-d.org/task_forces/education/CCD_Computer_Adaptive_Testing_final.pdf ”
Here are my professional thoughts regarding your paragraph:
1. You state that you have a “long history of serving students with disabilities.”
Yet you failed to provide a single reference or smidgen of evidence that you have designed adaptive tests/assessments for children of color, gifted children, or children with specific learning disabilities that are scientifically reliable or useful. Providing data links to pilot studies of successes you have had with these, and other groups of children with “learning quirks” in regards to adaptive testing would have been the appropriate professional response to a interested “shareholder” in your corporation. Whereas my tax money is funding this $39,000,000.00 endeavor, I indeed have the strong attitude that you work for the parents of public school children in the State of Utah. Your responses along these lines lacked intellectual rigor and were disingenuous at best.
2. You stated, “we have invested in making our testing platform the most accessible possible.”
Where is the data from pilot studies that support your claim? If is only accurate “as much as possible,” then certainly you are aware that certain groups of children will most likely statistically slip through the proverbial cracks with your adaptive testing design. Who are these kids? What have you done to encourage these children from avoiding potential emotional/psychological harm from opting out of this test you are designing? Your response along these lines again lack intellectual rigor and again was professionally affronting to me.
3. You stated in the paragraph, “we always advise our clients to design tests that adhere to the principles of fair testing….”.
Who in UTAH is designing this new adaptive common core test? What qualifications does this person have? I assume that Mr. John Jesse, Director of Assessment for the Utah State Office of Education, is not this person, whereas he does not have the training or experience to design such a complex, adaptive test for every public school child in the entire State of Utah.
If someone was found in our State to design this test, please tell me why a $39,000,000.00 check was written out to your company to design this test? Your attempt to conceptualize Utah as “design partner” is either a direct lie, or a mistake on your part. For $39,000,000.00, Utah taxpayers and parents expect a certain degree of honesty and/or accuracy from a company that is designing the most important test in the history of our state.
4. Speaking of accuracy, you referred us to link via this sentence:
“In addition, we always advise our clients to design tests that adhere to the principles of fair testing outlined by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities guidelines for adaptive testing,which can be found at http://www.c-c-d.org/task_forces/education/CCD_Computer_Adaptive_Testing_final.pdf. ”
The link in the letter you drafted and posted to the entire State of Utah to view as evidence of your concern for children with disabilities in Utah was THE CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY.
I simply am speechless.
As far as the Washington D.C. based, non-profit special interestgroup, “Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities” is concerned, the guidelines on their webpage are bereft of any references towards specific practices regarding at risk children and adaptive testing. This may have something to do with the fact that it appears that absolutely none of their Board of Directors has any type of formal, graduate school level education or clinical training experience with children displaying disabilities in assessment settings. I could go on for days regarding my concerns about CCD, but time is a limiting factor.
In addition, you also failed to detail how AIR works specifically with CCD as such might concern the development of the pending $39,000,000.00 Utah adaptive test. How often have your test designers consulted with CDC? What specific advice did the CDC give you concerning our unique population of children? Did the CDC make your aware that Utah has the highest number of children diagnosed with Autism in the entire United States?
If so, what specific professional guidance did the CDC give to AIR in regards to designing test for children with Autism? Would you be so kind to share this information with my fellow parents in the State of Utah?
I will not rehash the vast majority of my concerns to you again. I do believe you have a copy of our last letter. In that letter I provided multiple avenues by which AIR and the Utah State Department of Education can alleviate our “paranoia” by at least considering the implementation of several transparency features into your $39,000,000.00 contract with the citizens and parents of the State of Utah.
Let me refresh your memory with a few nuggets of change to consider from our previous letter:
1. “Anyone who states that AIR does not have the capacity to input selected variables that measure “behavioral characteristics”, along with variables that measure language arts, science or math is sorely misguided. It would be relatively “easy” to design a language adaptive test that has behavioral characteristics embedded into the design of the test.”
2. “Someone, independent of AIR, MUST have access to every single item on the tests being designed in order to insure and that absolutely ZERO behavioral indicators are being measured on tests that parents in Utah believe are only measuring “reading, writing and arithmetic”.
3. “A truly independent review by three independent, Board Certified, joint Ph.D. level psychometricians and licensed clinical psychologist, of all of the test items developed by AIR to ensure that there are no line item variables that could be reasonable utilized to measure“behavioral characteristics” as such may be defined by the American Psychological Association, or Journals published by this group.”
4. Implying, as was done in the USOE Alpine Town Hall Meeting, that any disability group in the country has approved a test (that has not yet to be designed) for the valid use with these populations, is disingenuous at the very least, or a flat out, deliberate misrepresentation to the parents of Utah (and the rest of the country) at worst.
5. An “opt out option” for children with disabilities until data of validity and efficacy is published and disseminated to the public, which ensures fair and accurate measurement of academic achievement.
Your letter failed to even acknowledge reflection of these common sense suggestions and protections for our $39,000,000.00 investment with AIR.
Per se, as far as your response to our clinic’s concerns that were outlined to Superintendent Menlove, I find it to be nothing but a piece of disingenuous public relations rubbish that is affronting in its lack of clarity and references. In a nutshell, you have asked the entire State of Utah to simply “trust you.”
Perhaps you have not spent any recent time in our great state. It would not be an exaggeration to state that the vast majority of Utah citizens have become a little queasy regarding believing authority figures in politics and business regarding positions of fiduciary and moral trust. Common Core, good or bad, is undisputedly the largest experiment of academic and assessment change in the history of our country. With such a grand experiment, the word “trust” should never be uttered.
I strongly suggest that both AIR and the Utah State Office of Education step up to the plate with some real answers, as opposed to the public relations fluff that we as parents are tired of digesting. Your joint, continued efforts of quasi-deception by proxy might incite this highly intelligent, bi-partisan, independent group of Utah parents to descend 10,000 strong to have their voices heard on the steps of our Capitol. Outsiders may make fun of our dominant culture, may laugh regarding our Utah Jazz, however we draw the line where it comes to the health and safety of our children. Our children will not become your psychological and academic guinea pigs without reasonable pilot-study data, specific to our unique population of children and teenagers.
The vast majority of your letter was in response to attorney Flint’s concerns regarding data mining and related privacy issues. The following is a direct quote from Mr. Flint that I received this morning after he reviewed your letter to Dr. Menlove:
“AIR responds to our concerns about privacy, misuse of data and the protection of the database by re-stating that their contract precludes misuse or dissemination and would violate existing laws. I think we can all agree on that, however, it completely fails to answer the questions posed.
For example, in my letter to Superintendent Menlove, I cited a number of instances where both governmental and private agencies have lost or misplaced data while transferring it via flash drive, and the numerous instances of professional hackers obtaining the most sensitive and private information from medical and other databases.
The government agencies and companies that were “victims,” were also all required by law and contract to not disclose, disseminate or negligently lose the data, and to have sufficient firewall and other protections against hackers. They failed. Miserably.
AIR is in no better position than the dedicated public servants who have utterly failed us on a regular basis. They ignore the new 21st Century realities of data-mining and the veracity of how valuable data is sought after by many organizations for many, including nefarious, purposes. AIR dangerously skips past my concerns for the numerous exemptions to obtaining parental written consent, such as “academic surveys” or the oft-repeated abuses now being reported in other states that have implemented Common Core.
Like the Utah State Office of Education, they simply say “trust us, we’re professionals.” What they really mean is “screw you, we’re in charge here.”
It appears off hand that you failed to impress a trial lawyer with 26 years of litigation experience, as well as a father of a young son with Asperger’s Disorder.
The repeated refusal of education leaders in positions of trust to responsibly address privacy and testing concerns (as well as other well documented concerns regarding curriculum development) surrounding Common Core may ultimately result in potential academic and emotional harm to a significant portion of Utah’s public school children. The repeated refusal to even responsibly acknowledge the very possibility of potential harm to children in our communities borders on delusional thought processes.
The continued dissemination of non-data supported conclusions of Common Core by leaders in our education community, and specifically AIR, regarding testing and privacy issues, despite receipt of well documented concerns from educational, legal and psychology experts from around the country, is nothing short of malfeasance of duty.
In plain terms, you are experimenting with our children without our consent. Such actions are not acceptable to any parent in the State of Utah, regardless of political or religious affiliations. It’s time for some “new perspectives” to be heard in various education circles.
As such, I would deferentially request that Mr. John Jesse, Director of Assessment for the Utah State Office of Education; Ms. Brenda Hale, Associate Superintendent of Public Schools; and Ms. Debra Roberts, Chairperson for the Utah State Board of Education resign from their respective professional and/or political duties prior to the commencement of the 2013-2014 public school academic year.
(Superintendent Menlove is new to the political jungles associated with Utah, and appears to be making an active effort in trying to wrap his head around the massive changes he inherited from Washington D.C. and his predecessor. In addition, I believe that he is a man of integrity.)
As an alternative to resignations of the above named parties, I would respectfully request that both the Utah State Office of Education, as well as the Utah State School Board, discuss and objectively educate parents via their respective official websites regarding areas of Common Core that have not been vetted in a reasonable and proper manner via pilot studies (e.g.,testing issues), as well as acknowledge that potential exists for the misuse of private “educational” data. This new transparency and intellectual honesty will result in allowing parents to make individual decisions regarding either opting out of Common Core, or making arrangements for alternative educational instruction for their respective children.
Mr. Cohen, your role at AIR will be key to ensuring that USOE honors our request for more in-depth, and objective scientific and legal transparency, as well as building bridges of trust between you and the community of citizens who are paying for your services. I think I speak for and in behalf of tens of thousands of Utah parents who believe that trust must be earned when it comes to the process and execution of educating our children. The days of signing “blank checks of trust” are done in our state…especially when such involves $39,000,000.00 and our children.
This is all very simple: Prove your claims with scientifically reliable pilot data, or in the alternative, acknowledge potential deficits in a clear and concise manner so that parents, who are the true experts of their children, can make decisions regarding their unique kids and their continued involvement (or not) in Common Core.
One size does not fit all.
Gary Thompson, Psy.D.
Edward D. Flint, Attorney at Law
- Dr. Thompson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mr. Flint can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
Dr. Thompson’s appearance on The Blaze t.v. show with Glenn Beck is highlighted below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NjqOBEc3HU
In today’s Deseret News opinion piece, Matt Sanders makes the observation that similar, disturbing trends make the National Security Administration’s actions and the Department of Education’s actions snooping mirror images of each other. These trends are First Amendment violations, government overreach, and cradle to grave data tracking. The article also makes the point that on the local level, the Utah State Office of Education has provided no legal or operational assurances of student data privacy, although the USOE is quick to offer verbal assurances and to “soothe fears of ever more federalism by labeling opponents as detractors and alarmists.”
Sanders also writes:
“…[A]nother problematic revelation has roiled Washington, D.C. This time it goes beyond snooping around journalists looking for a scoop. It involves the National Security Administration collecting phone data on of Verizon customers.
This is a problem. A real problem. The U.S. federal government derives its power through the consent of the governed through a system of duly elected representatives acting as agents for their local populations. Additionally, the Constitution goes to great lengths to curb the tendency of government to overreach its bounds, and therefore set up a system of checks and balances.
… In light of the federal agency’s incursions, parents and lawmakers should likewise revisit the data privacy standards in Common Core testing approach… While Utah State Office of Education (USOE) officials verbally assured community members that they should not be concerned, they’ve provided no such assurance legally or operationally.”
Read the whole article: http://reframingthedebate.blogs.deseretnews.com/2013/06/06/3-reasons-why-nsa-snooping-worries-parents-and-lawmakers/
By defunding or in other ways pausing/stopping Common Core, legislators in a growing number of states aim to take back local control of education, redirecting the state’s educational focus and funds toward more legitimate educational endeavors that do not include the full Common Core agenda.
A guest post at The Washington Post, on Valerie Strauss’ blog, (the post by Michael McShane) shows how easily Michigan is stopping Common Core. McShane writes:
“Michigan state senator Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) doesn’t like the Common Core.
It is, according to [Sen. McMillin], “An obvious overreach by the federal government into our classrooms.” He believes that “The federal government should not dictate what is taught in every classroom in the nation, especially in Michigan.”
Agree with him or not, he has a perspective that is shared by numerous legislators in states all across the country, from Kansas to Louisiana to Indiana to Georgia to Pennsylvania which is causing headaches for Common Core advocates.
To try and stop the Common Core, McMillin introduced, along with several other senators, HB 4276, which specifically states that “The state board model core academic curriculum content standards shall not be based upon the Common Core Standards.”
Now, trying to pass a bill to openly thwart the Common Core — which, it should be stated, Republican Governor Tom Snyder supports — is probably a bridge too far. To date, it appears that the bill, like several others throughout the nation, has stalled in the Senate Education Committee.
So what is a Senator like McMillin to do? Well, all he needs to do to stop the Common Core is make sure that it doesn’t get funded… House Republicans were able to use the 11th hour conference committee that gets the state budget passed to slip in a provision that prohibited the Michigan Department of Education from funding Common Core implementation. Before folks knew what hit them, the budget was approved, and the die was cast.
In doing so, he knowingly or not created a playbook for Common Core opponents in state houses nationwide. Trying to openly oppose the Common Core by amending state code is extremely difficult. Cutting the legs out from under it in the budget does not appear to be…”
Read the full Michigan defunding Common Core article by Michael McShane at the Washington Post here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/05/is-it-really-this-easy-to-block-the-common-core/
Democrats against Common Core seem mostly to oppose the privatization of public education (Bill Gates-Pearson style) and Republicans against Common Core seem mostly to oppose Common Core’s socialist-styled centralization of power.
But for a growing number of Americans, Independence Day will be redefined when Common Core goes away.
Indiana has passed a Common-Core-on-time-out bill, rather than a defunding bill. Kansas, Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Florida* and other states are moving, each in slightly different ways, to throw off the chains.
The voices are growing.
*Watch Florida lawmakers questioning Common Core at a recently filmed hearing here:
North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest speaks out about why he wants the state to follow Indiana’s lead in taking a time out to study Common Core before implementing this untested, one size fits all nationalization of education.
Three cheers for Dan Forest.
This open letter is published with permission from the author, liberal high school history teacher and former professor Paul Horton of Chicago.
The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education
Senate Appropriations Committee
June 3, 2013
Dear Chairman Harkin,
I was very saddened to hear that you have decided not to run for reelection as a United States senator. You have always represented the most honest branch of the Democratic Party and the long proud legacy of Midwestern prairie populism extending from James B. Weaver, to Williams Jennings Bryan, to Bob LaFollette, the Farm-Labor party, Paul Simon, George McGovern, and Tom Daschle. We could also count the comedian turned senator from Minnesota in this, but he needs a few more years of “seasoning.” I am sure that you are mentoring him in the tradition. Your friend and my senator, Dick Durbin, shares this tradition, but I am worried that he has cozied up too closely with the Chicago plutocrats to be an effective spokesperson for “the small fry.”
I write because you hold a very important position in congress that has oversight over Education. I am a history teacher, a historian, a leader of history teachers, and a critic of the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top Mandates. I have thirty years of teaching under my belt, including service to the people of the great state of Iowa at Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls where I taught high school students and trained pre service history teachers at the University of Northern Iowa.
Your friend and colleague, senator Grassley, has sent you a letter expressing his concerns about the Race to the Top mandates and the Common Core Curriculum Standards, so I will not belabor the concerns that he has already expressed to you, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/19/common-core-standards-attacked-by-republicans/.
I would like to encourage you to call our Secretary of Education before your committee and ask him some hard questions about the way that the RTTT mandates were constructed. His responses to the concerns that many citizens have from all points on the political spectrum have been exceedingly evasive. He typically claims that those who are opposed to the RTTT mandates and the Common Core Standards are hysterical wing nuts who fully embrace Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories about attempts to create a one world government: <http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/04/paul_horton_of_common_core_con.html>.
In fact, despite the claims of a recent Washington Post story (<http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tea-party-groups-rallying-against-common-core-education-overhaul/2013/05/30/64faab62-c917-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html>), critics of the RTTT mandates and the CCS come from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. In the national education debate, the status quo agenda that is being pushed comes from the corporate middle of both parties that is backed by many of those who have been the biggest beneficiaries of the current economic “recovery” in Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Manhattan (and Westchester County) and large foundations.
I humbly recommend that Mr. Duncan be called before your committee to answer some serious questions under oath about corporate and investor influence on Education policy. Mr. Duncan told a committee of congress that he did not want to “participate in the hysteria” surrounding the RTTT and the CCS. Because he is a public servant, it is his duty to serve the people of the United States. Part of his job is to be accountable to the public.
I recommend a few questions that any populist or progressive senator would have asked in the 1890s or early twentieth century:
1) How many of your staffers have worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Who are they, and why did you hire them?
2) What role did these staffers and Bill Gates have on the formulation of the RTTT mandates?
3) How much classroom teaching experience do the principal authors of the RTTT mandates have, individually, and as a group?
4) Why are these individuals qualified to make decisions about education policy?
5) Were you, or anyone who works within the Department of Education in contact with any representative or lobbyist representing Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill, or InBloom before or during the writing of the RTTT mandates?
6) What is the Broad Foundation? What is your connection to the Broad Foundation? What education policies does the Broad Foundation support? How do these policies support public education? How do these policies support private education? What was the role of the Broad Foundation in the creation of the RTTT mandates?
7) How many individuals associated with the Broad Foundation helped author the report, “Smart Options: Investing Recovery Funds for Student Success” that was published in April of 2009 and served as a blueprint for the RTTT mandates? How many representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation assisted in writing this report? What was their role in authoring this report? How many representatives of McKinsey Consulting participated in authoring this report? What was David Coleman’s role in authoring this report?
8) Do you know David Coleman? Have you ever had any conversations with David Coleman? Has anyone on your staff had any conversations with David Coleman? Did anyone within the Department of Education have any connection to any of the authors of the Common Core Standards? Did anyone in your Department have any conversations with any of the authors of the Common Core Standards as they were being written?
9) Have you ever had any conversations with representatives or lobbyists who represent the Walton Family Foundation? Has anyone on your staff had any conversations with the Walton Family Foundation or lobbyists representing the Walton Family Foundation? If so, what was the substance of those conversations?
10)Do you know Michelle Rhee? If so, could you describe your relationship with Michelle Rhee? Have you, or anyone working within the Department of Education, had any conversations with Students First, Rhee’s advocacy group, about the dispersal foundation funds for candidates in local and state school board elections?
This is just a start. Public concerns about possible collusion between the Department of Education and education corporations could be addressed with a few straightforward answers to these and other questions.
Every parent, student, and teacher in the country is concerned about the influence of corporate vendors on education policy. What is represented as an extreme movement by our Education Secretary can be more accurately described as a consumer revolt against shoddy products produced by an education vendor biopoly (Pearson and McGraw Hill). Because these two vendors have redefined the education marketplace to meet the requirements of RTTT, they both need to be required to write competitive impact statements for the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice.
Senator Harkin, I have a simple solution to this education mess. You represent a state with a great education system. In Iowa, there are great teachers in Cumming, Hudson, and West Des Moines. Most teachers across the country are dedicated, talented, and creative. They, and not Pearson, McGraw Hill, or InBloom , have a better sense about what is good for kids. Allow teachers to create national rubrics to evaluate authentic assessments and allow teachers to do their jobs and grade these assessments. We can save billions of dollars in a time of austerity if we do this. You have control over the disbursement of RTTT funds. These funds should go to teacher assessments, not assessments designed by people with little or no classroom experience. Likewise, these assessments should be graded by teachers, not by temporary employees or computers under the control of for profit corporations.
Let’s invest in our teachers to insure that this investment stays in our communities and states. Education vendors are not loyal to kids, parents, or states. They seek profit, and they will invest their proceeds wherever they can make the most money. It is time for some common sense. We need education policy for the small fry, not education policy for plutocrats.
I would love to speak to you and to your committee on these issues.
The very best to you,
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
former History Instructor, The University of Northern Iowa
Malcolm Price Laboratory School, Cedar Falls, Iowa
National News Roundup for Common Core Pushback:
LA Times: Schools’ effort to shift to Common Core faces a difficult test
Washington Post/Strauss blog: Common Core — Assessing the real level of support
Fox News/Megyn Kelly: Concern over new ‘common core’ standards in education
Fox News: Conservatives crying foul over new education standards (Joel Klein — defends Common Core)
MA: Getting at the Core — Parents should take hard look at new standards
MA: Battle Lines Drawn Over Common Core Standards
NH/NPR: The Common Core State Standards: Not Yet In Place, Already Controversial
Ed Week: Michigan Close to Putting Brakes on Common Core in New K-12 Budget
WI: Opposition to Common Core standards defies political lines
WI: Budget Committee ‘Hits Pause Button’ On Common Core Standards
WI: Common Core on hold while lawmakers take a look
WI: Common Core Opponents Pleased With Budget Committee Decision
MI: Common Core Debate Ongoing –State standards face a funding challenge in Lansing.
MI: Michigan Common Core Standards Under Debate
MI: Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush warn Michigan legislators against abandoning Common Core standards
MI: Controversial K-12 standards face opposition
UT: GOP rejection of Common Core a ‘rallying point’
UT: Tea party behind opposition to Common Core school reforms
“Our math standards prior to adopting Common Core were actually more highly rated than Common Core, and they were created here in Utah. Why did we leave them if they were better standards? Because the federal government offered states a chance at $4.35 billion if they would agree to sign on …
OH: Common Core’s claims are false
KS: Education officials defend Common Core standards
KS: Senate votes to block new education standards
KS: House narrowly defeats late Common Core challenge
KY: Common Core Standards won’t fix problems
“Despite the good intentions, support for the standards has eroded dramatically, and several states are reconsidering their commitment to them. One reason for the backlash is the intrusion of the federal government into the process.”
NY: Is Common Core Politicizing School Elections?
NH: Common Core Comes To New Hampshire
GA: ‘Common Core’ opposed in Senoia
GA: Profit motive behind Common Core Standards
CA: Common Core meeting scheduled
CA: Classroom no place for central planning — Common Core not right path for raising performance of American students.
DL: Cape area residents take aim at Common CoreMinard: Board should withdraw from national initiative
AL: Technological hurdles remain to new Common Core assessments
AL: Common Core standards survive the Legislature — this time
MN: Some states push back against new school standards
IN: Common Core debate is far from over in Indiana
U.S. Education Overhaul Fires up Emboldened Tea Party
WA: Common Core Standards – the other side of the story
TN: New Common Core standards raise questions
OR: Hillsboro School Board adopts math books but raises questions about Common Core Standards
CT: The common core juggernaut
A growing number of the proponents of Common Core say they are opposed to the data mining that uses school-collected data.
How does this position even make sense? The two programs are so married.
1. President Obama’s the head cheerleader for both programs and he bundles them in his vision for education reform. Part of the Race to the Top application was an agreement for states to adopt Common Core Standards, and part was to have a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) that would match every other SLDS in the nation (using federal grants to build it.) Points were awarded to states who did both. Clearly, both Common Core and the SLDS data system were part of that federal reform package and both comply with the “Big Government” vision of socialistically controlled education. (The fact that our state –Utah– received no RTTT monies and isn’t part of RTTT, is irrelevant, since Utah still chose to remain bound under Common Core and the federally funded SLDS even after not winning any grant monies. Don’t ask me why. That decision makes no sense at all.)
3. At a recent White House event entitled “DataPalooza,” eScholar CEO Shawn T. Bay gave a speech in which he stated that although aggregate data is useful, it’s most useful to look at the individual consumer or the individual student. He said, too, that Common Core is so important to the open data movement, because Common Core is “the glue that actually ties everything together.”
Here is the video. http://youtu.be/9RIgKRNzC9U?t=9m5s
See minute nine to find where the data push depends on Common Core.
4. For those states (including SBAC-droppers like Utah
) who are still in any way connected
to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC
) there is the damning evidence found in a key document called the Cooperative Agreement
with the Dept of Education. Here you will discover that only the fiscal agent state, Washington, has any real authority over what happens in all the other states of the SBAC. Here you will also see the illegal moves of the Department of Education very clearly. The Department mandates synchronization of tests between the SBAC and the PARCC. It mandates the sharing of data on an ongoing basis. It mandates phone calls, conferences and much more sharing of testing information. This is completely illegal under GEPA law
and under the 10th Amendment. By triangulating tests and data between the SBAC, the PARCC and the Dept. of Education, they have created a nationalized system that removes local authority and the local voice.It troubles me
that the proponents of Common Core continue to call opponents like me “misinformed” when the opposite is obvious from source documents.
It troubles me that I actually go out of my way to request proof that we opponents are “erroneous” and “misinformed” and the proponents don’t even respond to the emails.
Proponents of Common Core seem to me to be increasingly uninterested in the truth. That troubles me most of all.
I am interested in the truth. I have no other object in this fight against Common Core except wanting academically legitimate, locally amendable and locally controlled standards.
I am a teacher and a mother, not a politician or lobbyist or even a reporter.
If I actually was a politician or reporter, here’s what I would take the time to study and then write. The article would be entitled:
“Putting the Pieces Together on the Data Mining - Common Core Puzzle.”
First, I’d call state technology directors in various states and I’d ask them the same questions about federal compliance issues surrounding data collection that I’ve asked our Jerry Winkler of Utah.
First, I’d clarify whether the technology director is aware of the federal requests for voluntary submission
of private student data (not in aggregate form). I would mention at least three federal sources: CEDS
. They’d likely be unaware (but maybe not).
Then I would ask the technology director what information is currently being collected by the state student surveillance system, the SLDS, (which all states have and use on the state level but which most states do not YET open up to the feds –except on an aggregate level.) This would vary from state to state.
Then I would ask the big question: Who makes the call on when these puzzle pieces will fit together in compliance with federal goals? Who has that authority in our state?
We have fitting pieces of the horrific, 1984-esque puzzle, but when will we choose to put it together?
We know that the feds are asking us to voluntarily share personally identifiable data, we know that the Dept. of Ed sneakily destroyed FERPA privacy law
to make data accessing easier; we know that we as states do collect it, and we know that we already share the aggregated form of student data.
What’s next? And who makes the call?
I watched this video, where the Salt Lake Tribune reporter asked Utah School Board Chair Debra Roberts whether Common Core took away classic literature –see minute 15:40.
Roberts laughed, said that she was an English major and would never support standards that were not strongly supportive of classic literature— and then, without answering, took the conversation in the direction of how important informational texts are.
The fact is, informational texts used to be taught where they OUGHT to be taught– in science classes, history classes, and other classes. But they are being force fed in all English classes now.
Certainly, some classic literature is still permitted in Utah schools under Common Core. But it has been dramatically reduced, especially at the high school level. Roberts would not admit this. WHY?
Debra Roberts’ signature (together with our former governor’s signature) put Utah’s former educational liberty under the thumb of the Common Core agenda. She’s been on the Common Core adoption team longer than our current governor. She cannot be ignorant of the truth.
She knows that Common Core emphasizes informational text and takes away classic literature. She knows that in elementary school, students may read 50% classic stories and 50% informational text; and she knows that the percentage of informational text MUST increase while the percentage of classic literature must decrease, so that when a student is a high school senior, he/she must have 70% of his/her English class reading be informational, while 30% max may be classic literature.
She and others on the state school board continue to call those of us who call for the whole truth, “misinformed” and ”erroneous.”
I requested an explanation of what exactly seemed “erroneous,” in the school board’s view, in the GOP resolution that Utah’s State Delegates voted to support last week.
I have not heard back from them.
I have also requested face to face meetings with board members and have been denied a meeting. Here I am, a credentialed Utah teacher, denied a meeting to discuss my concerns about Utah’s new Core Curriculum. Does that seem good?
I am willing to be proven wrong. One person could be wrong.
But I don’t think it’s fair to call all 6,000 petition signers at Utahns Against Common Core, plus the 1500— 2,000 state delegates who voted against common core at the resolution vote, plus the entire Republican National Committee, plus Sutherland Institute, Heritage Institute, Pioneer Institute, Cato Institute, Senator Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz, and Rob Bishop, all “misinformed.” –Especially not in the same week that the chair of the board misinforms reporters about Common Core.
Where is the evidence to support the rhetoric surrounding the CCSS? This is not data-driven decision making. This is a decision grasping for data… Yet this nation will base the future of its entire public education system, and its children, upon this lack of evidence. – Dr. Christopher Tienken, Seton Hall University, NJ
In the Education Administration Journal, the AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice (Winter 2011 / Volume 7, No. 4) there’s an article by Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University that clearly explains the ridiculousness of Common Core. The full article, “Common Core: An Example of Data-less Decision Making,” is available online, and following are some highlights:
Although a majority of U.S. states and territories have “made the CCSS the legal law of their land in terms of the mathematics and language arts curricula,” and although “over 170 organizations, education-related and corporations alike, have pledged their support,” still “the evidence presented by its developers, the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), seems lacking,” and research on the topic suggests ”the CCSS and those who support them are misguided,“ writes Dr. Tienken.
“The standards have not been validated empirically and no metric has been set to monitor the intended and unintended consequences they will have on the education system and children,” he writes.
Tienken and many other academics have said that Common Core adoption begs this question: “Surely there must be quality data available publically to support the use of the CCSS to transform, standardize, centralize and essentially de-localize America‘s public education system,” and “surely there must be more compelling and methodologically strong evidence available not yet shared with the general public or education researchers to support the standardization of one of the most intellectually diverse public education systems in the world. Or, maybe there is not?”
Tienken calls incorrect the notion that American education is lagging behind international competitors and does not believe the myth that academic tests can predict future economic competitiveness.
“Unfortunately for proponents of this empirically vapid argument it is well established that a rank on an international test of academic skills and knowledge does not have the power to predict future economic competitiveness and is otherwise meaningless for a host of reasons.”
He observes: “Tax, trade, health, labor, finance, monetary, housing, and natural resource policies, to name a few, drive our economy, not how students rank on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS)” or other tests.
Most interestingly, Tienken observes that the U.S. has had a highly internationally competitive system up until now. “The U.S. already has one of the highest percentages of people with high school diplomas and college degrees compared to any other country and we had the greatest number of 15 year-old students in the world score at the highest levels on the 2006 PISA science test (OECD, 2008; OECD, 2009; United Nations, 2010). We produce more researchers and scientists and qualified engineers than our economy can employ, have even more in the pipeline, and we are one of the most economically competitive nations on the globe (Gereffi & Wadhwa, 2005; Lowell, et al., 2009; Council on Competitiveness, 2007; World Economic Forum, 2010).
Tienken calls Common Core “a decision in search of data“ ultimately amounting to ”nothing more than snake oil.” He is correct. The burden of proof is on the proponents to show that this system is a good one.
He writes: “Where is the evidence to support the rhetoric surrounding the CCSS? This is not data-driven decision making. This is a decision grasping for data… Yet this nation will base the future of its entire public education system, and its children, upon this lack of evidence. Many of America‘s education associations already pledged support for the idea and have made the CCSS major parts of their national conferences and the programs they sell to schools.
This seems like the ultimate in anti-intellectual behavior coming from what claim to be intellectual organizations now acting like charlatans by vending products to their members based on an untested idea and parroting false claims of standards efficacy.”
Further, Dr. Tienken reasons:
“Where is the evidence that national curriculum standards will cause American students to score at the top of international tests or make them more competitive? Some point to the fact that many of the countries that outrank the U.S. have national, standardized curricula. My reply is there are also nations like Canada, Australia, Germany, and Switzerland that have very strong economies, rank higher than the U.S. on international tests of mathematics and science consistently, and do not have a mandated, standardized set of national curriculum standards.”
Lastly, Dr. Tienken asks us to look at countries who have nationalized and standardized education, such as China and Singapore: “China, another behemoth of centralization, is trying desperately to crawl out from under the rock of standardization in terms of curriculum and testing (Zhao, 2009) and the effects of those practices on its workforce. Chinese officials recognize the negative impacts a standardized education system has had on intellectual creativity. Less than 10% of Chinese workers are able to function in multi-national corporations (Zhao, 2009).
I do not know of many Chinese winners of Nobel Prizes in the sciences or in other the intellectual fields. China does not hold many scientific patents and the patents they do hold are of dubious quality (Cyranoski, 2010).
The same holds true for Singapore. Authorities there have tried several times to move the system away from standardization toward creativity. Standardization and testing are so entrenched in Singapore that every attempt to diversify the system has failed, leaving Singapore a country that has high test scores but no creativity. The problem is so widespread that Singapore must import creative talent from other countries”.
According to Dr. Tienken, Common Core is a case of oversimplification. It is naiive to believe that all children would benefit from mastering the same set of skills, or that it would benefit the country in the long run, to mandate sameness. He observes that Common Core is “an Orwellian policy position that lacks a basic understanding of diversity and developmental psychology. It is a position that eschews science and at its core, believes it is appropriate to force children to fit the system instead of the system adjusting to the needs of the child.”
Oh, how I agree.
Since when do we trust bureaucracies more than we trust individuals to make correct decisions inside a classroom or a school district? Since when do we agree force children to fit a predetermined system, instead of having a locally controlled, flexible system that can adjust to the needs of a child?
What madness (or money?) has persuaded even our most American-as-apple-pie organizations – even the national PTA, the U.S. Army, the SAT, most textbook companies and many governors– to advocate for Common Core, when there never was a real shred of valid evidence upon which to base this country-changing decision?
Utah’s Republican state delegates sent a clear message to the Governor, Utah legislators, and to the State Office of Education at Saturday’s GOP convention when 65% of the state delegates voted yes to support the resolution written by Utahns Against Common Core.
Utah’s delegates are calling on Governor Herbert and the Utah State School Board to withdraw from Common Core, and are calling on the Utah State Legislature to discontinue funding all programs in association with the Common Core Initiative.
If you missed the GOP convention, here’s what happened.
An ocean of people swarmed in from every corner of Utah to the South Jordan Expo Center Saturday to debate and vote upon the issues of the day. Present were the Governor and his bodyguard; legislators, activists, school board members; candidates for political offices, and 2,584 delegates. The swarm began before 7 a.m. and didn’t end until late in the afternoon.
At the Utahns Against Common Core booth there was a video loop showing the audience current, common core aligned textbooks that are approved for Utah schools. The booth also featured a handful of teachers and parents, answering questions about why they opposed Common Core. (The video that was looped is viewable here. For further analysis of these texts from a Utah mental health therapist’s view – see this video, too.)
There were more delegates clustered around the Utahns Against Common Core (UACC) booth than around any other, by a long shot. Many of the delegates signed the UACC petition, wore Stop Common Core buttons and stickers, and asked questions because of the conflicting (and may I point out, unreferenced) information coming from the State Office about Common Core.
I told delegates near our booth that I dislike the mandates of the common standards and I don’t believe for a minute that they are the solution to our educational problems. (It seems a no-brainer that it’s harmful, not helpful, to lessen the amount of classic literature that a child may read, and to delay the age at which students learn basic math algorithms, etc.)
But academics are not the key issue; academic problems can normally be fixed, but under Common Core there is not even an amendment process. These are copyrighted, D.C.-written, common standards.
Without a written amendment process, it’s a case of education without representation. It’s a case of giving up the ability to even debate what the standards for Utah children ought to be. It’s a case of allowing the federal government, and the philosophies (and money) of Bill Gates-Pearson Co., to micromanage local educational decisions.
Driving home, after four hours, I wondered if the resolution for local control would pass. It did not seem likely even though our resolution closely matched the Republican National Committee’s anti-common core resolution that had passed earlier this year in California.
But in Utah, the GOP committee had given our resolution an “unfavorable” rating, saying that the wording was inflammatory. The Governor was against us, having long been promoting Common Core and a related project, Prosperity 2020, very openly. The State Office of Education was against us and had been passing out pamphlets, fliers and stickers to “support common core” –and had sent mailers to delegates, telling them to support common core. (They used our tax money for this. Since when is tax money used to lobby for one side?)
And the media were generally against us. Both the Tribune and KSL had been covering this issue mostly from a pro-common core point of view.
So I was just thankful that we had gotten the opportunity to educate people at our booth. I hoped for, but didn’t expect, the miracle of the resolution passing.
Four hours later, I was completely stunned with the great news. Alisa, my friend and a state delegate, texted me one word: “PASSED!!!!”
Our resolution passed! It did match the feelings of a majority of Utahns. 65% of the elected state delegates in the State of Utah voted NO to Common Core.
It was a welcome surprise.
Delegate friends filled me in on the details of what I’d missed. I learned that the powers-that-be tried their best to muffle the resolution. They held it to the very end, after multiple speakers and presentations and other votes were held. Some even called for the meeting to adjourn before the resolution could be debated on the stage. There was a vote about whether to adjourn that was soundly defeated by the delegates.
Finally the resolution was debated. There were elecrifying speeches, for and against. Then there was the vote.
Sixty five percent voted for it to pass! That’s well over a thousand people, elected by their neighbors, from caucuses in every corner of Utah, who all said NO to Common Core. This is huge, huge news to teachers, school boards, parents, students, and politicians, regardless of which side of the argument you choose.
But it didn’t make the Tribune. It didn’t make the Deseret News. It didn’t make the Daily Herald or KSL.
Who knows why? Sigh.
Looks like we have to spread this one by social media, folks. There are powerful people who want to muffle the voice of WE, THE PEOPLE.
Let’s not let them get away with it.
Reposted from a School Book op-ed with permission from Professor Nicholas Tampio
May 17, 2013
Bill Gates Should Not Micro-Manage Our Schools
By Prof. Nicholas Tampio
The multinational software giant, Microsoft, once bundled its Explorer search engine with Windows, and refused, for a time, to have Windows run WordPerfect, a competitor to Microsoft Word. As head of Microsoft, Bill Gates wanted everyone to use the same program. As funder of the Common Core, I believe he wants to do the same with our children.
The Common Core is one of the most effective educational reform movements in United States history. Gates is a financial backer of this movement. Looking at this connection enables us to see why the United States should be wary of letting any one person or group acquire too much control over education policy.
Launched in 2009 and now adopted by 45 states, the Common Core articulates a single set of educational standards in language arts and mathematics. Although the Common Core claims not to tell teachers what or how to teach, school districts must prove to state legislatures or the federal government (via the Race to the Top program) that they are complying with the Common Core. The simplest and most cost-effective way for a school district to do that is to purchase an approved reading or math program.
The Common Core transfers bread-and-butter curriculum decisions from the local to the state and national level.
On the Common Core website, Gates applauds this development, stating that the initiative brings the nation closer to “supporting effective teaching in every classroom.” Here, I believe, one sees a link between Gates’s business and advocacy sides.
The Common Core may raise standards in some school districts, but one ought to read the literature with a critical eye. The Common Core has not been field-tested anywhere. The Common Core does not address many root causes of underperforming schools, such as hungry students or dangerous neighborhoods. And the Common Core has an opportunity cost, namely, that it forces thriving school districts to adopt programs that may be a worse fit for the student body.
We can learn a lesson from the recent history of the computing industry. Apple and Microsoft have pressed each other to make better applications, phones, notepads, and cameras. Though Gates may have wanted to vanquish Apple, Steve Jobs prompted him to improve his products, which in turn benefited every computer user. Competition brings out the best in people and institutions. The Common Core standardizes curricula and thereby hinders competition among educational philosophies.
Surely, one could say, certain standards are self-evidently good. A Common Core principle of first grade math is that students should “attend to precision” and “look for and make use of structure.” Just as a computer program requires each number, space, and function to be in its right spot to operate, so too the standards emphasize thinking in an orderly fashion and showing each step of the work.
In a new book, Letters to a Young Scientist, the Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson argues that the demand for precision can hurt the scientific imagination. Wilson celebrates the fanciful nature of innovation by reflecting on how Darwin formulated the idea of descent with modification while sailing on the H.M.S. Beagle and Newton discovered that white light is a mix of colored lights while playing with a prism. Though teachers sometimes need to write orderly equations on a blackboard, real progress comes “amid a litter of doodled paper.” Doodling is a prelude to a eureka moment, the fuel of scientific research.
Would it be wise to nationalize an educational policy that frowns on doodling?
One could argue about the details of the Common Core standards: how to strike the right balance, say, between fiction and non-fiction, humanities and sciences, doodling and straight lines, and so forth. And yet this approach concedes that America ought to have the same approach in every classroom.
America needs many kinds of excellent programs and schools: International Baccalaureate programs, science and technology schools, Montessori schools, religious schools, vocational schools, bilingual schools, outdoor schools, and good public schools. Even within programs and schools, teachers should be encouraged to teach their passions and areas of expertise. Teachers inspire life-long learning by bringing a class to a nature center, replicating an experiment from Popular Science, taking a field trip to the state or national capital, or assigning a favorite novel. A human being is not a computer, and a good education is not formatted in a linear code.
As a result of the Common Core, teachers in our school district must now open boxes filled with reading materials, workbooks, and tests from a “learning company.” How depressing and unnecessary. As Apple and Google have shown, great work can be done when talented employees are granted power and encouraged to innovate.
In regards to education policy, I’d prefer Bill Gates to have a loud voice in his school district, but a quieter one in mine.
Prof. Nicholas Tampio teaches Critical Theory at Fordham University.
Postscript from Professor Nicholas Tampio on why he began to study the Common Core:
Last spring, my son’s kindergarten education went from outstanding to mediocre in a blink. The teacher is a wonderful woman who lives and breathes her craft. For years, she developed innovative curricula and inspired children to love school. The year before my son started kindergarten, the high school valedictorian spoke at length about how this teacher sparked his curiosity in physics and space. He is at Stanford now.
In February, the teacher had to use a program designed to satisfy the Common Core criteria. She was required to open big boxes and follow a script. My son’s curriculum went from fresh to canned and, as could be anticipated, the classroom mood suffered. My son’s problem at the start of kindergarten was that he was too excited to learn (he would answer every question she asked, etc.). That “problem” disappeared.
I met with administrators and they were nice and helpful. But their hands are tied. The state signed up for the Common Core. The state wants proof that our school district is complying and the way to do that is to use a program.
My motivation, then, is simple: I want my kids to have a great education. When the rubber hit the road, the Common Core damaged our school district. I am confident that Americans, when presented with good arguments and evidence, will realize that the Common Core is a misguided initiative. The sooner the better.
An article in the Washington times about the Romeike family contains some very important details. For example, U.S. Attorney-General Holder argues in the brief for Romeike v. Holder that parents have no fundamental right to home-educate their children.
The arguments being presented by the U.S. government against the soon-to-be-deported Romeike family are important to all American people.
Will the U.S. uphold the rights of parents to raise their children in the way that seems best to them, or will a socialist standard be imposed upon millions of homeschooling families in America?
The WT article says:
“HSLDA founder Mike Farris warns, “[Holder’s office] argued that there was no violation of anyone’s protected rights in a law that entirely bans homeschooling. There would only be a problem if Germany banned homeschooling for some but permitted it for others. Let’s assess the position of the United States government on the face of its argument: a nation violates no one’s rights if it bans homeschooling entirely. There are two major portions of constitutional rights of citizens – fundamental liberties and equal protection. The U.S. Attorney General has said this about homeschooling. There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government bans homeschooling broadly and equally, there is no violation of your rights.”
Farris goes on to reveal another argument presented by the Attorney-General: “The U.S. government contended that the Romeikes’ case failed to show that there was any discrimination based on religion because, among other reasons, the Romeikes did not prove that all homeschoolers were religious, and that not all Christians believed they had to homeschool.”
The US Government, says Farris, “does not understand that religious freedom is an individual right.”
Just because all adherents of a particular religion do not abide by a certain standard does not mean that individuals who feel compelled to abide by this standard do not have the right to do so. Religious decisions must be made by individuals, not by groups.
Farris contends, “One need not be a part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious freedom claim. Specifically, one doesn’t have to follow the dictates of a church to claim religious freedom—one should be able to follow the dictates of God Himself.
“The United States Supreme Court has made it very clear in the past that religious freedom is an individual right. Yet our current government does not seem to understand this. They only think of us as members of groups and factions. It is an extreme form of identity politics that directly threatens any understanding of individual liberty.”
Read the WT article: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/high-tide-and-turn/2013/feb/12/deportation-german-homeschool-family-affects-us-ho/#ixzz2TZwwBfNU
See also: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/12/german-home-schooling-family-fights-to-stay-in-us/
See also: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/18/there-is-nothing-more-un-american-than-this-becks-interview-with-the-lawyer-representing-homeschooling-familys-fight-to-stay-in-the-u-s/
Kansas is requesting help from all those who care for educational liberty nationwide. Do you have time to send an email or make a phone call?
The Kansas legislature is discussing whether to promote or oppose Common Core. What happens in other states affects our own.
Here’s the contact information for the Kansas Legislature.
Kansas House Roster 2013
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Alcala 57 785 296-7371 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Alford 124 785 296-7656 email@example.com,
Rep. Ballard 44 785 296-7697 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Barker 70 785 296-7674 email@example.com ,
Rep. Becker 104 785 296-7196 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bideau 9 785 296-7636 email@example.com,
Rep. Boldra 111 785 296-4683 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bollier 21 785 296-7686 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bradford 40 785 296-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bridges 83 785 296-7646 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bruchman 20 785 296-7644 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Brunk 85 785 296-7645 email@example.com ,
Rep. Burroughs 33 785-296-7630 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Campbell 26 785 296-7632 email@example.com ,
Rep. Carlin 66 785 296-7649 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Carlson 61 785 296-7660 email@example.com
Rep. Carpenter 75 785 296-7673 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Cassidy 120 785 296-7616 email@example.com ,
Rep. Christmann 113 785 296-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Claeys 69 785 296-7670 email@example.com ,
Rep. Clayton 19 785 296-7655 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Concannon 107 785 296-7677 email@example.com ,
Rep. Corbet 54 785 296-7679 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Couture-Lovelady 110 785 296-4683 email@example.com,
Rep. Crum 77 785 296-6989 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Davis 46 785-296-7630 email@example.com,
Rep. DeGraaf 82 785 296-7693 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Dierks 71 785 296-7642 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dillmore 92 785 296-7698 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Doll 123 785 296-7380 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dove 38 785 296-7670 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Edmonds 112 785 296-5593 email@example.com,
Rep. Edwards 93 785 296-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Esau 14 785 296-7631 email@example.com ,
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Ewy 117 785 296-7105 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Finch 59 785 296-7655 email@example.com ,
Rep. Finney 84 785 296-7648 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Frownfelter 37 785 296-7648 email@example.com,
Rep. Gandhi 52 785 296-7672 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Garber 62 785 296-7665 email@example.com ,
Rep. Goico 94 785 296-7663 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Gonzalez 47 785 296-7500 email@example.com ,
Rep. Grant 2 785 296-7650 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Grosserode 16 785 296-7659 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hawkins 100 785 296-7631 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hedke 99 785 296-7699 email@example.com ,
Rep. Henderson 35 785 296-7697 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Henry 63 785 296-7688 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hermanson 98 785 296-7658 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hibbard 13 785 296-7380 email@example.com ,
Rep. Highland 51 785 296-7310 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hildabrand 17 785 296-7659 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hill 60 785 296-7632 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hineman 118 785 296-7636 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hoffman 116 785 296-7643 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Houser 1 785 296-7679 email@example.com,
Rep. Houston 89 785 296-7652 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Howell 81 785 296-7665 email@example.com ,
Rep. Huebert 90 785 296-1754 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Hutton 105 785 296-7673 email@example.com ,
Rep. Jennings 122 785 296-7196 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Johnson 108 785 296-7696 email@example.com ,
Rep. Jones 5 785 296-6287 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kahrs 87 785 296-5593 email@example.com ,
Rep. Kelley 80 785 296-7671 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kelly 11 785 296-6014 email@example.com ,
Rep. Kinzer 30 785-296-7692 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kleeb 48 785 296-7680 email@example.com,
Rep. Kuether 55 785 296-7669 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lane 58 785 296-7649 email@example.com ,
Rep. Lunn 28 785 296-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lusk 22 785 296-7651 email@example.com,
Rep. Macheers 39 785 296-7675 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Mast 76 785-291-3500 email@example.com ,
Rep. McPherson 8 785 296-7695 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Meier 41 785 296-7650 email@example.com ,
Rep. Meigs 23 785 296-7656 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Menghini 3 785 296-7691 email@example.com,
Rep. Merrick 27 785-296-2302 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Montgomery 15 785 296-7677 email@example.com,
Rep. Moxley 68 785 296-7689 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. O’Brien 42 785 296-7683 email@example.com,
Rep. Osterman 97 785 296-7689 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Pauls 102 785 296-7657 email@example.com,
Rep. Peck 12 785 296-7641 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Perry 24 785 296-7669 email@example.com ,
Rep. Peterson 32 785 296-7371 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Petty 125 785 296-7676 email@example.com ,
Rep. Phillips 67 785 296-6014 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. J. Powell 50 785 296-7674 email@example.com,
Rep. Proehl 7 785 296-7639 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Read 4 785 296-7310 email@example.com,
Rep. Rhoades 72 785 291-3446 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Rooker 25 785 296-7686 email@example.com
Rep. Rothlisberg 65 785 296-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Rubin 18 785 296-7690 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ruiz 31 785 296-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Ryckman Jr. 78 785 296-6287 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ryckman Sr. 115 785 296-7658 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sawyer 95 785 296-7691 email@example.com ,
Rep. Schroeder 74 785 296-7500 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Schwab 49 785 296-7501 email@example.com ,
Rep. Schwartz 106 785 296-7637 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Seiwert 101 785 296-7647 email@example.com ,
Rep. Shultz 73 785 296-7684 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Siegfreid 121 785 368-7166 email@example.com ,
Rep. Sloan 45 785 296-7654 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sloop 88 785 296-7646 email@example.com ,
Rep. Suellentrop 91 785 296-7681 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sutton 43 785 296-7676 email@example.com ,
Rep. Swanson 64 785 296-7642 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Thimesch 114 785 296-7105 email@example.com ,
Rep. Tietze 53 785 296-7668 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Todd 29 785 296-7695 email@example.com ,
Rep. Trimmer 79 785 296-7122 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Vickrey 6 785-296-7662 email@example.com ,
Rep. Victors 103 785 296-7651 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Ward 86 785 296-7698 email@example.com ,
Rep. Waymaster 109 785 296-7672 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Weber 119 785 296-5481 email@example.com ,
Rep. Weigel 56 785 296-7366 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Whipple 96 785 296-7366 email@example.com ,
Rep. Wilson 10 785 296-7652 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Winn 34 785 296-7657 email@example.com,
Rep. Wolfe Moore 36 785 296-7688 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Here’s a letter for reference:
Dear Kansas Legislator,
It might surprise you that a citizen of Utah is going out of her way to ask you to oppose the Common Core agenda taking root in Kansas.
I have studied the Common Core thoroughly. I urge you to study it closely.
1) It isn’t state-led, despite the rhetoric. Legislators and voters were totally bypassed. The NGA is not a constitutionally recognized entity to rule on the national stage.
2) The academic standards are highly controversial, are untested and are based on no evidence to support their theories (diminishing classic literature, slowing math, etc.)
4) THERE IS NO AMENDMENT PROCESS. The standards are under copyright. Local control is gone.
Here are some videos that will help you learn the agenda of Common Core.
Thank you for studying this issue very carefully.
Utah Teacher and Mom
Common Core: The Vehicle of our Educational Future
–Driving Away Freedom
The chart below is adapted from J.R. Wilson’s article at Education News, Common Core and the Vehicle of our Future. Thanks to J.R. Wilson for sharing this insightful metaphor.
Read the whole article here:
||For a Car
||For Common Core
||You decide what car best fits your needs. You shop around and find the best car for your money.
||You had no say in these standards. They are not the best. You didn’t get to test the standards – or see any testing of these standards – before they were bought for you with your tax money.
|Decision to Buy
||You make the decision to buy, or – just as important – to not buy.
||You bought these standards though you may not know it, and even if you protested their purchase. The decision to buy, or to not buy, was never up to you.
||You get to select the make, model, package, and options you want.
||You don’t know what you’re buying. The Common Core began with math and language arts standards. Then it included tests; then social studies, science, and civics; then curricular materials; a data system; and an early learning program. Then it included public colleges.
||Most car salesmen are knowledgeable about the features of the car. Buyers still need to be responsible and do their own fact checking.
||Many of the selling points used to sell these standards sound wonderful, but in truth are deceptive. The deeper you dig, the more dismayed you become.
||You know exactly how much the car will cost you once you have settled on a price. Once the car is paid for it is yours.
||There was no state cost analysis. Costs will be ongoing. The public does not own Common Core and has no ability to change it although they must pay.
|Safety & Quality Control
||The car has to meet required safety standards. The automaker has put the car and many components through a lot of testing and checks to make sure the components work well together.
||There are no required safeguards to protect our children’s academic success, their future, and our liberty. It is unknown how anyone will be held accountable for outcomes.
||You can get insurance for your car when you buy it.
||No insurance is available although you still have to pay premiums. There is no protection for children’s academic success or liberties.
||You can take the car to the dealer or any other auto mechanic. If you don’t like the car, you can get rid of it and buy a different car.
||There is no dealer for repair. Modifications can only be made by the owners (two non-government entities). Parents or teachers cannot change the standards.
||Most cars come with a warranty.
||No warranty is available.
||There are some protections provided by state and federal lemon laws.
||There are no lemon law protections.
||Records of maintenance and repairs are kept in a database with information available to others.
||The data is compiled in a state longitudinal data system with intergovernmental access to data, without parental knowledge or permission and with no opt-out alternative.
Common Core presentation- this week in Orem, Utah.
Many people are still under the impression that “Common Core only sets a minimum standard.”
They believe localities are free to improve meaningfully upon the standards. I wish I could believe them. Why don’t I?
Bill Gates speaks about Common Core’s need to align all curriculum and tests together. After watching this, you cannot say that Common Core only consists of minimum standards. It’s a complete control package.
So what, you say.
So, one man says we’re aligning the standards to our monopoly-held textbook curriculum and the common core tests.
What can one man do?
Realize that Gates, the world’s 2nd richest man, has paid $5 BILLION to reform OUR education system– without going through the channels of state legislatures.
Gates paid unelected trade groups (NGA and CCSSO) who wrote and copyrighted the standards, as well as paying countless institutions to advocate for Common Core –before assessing the legitimacy of the standards– these include the national PTA, Harvard University, Education Week Magazine, etc., –they obeyed Gates’ directive to advocate for Common Core, or forfeit the grant money. Gates’ company, Microsoft, and Gates’ partners, notably Pearson, gain immeasurable financial benefits from this lockstep system which circumvents the American process of voters and legislatures who used to be in charge of major transformations of the American governance system.
Ask yourself this: how will any school or teacher give students much beyond the Common Core when merit pay and school closures depend upon getting high student scores on the Common Core tests, which are under mandate to be federally reviewed? Federal tax money being withheld is an additional carrot in front of our noses.
The tests will drive the curriculum. They are both to be based on Common Core, the unamendable and copyrighted standards we “voluntarily” adopted.
While top lawyers are advising our state legislatures not to worry– that we can “get out” any time we like, realize that David Coleman– lead architect of the ELA portion of Common Core (despite the fact that he’s not an educator and is openly hostile toward narrative writing and calls for the diminishing of classic literature in English classrooms)– this same David Coleman is now College Board President. He’s aligning the SAT and ACT to Common Core.
How effective will it be to drop out of common core later? The time is now. The time is before every textbook in the nation has been rewritten to align. The time is before all teachers are forced to teach to the test because of the narrowing of the curriculum to the standards and tests.
The time to say no to Common Core should have been before we adopted Common Core– but as you know, legislatures were bypassed.
We were never given the chance to say no.
So, the Common Core is a monster larger and more powerful than most people realize. But it can still be stopped and it must be stopped. WE are THE PEOPLE.
We know our rights.
We know Common Core is illegal.
It’s educationally illegitimate.
It’s costing us our birthright and not giving us even the mess of pottage in return.
Millions of parents and teachers are fighting to get rid of it.
If you haven’t already, please join us.
“There is much more involved here, than just a list of standards… if all the facts were known,
it would be more than obvious that the legislature would make the move to abandon Common Core.”
- Recently retired Utah Teacher Margaret Wilkin
Margaret Wilkin has given permission to post her letter to the Utah legislature. She retired last year from Canyons District.
May 4, 2013
Senator Aaron Osmond
South Jordan, Utah 84095
… On March 21, 2013, I was asked to return to the elementary school from which I retired last June, to give a presentation at their Literacy Night. Some of the parents and students I taught in the past came down to the room where I was to say hello. In the course of the conversation, a mother of one of the smartest and most conscientious students I have ever had, said that her daughter was struggling in math.
I was surprised, but told her mother that teachers are required to teach to a rigid schedule and must move on to the next unit of study, even if the students don’t understand it.
Sticking to the schedule is more important than spending the time making sure everyone understands.
I knew as a teacher what I didn’t like about Common Core, as well as what had taken place leading up to it, but I didn’t have any concrete facts; therefore, I couldn’t give the parents any verifiable information other than my own story. I have spent the last five weeks researching and learning about Common Core. There are so many facets to Common Core, and I still don’t know everything, but I know much more than I did five weeks ago and enough to know that even without my own experience, I could not support it.
This morning I saw the e-mail from Diana Suddreth, the STEM Coordinator at the USOE, asking the Curriculum Director in each school district in Utah to solicit “success stories” from teachers using Common Core standards. She has further stated in her e-mail that she has seen marvelous and exciting things happening in classrooms since the implementation of Common Core. She stated that these “success stories” are needed to counteract the “vicious attacks” by those opposed to Common Core.
Aaron, are you aware that you and Senator Weiler are named by Diana Suddreth as the only two legislators to contact with the Common Core “success stories”? Am I to understand that you and Senator Weiler are therefore supportive of the Common Core Standards for the State of Utah? If you are, I find this confusing since you have spoken so often of the important principle of local and State control of education. Common Core takes away local and State control, and puts the control into the hands of the Federal Government.
My response to Diana Suddreth is:
1. Utah has always had standards which teachers were required to follow. 2. It is not a matter of “voila” Common Core is here and at long last, wonderful things are happening in classrooms! Exciting and wonderful things happen in classrooms because of the teacher’s own hard work and creativity along with the freedom to decide how to best teach the standards that make for success in the classroom, NOT because a list of Federally mandated Common Core standards. 3. Tax payers asking legitimate questions of elected officials and those employed at the USOE, and having the expectation of them to have studied the issues more carefully than the people asking the questions “is not too much to ask”. Asking questions is not a “vicious attack”. This is the future of our children’s education at stake as well as millions of taxpayer dollars.
Here is my unsolicited “success” story about Common Core:
Please note that I am speaking only to what is happening in the Canyons School District and at the elementary level. And I am speaking out because I am retired. Those teachers in the school system are afraid of losing their jobs if they speak out against Common Core and against the policies of the District.
The teachers have been given a rigid schedule which MUST be followed. In the morning, there is to be three hours of reading and language arts followed in the afternoon by two hours of math. P.E. and computer time has been shortened from 45 minutes to 30 minutes once a week. That leaves 15 minutes of time each day for one of the following: music, art, science and social studies.
The teachers are monitored regularly by the principal, reading specialist and district personnel to make sure they are following the schedule.
Last year, when I was still teaching, the math portion of Common Core was put into place with the District’s purchase of the Pearson-Scott Foresman math series. As of last year, the “curriculum map” or math schedule did not match the organization of the book. So every night, I had to hunt, using many sources, for what I was to teach the next day in order to follow the curriculum map. This is still the case as of this year.
We were to teach certain concepts during specified blocks of time and sometimes these concepts had no relationship to each other. After the specified blocks of time are completed, the students are tested in the computer lab, mainly so that the district can make sure the teachers are following the schedule. Even if the students do not understand the concepts being taught, the teacher must move on to the next block in order to follow the mandated schedule.
This removes the teacher’s ability to teach according to the needs of her/his particular class. One of the basic tenants of teaching is: monitor and then adjust to the needs of your students. The schedule as required by the District makes this very difficult to do.
We skim over the surface of many concepts. If you have seen any of the ridiculous examples of teaching two-digit multiplication and addition that people have posted on Facebook, yes, I have taught this because it is on the test.
I was in the classroom through the time leading up to the implementation of Common Core, as math was being “dumbed down” and during the time when we were told not to teach multiplication facts, two and three digit multiplication and long division to fourth graders. How could any respectable teacher not teach this? This is not the case at the present time (times tables and long division and two and three digit multiplication are again being taught); however, the time allotted to teach these concepts is not long enough for many kids to grasp the idea.
My ability to be an effective math teacher was GREATLY diminished by having to follow the Common Core standards.
For this current school year, Canyons District purchased the Pearson reading series, “Reading Street” to match up with Common Core. (A perfectly good reading series which was not worn out was discarded. Why couldn’t this discarded series just have been supplemented with additional materials instead of wasting taxpayer money on new books?)
Reading and language arts, as in math, requires strict adherence to the schedule with regular monitoring by the principal, reading specialist and district personnel.
The students have 8 math and 6 reading computerized tests as well as three oral reading tests administered by the district. The upper grades have an additional test called MAZE. This does not count the end of the year testing in the computer lab. After the results are back the teacher is called into the principal’s office, along with the reading specialist, to account for the scores.
These tests are in addition to the regular weekly spelling, reading and math tests from the book publisher and teacher for the report card grades.
Speaking of report cards, we were told last year that the District was going to have workshops for parents so that they could understand the new report card which was going to be aligned with the Common Core standards. Wouldn’t the necessity of needing a workshop to teach parents how to interpret an elementary school report card, tell the District that this was a bad idea?
The lower performing students have just plain given up with this constant testing and will not even try any more. Teachers report that some of their students’ scores are actually getting worse. And again, teachers are called into the principal’s office to be grilled about what the teacher is going to do to bring up the scores, so that EVERY student is meeting the required benchmarks, when they are already doing everything they can to teach the material. Apparently, a child’s developmental readiness or ability is not taken in to consideration.
Is the child’s or teacher’s value only a test score?
The pressure on the teachers from the administration is INTENSE and many teachers say all they can do is teach to the test.
A second grade teacher recounted that she didn’t even dare have her class color a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day because of the constant micromanaging by the administration and coloring a shamrock is not on the schedule.
Many teachers are saying they just can’t do this anymore. The joy and creativity of teaching in elementary school has been taken away by Common Core and the excessive testing. Kids and teachers both are burning out. Is this really what we want for our children?
Because of Common Core our freedom is being lost even down to the lowest level: the classroom.
There are MANY reasons to oppose Common Core. Here are just a few:
1. Data and assessment driven. 2. Adopted by the State School Board by accepting stimulus money and agreeing to the Common core standards before they had even been written. 3. Family rights to privacy, as spelled out in FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), have been essentially amended making computer testing a major tool in gathering information about students that should remain private. This is known as Data Mining. 4. Adopting these standards takes decision making out of State and local school boards and districts, but, even more importantly, out of the hands of teachers and parents. 5. The State Legislature was bypassed by not being included in the decision of whether or not to adopt Common Core.
There are so many layers to Common Core. There is much more involved here, than just a list of standards. My experience is just one part, but an important part. Frankly, it seems to me that if all the facts were known, it would be more than obvious that the legislature would make the move to abandon Common Core.
I am not against Common Core because I have been around for SO long that I don’t want change, but because I can see the harm it is doing to my profession and to students. The freedom of the parents, teachers, school districts and states to choose what is best for them has been taken away and will be controlled by the Federal government.
May I recommend to you a video presentation explaining Common Core that has been posted on You Tube. It is one of the best presentations I have seen. If you type in Google “You Tube Subversive Threat to Education”, you should be able to find it. It is a current talk given to a group in Tennessee.
Thank you again for all the hours of service you give to our community and State.
Worth watching to the end.
Another #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally
Just a week ago Parent Led Reform rallied 2,493,308 Twitter users to #Stopcommoncore. A second Twitter Rally is planned for today, Thursday, May 2, at 9pm EST- 7pm MST to include participation of working parents, educators and citizens.
Parent Led Reform will host the rally as a collaborative project with Truth In American Education, designed to share the research diligently collected by parents and citizens concerned about the government’s push for national common standards in education.
This rally is an encore of the April 16 #Stopcommoncore Twitter event, which reached 2,493,308 Twitter users.
Karin Piper, spokesperson for Parent Led Reform, said, “Parent Led Reform opposes a lock-step approach to education that takes the focus away from the student and decisions away from the parent.”
The #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally features a panel of experts who are planning on answering questions by the moderator, as well as taking live questions from Twitter users across the nation.
Panelists are Shane Vander Hart (Truth in American Education), William Estrada (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) Joy Pullmann (Heartland Institute), Ben DeGrow (Independence Institute), Emmett McGroarty (American Principles Project).
Follow our host and panel: @parentledreform @shulsie @shanevanderhart @BenDegrow @will_estrada @Joypullmann @approject @Truthinamed
Supported by Pioneer Institute, AFP, Heartland, Independence Institute, American Principles Project, Freedom Works, Home School Legal Defense Association
By Paul Horton, Chicago History Teacher
We need to look past our differences on curricular content and focus on freeing our schools from the grip of a well-intended, but horribly conceived attempt at instituting a national curriculum that lacks the consent of 99.9% of the American people.
The way forward in our movement against Common Core is for all groups to forget their differences and focus on the complete state and Federal repeals of NCLB and RTTT. We need to return schools to local control and this includes large urban school districts where mayors have complete control over schools like CEOs.
The Occupy and Tea Party movements need to show the rest of the American people that we can work together on issues that concern us all. Progressive Democrats and Conservative Republicans all want the best schools for all Americans so that we can move our country forward. We need to look past our differences on curricular content and focus on freeing our schools from the grip of a well-intended, but horribly conceived attempt at instituting a national curriculum that lacks the consent of 99.9% of the American people.
When we call this attempt into question, the DOE and the Chester Finns of the world have the gall to call us “conspiracy theorists.” This is the definition of absurdity.
Here is an action plan that we can all follow. We can worry about our differences when we have put this sad chapter in the history of American education to rest:
1) Everybody needs to write all of their public officials, district, state, and national every day with a simple copy and paste message: We want all state and Federal mandates associated with NCLB and RTTT repealed at all levels now! We want repeal legislation introduced now!
2) We will vote for no candidate from either major party or any independent group for any office that does not completely support the repeals above.
3) We want Arne Duncan fired immediately and we want those in the DOE who have served in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation fired immediately to return the control of the Department of Education to the people. We do not want anyone his replacement or anyone in the Department of Education who has worked with any corporate Education vendor. We do not want anybody in the Department Education who has worked with any Foundation or Think Tank that has sought to influence Education policy in the last fifteen years.
4) We want any state officer who has taken a trip from a corporate Education company fired, recalled, or voted out of office in the next election cycle. We are especially concerned about any state officer who has gone on any all-expenses-paid trip on Pearson Education’s dime.
5) We want local control of all school districts.
6) We demand that all public officials in State Boards of Education, Governors, state legislators, district boards, and DOE employees take 12th grade Common Core Tests. All of these officials who do not score proficient or better should be fired, recalled, or voted out of office during the next election cycle.
7) We support student strikes on high-stakes testing days. We support general strikes on scheduled high stakes testing day (K-21).
8) We will vote Educational leaders who have at least ten years of classroom experience. We do not anyone employed in leadership positions in the Department of Education who have not proven themselves as exemplary classroom teachers for ten years. We need to stop the war on experienced teachers. The New Education Class that has little or no classroom experience is engaged in a “Cultural Revolution” against experienced teachers.
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Thanks to Paul Horton for permission to post his initiative.
After a whole year of never receiving an email response from Asst. Superintendent Judy Park, today she wrote back! Wow.
But. The billion dollar question was dodged again. It’s been dodged in emails for over a year. It was dodged twice more at last night’s Common Core (S.A.G.E./A.I.R.) presentation, both during and after the event. But I wrote an email asking it again.
Here it is, and here’s her answer.
My Question: Please direct me to documentation of the claim that the common core standards, upon which this test is built, are legitimate and that they have been empirically tested, rather than being the experimental idea of unelected noneducators?
Ms. Park’s Answer: You have received a great deal of information about the common core from Brenda Hales, Associate Superintendent. I would encourage you to direct your questions about the common core to her.
Another dodge! Another D O D G E!
Utterly, completely unbelievable!
This dodge is like building a house (a new Utah educational system) on quicksand (illegitimate standards) and insisting that everyone to keep admiring the roof (nifty technology) –and telling the homeowner (teacher/taxpayers/parents) who paid for the whole thing and will live in it for life, to quit asking the pesky questions about those sinking wobbly motions in the foundation, directing that homeowner to ask an irrelevant wallpaper hanger why the home was built in quicksand.
There comes a time when you either keep yelling at the t.v./radio/computer screen/newspaper, or you make a move.
Utah, I am asking you to make a move. Call. Write. Tell our Governor, School Board, legislature and U.S.O.E. that we deserve answers to these most basic of all questions that affect our children and grandchildren in dramatic ways, for the rest of their lives. Please act.
This is what I wrote to Assistant Superintendent Judy Park today.
Thank you for taking the time to partially respond to some of my questions.
Please– stop dodging the most important question, for me and for all Utahns.
“First, do no harm” applies to education as well as to medicine. Please show us proof that the USSB/USOE is doing no harm by implementing Common Core; this should be easy. Brenda Hales, the public relations person is not an academic expert; you are. By dodging the question to her it appears that you don’t even know whether Common Core is snake oil –or not.
Don’t teachers, parents and legislators deserve to know that hundreds of millions of dollars and hours and children’s minds all pushing toward Common Core implementation is being spent wisely?! Do we not deserve to see evidence and references backing up the oft-repeated claim that these standards are helpful?
Where is the study showing that long-term, lives are enhanced when high school seniors are deprived of 70% of their classic literature? Where is the study showing that long-term, students who are deprived of the knowledge of how to convert fractions into decimals, are blessed by that fact? Countless examples could be shared.
You serve on the CCSSO, the D.C. group which developed and copyrighted these unproven standards. You have been doing this longer than our State Superintendent and you stand uniquely qualified to answer questions about the academic legitimacy of the standards and about the lack of any empirical evidence to back up the U.S.O.E.’s claims– which have been replicated on every district website in this state– and which are false.
The standards are not serving children honorably. They take away from, rather than raise, Utah’s educational hopes. Less classic literature. Less traditional math. Slowing of the age at which algorithms are introduced. Less narrative writing. Less parental consent. No district-held control over the sharing of student data. And worst of all, the standards and connected reforms and mandates have robbed Utah of educational sovereignty, a constitutional right. We have no voice, no amendment process. For such a trade, the standards must surely be magnificent.
Yet you cannot even point me to the documentation that these standards are more than a blind experiment on our kids, written by noneducators and adopted at grant-point, rather than after thorough and honorable academic vetting in Utah?
This is an absolute outrage.
In the name of integrity, what are you going to do about it?
Karin Piper, a freedom fighter at Colorado’s @Parent Led Reform is leading a national #StopCommonCore Twitter rally. The rally is promoted and supported by Michelle Malkin, the Truth in American Education network and countless parent and teacher groups for educational freedom nationwide. The event begins Tuesday, April 16th at 10:00 and goes until 12:00.
@ParentLedReform is also hosting an expert panel and a multi-state coalition of organizations to talk discuss #stopcommoncore in conjunction with the rally.
Join LIVE via Twitter to listen or share your view about Common Core Standards. Twitter is free and easy to join.
This is a public event. Please share with your friends and neighbors.
Today, Utah Stories magazine interviewed Alisa, Renee and me. Here’s the clip.
By Susie Schnell
Education Week reports that hackers got into the Department of Education’s site and so they shut their site down indefinitely.
Baloney! No hackers got into the system. I’ll tell you what’s going on.
Researchers from around the nation have been gathering research from US Dept of Ed documents so we can get them to you directly from the source to prove everything we say. Because everyone is now linking to this site and because now we have so many national groups joining the fight, they pulled the curtain closed and are hiding behind it.
The Dept of Ed is hiding from US citizens! Not only do we have huge groups in every state looking daily at these documents now, but we also have the research crews of Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Freedom Works, Fox News, United Families International and many others all across the nation for the FIRST TIME this week paying attention to what is going on with our education system and realizing we’re being lied to.
The same thing happened a few days after Agenda 21 was exposed nationally. After a year of researching the U.N. site easily, all of a sudden they went dark and no one can access their pages anymore. How dare they blame their lack of transparency on hackers. You know you are onto something really big when the entire U.S. Department of Education website closes down because you have exposed them. What a smokescreen!
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Thank you, Susie Schnell, for researching and writing this post. I agree with Susie. Time will prove it to everyone, one way or another. In a reasonable amount of time, if the Department reposts what was there before, we’ll be proven wrong. Then there really were hackers desperate to get to the educational secrets that hadn’t been posted openly. Hmm.
But if time passes and the documents and speeches never resurface, then the Dept. of Ed really is deliberately hiding from the American citizen-researcher. Can you believe it?
Either way, we are not shut down, because we’ve saved the important documents and speeches offline.
The show will go on.
I’m calling for a hogwash alert on today’s National Review article about Common Core.
The ironically titled The Truth About Common Core article cannot be taken seriously. It’s written without any links or references for its Common Core-promoting claims, and it’s written by two authors whose employers are largely funded by the main funder of all things Common Core.
Can anyone take seriously those who praise Common Core while being paid to do so?
The article makes “truth” claims that include the notion that Common Core is “more rigorous,” (where’s the proof?) and that the standards allow policymaking to happen locally. How can that be? The standards are written behind closed doors in D.C. The standards are copyrighted and are unamendable by locals. There is a 15% cap on adding to them, written into the ESEA Flexibility Waiver Request. And there is no amendment process; thus, no local control.
For anyone who has been living under an education reform rock, know this: Gates is the single biggest promoter and funder of Common Core, bar none.) So, Fordham’s and Manhattan Institute’s writers should not be expected to be objective about Common Core.
If it seems like practically everyone supports Common Core, Gates’ money is why. Bill Gates has said he’s spent $5 BILLION pushing (his version of) education reform. He’s bribed the national PTA to advocate for Common Core to parents; he’s paid the CCSSO to develop Common Core; and he owns opinion maker Education Week magazine. There’s a near-endless list of Gates’ attempts (very successful, I might add) to foist his vision of education without voter input. In 2004, Gates signeda 26 page agreement with UNESCO to develop a master curriculum for global teacher training. Robert Muller, the former assistant secretary general of the U.N. is the grandfather of the world core curriculum, the goal being to bring all schools in all nations under one common core curriculum.
The National Review writes that it is a ”right-of-center” organization, as if that claim is a “trust-me” pass. This is meaningless in Common Core land because, as Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, has said, ”Opposition to Common Core cuts across the left-right spectrum. It gets back to who should control our children’s education — people in Indiana or people in Washington?”
But we should clarify that oodles of Democrats and Republicans sell or benefit from Common Core implementation. That is the top reason for the gold rush anxiety to promote the national standards. A secondary reason is lemminghood (misplaced and unproven trust).
Republican Jeb Bush is behind the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a nongovernmental group which pushes Common Core and is, of course, funded by Gates. Republican Rupert Murdoch owns not only Fox News, but also the common core implementation company Wireless Generation that’s creating common core testing technology. Democrat Bob Corcoran, President of GE Foundation (author of cap and trade and carbon footprint taxes to profit GE on green tech) and 49% owner of NBC also bribed the PTA to promote Common Core, and gave an additional $18 million to the states to push common core implementation. Corcoran was seen recently hobnobbing with Utah’s Republican Lt. Governor Greg Bell, business leaders in the Chamber of Commerce, and has testified in the education committee that the opponents of Common Core in Utah “are liars”. Meanwhile, Republican Todd Huston of Indiana got his largest campaign donation from David Coleman, common core ELA architect; then, after Huston was elected as an Indiana State Representative and placed on Indiana’s education committee, Coleman hired Huston to be on the College Board. They are both profiting from the alignment of and AP courses and alignment of the SAT to the Common Core. And of course, Huston’s listed on Jeb Bush’s controversial Foundation for Excellence in Education. Even my own Republican Governor Herbert of Utah serves on the elite executive committee of NGA, the Common Core founding group. He doesn’t make money this way, but he does make lots of corporations happy.
I could go on and on about the Common Core gold-and-glory rush. I have barely touched the countless Democrats who promote Common Core for gain. But I don’t want to be up all night.
So, on to the liberals and/or not-right wing radicals who oppose Common Core:
California Democrat/author Rosa Koire and respected educator like Diane Ravitch oppose Common Core as an untested academic and political experiment that increases the high-stakes of standardized testing. They see that Common Core is promoting unrepresentative formations of public-private-partnerships, and promotes teacher-micromanagement. Chicago history teacher Paul Horton says Common Core turns teacher-artisans into teacher-widgets; he also sees it as a Pearson anti-trust issue. Teacher Kris Nielsen has written “Children of the Core” and teacher Paul Bogush calls teaching Common Core sleeping with the enemy. Math teacher Stephanie Sawyer predicts that with Common Core, there will be an increase in remedial math instruction and an increase in the clientele of tutoring centers. Writing teacher Laura Gibbs calls the writing standards an inspid brew of gobbledygook. Anonymously, many teachers have published other concerns in a survey produced by Utahns Against Common Core.
Still, political funders of the standards and corporations selling its implementation try to get away with marginalizing the opposition. But it can’t be done honestly. Because it’s not a fight between left and right.
This battle is between the collusion of corporate greed and political muscle versus the individual voter.
It’s a battle between the individual student, teacher, or parent– versus huge public/private partnerships. That’s the David and Goliath here.
The Common Core movement is not about what’s best for children. It’s about greed and political control. A simple test: if Common Core was about helping students achieve legitimate classical education, wouldn’t the Common Core experiment have been based on empirical study and solid educator backing?
Did the authors of the Hogwash article really not know that Common Core wasn’t based on anything like empirical data but simply fluffed up on empty promises and rhetoric, from the beginning.
Where’s the basis for what proponents call ”rigorous,” ”internationally competitive,” and “research-based?” Why won’t the proponents point to proof of “increased rigor” the way the opponents point to proof of increased dumbing down? We know they are fibbing because we know there is no empirical evidence for imposing this experiment on students in America. The emperor of Common Core is wearing no clothes.
Many educators are crying out –even testifying to legislatures– that Common Core is an academic disaster. I’m thinking of Professors Christopher Tienken, Sandra Stotsky, Thomas Newkirk, Ze’ev Wurman, James Milgram, William Mathis, Susan Ohanian, Charlotte Iserbyt, Alan Manning, and others.
The National Review authors insist that Common Core is not a stealth “leftist indoctrination” plot by the Obama administration. But that’s what it looks like when you study the reformers and what they create.
First, let’s look at the Common Core textbooks. Virtually every textbook company in America is aligning now with Common Core. (So even the states who rejected Common Core, and even private schools and home schools are in trouble; how will they find new textbooks that reflect Massachusetts-high standards?)
Pearson’s latest textbooks show extreme environmentalism and a global citizen creating agenda that marginalizes national constitutions and individual rights in favor of global collectivism. The biggest education sales company of all the Common Core textbook and technology sales monsters on the planet is Pearson, which is led by mad ”Deliverology” globalist Sir Michael Barber. Watch his speeches.
He doesn’t just lead Pearson, the company that is so huge it’s becoming an anti-trust issue. Sir Michael Barber also speaks glowingly of public private partnerships, of political “revolution,” ”global citizenship” and a need for having global data collection and one set of educational standards for the entire planet. He’s a political machine. Under his global common core, diversity, freedom and local control of education need not apply.
Along with some of the gold-rushing colluders chasing Common Core-alignment product sales, there are political individuals calling educational shots, and these are without exception on the far, far left. And of these, the National Review is correct in saying that their goal to nationalize U.S. education has been happening since long before Obama came to power.
But they are wrong in saying that Common Core isn’t a road map to indoctrinating students into far left philosophy. Power players like Linda Darling-Hammond and Congressman Chaka Fattah ram socialism and redistribution down America’s throat in education policy, while Pearson pushes it in the curriculum.
It’s safe to say that Linda Darling-Hammond has as much say as anyone in this country when it comes to education policy. She focuses on “equity” and “social justice” –that is, redistribution of wealth using schools. Reread that last sentence.
Darling-Hammond has worked for CCSSO (Common Core developer) since long before the standards were even written. She served on the standards validation committee. She now works for SBAC (the Common Core test writer); she also consults with AIR (Utah’s Common Core test producer) and advises Obama’s administration; she promotes the secretive CSCOPE curriculum and more.
Study her further here to learn the groups she works for, what’s in the books she writes, how many times she quoted herself in her report for the U.S. equity commission, and what she said in last summer’s speech to UNESCO about the need to take swimming pools away from students.
So yes, there is an undeniable socialism push in Common Core textbooks and in the Department of Education.
The National Review’s authors claim Common Core won’t “eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.” By cutting classic literature by 70% for high school seniors, they are absolutely doing exactly that. The article says that Common Core doesn’t mandate the slashing of literature. Maybe not. But the tests sure will.
What teacher, constricted by the knowledge that her job is on the line, will risk lowering the high stakes student scores by teaching beyond what is recommended in the model curriculum of the national test writers?
And that’s the tragic part for me as an English teacher.
Classic literature is sacred. Its removal from American schools is an affront to our humanity.
Common Core doesn’t mandate which books to cut; the National Review is correct on that point; but it does pressure English teachers to cut out large selections of great literature, somewhere. And not just a little bit. Tons.
Informational text belongs in other classes, not in English. To read boring, non-literary articles even if they are not all required to be Executive Orders, insulation manuals, or environmental studies (as the major portion of the English language curriculum) is to kill the love of reading.
What will the slashing do to the students’ appreciation for the beauty of the language, to the acquisition of rich vocabulary, to the appreciation for the battle between good and evil?
We become compassionate humans by receiving and passing on classic stories. Souls are enlarged by exposure to the characters, the imagery, the rich vocabulary, the poetic language and the endless forms of the battle between good and evil, that live in classic literature.
Classic stories create a love for books that cannot be acquired in any other way. Dickens, Shakespeare, Hugo, Orwell, Dostoevsky, Rand, Marquez, Cisneros, Faulkner, Fitzgerald– where would we be without the gifts of these great writers and their writings? Which ones will English teachers cut away first to make room for informational text?
The sly and subtle change will have the same effect on our children as if Common Core had mandated the destruction of a certain percentage of all classic literature.
How does it differ from book burning in its ultimate effects?
Cutting out basic math skills, such as being able to convert fractions to decimals, is criminal. Proponents call this learning “fewer but deeper” concepts. I call it a sin. Common Core also delays the age at which students should be able to work with certain algorithms, putting students years behind our mathematical competitors in Asia.
For specific curricular reviews of Common Core standards, read Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s and Dr. Ze’ev Wurman’s math and literature reviews in the appendix of the white paper by Pioneer Institute. (See exhibit A and exhibit B, page 24.)
The National Review claims that the standards “simply delineate what children should know at each grade level and describe the skills that they must acquire to stay on course toward college or career readiness” and claim they are not a ceiling but a floor. This is a lie. The standards are bound by a 15% rule; there’s no adding to them beyond 15%. That’s not a ceiling?
The article claims that ”college and career readiness” doesn’t necessarily mean Common Core. Well, it does, actually. The phrase has been defined on the ed. gov website as meaning sameness of standards to a significant number of states. I would give you a link but this week, so oddly, the Department of Education has removed most of its previous pages. You can see it reposted here:
The article insists that Common Core is not a curriculum; it’s up to school districts to choose curricula that comply with the standards. Sure. But as previously noted: 1) all the big textbook companies have aligned to Common Core. Where are the options? 2) Common core tests and the new accountability measures put on teachers who will lose their jobs if students don’t score well on Common Core tests will ensure that teachers will only teach Common Core standards. 3) Test writers are making model curriculum and it’s going to be for sale, for sure.
The article falsely claims that “curriculum experts began to devise” the standards. Not so: the architect of Common Core ELA standards (and current College Board president) is not, nor ever has been, an educator. In fact, that architect made the list of Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform. A top curriculum professor has pointed out that the developers of Common Core never consulted with top curricular universities at all.
The article claims that states who have adopted Common Core could opt out, “and they shouldn’t lose a dime if they do” –but Title I monies have been threatened, and the No Child Left Behind waiver is temporary on conditions of following Common Core, and for those states who did get Race to the Top money (not my state, thank goodness) the money would have to be returned. Additionally, every state got ARRA stimulus money to build a federally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System. Do we want to give back millions and millions to ensure that we aren’t part of the de facto national database of children’s longitudinal school-collected, personally identifiable information?
The article states that the goal is to have children read challenging texts that will build their vocabulary and background knowledge. So then why not read more –not less– actual literature?
The article also leaves out any analysis of the illegality of Common Core. The arrangement appears to be illegal. Under the Constitution and under the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) the federal government is restricted from even supervising education.
GEPA states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”
And for those still believing the federal government isn’t “exercising direction, supervision or control” of the school system, look at two things.
1. The federal technical review of tests being mandated by the Department of Education.
2. The federal mandate that testing consoria must synchronize “across consortia,” that status updates and phone conferences must be made available to the Dept. of Education regularly, and that data collected must be shared with the federal government “on an ongoing basis”
3. The recent federal alteration of privacy laws that have taken away parental consent over student data collection.
Finally: the “most annoying manipulation tactic” award for the National Review Article is a tie between the last two sentences of the National Review article, which, combined, say, “Conservatives used to be in favor of holding students to high standards… aren’t they still?” Please.
Let’s rephrase it:
Americans used to be in favor of legitimate, nonexperimental standards for children that were unattached to corporate greed and that were constitutionally legal… Aren’t we still?
Today, Alisa and I spoke with Chicago History teacher Paul Horton about Common Core and his group, Citizens Against Corporate Collusion. A few highlights:
1. What’s wrong with high stakes testing?
2. How does Common Core turn teacher artisans into teacher widgets?
3. Dept. of Ed Secretary Arne Duncan graduated from the high school where Horton teaches; what does Horton say about Sec. Duncan?
4. Why does Pearson Company stand to face legal trouble?
5. What does Horton see Bill Gates doing Common Core pushing for?
6. Why are Democrats and Republicans increasingly seeing eye to eye on the need to stop common core?
Here’s the segment.
“Person enrollment tracker”? “Single unique I.D.”?
The following page is not written by me. It’s pasted word for word, directly from the Texas Student Data System, the group which collects data on every student in every governmentally funded school in Texas. They are not even pretending to protect student privacy anymore.
— — — — — — — —
Why Is TSDS Unique ID Necessary?
TSDS Unique ID is necessary in order to integrate the various subsystems of TSDS smoothly and accurately. Since TEA will run both TSDS and the legacy EDIT+ systems in parallel for some time, Unique ID must be used with both systems.
Read TEA’s official letter on Unique ID training and TEA Login (TEAL).
How Will Unique ID Be Used?
NOTE: Unique ID training is now available from the ESCs! Contact your ESC for details.
Local education agencies (LEAs—Texas school districts and charter schools) must use Unique ID numbers to load student and staff information to the TSDS Education Data Warehouse (EDW). Each student and staff member will have a single unique identifier for his or her entire career within the Texas educational system (from early education programs through the twelfth grade). Individuals will retain the same unique identifier even if they leave the Texas education system and return years later or transition from being a student to a staff member.
Implementing Unique ID is the first phase of TSDS project implementation. TEA will create the initial Unique ID database from the existing Person Identification Database (PID). Once Unique ID is in production, all student and staff additions and changes will be made through Unique ID instead of PID.
All LEAs must implement TSDS Unique ID in Spring, 2013 in order to load their PEIMS data for the 2012-13 Summer Collection.
How Will TSDS Unique ID Benefit my LEA?
The TSDS Unique ID system provides enhanced matching logic to assist users in reconciling individuals who have closely matching demographics (first name, last name, date of birth, etc.). Through Unique ID’s user-friendly interface, LEA users will be able to assign IDs and update student and staff demographics more quickly and efficiently than in the past.
What Does My LEA Need To Do?
NOW: Contact your source vendors to ensure they are:
- Developing the batch file process needed to (a) upload student and staff data for the initial assignment of Unique IDs and (b) import the resulting assigned Unique IDs into their systems
- Adding the required Unique ID data elements to their databases
- Revising their PEIMS submission extracts for the upcoming PEIMS 3 and 4 submissions
TEA is currently working with many vendors on the changes for Unique ID.
FEB – MAR 2013: Attend training provided by your Education Service Center (ESC) Unique ID champion. A Unique ID champion has been identified by each ESC. TEA will train these champions the first week in February, and the champions will offer training to LEA staff in February and March.
FEB – MAR 2013: All TSDS Unique ID users will need a TEAL account. Further instructions will be available prior to the go-live date.
Unique ID TEDS Standards
LEAs and vendors must ensure that their Unique ID extracts are compliant with TEDS Section 9 standards. Unlike all other TEDS extracts, extracts for Unique ID must be in comma-separated variable (CSV) format.
Data loaded to the EDW will be validated against the Unique ID system, ensuring that every person is assigned a unique identification number.
*NEW* Unique ID Rollout Progress : Update
*UPDATED* Detailed ESC-by-ESC rollout plan (3/15/2013)
Feb – Mar 2013 – Ensure all TSDS Unique ID users have a TEAL account and have applied for access to the TSDS application and Unique ID role.
Mar 11, 2013 – TEA will create the TSDS Unique ID database. PID and Person Enrollment Tracker (PET) updates through EDIT+ will no longer be available. PET Files cannot be submitted March 11 – 25, 2013.
Mar 25, 2013 – The TSDS Unique ID system is in production (except for web services). Unique IDs are made available to LEAs. Demographic updates will be made through the TSDS Unique ID system.
Mar – Apr 2013 – LEAs upload batch files to the TSDS Unique ID system containing any student or staff member active in the 2012-13 school year in order to assign them Unique IDs.
Apr 2013 – TEA adds student and staff Unique IDs to EDIT+ for PEIMS Submission 3 and 4.
Apr 8, 2013 – LEAs populate their student/staff source systems with Unique IDs, enabling the data to be submitted to EDIT+ in Submissions 3 and 4.
Jun 1, 2013 – The Unique ID application is available to LEAs via web service interface.
Aug 2013 – TSDS early adopters submit data to the EDW, which requires student and staff Unique IDs.
PET and TREx
- TSDS Unique ID will be added to the PET submission file and the TREx extraction file in the 2013-14 school year.
- March 11 – 25, 2013, LEAs cannot submit a PET file while the TSDS Unique ID database is being created.
- Starting March 25, 2013, the PET submission file will be checked against the TSDS Unique ID database to ensure the student has a Unique ID.
- Starting March 25, 2013, all demographic updates will need to be made through the TSDS Unique ID system.
For More Information
LEAs will be able to assign Unique IDs to student and staff in two ways: via a batch file created in CSV format or via individual record entry through the Unique ID application.
I teach in Alabama, and will do anything I can do help defeat Common Core. We are experiencing a crucial week in Alabama. We have two bills, SB 190 and HB 254 to stop Common Core. SB 190 was not defeated, but “held indefinitely” in committee while they work on amendments.
The identical House bill, HB 254 was brought up in a subcommittee, and I was asked to speak at that hearing. I was told that we didn’t have the votes in that subcommittee, but that in the actual entire House, we are only TWO votes from knowing we have a passing vote. So the goal of my speech was to “buy time.” And that’s exactly what happened. I spoke from the heart, I cried, and so did many in the room. Again, it was not defeated, but sent to the entire House Committee to be “held” for more research.
This week, it is time to increase pressure on Governor Bentley. He’s ALWAYS been on our side. But we feel we need to kindly pressure him to force the legislators’ hands.
The governor’s office number is 1-334-242-7100, for anyone who’d like to leave a message to repeal Common Core. I think he really needs to hear from other states, to know it’s a huge national issue, and that he could pave the way for other states.” –8th grade World History Teacher, Tuscaloosa County
The first state to successfully pull out of Common Core will greatly increase other states’ odds of pulling out. Please call!
Phone number for Alabama’s Governor Bentley 334-242-7100
- Christopher Tienken - Professor at Seton Hall, NJ - http://vimeo.com/58461595
- Jane Robbins – American Principles Project - Stop Common Core video series: http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4
- Jamie Gass – Pioneer Institute – has been speaking about Common Core for many years; knows why Massachusetts had the best standards in the nation prior to Common Core. http://youtu.be/SBROaOCKN50
- Senator Kurt Bahr – Missouri legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/25NTsQxj-zg?t=1m49s
- Senator William Ligon – Georgia legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/ODz4X0GO-Fk?t=1m37s
- Senator Scott Schneider – Indiana legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=1m10s
- Dr. Bill Evers – Hoover Institute – Stanford University – http://youtu.be/LB014eno1aA
- Robert Scott – Texas commissioner of education – rejected Common Core: http://youtu.be/WcpMIUWbgxY?t=2m25s
- Diane Ravitch – liberal education analyst who just recently came out against Common Core http://youtu.be/ZkZUGpJJWy4?t=13s
- Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on their adequacy: http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see min. 55:30
- Ze’ev Wurman, math analyst http://youtu.be/0cgnprQg_O0?t=22s
- Heather Crossin – Indiana mother fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=54s
- Utah moms Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy – http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4
- Jim Stergios – Pioneer Institute - http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see minute 30:00
- Jenni White – Oklahoma data collection expert - http://youtu.be/XTbMLjk-qRc and http://youtu.be/JM1CTJFUuzM
- Susan Ohanian – education analyst http://youtu.be/uJHkztNNFNk?t=23s
- Dr. William Mathis of University of Colorado http://youtu.be/46-M1hH0D1Q?t=23s
- Seattle Teachers who boycotted Garfield High School standardized testing. http://youtu.be/N5ODEoqZZHs
- Gary Thompson, clinical psychologist http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/glenn-beck-on-privacy-and-data-mining-in-common-core/
- Emmett McGroarty, American Principles Project http://youtu.be/wVI78lPCFfs?t=21s
- David Cox, teacher http://youtu.be/W-uAi1I_6Ds?t=22m28s
- Paul Bogush, teacher http://youtu.be/oaDniHquMVI?t=56s
- Sherena Arrington, political analyst http://youtu.be/QF337nKwx6M?t=6m35s
- Walt Chappell, Kansas Board of Education http://youtu.be/1S9jjNyXAE4?t=16m55s
- Bob Shaeffer, Colorado Principal /Former Congressman http://youtu.be/Fai4K2ZVauk?t=1m15s
- Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation http://youtu.be/1DOCH1YT6Uk
- Oak Norton, Agency Based Education http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_H7ds2Eb70&feature=share&list=PLjUrg_jASxd-BeEivpr4b7z7Ydc5mjGi4
- Neil McClusky – Cato Institute http://youtu.be/DK2kTdDudo4
Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform
Bill Gates: Scary Philanthropy
Countdown # 5
This is the fifth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America. For numbers 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, click here.
The biggest philanthropist on earth comes across as the epitome of sincere, nerdy nice-guy. And he probably is very nice and very sincere. But does sincerity trump truth?
The truth is, Bill Gates’ herculean attempt to fund and market Common Core to Americans, and to circumvent the voting public on educational issues, is dangerously, dangerously misguided.
Thus, not everybody is happy in philanthropy land. The biggest philanthropist in the world got behind the unproven experiment of Common Core and –using money rather than the voice of the American voter– he pushed it into schools, circumventing any vetting by legislative, educator or parent groups.
Gates’ astronomical wealth has persuaded millions that Common Core is the solution to education problems, the argument from everywhere, approved (by him) and beyond debate. But let me repeat the fact: regardless of whether the standards are horrible or glorious, the truth remains that whenever unelected philanthropists are permitted to direct public policy, the voting public gets cut out of the process. It’s happening all over the U.S., but not just in the U.S. The Gates-directing-world-education effect is happening everywhere.
Since Gates has no constituency he can’t be un-elected; so it’s not the the wisdom of experienced educators, but simply one man’s money that is directing implementation of the controversial Common Core. His money has bought, besides technology, work groups, and a seat at the policy making table, extreme marketing success.
He’s got control of the education opinion factory. When Common Core was debated at the Indiana State Capitol, who showed up to advocate for Common Core? Stand for Children, which Bill Gates funds. He also funds the League of Education Voters, the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the Partnership for Learning, all Common Core advocates; Gates owns Editorial Projects in Education, parent of Education Week magazine.
No wonder, then, even educators don’t seem to know the full truth about Common Core. They’re reading Education Week and the Harvard Education Letter. Translation: they are reading Gates’ dollar bills. (By the way: want to make some money selling out your fellow teachers? Gates is searching for a grant recipient who will receive $250,000 to accelerate networking of teachers toward acceptance of Common Core. )
Wherever you see advocates for Common Core, you see Gates’ influence. He gave a million dollars to the national PTA to advocate to parents about Common Core. He gave Common Core developer NGA/CCSSO roughly $25 million to promote it. (CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780.) He gave $15 million to Harvard for “education policy” research. He gave $9 million to universities promoting “breakthrough learning models” and global education. Gates paid inBloom 100 million dollars to collect and analyze schools’ data as part of a public-private collaborative that is building “shared technology services.” InBloom, formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, includes districts, states, and the unelected Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The list goes on and on and on.
It’s hard to know exactly how much money Gates has put toward the promotion of Common Core because of the chameleon-like wording of educational granting areas. For example, he gave $3 million Stanford University and $3 million to Brown University for “college and career readiness.” (The average person wouldn’t know that college and career readiness is a code phrase defined as common core by the Department of Education.) Sometimes he’s promoting “support activities around educational issues related to school reform” for the CCSSO (common core developer) and other times he’s “helping states build data interoperability” –which not everyone would recognize as Common assessments’ bed-making.
According to Gates himself, he’s spent five billion dollars to promote his vision of education since 2000.
He really, reealllly believes in Common Core. So it doesn’t matter that Common Core is an experiment on our children that’s never been tested and has been rejected by countless top education analysts. It doesn’t matter that Common Core is an un-American, top-down, nonrepresentative system that state legislatures didn’t even get to vet. Bill Gates wants it.
And not just in America– he wants global education standards.
Gates’ company, Microsoft, signed a cooperative agreement with the United Nations’ education branch, UNESCO. In it, Gates said, “Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO’s constitution and intends to contribute to UNESCO’s programme priorities.” UNESCO’s “Education For All” key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.” Read the full text here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf
So Gates partners with the U.N.’s educational and other goals via UNESCO’s “Education for All” which seeks to teach the same standards to all children (and adults) on a global scale. Why is this a problem? It supercedes local control over what is taught to students, and dismisses the validity of the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of inclusivity and education and tolerance for all nations.
At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”
The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. On the linked Education and Awareness page of the U.N. website, we learn:
“Education, Public Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable” http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml
Did you get that? Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide. They just admitted it out loud. They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.
So then we click on Chapter 36. In 36.2 it says we should “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development. (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.) 36.3 says: “Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes…. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development… To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods”
The take-away? What does Bill Gates agree to in his Microsoft – UNESCO partnership?
- Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education.
- Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change. Current attitudes are unacceptable.
- Education will be belief-and-spirituality based as defined by the global collective.
- Environmental education will be integrated into every subject, not just science.
The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”
Hence the need for people like Gates to influence the training of decision makers. When asked what matters most to him, Gates said: education. His version of education. The Huffington Post reported:
“I’d pick education, if I was thinking broadly about America,” Gates responded. “It’s our tool of equality.” Is it coincidence that equality and redistribution are also concepts that Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah and Arne Duncan are promoting in the federal Equity and Excellence Commission?
How committed is Bill Gates to the United Nations having a say in American education?
In his annual letter, Gates emphasized the importance of following the United Nations’ Millennial Goals and measuring teachers more closely. One of those UN Millennial goals is to achieve universal education. Also, Gates helped create Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for U.S. national education standards. (link 1) (link 2)
Also, Gates’ Foundation funded the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)
It appears that Bill Gates is more than a common core philanthopist; he is a promoter of global sameness of education as defined by UNESCO and the U.N.
- Does every state have a federally funded, interoperable State Longitudinal Database System that tracks people throughout their lives? Yes.
Every state has accepted 100% federally funded data collection (SLDS). The Data Quality Campaign
states: “every governor
and chief state school officer has agreed to build statewide longitudinal data systems that can follow individual students from early childhood through K-12 and postsecondary ed and into the workforce as a condition for receiving
State Fiscal Stabilization Funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). A condition of getting the funding (ARRA money) was that the system would be interoperable
- Is the SLDS accessible by the federal government? Yes.
The SLDS grant
explains that the SIF (state interoperability framework) must provide interoperability from LEA to LEA, from LEA to Postsecondary, from LEA to USOE, and from USOE to the EdFacts Data Exchange.
The EdFacts Data Initiative
is a “centralized portal through which states submit data
to the Department of Education.”
The P-20 workforce council exists inside states to track citizens starting in preschool, and to “forge organizational and technical bonds and to build the data system needed to make informed decisions” for stakeholders both in and outside Utah. — http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm
Is personally identifiable student information gathered, or only aggregate group data? Personal, identifiable, individual data is collected.
- Many of us in Utah were present last summer when UT technology director John Brandt stood up in the senate education committee and testified that there are roughly twelve people in the state of Utah who have access to the personally identifiable information of students which is available in the Utah Data Alliances inter-agency network of student data. So it is not true that we are talking about only aggregate data, which leaders often insist. The Utah School Board confirmed to me in writing, also, that it is not allowed for any student to opt out of the P-20/ SLDS/ UDA tracking system, (which we know is K-workforce (soon to include preschool) citizen surveillance.)
- Is the collected private student data accessible to agencies beyond than state education agency? Yes:
There are state data alliances that connect agencies. The Data Quality Campaign states: “states must ensure that as they build and enhance state K–12 longitudinal data systems, they also continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce (P–20/workforce) and with other critical agencies, such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”
- What data will be collected? According to the new FERPA regulations, pretty much anything. Social security numbers, psychometric and biometric information (see pg. 4 and 6) are not off the table. According to the National Data Collection model, over 400 points. Jenni White mentioned another federal model that asks for thousands of data points.
- How does this affect parents?
Data linking changes being made in regulations and policies
make former privacy protection policies meaningless. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued the Dept. of Education
, under the Administrative Procedure Act, arguing that the Dept. of Ed’s regulations that changed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in Dec. 2011 exceeded the Department of Education’s authority and are contrary to law
The Federal Register outlines, on page 51, that it is not now a necessity for a school to get student or parental consent any longer before sharing personally identifiable information; that has been reduced to the level of optional.
“It is a best practice to keep the public informed when you disclose personally identifiable information from education records.” http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf
Dec. 2011 regulations, which the Dept. of Education made without Congressional approval and for which they are now being sued by EPIC, literally loosen, rather than strengthen, parental consent rules and other rules. http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=5aa4af34-8e67-4f42-8e6b-fe801c512c7a
The Federal Register of December 2011 outlines the Dept. of Education’s new, Congressionally un-approved regulations, that decrease parental involvement and increase the number of agencies that have access to private student data: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-02/pdf/2011-30683.pdf (See page 52-57)
Although the Federal Register describes countless agencies, programs and “authorities” that may access personally identifiable student information, it uses permissive rather than mandatory language. The obligatory language comes up in the case of the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Education and the states’ testing consortium http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf
Effectively, there is no privacy regulation governing schools anymore, on the federal level. Khalia Barnes, a lawyer at EPIC disclosed that these privacy intrusions affect not only children, but anyone who ever attended any college or university (that archives records, unless it is a privately funded university.)
- Why did the Dept. of Ed need to alter FERPA regulations?
To match their data collection goals (stated in the Dept. of Ed cooperative agreement with testing consortia) which contracts with testing consortia to mandate triangulation of tests and collected data. This federal supervision is illegal under G.E.P.A. law and the 10th Amendment). http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf
- Who can access collected data?
The National Data Collection Model
(the federal request for what states ought to be collecting) represents 400 data points schools should collect and “it is a comprehensive, non-proprietary inventory… that can be used by schools, LEAs, states, vendors, and researchers”.
Vendors are already using this
- How can we get free of this system?
has provided expert testimony about the student data collection
, but has also said that an educational data monopoly is an issue, too. She explains that a group exists, including Bing, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., that assigns high or low attention to content and directs internet traffic. So if code uses hashtags and common core aligned taxonomies, your education data will get traffic. If not, it won’t. If you are searching for any educational data it won’t come up unless it’s using that coded taxonomy. This wrecks net neutrality and is, in her educated opinion, an anti-trust issue
of the internet. She mentioned the CEDS, (common element data system) that is ending net neutrality. She also finds appalling the Learning Registry
, funded by the Department of Defense and the Department of Education, which is a place for teachers to advertise for common core aligned products– all using stimulus money.
- Why did the Dept. of Ed redefine FERPA’s meaning of the term “educational agency” to include virtually any agency and redefine “authorized representative” to mean virtually anyone, even a “school volunteer?
When FERPA is weak, linking of data allows easy access to data, both technologically and in terms of legal policy. It also trumps other laws, such as HIPPA. For example, as both Gary Thompson and Jenni White have pointed out, the new, weak FERPA law takes precedence over HIPPA (patient privacy) when medical or psychological services are provided in schools or when educational services are provided in jails.
In that document, states are obligated to share data with the federal government “on an ongoing basis,” to give status reports, phone conferences and other information, and must synchronize tests “across consortia”. This triangulation nationalizes the testing system and puts the federal government in the middle of the data collecting program.
For understanding of the motivation of the federal government, read some of US Dept. of Education Arne Duncan’s or Obama’s speeches that show the passion with which the federal agency seeks access to data to control teachers and educational decisions. http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/06/06082009.pdf
- Are teachers also to be studied like guinea pigs, along with students? Yes.
The Common Core of Data (CCD)
is another federal program of data collection that studies TEACHERS as well as students. It calls itself “a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.” http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/
- How does Common Core relate to the federal and corporate data collection movement?
Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss at the Dept. of Education has been publicly quoted saying that “data-mashing” is a good idea. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gives speeches calling for ”more robust data.” And at the recent White House Datapalooza
, the CEO of eScholar stated that without Common Core tests being “the glue” for open data
, this data movement would be impossible.
Here’s a link to the radio show where David Cox and I were guests of Rod Arquette last week.
Q & A covers:
How much momentum is the Common Core pushback movement gaining nationwide?
What do people need to know about Common Core?
How does Common Core hurt education? Why is classic literature diminished?
Is there any actual evidence that the standards are of good quality?
Why were the standards written behind closed doors? Who is getting rich with taxpayers’ funding of Common Core?
How does Common Core end local control of education? Are unelected people and organizations making education policy for our children?
Are teachers afraid to speak out against Common Core?
Who paid the PTA to advocate for Common Core without showing any pros and cons?
How does the test data collection process change how education had been done in the past?
What can one person do?
David Coleman: Bye Bye, Classics
Countdown # 9
This is the second in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading American education reform. (#10 on the list is posted here.)
David Coleman, lead “architect” for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core, is not an educator, but a businessman. Recently promoted to president of the College Board, he has promised to align the SAT with the Common Core that he built. He plotted education for K-12 students, and now he’s plotting it for postsecondary students, too.
How can a one-size-fits-all alignment make sense for all students –whether bound for a minimum wage job, a two-year college or the top university in the world– prepare each using a one-size-fits-all Common Core program? Either the lower-level students are to be pushed beyond reasonable expectations, or the higher level students are to be dumbed down. Or both.
Coleman is an outspoken antagonist to narrative writing and is no fan of classic literature, so he singlehandedly slashed most of it from the education most children in America will know, either already –or soon. Ask your kids, but remember, Common Core testing begins in 2014, so the intense pressure for teachers to conform to Common Core is yet to be fully felt.
What did Coleman do to Language Arts? He mandated that dreary informational text, not beautiful, classic literature, is to be the main emphasis in English classes, incrementally worsening as students get older.
What it looks like: little children in an ELA classroom may read no more than 50% classic literature. High school seniors may only read 30% classic literature. The other 70% must be informational text, which means everything from historical documents (um– why not read those in history classes?) to insulation installation manuals, presidential executive orders, environmental programming, and federal reserve documents. These are actually on the recommended reading list.
Another weird twist to Coleman’s Common Core is that he says students must “stay within the four corners of the text” as if that were possible. Context is not to be part of a discussion? Outside experience is not to be compared to the informational text? For a thorough, and eloquent, explanation of what has happened to English Language Arts because of Coleman’s influence, please read “Speaking Back to the Common Core” by Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire.
What Coleman does not understand (–hmmm, maybe actual English teachers should have been invited to those closed-door meetings–) is that narrative is so much more than a style of writing.
Narrative isn’t just using the “I” word. It’s more than “What I Did Last Summer.”
Narrative is a pattern woven (often unconsciously) into every style of memorable writing, whether argumentative, persuasive, expository, etc. The best informational texts are narratively satisfying.
Coleman’s knocking down of narrative writing and slashing of it from academic standards is both ignorant and, to English teachers and astute kids, really confusing. For a funny, punchy review of the muddly ELA writing standards, read Professor Laura Gibbs’ “Inspid Brew of Gobbledygook”.
David Coleman is largely ignorant in the field of writing language arts standards. One member of the official Common Core validation committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, pointed this out and refused to sign off on the validity of the Common Core standards.
And David Coleman is not even nice, as you’ll see from the video linked here, where he mocks student narrative and uses the “sh–” word in a professional development seminar for teachers.
Lastly, Coleman’s large financial contribution to the campaign of Education Committee Senator Todd Huston (Indiana) whom Coleman hired for the College Board after his election, forms another branch of reasons that I can not trust this man to make wise decisions affecting children.
Alisa, Renee and I interviewed Dr. Bill Evers, from Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and Angela Weinziner, the president of the Travis District School Board, also from California. We asked how Common Core is impacting California’s education and the economy.
Dr. Evers tells the story of how an error found in the elementary level English standards about long and short vowels could not be corrected. The standards had already been printed and sent to the states. It was too late to course correct, even on a small matter. How will we course correct on large matters? There is no amendment process.
Angela Weinzinger explains that few parents or school board members really understand what Common Core is all about. She asks parents to speak out and voice their concerns.
Dr. Evers explains what “competitive federalism” is and what its benefits are to education.