Archive for the ‘Evidence That Utah Lost Educational Sovereignty Under Common Core Initiative’ Category
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 email@example.com ,
Rep. Alford 124 785 296-7656 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Ballard 44 785 296-7697 email@example.com ,
Rep. Barker 70 785 296-7674 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Becker 104 785 296-7196 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bideau 9 785 296-7636 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Boldra 111 785 296-4683 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bollier 21 785 296-7686 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bradford 40 785 296-7653 email@example.com ,
Rep. Bridges 83 785 296-7646 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Bruchman 20 785 296-7644 email@example.com ,
Rep. Brunk 85 785 296-7645 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Burroughs 33 785-296-7630 email@example.com,
Rep. Campbell 26 785 296-7632 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Carlin 66 785 296-7649 email@example.com ,
Rep. Carlson 61 785 296-7660 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Carpenter 75 785 296-7673 email@example.com ,
Rep. Cassidy 120 785 296-7616 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Christmann 113 785 296-7640 email@example.com,
Rep. Claeys 69 785 296-7670 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Clayton 19 785 296-7655 email@example.com ,
Rep. Concannon 107 785 296-7677 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Corbet 54 785 296-7679 email@example.com ,
Rep. Couture-Lovelady 110 785 296-4683 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Crum 77 785 296-6989 email@example.com,
Rep. Davis 46 785-296-7630 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. DeGraaf 82 785 296-7693 email@example.com ,
Rep. Dierks 71 785 296-7642 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Dillmore 92 785 296-7698 email@example.com ,
Rep. Doll 123 785 296-7380 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Dove 38 785 296-7670 email@example.com
Rep. Edmonds 112 785 296-5593 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Edwards 93 785 296-7640 email@example.com ,
Rep. Esau 14 785 296-7631 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Name District Capitol Phone Email
Rep. Ewy 117 785 296-7105 email@example.com,
Rep. Finch 59 785 296-7655 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Finney 84 785 296-7648 email@example.com
Rep. Frownfelter 37 785 296-7648 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Gandhi 52 785 296-7672 email@example.com ,
Rep. Garber 62 785 296-7665 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Goico 94 785 296-7663 email@example.com ,
Rep. Gonzalez 47 785 296-7500 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Grant 2 785 296-7650 email@example.com ,
Rep. Grosserode 16 785 296-7659 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hawkins 100 785 296-7631 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hedke 99 785 296-7699 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Henderson 35 785 296-7697 email@example.com ,
Rep. Henry 63 785 296-7688 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hermanson 98 785 296-7658 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hibbard 13 785 296-7380 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Highland 51 785 296-7310 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hildabrand 17 785 296-7659 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hill 60 785 296-7632 email@example.com ,
Rep. Hineman 118 785 296-7636 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Hoffman 116 785 296-7643 email@example.com ,
Rep. Houser 1 785 296-7679 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Houston 89 785 296-7652 email@example.com,
Rep. Howell 81 785 296-7665 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Huebert 90 785 296-1754 email@example.com,
Rep. Hutton 105 785 296-7673 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Jennings 122 785 296-7196 email@example.com ,
Rep. Johnson 108 785 296-7696 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Jones 5 785 296-6287 email@example.com,
Rep. Kahrs 87 785 296-5593 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Kelley 80 785 296-7671 email@example.com
Rep. Kelly 11 785 296-6014 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Kinzer 30 785-296-7692 email@example.com,
Rep. Kleeb 48 785 296-7680 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Kuether 55 785 296-7669 email@example.com ,
Rep. Lane 58 785 296-7649 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Lunn 28 785 296-7675 email@example.com ,
Rep. Lusk 22 785 296-7651 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Macheers 39 785 296-7675 email@example.com ,
Rep. Mast 76 785-291-3500 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. McPherson 8 785 296-7695 email@example.com ,
Rep. Meier 41 785 296-7650 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Meigs 23 785 296-7656 email@example.com,
Rep. Menghini 3 785 296-7691 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Merrick 27 785-296-2302 email@example.com ,
Rep. Montgomery 15 785 296-7677 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Moxley 68 785 296-7689 email@example.com ,
Rep. O’Brien 42 785 296-7683 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Osterman 97 785 296-7689 email@example.com,
Rep. Pauls 102 785 296-7657 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Peck 12 785 296-7641 email@example.com,
Rep. Perry 24 785 296-7669 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Peterson 32 785 296-7371 email@example.com ,
Rep. Petty 125 785 296-7676 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Phillips 67 785 296-6014 email@example.com ,
Rep. J. Powell 50 785 296-7674 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Proehl 7 785 296-7639 email@example.com,
Rep. Read 4 785 296-7310 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Rhoades 72 785 291-3446 email@example.com ,
Rep. Rooker 25 785 296-7686 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Rothlisberg 65 785 296-7653 email@example.com,
Rep. Rubin 18 785 296-7690 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Ruiz 31 785 296-7122 email@example.com,
Rep. Ryckman Jr. 78 785 296-6287 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Ryckman Sr. 115 785 296-7658 email@example.com ,
Rep. Sawyer 95 785 296-7691 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Schroeder 74 785 296-7500 email@example.com,
Rep. Schwab 49 785 296-7501 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Schwartz 106 785 296-7637 email@example.com ,
Rep. Seiwert 101 785 296-7647 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Shultz 73 785 296-7684 email@example.com ,
Rep. Siegfreid 121 785 368-7166 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Sloan 45 785 296-7654 email@example.com ,
Rep. Sloop 88 785 296-7646 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Suellentrop 91 785 296-7681 email@example.com ,
Rep. Sutton 43 785 296-7676 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Swanson 64 785 296-7642 email@example.com ,
Rep. Thimesch 114 785 296-7105 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Tietze 53 785 296-7668 email@example.com ,
Rep. Todd 29 785 296-7695 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Trimmer 79 785 296-7122 email@example.com ,
Rep. Vickrey 6 785-296-7662 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Victors 103 785 296-7651 email@example.com ,
Rep. Ward 86 785 296-7698 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Waymaster 109 785 296-7672 email@example.com ,
Rep. Weber 119 785 296-5481 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Weigel 56 785 296-7366 email@example.com ,
Rep. Whipple 96 785 296-7366 firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rep. Wilson 10 785 296-7652 email@example.com ,
Rep. Winn 34 785 296-7657 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rep. Wolfe Moore 36 785 296-7688 email@example.com ,
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.
I appreciate Rep. Brian Greene’s recent statement on his Facebook page, in reference to the recent KSL article. He said that the state school board should not ask the Legislature “to validate the board’s adoption of Common Core by quashing public opposition to it. “
Funny how the state school board wants to make it clear that they have full authority over public education, but want the Legislature to validate their adoption of CC by quashing public opposition to it. If the Board is so committed to CC, they need to begin acting like the elected officers they are and take their message directly to the voters and stop acting like unaccountable bureaucrats.
The State School Board has unanimously passed two resolutions that state official positions on the Utah Core Standards and the security of personal student information.
Indiana’s Governor Pence has signed the ”Common Core ‘pause’ legislation” bill. It puts a time-out on Common Core implementation so that legislators, parents, teachers and school boards can have the time they were denied previously, to actually vet and analyze the Common Core educational system.
How I wish Governor Herbert would do the same.
How I wish we had a governor, newspapers, a state school board and local school boards whose actions showed they truly valued local control, that all-important principle of our country’s founding. But they do not. They prioritize being the same as other states over maintaining the power to run our own lives, and they value that common core over having academically legitimate, non-experimental standards.
It is a Utah tragedy. Not so in Indiana.
“The bill requires public input meetings and a new vote on whether to continue implementing the Common Core by the end of 2014 by the State Board of Education, which originally approved common Core in 2010.
Critics of Common Core, which was adopted by Indiana’s state board in 2010, say the criteria are less rigorous than Indiana’s prior standards and adopting them would mean giving up too much power over the setting of standards.
But supporters argue Indiana could fall behind by backing out, as textbook publishers and standardized test makers — including those who make college entrance exams — are moving quickly to adapt to the new standards.
“I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers,” Pence said in a news release. “The legislation I sign today hits the pause button on Common Core so Hoosiers can thoroughly evaluate which standards will best serve the interests of our kids.”
Read the rest here.
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.
The shortest, most important post I’ve written:
In addition to the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, a federal law called The General Educational Provisons Act (G.E.P.A.)
prohibits the federal government from directing education –very, very clearly:
“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…“
Read the rest here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a
Please ask an honest legislator to notice that Obama and Secretary Duncan openly promote Common Core –and use our taxes to give out grants for common core tests. Someone has to stop this.
Before I post the highlights from the Tribune article, I have to make a comment.
I read the two USOE-created resolutions* cited below. They are written by people who obviously do not understand the recently altered federal FERPA changes which have severely weakened student privacy and parental consent requirements, among other things. One resolution used the word “erroneous” to describe citizens opposing Common Core’s agenda. This, for some reason, makes me laugh. Why?
Because so much of what the Utah State Office of Education does is utterly erroneous, unreferenced, theory-laden and evidence-lacking; it may be nicely based on slick marketing, financial bribes and the consensus of big-government promoters– Bill Gates, Pearson Company, Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama advisor Linda Darling-Hammond, etc but it is nonetheless false. (“State-led”? “Internationally benchmarked”? Improving Education”? “Respecting student data privacy”? “Retaining local control”? —NOT.)
It is downright ridiculous (although sad) that the State Office of Education calls those citizens who ask questions armed with documents, facts, references and truth, the “vicious attackers” and the “erroneous.”
Let’s call their bluff.
Let’s insist that the Utah State School Board engage in honest, open, referenced debate with those they label “erroneous.”
It’ll never happen. They cannot allow that. They know they have no leg to stand on, or they’d already have provided references and studies showing the Common Core path they chose for Utah was a wise and studied choice. We’ve asked repeatedly for such honest face-to-face discussion. We’ve asked them to send someone to debate Common Core.
They have no one to send; sadly, each USOE official and USSB member can only parrot the claims they’ve had parroted to them about Common Core.
Honest study reveals that local control is gone under Common Core, privacy is gone, parental consent is no longer required to track and study a child, and academic standards are FAR from improved.
I pray that level-headed Utah legislators will study this Common Core agenda thoroughly and will act as wisely as those in Indiana have done with their “time-out” bill that halts implementation of Common Core, pending a proper study and vetting of the expensive, multi-pronged academic experiment that uses and tracks children as if they were government guinea pigs.
And now, the Tribune article:
Utah school board denies guv’s Common Core request
Board rejects request to change paperwork critics see as a commitment to use Common Core academic standards.
By Lisa Schencker
| Highlights of article reposted from the Salt Lake Tribune
First Published 2 hours ago
Hoping to ease some Utahns’ fears about Common Core academic standards, the Governor’s Office asked the state school board to change an application it submitted last year for a waiver to federal No Child Left Behind requirements.The state school board, however, voted against that request
Utah education leaders checked the first option, as Utah had joined most other states in adopting the Common Core. Critics have decried that decision, saying it tied Utah to the standards.
Christine Kearl, the governor’s education advisor, told board members Thursday that she believes checking Option B would alleviate those concerns without actually having to drop the standards. She said the Governor’s Office hears daily complaints about the Common Core.
“It’s become very political as I’m sure you’re all aware,” Kearl said. “We’re under attack. We try to get back to people and let them know we support the Common Core and support the decision of the state school board, but this has just become relentless.”
But Assistant Attorney General Kristina Kindl warned board members the change would give the state’s higher education system approval power over K-12 standards.
Some board members also bristled at the idea of changing the application, saying it wouldn’t mean much. Former State Superintendent Larry Shumway had already sent the feds a letter asserting that Utah retains control over its standards.
“It just seems like we are caving to political pressure based on things that are not based in actual fact,” said board member Dave Thomas.
Some also wondered whether switching would allay the concerns of foes, who began arguing that the Core was federally tied before Utah applied for the waiver. State education leaders have long responded that the standards were developed in a states-led initiative and leave curriculum up to teachers and districts
Oak Norton, a Highland parent who helped develop a website for the group Utahns Against Common Core, said he was disappointed by the board’s decision against changing the waiver.
“Then we could have looked at adopting our own standards that were higher than the Common Core,” Norton said.
The board did vote to send a resolution* to the governor, lawmakers and the state’s political parties asking them to work with the state school board to support the Common Core for the good of Utah’s students.
The resolution follows a letter sent by members of Congress, including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, last week to Senate budget leaders asking them to eliminate “further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards.”
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The Deseret News is carrying Common Core controversial news as well: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765628026/Utah-Common-Core-testing-fraught-with-flaws.html
Utah senator joins others in signing letter opposing the Common Core.
By Lisa Schencker
|Reposted highlights from Salt Lake Tribune article
First Published Apr 29 2013 06:48 pm
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
, has jumped into the ongoing fray over Common Core State Standards
, signing a letter asking Senate budget leaders to “restore state decision-making and accountability.”Lee, along with eight other Republican senators, sent the letter to the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds education on Friday. The letter asks that any future education appropriations bill includes language prohibiting the U.S. Secretary of Education from using the money to implement or require the standards in any way, in hopes of eliminating “further interference by the U.S. Department of Education
with respect to state decisions on academic content standards.”
“The decision about what students should be taught and when it should be taught has enormous consequences for our children,” the letter says. “Therefore, parents ought to have a straight line of accountability to those who are making such decisions. State legislatures, which are directly accountable to the citizens of their states , are the appropriate place for those decisions to be made, free from any pressure from the U.S. Department of Education
In an interview with the Tribune Tuesday, Lee declined to comment on Utah’s adoption of the standards, saying his concern is with keeping the federal government out of state and local education decisions.
“If they choose to adopt them, I hope they do so because they’re relevant standards and local leaders think they’re good standards not because of any federal mandate,” he said of states’ adoption of the standards. He said, so far, he’s noticed “disturbing trends” in the direction of the federal government becoming overly involved in pushing the standards.
Utah proponents of the standards, however, have long fought against arguments that they were federally developed or imposed. The Utah state school board adopted the standards in 2010 in hopes of better preparing students for college and careers. The standards — developed as part of a states-led initiative — outline the concepts and skills students should learn in each grade, while leaving curriculum decisions up to local teachers and districts.
Critics of the standards point out that the federal government, several years ago, encouraged states to adopt the standards as they applied for federal Race to the Top grant money. They also point to a federal requirement that states adopt college- and career-ready standards in order to receive a waiver to No Child Left Behind .
But Utah did not win that money, and to receive waivers, states could adopt either Common Core standards or different standards of their choosing…
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?
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
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.
It was a privilege to speak with Glenn Beck on his t.v. show on Thursday, along with Utah teacher David Cox of Odyssey Charter School , Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, and Sherena Arrington of Stop Common Core in Georgia. I’m posting three clips from the show.
This first portion of the show is a clip of Glenn Beck introducing common core and its “Equity and Excellence Commission” which aims to use the educational system to redistribute; to redistribute not only exactly the same standards and testing nationwide, but also the nation’s wealth. Glenn calls the Common Core issue bigger than any other issue facing America today.
The next clip introduces the scarily non-traditional Common Core math, the dumbing-down via “student-centered” rather than teacher-directed instruction; and shows –my favorite part– the moment Glenn was stunned to find out that state legislatures were not a part of the adoption of Common Core, in any state.
Notice when Sherena Arrington describes this. She calls it the executive branch being ”off the chain.” Great choice of words. Off the chain– like a mad bulldog. Yes, there is a chain and American needs to stay attached to it because it’s an umbilical cord to mother freedom. It’s a chain forged by the U.S. Constitution, the process of voter representation, the importance of due process and the separation and balance of powers.
This next clip covers the part of the show where we discussed the ”no-parental-consent” school data mining.
I mentioned one of the seminal documents of the Common Core movement, the Cooperative Agreement between Secretary Arne Duncan and the SBAC testing group, which says that the SBAC and PARCC (the other testing group) have to synchronize their tests and data, and that student-level data (personal, identifiable data) must be shared. That creates a national testing system, nationalizing education just like China or any socialist/communist country. This is so offensive, considering the fact that both the Constitution and U.S. GEPA law (General Educational Provisions Act) specify that the federal government may not direct or supervise educational programs or curriculum or tests in any way.
Then I brought up the fact that the Department of Education went behind Congress’ back to alter FERPA law (privacy law) so that parental consent is no longer a legal requirement to access student information. The National Data Collection Model asks for hundreds of data points to be collected on our loved ones, including family income, religion, nicknames, psychological issues, and so much more.
Yes, the executive branch is way off the chain and does need to be brought to account by Congress. By We, The People.
Thank you, Glenn Beck. Thank you for exposing to parents and other viewers nationwide what common core is really all about: it’s so much more than just academic standards.
Across the nation, many people are beginning to raise concerns about implementing Common Core in our schools.
Wondering what you can do? Here are some suggestions that add to what you’ll find in Truth in American Education’s action center tool kit.
1) Check this map of the U.S. to see if legislative educational liberty movements are happening in your state.
2) Check this spreadsheet to see if there are people fighting common core in your state and join them.
3) If nothing is happening at all in your state, do an internet search for Race to the Top application (name your own state) and find the application from Jan. 2010
4) Go to your state school board’s minutes site and find out at which meeting the CCSS were approved (June 2, 2010 the standards were finalized… states such as Illinois approved them 22 days later!)
5) Like “Truth in American Education“ because this is a main hub for national cooperation.
6) Start speaking to friends, teachers and family about common core — many use Facebook FB, Twitter, Pinterest, email, etc.
7) Call or write your state representatives.
8) Sign your state’s educational liberty petition or start one. If you need assistance, ask people from other states for help.
9) Attend local and state school board meetings and visit or call your state superintendent to find out who actually cares about this issue. Sample questions to ask:
- Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core and its tests?
- What is the amendment process for Common Core standards if we find out they are not working for us?
- Where can I see for myself the evidence that Common Core standards have been proven to be of superior quality and that they are internationally benchmarked?
- Where can I see for myself evidence that Common Core’s transformations (deleting cursive, minimizing classic literature, moving away from traditional math, etc.) –will benefit our children?
- What is the American process of representation of individuals in the Common Core education and assessments system?
- Does it seem good that the meetings of the standards writers (the CCSSO/NGA) are all closed-door meetings?
- I read that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; so what do we do if we need to add a whole lot more to actually prepare our children well?
- Although I have been told that Common Core is state-led, I missed the invitation to discuss this before it was decided for me and my children; please explain the analysis and vetting process for the upcoming national science and social studies standards.
- The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government. Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“ In light of this, please explain why our state has agreed to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing.
My brother called the other day to ask me what I thought of the radio ads for “Prosperity 2020.” In my gut I knew there was something bad about it, but I couldn’t put my finger on what. But thanks to Professor Steven Yates’ white paper on the subject of public-private partnerships, now I get it.
It wasn’t just “Prosperity 2020″ that made me do this research. I’d also been working out why UT Sen. Osmond’s early childhood education bill, SB17, was so wrong. It was more than SB17′s way of tempting low income parents to drop their kids in the free government daycare to go to work that made me so uncomfortable. It was also, I now clearly see, the fact that Osmond’s bill uses private money to create a public service.
The Governor’s project is Prosperity 2020; Osmond’s is SB17.
So why are both Governor Herbert and Senator Osmond –two Utah Republicans who call themselves conservatives– pushing for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Utah?
I still believe that these are decent men who honestly believe their respective projects will benefit Utah.
But sincerity does not trump truth.
Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 and Osmond’s SB17 create public-private partnerships that compromise vital American principles of free enterprise and limit the self-control of citizens’ lives by allowing unelected businesspeople, with government, to view individuals as collectively owned “human capital.”
There’s nothing wrong with businesses and government working in harmony; of course, that is what a good society does. Problems come when business leaders (unelected) begin to shape binding government policies. An elected politician is accountable to his consituency of voters who can unelect him. But who, for example, is Microsoft’s or Pearson company’s constituency? When Pearson or Gates help set binding education / business policies for Utah, how can voters alter that?
(It must be especially difficult for Senator Osmond to recognize the trouble with blending business and government, since he sits on the Senate Education Committee while being employed by Pearson, the company Utah has partnered with to provide educational technology and educational products. –But that’s a topic for another day. )
It’s not that these men are calculating socialists. Not at all; they’re just short on research. They don’t recognize what their new alignments of public-private partnerships (PPPs) end up creating.
Many have explained the trouble with blending business and government in partnership. They call it soft fascism: I think of it as fascism by consensus. In the case of Prosperity 2020, it’s soft, consensual fascism via good marketing. (Have you heard the many recent radio ads for Prosperity 2020?)
I’ve never seen PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) better explained than by Professor Steven Yates, whose white paper on the subject was presented at a conference at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in 2006. I’m going to quote him extensively here.
His paper, “Sustainable Development: Public-Private Partnerships, the undermining of free enterprise, and the emergence of soft facism Sustainable Development: the Hidden Threat to Liberty, was published a few years ago: http://files.meetup.com/1387375/LIBERTYGARDEN-PPP.pdf (www.freedom21santacruz.net)
Professor Yates’ paper is long but great. See it here.
I’ve taken the time to scoop up his main points.
- Public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice
- The individual person does not own himself; he exists to serve the state or the collective
- Public-private partnerships bring about a form of “governance” alien to the founding principles of Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed
- The PPP system is fascist since it involves corporations and governments working together to make policy; it is soft fascist because it is not overtly totalitarian.
- Vocationalism in education makes sense if one’s goals are social engineering, since it turns out worker bees who lack the tools to think about the policies shaping their lives
Yates also writes:
“What is a public-private partnership? What purposes were they supposedly created to serve? What, on the other hand, is free enterprise? Are the two compatible? In answering these questions we shall see that although advocates of public-private partnerships frequently speak of economic development, public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice being built…
…How did the enthusiasm for public-private partnerships begin, and what do they have to do with sustainable development? We can the idea of the comprehensively planned society at least to Plato, who envisioned such a society in his Republic. In the Republic, there is a place for everyone and everyone knows his place. Properly educated philosopher-kings rule—because by virtue of their educations they are most suited to rule.
…In modern times we must cite the collectivism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau… And we could cite G.W.F. Hegel (author of The Philosophy of Right and other works), inventor of the idea of the state as the historical manifestation of the Absolute. In the Hegelian vision, the individual belongs to the state.
…Characteristic of all these visions is that once implemented, the individual person does not own himself; he exists to serve the state or the collective. He is not to be allowed to direct his own paths, but is compelled down paths laid by those in power…
…The long-term goal here is what can be increasingly envisioned as an emerging world state with many facets (the three E’s of sustainable development being equity, economy, environment—with a prospective ‘fourth E’ being education).
This world state will gradually subsume and eradicate nation-states until the phrase United States of America names not a sovereign country but a large tract of micromanaged real estate—at least half of which will be off-limits to human beings.
…By the start of the 2000 decade, one city or town after another all across the country was bringing in “consultants” and having “visioning” sessions.
… Communities began to be transformed from within, typically with the full cooperation of mayors and other elected officials, other local government officials, business groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce, presidents of local colleges, and neighborhood-association groups. Plans with names such as Vision 2025… would result from these sessions.
… The idea was to build up a form of capitalism that would transform itself into socialism via the collectivization of its participants through, e.g., self-directed work teams...Education had become entirely group-focused through group projects and group grades. Thus the business personnel turned out would have no moral center other than the collectivist one. It also became increasingly vocation-focused….
…In some cases, the use of public-private partnerships to facilitate the construction of more government schools has been promoted. On other occasions, public-private partnerships actually get involved in instruction and curriculum development themselves, sometimes beginning with very small children, e.g., the Child Care Partnership Project. This entity serves as a kind of incubator for public-private partnerships between state-level child care administrators and businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and other groups.
Education, unsurprisingly, is a preoccupation of elite groups such as the World Economic Forum, which sponsored the Global Education Initiative… The vision for the Global Education Initiative (GEI) was conceived during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2003. Together, business leaders of the Information Technology and Telecommunications Community of the Forum launched an initiate to create new sustainable models for education reform in the developing world through public-private partnership.
… School-To-Work education, of course, emphasizes vocation at the expense of academics, i.e., traditional subject areas…
Vocationalism in education makes sense, if one’s goals are social engineering. It will turn out human worker bees who lack the mental tools to think about the policies shaping their lives.
… [The US] first integrated education and government via the Goals 2000 Educate America Act, then education and business via the School-to-Work Opportunities Act and finally business and government with the others via the Workforce Investment Act.
…Among the casualties of this system are traditional academic subjects, which are relegated to the status of decorations as job training is ratcheted up.
Students are compelled to select a “career cluster” as early as the eighth grade. As they near graduation they find themselves sent to work sites for labor training instead of in classrooms learning reading, mathematics, history, government, and so on.
Public-private partnerships are fundamentally different from previous organizations and collaborations that have involved business… their widespread adoption is bringing about a form of “governance” that is alien to the founding principles of the United States (Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed) and inimical to individual liberty.
We have begun to see government not by consent of the governed, but “governance” (i.e., control) by committee, and by bureaucracy.
This brand of “governance” employs an arsenal of tricks imported from behavioral psychology, such as the use of Delphi technique to coerce a “consensus” by intimidating and marginalizing critics.
… Government “partnerships” … do not stem from its mandate to protect life, liberty, and private property...
Public-private partnerships do not fit into the conceptual model of free enterprise.
… We should be vigilant to the possibility—probability—that something has gone badly wrong even if the language of free enterprise is still used… A public-private partnership will always have as its goal a business-making venture that requires some form of “governance.” The question is, since the players will vary in experience and wealth, who has the most power? We know from life itself that whoever has the most money has the power… Representative government loses… free enterprise is compromised. The economic system begins its move from a one based on liberty and productivity to one based on control…
If corporations have the most money—as is often the case—they will obtain levels of power that make them as dangerous as any government not on a constitutional leash.
[Soft fascism] can be understood only in the context of the “fourth E” of sustainable development: education.
American history discloses two broad philosophies of education, what I will call the classical model and the vocational model.
The classical model incorporates the full scope of liberal arts, including history and civics, logic and philosophy, theology, mathematics as reasoning, economics including personal finance and money management. Its goal is an informed citizen who understands something of his or her heritage and of the principles of sound government and sound economics generally.
The vocational model considers education sufficient if it enables to graduate to be a tradesman or obedient worker.
History, logic, etc., have little to contribute to this, and so are ratcheted down, as in the School-To-Work model.
Mathematical education, for example, will be sufficient if it enables students to use calculators instead of their brains…
He will go along… according to the Hegelian model of education that subordinated the individual to the “needs” of the state or of society.… vocational programs “school” students to fit the needs of the “global economy” seen as an autonomous, collective endeavor, instead of educating individuals to find their own ways in the world, shaping the economy to meet their needs.
This system is fascist since it involves corporations and governments working together to make policy; it is soft fascist because (due to the lack of genuine education) it is not overtly totalitarian.
… This is not a “conspiracy theory,” even though you will not hear it reported on the 6 o’clock news. It is as much a fact as gravity. It is not even hidden from us; the documents supporting such claims, penned by their own advocates, are readily available to anyone willing to do some elementary research…”
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It is worth your time to read all of Yates’ white paper.
Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 and Osmond’s SB17 create public-private partnerships that compromise vital American principles of free enterprise and limit the self-control of citizens’ own lives by allowing unelected businesspeople, with government, to view individuals as collectively owned ”human capital.”
Perspectives in Education: Scott Schneider
Posted by NUVO Editors on Thu, Jan 17, 2013
Confronting the Common Core Standards
By Indiana State Sen. Scott Schneider
The Common Core Standards (CCS) were developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) and written by a Washington, DC non-profit called Achieve. The new standards dictate what will be taught in English and math for grades K-12.
Indiana educators had little to no input in the writing of these standards as evidenced by the list of contributors released by the developers.
Many Hoosiers, including myself, are concerned that adopting the CCS was a significant step backward from the nationally recognized education standards Indiana previously had in English and math. I am worried that CCS was pushed on Indiana without proper review of what it will mean for students and teachers, which is the impetus for Senate Bill 0193, which would prevent the Indiana State Board of Education from using any educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Proponents of the Common Core Standards which are being implemented in 2012-2014 for English and math promised to use international benchmarks. Indiana’s former standards used this standard, but Common Core has not met this qualification.
Experts testified that CCS documents point to no country or region as the comparison country. In fact, members of the standards validation committee repeatedly asked for evidence of international benchmarking and received nothing. Therefore, five members of this committee refused to sign off on the CCS.
More than 500 people attended a Jan. 16 Senate Education Committee hearing on my bill. The committee will vote to send it to the full Senate as early as next Wednesday, Jan. 23.
While the education system in Indiana may not be perfect, solutions should come from the teachers and parents involved in the daily activities of educating our children.
But under new CCS rules, Indiana cannot change or delete any of the standards because they are copyrighted by the developers the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers.
Historically, Indiana held sole control over our student test (I-STEP). Now, a consortium of 22 states, of which Indiana is a member, is developing a new measuring stick for students and teachers called thePartnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
While the new CCS agreements allows states to add some material to the standards, this information would not be covered on the new PARCC test, which determines adherence to the CCS. In the world of high-stakes testing, I find it unlikely that anything that is not tested would be taught.
Little is known about what this test will look like and how it will be scored, yet its influence is evident as teachers and school districts are under tremendous pressure to meet performance standards.
The current state of education has many people feeling left out of the decision-making process. With the adoption of the CCS, distance grows between teachers, parents and local education policy makers. The topdown, centralized approach of the CCS does not allow for the voices of teachers and parents to influence decisions; this dynamic also fuels frustrations among parents and teachers about the influence of highstakes testing.
Because of the Common Core Initiative, there are now 22 states deciding how we test Indiana students, what cut scores will be, how we define students with disabilities, etc. The loss of power is enormous. Indiana elects her Superintendent of Education for a reason, so that decisions are made by someone we choose. We should never cede this control to any outside organizations.
When academic standards and high-stakes testing are no longer in the hands of the people of Indiana, we lose control over the important policies to which students and teachers are held accountable.
Improvements in our schools will only come through the local efforts of Hoosiers in the field; any measure that removes them from the decision-making process is wrong.
State Senator Scott Schneider is a Republican from Indianapolis. First elected to the State Senate in 2009, Schneider is a former member of the Indianapolis-Marion County City County Council. He is a board member for the Indiana Schools for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the recipient of School Choice Indiana’s 2012 Charter School Warrior of the Year Award.
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Many thanks to Senator Schneider and to Hoosiers Against Common Core.
I’m posting the bills from South Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri which have attempted to reclaim state educational decision-making for those states. I’m also posting the resolution unanimously passed by the Alabama Republican Women’s Federation, cosponsored by the Republican Women’s Federations from Delaware, Tennessee, Nebraska, etc.
So far, we have nothing like this in Utah, although at every political meeting I go to or hear about, the majority of citizens are extremely interested in getting our state free of Common Core.
Utah representatives, do you hear your constitutents?
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SOUTH CAROLINA S.604
South Carolina General Assembly
119th Session, 2011-2012
Download This Bill in Microsoft Word format
Sponsors: Senators Fair, Grooms, Bryant, Campsen, Bright and S. Martin
Introduced in the Senate on February 23, 2011
Summary: Common Core State Standards
2/23/2011 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 19)
2/23/2011 Senate Referred to Committee on Education
A BILL TO AMEND ARTICLE 5, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 59 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING EDUCATION, BY ADDING SECTION 59-1-490 TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS MAY NOT BE IMPOSED ON SOUTH CAROLINA.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 5, Chapter 1, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 59-1-490. The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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INDIANA SENATE BILL No. 193
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 20-19-2-14.5.
Synopsis: Common core state educational standards. Provides that the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Voids any action taken to adopt common core educational standards.
Effective: July 1, 2013.
January 7, 2013, read first time and referred to Committee on Education and Career Development.
First Regular Session 118th General Assembly (2013)
SENATE BILL No. 193
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning education.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
SOURCE: IC 20-19-2-14.5; (13)IN0193.1.1. –> SECTION 1. IC 20-19-2-14.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2013]: Sec. 14.5. (a) As used in this section, “common core standards” refers to educational standards developed for kindergarten through grade 12 by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (b) Notwithstanding section 14 of this chapter, the state board may not adopt as standards for the state or direct the department to implement any common core standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (c) After June 30, 2013, any action taken by the state board before July 1, 2013, to adopt common core standards as standards for the state is void.
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MISSOURI SENATE BILL 210
FIRST REGULAR SESSION
SENATE BILL NO. 210
97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY SENATORS LAMPING AND NIEVES.
Read 1st time January 24, 2013, and ordered printed.
TERRY L. SPIELER, Secretary.
To amend chapter 161, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the
Common Core Standards Initiative.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Chapter 161, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new
2 section, to be known as section 161.855, to read as follows: 161.855.
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,
2 the state board of education and the department of elementary and
3 secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State
4 Standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative. Any
5 actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
6 as of the effective date of this section are void. Common Core State
7 Standards or any other statewide education standards shall not be
8 adopted or implemented without the approval of the general assembly.
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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION
Defeat National Standards for State Schools
Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011
WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;
WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;
WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;
WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;
WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and
WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);
BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing, (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.
Submitted by: Alabama Federation of Republican Women
Elois Zeanah, President
Nebraska Federation of Republican Women, Delaware Federation of Republican Women, Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women, Georgia Federation of Republican Women, Tennessee Federation of Republican Women
Robert Scott was the Texas Commissioner of Education when Common Core rolled into town on the Race to the Top grant application train.
In this video, he says many important things. None are more important than his opening, where he states that his experience with the Common Core started: ”when I was asked to sign on to them before they were written. I was told I needed to sign a letter agreeing to the Common Core and I asked if I might read them first, which is, I think, appropriate and I was told they hadn’t been written but they still wanted my signature on the letter. And I said, ‘That’s absurd; first of all I don’t have the legal authority to do that because our law requires our elected state board of education to adopt curriculum standards to be done with the direct input of Texas teachers, parents and business. So adopting something that was written behind closed doors in another state would not meet my state law.”
This is an extremely important testimony for anyone weighing the decision of remaining tied to Common Core rules, or breaking free.
The Council of Great City Schools
The Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) is paid by the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core. CGCS makes videos such as ”From the Page to the Classroom: Implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Literacy”
CGCS also made this video http://vimeo.com/51933492 to supply the background for the Common Core Standards. (But there’s no mention in these videos that The Council of Great City Schools received many millions of dollars to promote Common Core, from Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation.)
Jane Robbins, Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project
Compare those two CGCS videos to this short video series put out by the American Principles Project, together with Concerned Women of Georgia. Watching them together is quite an education. http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/stop-the-common-core/
‘COMMON CORE’ STRIPS LOCAL POWER ON EDUCATION
By U-T San Diego – Jennifer Kabbany
Changes are headed to your child’s school — big ones — and they’re not good.
The federal government has mounted a massive effort to control what students are expected to learn, how they are to be tested, what they will be tested on, and so forth.
These changes are called “Common Core State Standards,” but any time the feds try to run anything, it never turns out well. Yet the folks in Washington think they know best what and how to teach Southwest County kids? Yikes.
But the changes are afoot. California schools chief Tom Torlakson, in an announcement last week, stated that with the state budget fiasco averted, education officials can now focus on fully implementing these so-called common core standards. Education leaders in other states are taking similar measures.
Meanwhile, longtime Murrieta Valley Unified School District Trustee Paul Diffley shares my concern and has voiced grave reservations about the impending changes at recent school board meetings and to local parents.
Problem No. 1, Diffley said in an interview last week, is that parents don’t even really know it’s happening.
“Oh, it’s not on the radar, and that’s what’s scary,” he said. “I have mentioned this to parents, and they look at me and say, ‘What is common core?’”
Bureaucrats have billed common core standards as a way to align what students learn nationally, so everyone is on the same page, so to speak. Both Diffley and I agree, however, it’s more about the federal government controlling schools and what students are taught.
Once common core is instituted, “school boards and local superintendents will be largely meaningless, and what we have to say about curriculum, and what we have to say about the particular needs of particular students, will be meaningless,” Diffley said, adding that’s a big problem.
“Students in Murrieta are not the same as students in Compton, students in the Silicon Valley, or students in Mississippi or Louisiana,” he said.
The common core academic changes proposed also hurt the learning experience, Diffley said, referring to their emphasis on nonfiction for English classes at the expense of literature and creative writing.
“We are going to lose a lot of fiction, where the core of rich vocabulary is learned,” he said.
What’s more, common core math standards eliminate Algebra I in the eighth grade. Instead, it will be taught in ninth grade. Another change pushes division from fifth to sixth grade.
“They have an overall lack of rigor,” Diffley said. “It’s the dumbing-down of education.”
People need to contact lawmakers and make a big deal about this, before it’s too late.
Contact Jennifer Kabbany at Jennifer.Kabbany@gmail.com
Thanks to Jennifer Kabbany for permission to repost her article here.
In Indiana this week, parents, teachers and legislators are hotly debating the bill that may repeal the Common Core from that state. If the bill passes, Indiana would once again be free to decide for itself what its standards for education and testing will be, and the bill would remove the 15% cap that now limits standards-raising for any state or locality, under Common Core.
The bill would also free teachers to teach as much classic literature as they felt was appropriate, rather than mandating that informational texts would be the majority of English readings. The move would free teachers from the Common Core’s “constructivist,” student-guessing methods so that teachers and parents could decide whether direct instruction and traditional algorithmic teaching would be preferable for authentic college preparation.
Full article and video here: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/parents-teachers-rally-against-common-core-standards-in-indiana-schools
It’s always fun to watch smart people debate an important topic, but it’s especially satisfying when the person whose side you are on wins the day. That is Yong Zhao, who seems to me not only smart but also wise.
Many are following the Marc Tucker/ Yong Zhao interchange about Common Core with great interest. http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/17/more-questions-about-the-common-core-response-to-marc-tucker/
Marc Tucker is an old pal and co-conspirator with Hillary Clinton, and their written “Let’s Take Over American Education” exchange has long been archived in the Congressional Record, partially because of its conspiratorial nature. I’ve posted about it before: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/anti-liberty-plot-for-american-education-full-text-of-the-letter-from-marc-tucker-to-hillary-clinton-2/
So, Tucker is no friend to educational freedom; Zhao is.
Here is almost the whole of the latest brilliant response to Tucker by Yong Zhao. Full text here: http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/17/more-questions-about-the-common-core-response-to-marc-tucker/
More Questions about the Common Core: Response to Marc Tucker
17 January 2013
…It is impossible, unnecessary, and harmful for a small group of individuals to predetermine and impose upon all students the same set of knowledge and skills and expect all students progress at the same pace (if the students don’t, it is the teachers’ and schools’ fault).
I am not against standards per se for good standards can serve as a useful guide. What I am against is Common and Core, that is, the same standards for all students and a few subjects (currently math and English language arts) as the core of all children’s education diet. I might even love the Common Core if they were not common or core.
Tucker disagrees. He argues it is both possible and necessary to predetermine and impose upon all students the same knowledge and skills and America is immune to the damages of such efforts that have been experienced in China and other similar East Asian countries.
Now response to Tucker’s arguments point by point.
Tucker: It is now more important than ever to figure out what all young people need to know and be able to do.
Zhao: First, it is not true that “it is now more important than ever to figure out what all young people need to know and be able to do.” Over a hundred and fifty years ago, the British philosopher Herbert Spencer thought it was so important to decide what children should learn that he wrote the essay What Knowledge is of Most Worth and came up with the answer “science” and his criteria was the utilitarian value of knowledge. He did not think Latin, Greek, and the classics were of much value for a person to live in a society being transformed by industrialization and history , to Spencer was “mere tissue of names and dates and dead unmeaning events…it has not the remotest bearings on any our actions.”
In 1892, the National Education Association (NEA) thought it was so important that it appointed the Committee of Ten, chaired by Harvard president Charles Elliot, to figure out what schools should teach.
In early 1900s, The NEA had another commission to rethink the curriculum and came up with The Cardinal Principals of Secondary Education
Activities intended to determine what all students should know and be able to do never actually stopped. In recent years, the 1994 Goals 2000 Act under President Clinton provided funds to develop standards that “identify what all students should know and be able to do to live and work in the 21st century.” Under NCLB, states were mandated to develop both content and academic achievement standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science.
There has never been a lack of attempts to figure out what all young people should know and be able to do, consequently there is no shortage of standards around. The fact that there have been so many attempts suggests the difficulty of the task. People simply cannot seem to agree what all children should know and learn in general. People cannot even agree what to teach in math, the supposedly the most straightforward, and have fought many math wars over the last century. It is actually a good thing, in my mind, that people cannot come to agreement and the American federal government was not given the authority to impose its own version upon all children. But despite the lack of a consistently implemented nationalized curriculum and standards, America did just fine as a nation.
The Common Core initiative seems to suggest that either there are no standards in America or the existing standards are not good enough. But what evidence is there to show the Common Core is better than previous ones, including those from all 50 states? Granted that things change and what students learn should reflect the changes, but how frequently should that happen? The state standards developed under NCLB are merely a decade old. If we have to make massive changes every five or 10 years, does not it mean it is nearly impossible to come up with content that is valid long enough for the nation’s over 100,000 schools to implement before it becomes outdated? If so, would it be much more likely that individual schools and teachers have a better chance to make the adjustment faster than large bureaucracies?
An anecdote: For hundreds of years it was possible for the adults in my little village in China to figure out what all children should know and be able to do: handling the water buffalo was one for the boys and sewing for the girls. My village was small and isolated, with around 200 people. But that predication became invalid when China opened up to the outside world in the 1980s. The common standards in my village proved to be wrong later in at least two cases. First it did not work for me. I was pretty bad at what my village’s Common Core prescribed (handling the water buffalo) so I had to do something else (coming to America to debate with Marc Tucker, for example). Second, it did not work for the rest of the children in the village either, because working as a migrant worker in the city is different from handling a water buffalo.
Tucker: Truly creative people know a lot and they have worked hard at learning it. They typically know a lot about unrelated things and their creativity comes from putting those unrelated things together in unusual ways. Learning almost anything really well depends on mastering the conceptual structure of the underlying disciplines, because, without that scaffolding, we are not able to put new information and skills to work.
Zhao: Very true, truly creative people know a lot and they have worked hard at learning it, but do they know a lot about what they are passionate about, or what the government wants them to know? Do they work hard at learning something that is personally meaningful, or do they work hard at learning something prescribed by others?
Also true that learning anything really well depends on mastering the conceptual structure of the underlying disciplines, but what disciplines: math, science, the arts, music, languages, or politics? I am embarrassed to admit as a Chinese, I had horrible math scores in school, which is why I chose to study English, but somehow I am good at computer programming and developed large-scale software. I am also good at understanding statistics and empirical evidence.
Tucker: Zhao says that we will not be competitive simply by producing a nation of good test takers. That is, of course, true. Leading Asian educators are very much afraid that they have succeeded in producing good test takers who are not going to be very good at inventing the future. But that does not absolve us of the responsibility for figuring out what all students will need to know to be competitive in a highly competitive global labor market, nor does it absolve us of the responsibility to figure out how to assess the skills we think are most important.
Zhao: Is it responsibility or arrogance? Almost all totalitarian governments and dictators claim that they have the responsibility to engineer a society so their people can live happily and that their people are not capable of knowing what is good for them and top-level design is necessary. For example, they claim that their people cannot defend themselves against bad information, thus the leaders have to impose censorship. The leaders should decide what their people should view, listen to, and read. This self-assigned responsibility comes from the assumption that the authority knows best. By the way, we adults (parents and teachers) often committee the same error of arrogance: we automatically assume we know better than our children.
Tucker: It is true that the future will be full of jobs that do not exist now and challenges we cannot even imagine yet, never mind anticipate accurately. But, whatever those challenges turn out to be, I can guarantee you that they will not be met by people without strong quantitative skills, people who cannot construct a sound argument, people who know little of history or geography or economics, people who cannot write well.
Zhao: Almost true but strong quantitative skills are not the same as the skills to mark the right choice on a multiple choice exam, constructing a sound argument is different from repeating the “correct way” of arguing, and writing well certainly does not mean scoring high against a writing rubric. More importantly, as far as I can tell, the Common Core does not include what Tucker wants: history, geography, or economics. Where do the children learn these and other “unrelated things” when they are pushed aside by the Common Core?
Tucker: Zhao grew up in a country in which the aim was not learning but success on the test. There was wide agreement that the tests were deeply flawed, emphasizing what Mao called “stuffing the duck”— shoving facts and procedures into students—in lieu of analysis, synthesis and creativity. But few wanted to change the system, because the tests were one of the few incorruptible parts of a deeply corrupt system.
Zhao: Very good observation but I cannot help but pointing out that Tucker just published a book entitled Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems. If it is such a bad system, why does Tucker consider it one of the world’s leading systems and want to build American education on it? If it is so bad, what is it in Shanghai, a city of China, he wants America to surpass?
And by the way, it is not true that “few wanted to change the system, because the tests were one of the few incorruptible parts of a deeply corrupt system.” Many, perhaps, most people in China, want the system changed. The Ministry of Education and provincial governments have been making changes over the past few decades (for details read my books Catching Up or Leading the Way and World Class Learners)
Tucker: So Zhao is very much aware of the consequences of a rigid system set to outdated standards. But that is not the problem in the United States. We don’t suffer from ancient standards wildly out of tune with the times, enforced by tests that are no better. We suffer from lack of agreement on any standards that could define what all students must know and be able to do before they go their separate ways. We suffer in a great many schools from implicit standards that translate into abysmally low expectations for far too many students.
Zhao: I am very appreciative of Tucker’s understanding of my background but I am not convinced that the U.S. is immune to the same problems China has suffered from testing. Is it not the goal of the Common Core to instill a rigid system? Isn’t the Common Core to be enforced by tests? If not, why do we have the Common Assessment? Why are we connecting teacher evaluation to test scores? Moreover, haven’t we seen plenty of cases of cheating on standardized testing in our schools under NCLB? Isn’t there enough evidence of states manipulating data and cut scores? For more evidence, read Collateral Damage: How High-stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools by Sharon Nichols and David Berliner.
Another by the way: When I described the teacher evaluation efforts mandated by the Race to the Top to a group of science teachers from Beijing to study American science education this week, they were appalled and commented: Isn’t that a violation of human dignity?
Tucker: Without broad agreement on a well designed and internationally benchmarked system of standards, we have no hope of producing a nation of students who have the kind of skills, knowledge and creative capacities the nation so desperately needs. There is no substitute for spelling out what we think students everywhere should know and be able to do. Spelling it out is no guarantee that it will happen, but failing to spell it out is a guarantee that we will not get a nation of young people capable of meeting the challenges ahead.
Zhao: This I will have to respectfully disagree with. The U.S. has had a decentralized education system forever (until Bush and Obama) and it has become one of the most prosperous, innovative, and democratic nations on earth. The lack of a common prescription of content imposed on all children by the government has not been a vice, but a virtue. As Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz wrote in their book The Race between Education and Technology: “We must shed our collective amnesia. America was once the world’s education leader. The rest of the world imported its institutions and its egalitarian ideals spread widely. That alone is a great achievement and one calls for an encore.”
Tucker: Zhao apparently believes that standards mean standardization and standardization would inevitably lead to an inability to produce creative solutions to the problems the workforce will face in the years ahead. That could certainly happen. But it need not happen.
Zhao: Yes, it does not need to, but it does happen, has happened, and is unavoidable. When standards are enforced with high stakes testing, when teachers and principals are evaluated based on students’ test scores, when students’ fate are decided by test scores, the teaching and learning must become standardized and constrained. One does not have to go to China to see this. Just take a look at what happened under NCLB. It did not ask schools to narrow the curriculum, to reduce time for music and the arts, for social studies and science, or for lunch and recess, but it all happened. For the impact of NCLB on instructional time and curriculum, check out these reports (1 and 2)from the Center on Education Policy.
Tucker: It is simply not true that our inability to predict the jobs people will have to do in the future and the demand of creative, entrepreneurial young people relieves us of the obligation to figure out what skills and knowledge all young people need to have before they go their separate ways, or the obligation to translate that list of skills and knowledge into standards and assessments that can drive instruction in our schools.
Zhao: It is simply not true that the Common Core will prepare our children for the future. To conclude, I quote a comment left on my Facebook page by one of my personal heros, former president of America Educational Research Association (AERA) and widely respected educational researcher Gene Glass: “Common Core Standards are idiots’ solution to a misunderstood problem. The problem is an archaic, useless curriculum that will prepare no child for life in 2040 and beyond.”
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Stop Common Core
Talk given by Christel Swasey at the Weber County Republican Women’s Meeting Jan.7, 2013
A few months ago, a University of Utah exhibit displayed original documents, newspapers, books and letters written by Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin and many others. The exhibit did not only show the freedom fighters’ side of the argument, but also displayed articulate, meaningful debate from the other side. The heated 1700s argument boiled down to either standing for local freedom or standing for America remaining a managed colony under England’s non-representative government.
In retrospect, how obvious it is to us which side was correct; America should be free. But at the time it was not so clear to all. Both sides had strong arguments that made some sense.
There is a similar, heated battle going on in America over education now. Will we retain local freedom or will we be a managed colony under the Department of Education’s rule, with no say over testing, education standards and innovation? Unconstitutional though it is, this is the battle we face today– a battle for control of American classrooms. Most parents, students, teachers, governors and even State School Board Members seem unaware that it is going on at all.
It’s a battle for constitutional education with local decision making, versus nationalized education without representation. It’s a battle between states retaining the freedom to soar, versus having mediocre sameness of education across states. It’s a battle between teaching the traditional academics versus teaching the extreme political agendas of the Obama Administration; it’s a battle for who gets to decide what is to be planted in the mind of the child.
One of America’s strengths has long been its educated people. The world flocks to our universities. We have had one of the most intellectually diverse public education systems in the world.
But this is changing dramatically.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) leads the changes. The vast majority of states have already replaced previous education standards with Common Core. These national standards standardize– McDonaldize– a dreary and mediocre education plan for the country that lies far below the previous standards of top-ranking states, such as Massachusetts. Although many respected organizations have pledged support for the Common Core, evidence is painfully lacking to support Common Core’s claims. The common core proponents are quick to make sweet-sounding claims, but their claims are not referenced and are, in fact, false.
Many independent reviews suggest supporters of Common Core are sorely misguided. Dr. Michael Kirst of Stanford University pointed out that the standards define college readiness as being the same for 4-year, 2-year, and vocational colleges, essentially dumbing down expectations for university students.
Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University pointed out that the standards are meant to save us from what is a myth– the idea that American students are lagging behind international peers; Tienken writes: “When school administrators implement programs and policies built on faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice.”
Despite claims to the contrary, Common Core Standards do not meaningfully increase academic rigor, are not internationally benchmarked, do not adequately prepare students for 4-year universities, were never assessed by top curriculum research universities, were never voted upon by teachers nor the public, do not allow a voice for the individual; have no amendment process, and do rob states of control of education and students of privacy.
The Common Core is an untested, federally promoted, unfunded experiment.
The standards creators (NGA/CCSSO) have not set up a monitoring plan to test this national experiment, to see what unintended consequences the Core will have on children. The standards slash the vast majority of classic literature, especially from high school English classes; minimize narrative writing skills acquisition, and push student-investigative, rather than instructive, math at all levels.
COMMON CORE HISTORY:
The Constitution and 10th amendment have long made it clear that only states –not any federal agency– have the right to direct education. Americans seem to have forgotten that we do not live in a top down kingdom but in a Constitutional republic. Many believe the federal government has power to rule over the state governments. This is false. States alone hold the right to educate.
Our Constitution was set up with a vital balance of powers between states and federal powers, and each maintains separate roles and authorities. Nowhere is any authority given to the federal government to direct education.
In addition to the Constitution’s and the tenth amendment’s giving states sole authority to direct education, another law called the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”
So the Common Core standards are a set of national education standards which the federal government are forbidden, by law, to control or supervise. Yet the standards were foisted upon the states by the federal government with the repeated assertion that they were state-led standards.
The Dept. of Education paid others to do what they were forbidden to do. The common standards were not written by the federal government, but they were financially incentivized by the federal government and then were promoted by private interests. Bill Gates, for example, spent $100M and plans to spend $150M more to push Common Core.
He gave the national PTA $@ million to promote it in schools. Common Core represents an ongoing cash cow for many groups, which explains why the media does not cover this issue. Many media outlets, even Fox News via Wireless Generation, are entangled in the massive money-making factory that is Common Core implementation. Microsoft and Pearson and others are seeing what a huge opportunity it presents them, as they benefit financially from the newly created false need: millions of new textbooks, teacher development programs, and new testing technologies are called for under the common core and its nationalized tests.
The standards were solely developed –and copyrighted– by nonacademic groups– the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Neither state education agencies nor major curriculum research universities were asked for meaningful input.
We were told that the Common Core was voluntary and “state led,” but it was a case of arm-twisting and financial bribery on the part of the Dept. of Education. States did not come together to write and share great ideas. (If that had been the case, we would likely have adopted high standards, instead, like those previously had in Massachusetts.)
The first time states were introduced to these national standards was when the federal government bribed states with a shot at a huge grant (our own tax money) in 2009. It was called Race to the Top, a grant for states. The Department of Education made a state’s promise to adopt common standards –sight unseen– a prerequisite to getting points in the grant contest called “Race to the Top”. There were 500 points possible. Adopting Common Core and its tests gave us some 70 points. Making the federal tracking database on students, the State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) gave us 47 additional points.
Not by any authority of Congress, but by the lure of money –the Stimulus Bill– was Obama’s Race to the Top funded. States were given only two months to apply.
States competed for this money like a taxpayers’ lottery with a points system. There were 500 points possible. By adopting Common Core tests and standards, a state could earn 70 points. By implementing the SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System that serves as surveillance on citizens) a state could earn 47 points. Even though Utah didn’t win any money at all, we took the Race to the Top bait. Then we were stuck with Common Core standards as well as the SLDS database which would track and control citizens.
We were repeatedly assured, “states can get out of Common Core any time they like” but, like the story of Gulliver, tied down by many strings, we are in fact bound– unless we realize our rights and privileges and assert them firmly to free ourselves while we still may, to shake off the ties that bind us down.
Gulliver’s First String: No cost analysis
One of the strings that ties us down is the financial obligation of Common Core. No cost analysis has been done by Utah to date. It’s like a family agreeing to build a house without knowing what it will cost beforehand. It’s absurd. Virginia and Texas rejected Common Core, citing on both educational and financial reasons.
While textbook companies without exception are on a marketing spree with “Common Core Alignment,” it is taxpayers who will carry the burden for the unwanted texts, tests, the professional development, testing technology, data centers, administration and more.
If corporations were getting wealthy at taxpayer expense yet we had agreed to it, by a vote after thorough public vetting, that would be acceptable.
But Common Core never had pre-adoption teacher or parent or media attention, had no public vetting, no vote, and now we see that some of the corporations providing implementation of the common core standards have alarming political agendas that will harm our children. One example is Pearson, headed by Sir Michael Barber, with whom the Utah State Office of Education has multiple contracts.
Gulliver’s Second String:
The myth: that Common Core solves educational problems
The second string tying states down, Gulliver-like, is the problem-solving myth, the myth that our many educational problems, such as low expectations or college remediation, are to be solved by Common Core. Without a doubt, Common Core will worsen our educational problems.
Professor Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, English and Math professors who refused to sign off on the adequacy of the common standards when they served on the official Common Core validation committee, have written and have testified before legislatures that the standards are not sufficiently rigorous at all.
Students in our schools and universities are required to provide references for their reports. Yet the information provided by official Common Core sites, as well as by our state office of education, is unreferenced and contains half truths and false claims about Common Core.
I asked the Utah State Office of Education to provide me, a Utah teacher, with references to verify the “facts” about Common Core, but the office refused to do so. Why?
The myth that Common Core solves educational problems is far-reaching and is far from being harmless.
There’s a questionnaire that must be answered by any person wishing to be a candidate for Utah’s state school board. The first question on it is: Do you support the Common Core State Standards?
So anyone who for any reason opposes Common Core may not even stand in the candidates’ pool to run for this vital, elected position as a member of the state school board.
The emperor of Common Core is wearing no clothes. Yet, the myth that Common Core solves educational problems is so widespread that most teachers and principals fear raising concerns.
We are experiencing a huge Spiral of Silence. The Spiral of Silence is a well-known communications theory by Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann. The Spiral of Silence phenomenon happens when people fear separation or isolation from those around them, and, believing they are in the minority, they keep their concerns to themselves.
The Spiral theory arose as an explanation for why many Germans remained silent while their Jewish neighbors were being persecuted in the 1940s. This silence extends to parents and legislators who do not know enough about the common standards to feel comfortable arguing that we should be free of them. Truly, this movement has slid under the public radar.
Gulliver’s Third String: One Size Forever, For All
The third string tying us down, Gulliver-like, is the fact that we will never have a vote or a voice in the one-size-fits-all-standards.
Common Core’s copyright, placed on the standards by the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, takes away educational flexibility. There is no way a local voice or voices can alter the standards when we discover the system doesn’t fit our needs. There is no amendment process.
Additionally, the NGA/CCSSO has zero transparency. Though the Council of Chief State School Officers holds over one hundred meetings per year, CCSSO meetings are closed to teachers, taxpayers, and the general public.
I asked a lawyer at the Utah State Office of Education what the process would be to amend the standards. She told me, “Why would there need to be [an amendment process]? The whole point is to be common.”
Her response illustrates the tragic fact that many of our state education leaders do not appreciate local, constitutional control over education for our state.
There is a 15% cap placed on the NGA/CCSSO’s copyrighted standards, a cap placed on top of the copyright by the Department of Education. We may delete nothing. We may add no more than 15% to any standard.
So when we run into a disaster –such as the rule that 12th grade reading material in an English class can contain no more than 30 percent classic literature, and must be 70% informational text, we are stuck. When we run into another disaster –such as the rule that Algebra I be introduced in 9th grade, when it used to be an 8th grade topic, we are stuck. We are literally voiceless and bound by the 15% rule plus the copyright it is based upon. But it gets worse:
Gulliver’s Fourth String: Problems with national testing
The fourth string tying us down, Gulliver-like, is nationalized, federally-supervised, compulsory testing. It commits our dollars without our input. And the content of the tests will be dictated by the NGA/CCSSO to test writers.
There isn’t even the tiny bit of 15% wiggle room on tests. I wrote to a test writer how they would incorporate the 15% variation in state standards and they told me that it is “in each state’s best interest” not to have “two sets of standards.” Why? Because the test won’t be incorporating anything in addition to the national standards.
Why is this bad? What we are valuing and testing is extremely narrow and cannot be altered by any state, but only by the NGA/CCSSO. It opens the door for a one-track, politicized agenda to be taught and tested.
Our local leaders continue to refer to “The Utah Core” as if it were not the exact same core as all the other states. This is misleading.
Teachers and principals will be evaluated and compared using these national tests’ results, so what would motivate them to teach anything beyond or different than what will be tested? The motivation to be an innovative educator is gone with the high stakes national tests. Right now Utah has only adopted math and English standards, but soon the NGA/CCSSO will be releasing social studies and science standards. One can only imagine how these subjects will be framed by the “progressive” groups who write the tests and shape the curriculum. And the test writers will be providing model curriculum for states to follow to prepare students for the tests.
Gulliver’s Fifth String: Common Core English:
David Coleman’s version of what is appropriate for the rest of the nation
The fifth string tying us down, Gulliver-like, was wrought almost singlehandedly by one wrongheaded man with too much power, named David Coleman.
Coleman was the main architect of the English standards for Common Core, despite never having been a teacher himself, and is now president of the College board. He is now aligning the national college entrance exams with Common Core standards. He holds a dreary, utilitarian vision of the language, without appreciation for classic literature or narrative writing. He has deleted much of it, and has deleted all cursive for students.
It was Coleman’s idea to make all children read 50% informational texts and 50% fiction in English classes, and then gradually to get rid of more and more fiction and classic literature, so that when a student is in 12th grade, he or she is reading 70% informational text and very little classic literature.
Does this differ from actual book burning?
It is as if Coleman mandated that all English teachers must put 70% of their classic textbooks outside the classroom door to be picked up for burning. Would the teachers put Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, Melville, or O’Connor on the pile? Which classic books would you remove from a high school English classroom? And what informational texts are being recommended by Common Core proponents to replace the classics? Among the suggestions: Executive Order 13423. Writings by the Federal Reserve Bank. And more. (See: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf )
David Coleman explained why he decided that narrative writing should not be taught:
“As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a sh__ about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’”
If Coleman were to value a diamond, he would base its worth solely on the fact that it’s the hardest substance in nature. The diamond’s beauty, or its history as the symbol of eternal romance, would not matter. Just so long as the darn rock can drill. That’s how he thinks about reading and writing.
This is why he has gotten rid of all things beautiful in education:
• No more cursive.
• Very little classic literature, to make room for mostly informational text.
• Informational texts to include Executive Order 13423, in the English classroom.
Gulliver’s Sixth String: Weakening Math
The sixth string tying us down, Gulliver-style, down is weak math. While the Common Core math standards may be an improvement over previous standards in some states, they are deficient for most, including for Utah.
Scholars have written extensively about these standards in reports published by Pioneer Institute and others. They say:
– Common Core replaces the traditional foundations of Euclidean geometry with an experimental approach. This approach has never been successfully used but Common Core imposes this experiment on the country.
– Common Core excludes certain Algebra II and Geometry content that is currently a prerequisite at almost every four-year state college. This effectively redefines “college-readiness” to mean readiness for a nonselective community college, as a member of the Common Core writing team acknowledged in his testimony before the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
– Common Core fails to teach prime factorization and consequently does not include teaching about least common denominators or greatest common factors.
– Common Core fails to include conversions among fractions, decimals, and percents, identified as a key skill by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
– Common Core de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation, which is a prerequisite for advanced mathematics, and instead effectively redefines algebra as “functional algebra”, which does not prepare students for STEM careers.
– Common Core does not require proficiency with addition and subtraction until grade 4, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
– Common Core does not require proficiency with multiplication using the standard algorithm (step-by-step procedure for calculations) until grade 5, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
– Common Core does not require proficiency with division using the standard algorithm until grade 6, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
– Common Core starts teaching decimals only in grade 4, about two years behind the more rigorous state standards, and fails to use money as a natural introduction to this concept.
– Common Core fails to teach in K-8 about key geometrical concepts such as the area of a triangle, sum of angles in a triangle, isosceles and equilateral triangles, or constructions with a straightedge and compass that good state standards include.
There is already evidence that book publishers’ revisions to texts that align with the standards are highly likely to be “inquiry-based”. Discovery and group learning approaches to math have had poor results when they have been used in classrooms across the country.
Gulliver’s Seventh String:
Neither Local Education Leaders Nor Federal Educational Leaders Value American Rights
• A current Utah State School Board member said to me, “I have always understood it is the principle of “equality” not “freedom” that was the guiding principle of our constitution… I have always understood the theme to be equality… you continue to reference freedom over equality.”
• The Dept. of Education has created regions for all America. These regions are to be answerable to the Department of Education. The creation of regional identities ignores the existence of states and consequently, of states’ rights, under the Constitution. This is a dangerous affront to our rights as states.
• Predestining kids: Secretary Arne Duncan says the government needs to control education and teachers via data-driven decisions. The data will be collected: “… so that every child knows on every step of their educational trajectory what they’re going to do.” He says, “You should know in fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth grade what your strengths are, what you weaknesses are.” He’s talking about a managed society, not a free society, where children are to be compliant tools for the government’s purposes, not the other way around.
• The Utah Data Alliance, SLDS system, and the federal Department of Education each seek data at all costs, even without parental consent. Sec. Duncan often says, ”We have to be transparent about our data.” (What Duncan really means is, states have to be transparent about their data to be supervised by the federal government– which is not Constitutional by any stretch of the imagination.)
Duncan’s data transparency statement explains much: why Duncan aims to triangulate data Common Core tests which will be collected and compared under his (unconstitutionally) watchful eye; why Duncan rewrote FERPA regulations without authority or Congressional oversight, why the Department of Education paid states to create SLDS systems to track citizens; why federally, states are pushed to have P-20 tracking councils, and more.
Duncan’s desire to grab private data is further illustrated by the changes Duncan has led in redefining key terms.
For example, you may notice that federal education leaders seldom refer to this movement as the Common Core. They use a code phrase (you can verify this on the definitions page at ed.gov) which is “college and career readiness”. But that code phrase is a deception. College and Career Readiness does not mean what you think it means; there is a new mediocrity to the standards which has made the same standards appropriate for 4 year universities, 2 year colleges, and technical colleges. It has essentially dumbed down the expectations for 4 year universities. So college readiness actually means nothing other than common and mediocre standards. By this definition, states can’t be preparing students for college unless standards are the same as every other state’s and country’s standards. It’s like the old Ford Advertisement: You can Have Any Color As Long as it’s Black.” Secretary Duncan’s version is– “You can have any standards as long as they are the exact same as all other states’ standards.”
Another phrase you’ll hear a lot is “world class education” which doesn’t mean “excellent education.” It means “non-competitive education.” Yikes. Some other phrases that have been officially redefined by the Dept. of Education in federal regulations are: “authorized representative” “education program” and “directory information”
What is the effect of these re-definings?
According to a group that has sued the Dept. of Education, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, this redefining has removed legal duties for state and local educational facilities that used to be in place to protect private student data.
The redefinings open up what used to be tightly protected. But why?
Because the Dept. of Education is using the testing consortia to triangulate the tests and to oversee the data collection. They want access to the data. Words give them access. This brings me to Gulliver’s string, and it’s a whopper.
Gulliver’s Eighth String: Invading Citizen Privacy
The eighth string tying us down, Gulliver-like, is a set of horrific privacy violations. It begins with the fact that Utah built a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) system, as required by the federal government in exchange for money. The SLDS was supposed to be a benefit to Utahns. The argument was that the more data they collect, the smarter decisions could be made about education. It sounded logical at first.
But the SLDS tracks children from preschool through workforce. It interacts with six other Utah state governmental agencies, beyond the K-12 system. It essentially guides and monitors citizens.
When I found out about this, I wanted to opt out for my children. I asked the Utah State Office of Education myself whether it is even allowed to have a student attend a school without being tracked by the Utah Data Alliance and the federal SLDS.
They finally gave me a straight answer, after I nagged them many a time, finally, and it was simply ”No.”No child, no citizen may escape tracking. We are all being closely tracked. Schools are the starting point.
Unknown to most parents, children’s data is being shared beyond the school district with six agencies inside the Utah Data Alliance and with UTREX, according to Utah Technology Director John Brandt. The student data is further to be “mashed” with federal databases, according to federal Education Dept. Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html
While Utah’s John Brandt assures us that only a handful of people in Utah have access to the personally identifiable data of children, recent alterations to federal FERPA (Famly Education Rights Privacy Act) regulations which were made by the U.S. Dept of Education, as we noted earlier, have radically redefined terms and widened the window of groups who can access private data without parental consent. (For more on that, see the lawsuit against the U.S. Dept of Education on the subject: http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html)
In America, a law is a representative thing. Laws are made by people who either directly vote for that law, or who vote for a representative who votes for a law. Then the people must obey the law, or be forcibly punished.
But watch out for rules and regulations, which are not laws, and which come from unelected boards with appointed members who cannot be repealed by us. Rules and regulations are a form of nonrepresentation, and can be dangerous. Common Core is quickly becoming a snare because of its rules and regulations. FERPA regulatory changes are a prime example. Congress never changed the privacy law that FERPA was written originally to be. But the Department of Education made un-approved regulatory changes to FERPA that are being treated as if they were law today.
Our schools (teachers, adminstrators, and even State Office of Education workers) are being used: used to collect private data, both academic and nonacademic, about our children and their families.
I choose the word “used” because I do not believe they are maliciously going behind parents’ backs. They are simply expected to comply with whatever the U.S. Dept. of Education asks them to do. And the Dept. of Education is all for the “open data” push as are some notable Utahns, such as Utah Technology Director John Brandt and even some BYU Education professors, notably David Wiley. I have heard these men speak and they are passionate about getting data at all costs, even at the cost of not pausing for students’ parental consent.
What it means: Courses taken, grades earned, every demographic piece of information, including family names, attitudes and income, can now legally be known by the government via schools.
The U.S. Dept. of Education’s own explanation is here, showing why SLDS systems exist: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html
There are 12 elements that states had to share or they would not have received ARRA stimulus money. The twelve elements of the SLDS (State longitudinal data system) include enrollment history, demographic characteristics, student’s scores on tests; info on students, even those who are not tested; transcripts, grades earned; whether they enrolled in remedial courses; and the sharing of data from preschool through postsecondary systems.
While all this data gathering could theoretically, somehow, benefit a child, or community, it can definitely hurt a child. Denial of future opportunities, based on ancient academic or behavioral history, comes to mind. The databases are to share data with anybody they define as “authorized.”
The now-authorized groups who will access student data will most likely include the A-list “philanthropists” like Bill Gates, as well as corporate educational sales groups (Microsoft, Pearson, Wireless Generation, and K-12 Inc., Achieve, Inc., SBAC, PARCC, NGA, CCSSO, for example) as well as federal departments that are far outside of education, such as the military, the workforce agencies, etc.)
Furthermore, even psychometric and biometric data (such as student behavioral qualities, DNA, iris and fingerprints) are also acceptable data collection points, to the Dept. of Education (verify: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf )
Verify these facts on the government’s public sites, such as:
Our country is a miracle in the history of the earth. No other country has ever had such a Constitution that limits and spreads out the power of the government to ensure the maximum liberty of each individual, balancing the need for limited government to prevent anarchy. It is important to understand the document. “The powers not delegated to the United States Government are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nothing could be more clear. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to exercise any power over education.
Our Department of Education is aware of this. Recent speeches by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan include the fact that the Department is “limited” in this country. Yes, very limited. Like, not allowed at all.
We may not be able to take back all the ground we have lost by allowing the federal government to dictate regulations to us in return for our own tax money. But we must not allow them any further ground.
The states (except for the handful of states that rejected Common Core) are otherwise like the neighbor who does not know where his rights are and can never know when they are taken and is thus unable to defend them. This neighbor believes he owns a piece of ground which his neighbor also claims, but he doesn’t know its boundaries. The other neighbor continues to encroach further and further onto land which the first neighbor suspects is his, but since he is never certain where the boundary is, he cannot stop the encroachment.
Until we take a firm position and say: “no further,” there is no line. Unless we remember our rights, we have none. My hope is that as a state, we will say “no further,” and hold onto our own right to educate our own children without interference.
Common Core does not improve college readiness. The educational value of the standards is low. And even if they were to be significantly improved, remember that educational standards are meaningless without political freedom.
There is no amendment process for Common Core. The standards have no checks and balances. Common Core was never voted upon. Common Core administrators cannot be recalled by a vote. Common Core represents an assumption of power never delegated by the voice of the people. The Common Core Initiative has transferred sovereignty from states to a collective controlled by the National Governors’ Association and by the Council of Chief State School Officers. It also transferred educational sovereignty from states to testing groups to be overseen by the Department of Education.
We must realize the strength of our position as states under the U.S. Constitution, and must hold up the Constitution, thus holding the Dept. of Education away from monitoring and directing states’ education.
Senator Mike Fair of South Carolina stated: In adopting Common Core, states have sold their birthright without even getting the mess of pottage. He is right.
Currently, thousands of people have signed the petition at Utahns Against Common Core. Websites and organizations are forming all over the country to fight Common Core. At least six U.S. Governors staunchly oppose Common Core. The majority of Utah legislators have said they oppose it. Americans deserve high quality education without federal interference and this will not happen without first dropping all ties to the Common Core Initiative.
Please let state leaders and school boards know we expect them to be valiant in that effort.
—– —– —–
Contact information: Utah Governor Herbert 801-538-1000 Utah State School Board. Board@schools.utah.gov
State Technology Director / leader of Utah Data Alliance: firstname.lastname@example.org“
Utah State Superintendent: email@example.com
Assistant Superintendent: firstname.lastname@example.org
Utah State Office of Education: Brenda.Hales@schools.utah.gov
Senate Education Committee members – (801) 538-1035
Stuart C. Reid email@example.com“
Patricia W. Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark B. Madsen email@example.com“
Wayne L. Niederhauser firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Osmond – email@example.com
Howard A. Stephenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerry W. Stevenson – :email@example.com
Stephen H. Urquhart – firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Common Core?
Watch these Common Core 101 videos by the American Principles Project and Concerned Women of Georgia. Then, please share links with others.
Chapter 1 Origins of the Common Core
Chapter 2 Testing Mandates
Chapter 3 Education Without Representation
Chapter 4 Sub-Standard Standards
Chapter 5 Intrusive Data Tracking
Chapter 6 High Price Tag
Chapter 7 National Standards Do More Harm Than Good
Chapter 8 Future Effect of Common Core
I have accepted the invitation to speak about the Common Core Initiative
this Monday at the Weber County Republican Women’s Meeting.
If you live in or around Ogden, you are invited, and I look forward to meeting you.
January 7, 2012
at noon at Jeremiah’s Restaurant, just off the 12th street I-15 exit
1307 W 12th St Ogden, Utah
Our schools (teachers, adminstrators, and even State Office of Education workers) are being used. –Used to collect private data, both academic and nonacademic, about our children and their families. I choose the word “used” because I do not believe they are maliciously going behind parents’ backs. They are simply expected to comply with whatever the U.S. Dept. of Education asks them to do. And the Dept. of Education is all for the “open data” push.
Unknown to most parents, children’s data is being shared beyond the school district with six agencies inside the Utah Data Alliance and UTREX, according to Utah Technology Director John Brandt. The student data is further being “mashed” with federal databases, according to federal Education Dept. Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html While John Brandt assures us that only a handful of people in Utah have access to the personally identifiable data of children, recent alterations to federal FERPA (Famly Education Rights Privacy Act) regulations which were made by the U.S. Dept of Education, have radically redefined terms and widened the window of groups who can access private data without parental consent. For more on that, see the lawsuit against the U.S. Dept of Education on the subject: http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html
But first, an interjection: I want to introduce this article: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/your-students-privacy/
I like this article because it exposes the facts plainly, that parents are unaware that their children’s information is being shared without parental permission, beyond the school, beyond the district, and even beyond the state. It is verifiable and true.
What it means: Courses taken, grades earned, every demographic piece of information, including family names and income, is being watched by the U.S. government via schools.
Verify for yourself: The U.S. Dept. of Education’s own explanation is here, showing why SLDS systems exist: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html
There are 12 elements that states had to share or they would not have received ARRA stimulus money. The twelve elements of the SLDS (State longitudinal data system) include enrollment history, demographic characteristics, student’s scores on tests; info on students who are not tested; transcripts, grades earned; whether they enrolled in remedial courses; and the sharing of data from preschool through postsecondary systems.
While all this data gathering could theoretically, somehow, benefit a child, or community, it can definitely hurt a child. Denial of future opportunities, based on ancient academic or behavioral history, comes to mind…
These databases (State Longitudinal Database Systems, SLDS; also, P-20 and state data combinations such as the Utah Data Alliance) are to share data with anybody they define as “authorized,” according to alterations made to FERPA (Family Education Privacy Act) regulations by the Dept. of Education.
These now-authorized groups who will access student data will most likely include the A-list “philanthropists” like Bill Gates, as well as corporate snoops (Microsoft, Pearson, Wireless Generation, and K-12 Inc., Achieve, Inc., SBAC, PARCC, NGA, CCSSO, for examples) as well as federal departments that are far outside of education, such as the military, the workforce agencies, etc.)
Furthermore, even psychometric and biometric data (behavioral qualities, dna, iris and fingerprints) are also acceptable data collection points, to the Dept. of Education (verify: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf )
This is a nightmare of Big Brother in action, except it’s not a fiction. You can verify it all on the government’s own public sites, such as:
States would not get stimulus money if they didn’t agree to build the SLDS system.
So they all agreed. All.
I happened to ask the Utah State Office of Education myself whether it is even allowed to have a student attend a school without being tracked by the Utah Data Alliance and the federal SLDS.
They finally gave me a straight answer, after I nagged them many a time, finally, and it was simply “No.”
No child, no citizen may escape tracking. We are and will be tracked.
I ask you, dear readers, to turn your feelings about this intrusion toward positive action.
Call your governor.
If you are from Utah, Governor Herbert is here 801 538-1000 and here: http://demo.utah.gov/governor/contact/index.html
Public feeling and individual actions are the only, only chance we have to alter the course we are currently traveling.
Academic analyst Diane Ravitch posted a letter from North Carolina teacher Kris Nielsen two months ago.
In the letter, teacher Kris Nielsen wrote about his reasons for quitting, as he did again in another article I saw today. I’m posting both. First, excerpts from his letter:
Kris L. Nielsen
Union County Public Schools
Human Resources Department
400 North Church Street Monroe, NC 28112
October 25, 2012
To All it May Concern:
I’m doing something I thought I would never do—something that will make me a statistic and a caricature of the times. Some will support me, some will shake their heads and smirk condescendingly—and others will try to convince me that I’m part of the problem. Perhaps they’re right, but I don’t think so. All I know is that I’ve hit a wall, and in order to preserve my sanity, my family, and the forward movement of our lives, I have no other choice.
…I am resigning my position as a teacher in the state of North Carolina…
I refuse to be led by a top-down hierarchy that is completely detached from the classrooms for which it is supposed to be responsible.
I will not spend another day under the expectations that I prepare every student for the increasing numbers of meaningless tests.
I refuse to be an unpaid administrator of field tests that take advantage of children for the sake of profit.
I will not spend another day wishing I had some time to plan my fantastic lessons because administration comes up with new and inventive ways to steal that time, under the guise of PLC meetings or whatever. I’ve seen successful PLC development. It doesn’t look like this.
I will not spend another day wondering what menial, administrative task I will hear that I forgot to do next. I’m far enough behind in my own work.
I will not spend another day wondering how I can have classes that are full inclusion, and where 50% of my students have IEPs, yet I’m given no support.
I will not spend another day in a district where my coworkers are both on autopilot and in survival mode. Misery loves company, but I will not be that company.
I refuse to subject students to every ridiculous standardized test that the state and/or district thinks is important.
I refuse to have my higher-level and deep thinking lessons disrupted by meaningless assessments (like the EXPLORE test) that do little more than increase stress among children and teachers, and attempt to guide young adolescents into narrow choices.
I totally object and refuse to have my performance as an educator rely on “Standard 6.” It is unfair, biased, and does not reflect anything about the teaching practices of proven educators.
I refuse to hear again that it’s more important that I serve as a test administrator than a leader of my peers.
I refuse to watch my students being treated like prisoners. There are other ways. It’s a shame that we don’t have the vision to seek out those alternatives.
I refuse to watch my coworkers being treated like untrustworthy slackers through the overbearing policies of this state, although they are the hardest working and most overloaded people I know.
I refuse to watch my family struggle financially as I work in a job to which I have invested 6 long years of my life in preparation. I have a graduate degree and a track record of strong success, yet I’m paid less than many two-year degree holders. And forget benefits—they are effectively nonexistent for teachers in North Carolina.
I refuse to watch my district’s leadership tell us about the bad news and horrific changes coming towards us, then watch them shrug incompetently, and then tell us to work harder.
I refuse to listen to our highly regarded superintendent telling us that the charter school movement is at our doorstep (with a soon-to-be-elected governor in full support) and tell us not to worry about it, because we are applying for a grant from Race to the Top. There is no consistency here; there is no leadership here.
I refuse to watch my students slouch under the weight of a system that expects them to perform well on EOG tests, which do not measure their abilities other than memorization and application and therefore do not measure their readiness for the next grade level—much less life, career, or college.
I’m tired of watching my students produce amazing things, which show their true understanding of 21st century skills, only to see their looks of disappointment when they don’t meet the arbitrary expectations of low-level state and district tests that do not assess their skills.
I refuse to hear any more about how important it is to differentiate our instruction as we prepare our kids for tests that are anything but differentiated. This negates our hard work and makes us look bad.
I am tired of hearing about the miracles my peers are expected to perform, and watching the districts do next to nothing to support or develop them. I haven’t seen real professional development in either district since I got here. The development sessions I have seen are sloppy, shallow, and have no real means of evaluation or accountability.
I’m tired of my increasing and troublesome physical symptoms that come from all this frustration, stress, and sadness.
Finally, I’m tired of watching parents being tricked into believing that their children are being prepared for the complex world ahead, especially since their children’s teachers are being cowed into meeting expectations and standards that are not conducive to their children’s futures.
I’m truly angry that parents put so much stress, fear, and anticipation into their kids’ heads in preparation for the EOG tests and the new MSLs—neither of which are consequential to their future needs. As a parent of a high school student in Union County, I’m dismayed at the education that my child receives, as her teachers frantically prepare her for more tests. My toddler will not attend a North Carolina public school. I will do whatever it takes to keep that from happening.
I quit because I’m tired being part of the problem. It’s killing me and it’s not doing anyone else any good. Farewell.
Thank you for your courage, honesty and clear articulation of the problem teachers face today, Kris. Here is the other article, also reposted from Kris Nielsen with links to original below.
Kris Nielsen: I (Used to) Love Teaching
By Anthony Cody on October 26, 2012 11:52 AM
Guest post by Kris Nielsen. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/10/kris_nielson_i_used_to_love_te.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LivingInDialogue+%28Teacher+Magazine+Blog%3A+Living+in+Dialogue%29
This post was originally published here on his blog, Middle Grades Mastery. A modified version was sent to President Obama.
I love teaching. Or, I did love teaching. I loved teaching when my job was to teach. Now, I don’t love teaching, because my job is no longer teaching.
Was that introduction awkward enough? That’s kind of how my job feels: awkward, frustrating, backwards, stifling, and redundant. Breaking away from the comparison to the introduction, I’d like to add demeaning, thankless, exhausting, fruitless, unappreciated, lonely, undemocratic, unfulfilling, and major energy drain.
But, please, let me explain my whining. I’m not generally a whiner, so I feel that when I do moan and complain, I should have some good reasons, and maybe even some solutions. (Before you get your hopes up, I’m not going to offer any solutions. I’ve tried that; it’s pointless.)
I look back and I believe that my entry into the world of teaching had the worst possible timing. I got my teaching certificate late 2006 and spent the first two years of my career teaching Earth science to 6th graders. I created my own curriculum, based loosely on the New Mexico state standards. My kids loved it! I kept them busy with hands-on, student centered learning that built vocabulary and concepts along the way. I based my lessons on real-life problems, invited community scientists into my classroom, let students create their own projects, and had a solid stream of parent volunteers and visitors in and out of my door. My students led their own parent conferences, with me sitting close by to monitor the discussion and answer clarifying questions. My students had good grades and, much less importantly, had high scores on the New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment at the end of the year.
After two years, I believed I had gained enough valuable experience to become more mobile. A college professor told me that teaching was awesome because you could go anywhere in the United States and always have a job. So, I gave my colleagues a fond farewell and moved to Oregon, a state that I had always dreamed of living in. I was lucky to get my job there–I beat out over 80 other applicants to teach math to middle school kids. I taught the Connected Math curriculum and worked closely with a group of professionals who shared my goals. It was awesome. I taught math like I taught science: hands-on, student-centered, constructivist, discovery learning. Again, I saw great success, especially with minority students and English language learners. I had students coming from the high school thanking me for giving them hope when they were sure they wouldn’t make it past 9th grade. Two girls–children of immigrant parents–told me they knew they would be the first to go to college in their families, and they thanked me for it. Teaching in Oregon was amazing.
Then, the floor fell out. I could blame conservatives for the bone-cutting budget reductions, but it was everyone’s fault. My district found itself in deep shortfall and cut over 350 teaching jobs. Having been there only two years, I was on the chopping block. My principal was dismayed, my colleagues were shocked, parents were mad, and kids were upset. My union was apparently powerless, despite my pleas, to do anything. Seniority stays. I was not seniority.
In shock and sadness, I spent over four months looking for a job. I filled out over 300 applications and had three interviews. Those three interviews represented my competition with hundreds of displaced teachers. I was not hired. So, I looked outside the Oregon state borders. After a Google search for cities that were hiring teachers, Charlotte, North Carolina was number two. I went from looking at the nine classified jobs in Salem, Oregon (none of which I could do), to sifting through over 350 teaching jobs in Charlotte. It was mindblowing. How did this city need so many teachers? I applied for about 15 jobs, got callbacks on ten, and interviewed over the phone with three. The first interview landed me a job over the phone. My family and I packed up and drove across the country.
Let me emphasize that: my incredibly supportive (and adventurous) family sacrificed and adjusted just so I could keep teaching.
It was an exciting and daunting prospect and I was nervous. The staff at my new school was pleasant, helpful, and upbeat. The district orientation was disheartening (I felt like I was being hired at Kmart). The students were initially eager and well-behaved. The union was non-existent, which I didn’t really mind after my ordeal in Oregon. The administrators were generally professional and friendly, with only a minor “corporate” stench. I felt good about the arrangement.
What they didn’t tell me in orientation was that I would not have time to teach anything meaningful. I was hired to teach science and the exact same math I had taught in Oregon, but this was different. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is a district that is drowning in its own mandates, risk-taking, and testing culture. I think CMS is a microcosm of what’s to come in American education. It’s depressing. I didn’t like it, so I did some research. An adjacent district was hiring some math and science people and I was attracted to two main things: it was closer to home and they had rolled out a one-to-one laptop initiative recently. Every student was carrying a laptop in class every day. I had to get into one of those classrooms!
To make that story short, I did. It’s no different. Despite the lofty ideals and motivating speeches from administration, everything is the same. I’m not an educator, by the definition I had comes to terms with; I’m an employee of a system that has an agenda. My job is to frontload a small encyclopedia of knowledge to a group of students so that they can pass a test at the end of the year. There are now more shallow and meaningless tests, and my job now depends on the scores. That’s not teaching. That’s not what I do.
I’ve heard this several times already: “If you’re teaching students to learn and letting them discover the knowledge, then shouldn’t they be able to pass those tests easily?” At first, I thought, “Yeah! Totally!” But after trying it, I don’t think it makes sense. Standardized tests are rigidly specific in the knowledge kids should have. They are bent way over into the realm of vocabulary and multiple-choice answers-and they don’t even come close to teaching 21st century skills. If I teach my kids how to think and how to learn, then they will not be prepared to pass state tests, because that’s not what those tests are measuring. The tests measure two things: memory and application. The second one is important, but not in a multiple-choice or short-answer sphere.
So that’s the long story. Here are some more reasons I can’t do this anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel good about how a lesson played out, only to check my email afterwards to find no fewer than five menial tasks that I must dedicate my time to. This is time when I should be planning more lessons, conferencing with parents, and learning.
I fight against poverty every day, knowing that I can’t save everyone. And no one in power seems to care. All I hear are excuses. I hate excuses. I’m teetering on the poverty line myself, always running out of money by the third week of the month. And my family lives very frugally.
I have no health coverage for my family, because it would cost over a quarter of my pay.
My take home pay is roughly equivalent to that of a full-time customer service manager at Walmart. I make less if you take into account the hours I work. I worked diligently through a master’s degree program to increase my efficacy as a teacher. I was rewarded with being treated like a disposable cog in a broken gear. My coworkers are downtrodden and frustrated.
My students are falling apart. They have little hope. I don’t blame them. They are reminded every year of their failure to pass meaningless tests and they watch the news that tells them they are dumber than the rest of the world. That piece of information is not true, by any means, but you can tell it affects them. And no one stands up to tell them they are doing fine.
I wanted to be part of the fix. I wanted to save the world. But every day I see powers greater than me stomp us down and tell us to get back into the classroom and be glad we even have jobs. If this is the way that public education treats professionals, then it’s time for me to find a new field.
I give up. They win. I have joined the ranks of parents who have come to realize that we are only empowered to do one thing: take care of our own. I hope that things change, but I don’t have the energy, the money, or the time to continue beating my head into a wall. And if the choices have run out for my toddler when he’s ready for school, I will do it myself. Maybe I’ll do it for others, as well.
Kris L. Nielsen has been a middle grades educator for six years in New Mexico, Oregon, and North Carolina. After watching the field of education change in appalling ways, he decided to start blogging about how teachers and principals can create positive change in their own classrooms and schools. Kris is an activist against the bipartisan, corporate education reforms and has had his writing featured in several online magazines and blogs. Kris currently lives in North Carolina, where he is working on his first book, Maximizing the Middle: Rethinking Middle Level Education in the 21st Century.
Internationally Imposed Education In Schools
By Susie Schell
Common Core needs to be considered a means to an end, not the end. The end is International Education. We don’t have to speculate any more. We have new information:
The US Dept of Education website speaks of education for the “Global Public Good”.
Here are some titles: “Broadening the Spirit of Respect and Cooperation for the Global Public Good”
and “Strengthening Education as a Global Public Good”.
The emphasis now is on International Education. Common Core is not the ends. It is only the means to get us there.
Another phrase for “International Education” is “World Class Education”. Traditionalists, like you and me, would define this term as excellent education, the best in the world, so we don’t see any red flags when it is used. I believe the new progressive definition of “World Class Education” is a ‘one-size-fits-all international Agenda 21 equity in education’.
In other words, children in all countries learn exactly the same thing
, mainly, Agenda 21 UN goals of sustainability, working for the common good, climate change mixed with basic academics in order to succeed in a global world. We need to start understanding these new definitions of old terms in order to understand the international goals coming to schools near you. Arne Duncan says he no longer wants the U.S. to compete with other countries. He wants us to work with them, using the same curriculum so there will be equity among all nations. http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/bilateral.html
He thinks the goal for the US Dept of Ed is to create equity across the world and to reach out and teach other nations as well, using our tax money. We are now partnered with the UN to bring these goals to pass.
The author of this blog thanks Susie Schell for her research.
If there is any doubt in any reader’s mind whether the agenda of the U.S. Department of Education’s agenda is precisely following and implementing
the one-world, one-entity, control goals of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, please read this 2010 statement from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/iew2010-duncan.html
Statement on International Education Week 2010
by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
November 15-19, 2010
It is my privilege to invite you to participate in the 11th annual International Education Week, November 15-19, 2010. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State. It celebrates the importance and benefits of international education in the United States and around the world. This year’s theme is International Education: Striving for a Sustainable Future.
…We are reminded that the challenges we face today are increasingly borderless. Climate change, the environment, and the economy are but some of the issues that affect our daily lives and demand our attention on a global scale. Finding sustainable solutions is imperative and will require an unprecedented level of international cooperation. [NOTICE HOW HE USES 'CLIMATE CHANGE' AS A MATTER OF UNCONTESTED, SETTLED SCIENCE; NOTICE HOW HE NEVER SPEAKS OF LITERACY, MATH, OR LEARNING TRUTH, BUT HE USES THE EXACT TERMINOLOGY OF THE U.N.'S AGENDA 21 WHICH IS TO REORIENT EDUCATION TO BE ABOUT "COLLECTIVITY AND SUSTAINABILITY."]
A complete education in the 21st century must teach our children about their interdependent world, and it must prepare them to be good leaders and good global citizens …as they participate in international education and international exchange, our students can gain the knowledge and experiences to help them contribute to a sustainable future for all. [IF YOU EMPHASIZE BEING A GLOBAL CITIZEN AND BEING INTERDEPENDENT OVER BEING AN INDEPENDENT U.S. OR OTHER CITIZEN, YOU GIVE UP TEACHING NATIONAL PATRIOTISM, THE SAFETY OF NATIONAL LAW, A SENSE OF VALIANT DEFENSE AGAINST ENEMIES, AND THE PROTECTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION]
…I strongly urge everyone to join the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State in celebrating international education…
This short video clip shows our U.S. Secretary of Education dodging the question and veering off into the role he wants to keep playing– controlling and “rewarding” local education systems, rather than staying out of their business as the Constitution directs.
The American Principles Project and Concerned Women for America of Georgia have created the following high-quality videos. The videos in the five part series explain what Common Core is.
Did you miss the last Senate Education Committee Meeting for the state of Utah?
Anyone can subscribe, free, to a report of the meeting’s minutes. I do.
—After I rant and rave about what the heck they’re doing at the Utah State Capitol I’ll paste the official meeting minutes, below.
1. Senator Aaron Osmond disclosed that he now works for Certiport/Pearson. If any of you know anything about Common Core and Pearson, or the CEA of Pearson, Sir Michael Barber, your spidey senses could be ringing. (For more, see http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/sir-michael-barber-leads-common-cores-deliverology-via-edi-and-pearson/ )
This Pearson sales employment could appear to be potential conflict for Senator Osmond; he is the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, while he is also a salesman for the company that has already set up major contracts with the Utah State Office of Education. But Osmond stated that he has recused himself from negotiating or influencing contracts in Utah and has recused himself from any interim committee votes or decisions relating to the Common Core or any topic that would benefit his employer. Osmond’s employer provides software to test and certify students in software applications.
Pearson Publishing develops curriculum and training for Common Core. For Utahns like me who hope and pray for a statewide repeal of Common Core, this is not pretty.
Pearson has a dramatically pro-Common Core marketing angle; so, this sales position of the Chair of the Senate Education Committee calls into question whether Osmond can be fair and detached in the heated pro- and anti- Common Core arguments that are happening in Utah. What do you think?
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2. Next issue: it was announced that the “Utah State Office of Education has instructional materials that may be used for parent education on health and human sexuality.“
Has anyone else detected a “de-parenting” attitude coming from the state (and federal) leaders? It really bothers me.
Perfect example of that here: Utah bureaucrats feel the need to educate parents about sex and how to explain sex to their children? Why? Parents can’t be trusted? They depend on the Utah State Office of Education? And in the nick of time, USOE swoops in to save the day from bumbling fools? Left to our own devices, we parents would not teach our own children where babies come from? What is the USOE thinking?
It reminds me of Reagan’s line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ “
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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan
3. Next issue:
Brenda Hales and Ms. Shumway discussed how to fund Career and Technical Education (CTE). I don’t like CTE, Career Academies, SLDS systems, P-20 tracking, or any of the pushy ways in which government tells kids who to be –and who they’ll never be.
President Obama and Arne Duncan have huge plans to make CTE take center stage in an effort to control individual choices as early as possible in each citizen’s life. And Brenda Hales and Ms. Shumway, apparently, couldn’t agree more. (To see Sec. Duncan’s white house speech and what CTE and Career Academies are about, see: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/obamas-career-tracking-and-education-reforms-so-much-more-than-common-core/ )
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4. Next point: Brenda Hales also discussed Civic and Character Education. Double sigh.
If you’ve ever see her leading a state school board breakout meeting, you’ll hear the chattiest, bubbliest, won’t-let-others-get-a-word-in, but least sinister-seeming person, of the entire USOE. She’s nice, okay? Brenda comes across as very, very nice.
But “nice” is not enough. We need “valiant”.
Brenda said that she is “the most apolitical creature you will ever meet.”
1. Having no interest in or association with politics.
2. Having no political relevance or importance
I don’t know if Ms. Hales meant to categorize herself in the first or the second definition of “apolitical.” If she meant she has no interest in politics, that’s not good; we need politically valiant people leading our educational system not naiive leaders who swallow whatever the propaganda ministers (Secretary Duncan) cook up.
But if Brenda Hales meant the second definition, “having no political relevance or importance,” then she is a stranger to the truth. Nice or not!
Her own published, written assertions about Common Core are extremely political. http://utahpubliceducation.org/2012/07/10/utahs-core-standards-assessments-and-privacy-regulations/, She agrees with Obama about the supposedly improved quality of Common Core standards/curriculum and makes assertions I don’t believe, that student private data are being protected (study Utah’s IT director John Brandt, SLDS, P-20 to see why it’s not believable) and –she still says Common Core’s not under federal control and that Utah’s autonomy under Common Core is unharmed. If her claims were true, I could sleep better at night. But they aren’t correct, and part of the proof of that pudding is the fact that even though I (and others) have asked her to provide references for her claims, she never responds to that vital request. Why? If her claims are true, why won’t she reference them?
Here’s my rebuttal and her unreferenced assertion which she never did respond to, even though I asked her to, SO many times: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/christel-swasey-responds-to-brenda-hales/
But I see now that again, I got way off topic.
Brenda Hales. Civic and Character Education. Sounds good?
According to Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the difference between character education and character indoctrination is:
“Indoctrination is a form of socializing persons… to hold the“right” values. Education, on the other hand, implies some critical distance from the topics so that persons can reflect on different aspects of and on alternatives to what’s presented.”
Which will our students be receiving? The type that allows freedom to determine what is right individually, or the one that shoves an agenda down the student’s throat?
The good or bad effect of ”civic and character education” depends on who gets to call the shots. Who gets to determine what will be taught? Parents? Doubtful.
If the philosophies of President Obama and Secretary Duncan lead the charge, as they have been in Utah educational circles, you know what we’ll see.
Students will be molded to hold the “right” values as defined by those ”progressing” society toward collectivism and socialism, far away from the Constitution and far away from Judeo-Christian tradition.
How I wish the schools would quit going out on socialist limbs and would just teach. Teach time-tested, old-fashioned math, teach writing, teach classic literature– yes, actual academics! Leave the indoctrination to the churches and the families. (And while you’re at it, since you’ll have more time once you quit taking over the responsibilities of parents and churches, why not shorten the school day?! I miss my high school student. I want more time to teach her values and skills I know and believe in, and I don’t believe it takes thirty-five hours a week, twelve years consecutively, to prepare a human being for college.)
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I’m finished with my commentary; below are the official minutes.
MINUTES OF THE
EDUCATION INTERIM COMMITTEE
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – 2:00 p.m. – Room 30 House Building
Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, Senate Chair
Rep. Francis D. Gibson, House Chair
Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard
Sen. Karen W. Morgan
Sen. Wayne L. Niederhauser
Sen. Aaron Osmond
Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson
Sen. Daniel W. Thatcher
Rep. Johnny Anderson
Rep. Patrice M. Arent
Rep. LaVar Christensen
Rep. Steven Eliason
Rep. Gregory H. Hughes
Rep. John G. Mathis
Rep. Kay L. McIff
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss
Rep. Merlynn T. Newbold
Rep. Jim Nielson
Rep. Val L. Peterson
Rep. Marie H. Poulson
Rep. Kenneth W. Sumsion
Rep. Bill Wright
Ms. Allison M. Nicholson, Policy Analyst
Ms. Constance C. Steffen, Policy Analyst
Ms. Angela Oakes Stallings, Associate General Counsel
Ms. Debra Hale, Legislative Secretary
Note: A list of others present, a copy of related materials, and an audio recording of the meeting can be found at www.le.utah.gov.
1. Committee Business
Chair Gibson called the meeting to order at 2:26 p.m.
Sen. Osmond took a point of personal privilege and stated that, because of his role as Chair of the Senate Education Committee and to ensure complete transparency in his public service, he would like to verbally disclose potential conflicts due to a recent job change. He described his recent job change as Vice President of Sales for Certiport, Inc., a company that provides software to test and certify students in popular software applications. He stated that he has recused himself from negotiating or influencing contracts in Utah. He noted that Certiport was acquired in May 2012 by Pearson Publishing, which owns Pearson Education, a company that is developing curriculum for the Common Core standards.
Sen. Osmond noted that he has reviewed these potential conflicts with Senate leadership, who concluded that no change in committee assignment is necessary at this time. Sen. Osmond stated that he has also recused himself from any interim committee votes or decisions relating to the Common Core or any topic that would benefit his employer or its related companies.
MOTION: Sen. Hillyard moved to approve the minutes of the September 19, 2012, meeting. The motion passed unanimously. Sen. Stevenson, Rep. Hughes, Rep. Newbold, Rep. Peterson, and Rep. Sumsion were absent for the vote.
2. Consider Draft Legislation “Parental Responsibility for Sex Education Training”
Reid discussed draft legislation “Parental Responsibility for Sex Education Training” (2013FL-0007/010), which requires the Utah State Board of Education to offer training and instructional resources to parents to assist them in providing instruction in health and human sexuality to their children.
Dr. Martell Menlove, Deputy Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education (USOE), noted that the USOE has instructional materials that may be used for parent education on health and human sexuality.
3. Consider Draft Legislation “Voted and Board Levy Program Amendments”
Ms. Steffen distributed the most recent version of draft legislation “Voted and Board Levy Program Amendments” (2013FL-0315/006).
Rep. Stephen Handy discussed draft legislation “Voted and Board Levy Program Amendments,” which requires the full amount of the state contribution appropriated for the Voted and Board Levy Programs to be distributed each year. He distributed a handout, “Voted & Board Leeway Program Amendments,” which contains a chart and a table that show the effect of fully distributing the state contribution appropriated for the Voted and Board Levy Programs. Rep. Handy stated that, in FY 2012, the value of the state guarantee for the Voted and Board Levy Programs would have increased by $1.78 per weighted pupil unit, and three more school districts would have qualified for the state guarantee.
Mr. Bruce Williams, Associate Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education, noted there may be a timing problem with one aspect of the bill. School district tax collections are not finalized until May, so the information needed to adjust the state guarantee for the next fiscal year would not be available for the 2013 General Session.
Dr. Menlove stated that the bill is supported by several districts.
Chair Gibson turned the chair to Sen. Stephenson.
4. School Performance Report
Dr. Menlove and Dr. Judy Park, Associate Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education, discussed plans for complying with statutory requirements pertaining to school performance reports. Dr. Park distributed a chart, “School Performance Report Data Reported for the 2010-11 School Year,” which indicates data that will be reported in 2012 school performance reports and data that is not available. She also distributed a chart, “School Performance Report – Components – Annual Filing,” which addresses the process for creating and delivering school performance reports, as well as a document containing suggested amendments to Utah Code Section 53A-3-602.5. Dr. Park also showed an example of a school performance report on the USOE website.
Chair Stephenson invited members of the committee to work with the USOE and committee staff in drafting legislation pertaining to school performance reports for consideration at the committee’s November meeting.
MOTION: Sen. Osmond moved to open a committee bill file regarding school performance reports. The motion passed unanimously.
5. Elimination or Modification of Reports Required by Local Education Agencies
Dr. Menlove reviewed “USOE Report on H.B. 500 – Education Reporting Efficiency Amendments,” distributed in the mailing packet, which describes reports school districts and charter schools are required to make. He noted that most reports are required by federal law or state statute and asserted that many of the reports are burdensome for smaller districts and charter schools.
In responding to committee comments and questions, Dr. Menlove assured committee members that they will be invited to join him on visits to Utah schools.
6. Career and Technology Education Funding Model
Ms. Brenda Hales, Associate Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education, assisted Ms. Mary Shumway, Director, Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Utah State Office of Education, as they distributed and reviewed a report, “Student and Course Based Funding for Career and Technical Education” (CTE), which included funding formulas for CTE. They discussed a method of funding CTE courses based on a weighting of job demand, wages, and skill level. Ms. Shumway noted that other factors may be appropriate and requested feedback from the Legislature.
A.Civic and Character Education
Rep. Christensen, Mr. Robert Austin, Education Specialist, Utah State Office of Education, and Ms. Hales reviewed the requirements of Utah Code Section 53A-13-109, which provides for civic and character education. Ms. Hales discussed some of the projects in which schools are engaged.
B.Financial and Economic Literacy
Ms. Hales reviewed Utah Code Sections 53A-13-103 and 53A-13-110, which address financial and economic literacy education.
C.New Century and Regents’ Scholarship Programs
Mr. David L. Buhler, Commissioner of Higher Education, due to a time restraint, referred the committee to the “New Century and Regents’ Scholarship Annual Report,” which was included in the mailing packet.
8. Other Items/Adjourn
Chair Stephenson adjourned the meeting at 5:48 p.m.
Dear Superintendent Menlove,
Congratulations on your new role as Superintendent of Utah Schools.
As a Utah teacher with an up-to-date credential, who has taught high school English, 3rd grade, and Freshmen and Remedial English at Utah Valley University, I’m writing to ask four questions:
1. Why have Utah education leaders allowed classic literature to be minimized –and almost eliminated– by the time our students reach 12th grade, under the new Common Core?
I do not believe that increasing the amount of informational text and decreasing the amount of time-tested classic fiction that we expose students to, is a good idea. (Neither do many of my colleagues and friends, including, notably, Professor Alan Manning of BYU, an English Language/Linguistics expert who told me he is also alarmed at the damage Common Core is going to do to our educational system.)
2. Why was the theft of classic literature from high school seniors and others done without transparency? The decision remove so much classic literature from our schools has been done without any sort of vote or vetting, and without a request for input ever being put out toward lifelong educators like me or Professor Manning, and without parents being told what kind of transformation was happening to their children’s literacy program –without their consent.
3. Why have we accepted a cap on learning? I have learned that Utah is under a mandate not to add more than 15% content to the Common Core minimum standards, and that the Common Core is under copyright by a nonelected group called CCSSO/NGA. This troubles me; we should not have given away our voice over our own educational standards. We should not allow anyone to put a cap of 15% or any other percent, on what we teach our students. This seems like a sovereignty issue as well as an educational issue, to me.
4. Why won’t Utah Technology Director, Utah Data Alliance Director (and state database-combiner) John Brandt answer a teacher’s or a parent’s questions?
It is of great concern that our students are being tracked with personally identifiable information, not aggregate data, by a State Longitudinal Database that creates a permanent record of nonacademic, family, health, psychological, and academic data for every child in Utah. This, too, has been done without parental knowledge; the only reason I know is that I asked the Utah State School Board if it was true. I asked them if I could opt out of this P-20 surveillance of children. Their email indicated that the answer was no; there is no way to opt out of the tracking.
I have repeatedly emailed Utah Technology Director John Brandt to ask him about the data collection issue, and he will not respond to me nor to other citizens’ emails.
These issues are deeply troubling. Please let me know what you understand about these issues, and what you plan to do to right these wrongs.
The “Restore Oklahoma Public Education” research team has done it again.
Read this tremendously detailed explanation of how the federal government is robbing United States citizens of their privacy, using schools as data collection vehicles and redefining even nonacademic student data collection (blood type, nickname, mental health) a federal entitlement.