Archive for the ‘Links to Further Evidence That Utah Should Exit Common Core and the SBAC test consortium’ Category
Reblogged from Wendy Hart’s blog here.
Alpine School Board member Wendy Hart had an interview with the Teachers’ Association to determine if they would be endorsing her re-election. After that meeting, she wrote this blog post, an open letter to the teachers in her school district. Here’s a portion:
For Teachers Only
“…As an employee, perhaps you can’t speak out if you find things amiss. It’s your job; you have to do it. It’s the same with my job. Sometimes you just have to put a smile on your face and do what needs to be done whether you agree with it or not. I completely understand that. Do I wish it weren’t the case? Yes. But I acknowledge the reality of it. Elected officials, however, are elected for a reason. We can’t be fired or lose our jobs for speaking out, except at the hands of voters. If anyone is going to stand up for teachers against a program that isn’t good, it must be the elected officials. And every new change, program or implementation that comes along really should be debated, discussed and vetted all the way along the line, especially at the local level. Let’s take something we probably agree on: teacher evaluations being tied to SAGE testing. This is wrong. I’ve said so. I will continue to say so. It, too, is state law. We have to do it. But it’s horribly wrong. Placing so much of a teacher’s evaluation and thus, his/her livelihood on a single (pilot) test is absolutely the worst use of a standardized test. Like the Common Core, should we just go along with it and be supportive? I know you all will do the best you can, trying not to focus overly much on the test and still teach as professionals, but it’s got to weigh you down. The direction we are doing is that once all education and all educators are evaluated on a single test, funding will follow. It’s nice and simple, but still wrong. I can’t sit by and be supportive. I have to find a way to scream from the rooftops that this can’t work, and that it gives way too much authority to the test makers over teachers, over local boards, over HOW standards are taught in the classroom.
Let me give you an example. Several years ago, my son had a phenomenal teacher. He LOVED class, loved her lessons, enjoyed nearly every moment. He learned a lot and enjoyed it. She even expressed appreciation that he had shushed the rest of the class one time because he wanted to learn what she had to teach. Do you think I cared what he got on the CRT’s that year? Nope. I don’t think I even looked at them. He had a wonderful year with a wonderful teacher. That was worth more to me (and to him) than any standardized test score. And I am afraid that, despite her best efforts, that love and that thrill of teaching will be reduced to making sure she can keep her job by getting higher test scores. (Note: She was/is his favorite. But he’s had many, many others who were just as wonderful, just as dedicated, and just as appreciated.) I don’t choose and evaluate my kids’ teachers by their test scores. So, back to Common Core. It is top-down, which violates the principle of local control.
A little bit of local control isn’t local control. And just to be clear, my opposition isn’t just with the standards. The Common Core standards come in a nice little package along with tying test scores to teacher evaluations, courtesy of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Waiver. The other two parts of that package are 1) a longitudinal database on students and teachers and 2) “improving” low-performing schools (determined by the test scores and “improved” by shutting them down and bringing in private enterprises, and redistributing successful teachers to these “failing” schools). The entire package is flawed, and it’s flawed on principle. You, as a teacher, need to be able to have the freedom to connect with your students–the freedom to do what you know is best, regardless of where the student falls on the ‘testing’ rubric.
The Common Core Standards are just one tree in that forest of standardizing everything: tests, schools, teachers, curriculum. Already, there are calls to use the copyright of the Common Core standards to ‘certify’ curriculum. And, in the end, if your wonderful lesson plan doesn’t deliver the results on the test (even if it delivers the results you, your students, and your students’ parents want), it won’t be around for very much longer.
You got into teaching because you love kids, and you wanted to be able to affect their lives for the better through education. You have natural talents and professional training on how to make that human-to-human connection that makes teachers irreplaceable. We need more of the individual attention you provide. Common Core, with its associated numbers-driven, top-down, accountability to the state, not parents, can only take education in the wrong direction. The Common Core standards, and the rest of the NCLB Waiver package, will reduce teachers to standards-implementers, test-preppers, and data points. I realize this is your job, and you have to make the best of whatever is presented to you. But that is why we have school boards and a political process. It is my job to fight against policies that interfere with the parent-child-teacher partnership. I am happy to do this job. I hope you will understand that my opposition to Common Core and its “package” is to support you as the professional you are. Our community must stand strong and eliminate all obstacles that stand in the way of you doing your job and realizing the highest aspirations that originally brought you into education.
You may not be able to do it, but I should.”
Click to hear this week’s KFI radio interview with Dr. Bill Evers on Common Core, on KFI AM, Los Angeles. Dr. Evers is a scholar at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University. He has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core initiative from the beginning of the movement.
In addition to this radio Q & A with Dr. Evers, you’ll get to hear some VERY lively clips of parents, including a terrible one I hadn’t heard before about “daddy-baby biology”. (It is an example of the kinds of negative “curricular” value shifting that’s trickling into school rooms now, as more and more local control goes away under the Common Core power shift.)
In this interview, Dr. Evers also reminds listeners that they can legally opt their children out of any test for any reason at any time.
None of us have enough time to process, comprehend and then fight against all of the intrusions on our time and our God-given rights and liberty.
But some things are more important than others. And fighting the adoption of Common Core-aligned science standards and textbooks must be high on the To-Do list.
Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman explains it in a great article found here. http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-common-core-science-standards
She writes: “Individual liberty advocates counter that centralization in education is as foolish and damaging as centralizing the economy. They note the ideological tendencies of science education toward politics as a substitute for actual science, particularly in the area of highly debatable global warming alarmism, which is falsely assumed as reality in these standards. The standards also promote a simplified understanding of science and are still incoherent despite revisions…. They ignore central scientific concepts and push a progressive teaching style that has been proven to erode student learning…”
Yet textbook companies are rewriting science to align to the false assumptions of common core, so even those states who wisely rejected the common core or who aim to do so, will likely end up with common core textbooks anyway.
Here’s a letter I wrote to my local and state school boards and superintendents today.
Dear Superintendent and School Boards,
Our homeschooling group attended the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City yesterday. What a wonderful museum. The Mummy exhibit was fascinating, the hands-on digital learning activities were great, the craft workshop and prosthetics exhibits and art were absolutely engaging for visitors of all ages.
But in the multi-room exhibit entitled “Human Rights Exhibit,” visitors were shown not only ecology art, but vocabulary words in the context of the claim that human behavior is killing plant and animal life –and will likely kill off the human race. There were paintings of futuristic apartment projects teetering dangerously close to the ocean, on islands and cliffs. The captions stated that because of the FACT of global warming and oceanic flooding, people will be living like this.
I use this as an example of the unscientific assumptions and lies being taught all around us, which are also loading the common core-aligned science standards and science textbooks coming our way.
Let’s not turn a blind eye to the ongoing politically-based rewrite of actual science. Let’s stand independent of this. Let’s actually teach the kids hard science based on settled facts as we did in all the wise years up till now.
For a detailed list of news articles and science reviews of Common Core science standards and textbooks, please read this.
We have Martell Menlove’s word that Utah will never adopt Common Core science and social studies standards. But with the majority of textbook companies belonging to the monopoly of the insanely unrepresentative system of Common Core, we as a state have to go out of our way to find true science for our kids. Let’s do it.
Thanks for listening.
Green Insanity in the Schools Update:
You have to read this woman’s blog. First, she and her husband protested the Disney-like green propaganda film that was shown to the elementary school children to “teach” them that humans are destroying the earth. Then she was banned from volunteering in the school. Then she was reinstated. Sigh.
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
Karin Piper, a freedom fighter at Colorado’s @Parent Led Reform is leading a national #StopCommonCore Twitter rally. The rally is promoted and supported by Michelle Malkin, the Truth in American Education network and countless parent and teacher groups for educational freedom nationwide. The event begins Tuesday, April 16th at 10:00 and goes until 12:00.
@ParentLedReform is also hosting an expert panel and a multi-state coalition of organizations to talk discuss #stopcommoncore in conjunction with the rally.
Join LIVE via Twitter to listen or share your view about Common Core Standards. Twitter is free and easy to join.
This is a public event. Please share with your friends and neighbors.
Great news for those who care about educational liberty in America: Georgia may break free of Common Core.
The article below is reposted from Heartland.org news. Joy Pullman reports:
A lawmaker has filed a bill that would withdraw Georgia from Common Core national education standards and prohibit personal information that tests collect from being shared outside the state.
This makes Georgia the eighth state to formally reconsider the Common Core, a list defining what K-12 tests and curriculum must cover in math and English. Forty-five states adopted the Core, nearly all within three months in 2010.
“What has really been surprising to me is how many of our legislators had no idea Georgia was doing this,” bill author and state Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) told School Reform News. “Such a huge tremendous policy shift was not vetted by the legislature, not vetted by the people in the state.”
Common Core means changes in curriculum, testing, teacher preparation, and teacher evaluations. Ligon said his central concerns were higher expenses and a loss of local control. Just the new, computer-based Common Core tests cost $30 per student, or $37 for a paper version, while Georgia’s previous tests cost $5 per child, he said. That’s an extra $30 million per year.
Teachers ‘Overwhelmed’ This school year was the first most Georgia schools began implementing the Core within every grade in English and K-9 in math, according to the state department of education.
So, until a few months ago, most parents have had little contact with it, while teachers started training for it in January 2012. Some 80,000 Georgia teachers have received some form of Common Core training, according to the department.
“Teachers are truly overwhelmed with the Common Core,” said a Georgia educator who asked to remain anonymous to maintain good relations with local school officials. “It takes every breathing moment they have to figure it out.” She described the scene as “chaotic” because the standards are confusing. For example, English teachers in her district are incorporating social studies into their lessons because of the Core, and they’re not trained in the subject.
“Who knows what damage is going to be done with the kids not having quality math and quality language arts,” the teacher said.
Untested Program Ligon introduced Senate Bill 167 Thursday, but officials in Georgia’s department of education had not seen it so refrained from comment, said spokesman Matt Cardoza.
Several superintendents, school board members, and teachers have voiced concerns to Ligon and Jane Robbins, a Georgian and senior fellow for the American Principles Project, both said. Teachers and superintendents are afraid of speaking out publicly: it “would be a career-ending move,” Robbins said. “The education establishment is so invested with this.”
Especially rural districts will struggle with the technology requirements for Common Core tests because they are all online, Ligon said.
“This is a program that has never been policy tested, and it’s not wise to jump into this without that,” he said.
Local Control Concerns “People in Georgia are very concerned about local control in education,” Robbins said. “They don’t trust anything that comes out of Washington telling them ‘This is what you will do and you have no choice about it.’”
Just a few years ago in Georgia, she noted, parents widely disliked a shift in math instruction, so they raised a “hullabaloo” and changed the standards.
“This is the kind of thing we can’t do any more,” Robbins said. “When things were not working, we were able to fix it.”
On Feb. 6, Senate Education Committee Chairman Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) rearranged the schedule of a joint education committee meeting with the House so former Texas education Commissioner Robert Scott could speak about the Common Core. That meeting prompted Ligon’s bill.
“The majority of the parents we’re talking to and hearing from are telling us they don’t like this,” Ligon said. “They want Georgia to retain control of its curriculum and testing standards.”
A 2010 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study comparing all states’ standards to the Common Core rated Georgia’s standards equal in quality, but Ligon says he would like Georgia to simultaneously keep control over its standards and improve them through public meetings and input from teachers and Georgia colleges and universities. He plans to propose bill to that effect next week.
Learn more: Former Texas education Commissioner Robert Scott speaks to the Georgia House and Senate education committees, February 6, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcpMIUWbgxY, part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5fHQlj9JQw.
February 5, 2013
February 13, 2013
December 7, 2012
January 16, 2013
Reposted from Heartlander http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/15/bill-would-withdraw-georgia-common-core