Archive for the ‘aaron osmond’ Tag
“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.
There’s a fine line between watching a state leader hold multiple roles in business and politics that are a bit too close for comfort, and having a leader hold multiple roles that clearly create unwarranted favoritism –or even corruption.
I don’t know exactly where this line falls.
But I’ve noticed an uncomfortable “two-hats-wearing” pattern with some businesspeople-turned-politicians. And it’s harming the process of proper vetting, voice and vote of “We, the People.” The people’s debate never takes place. The business-side-of-education “experts” rise to positions of political authority and they then make the calls. I am not comfortable with it.
Two examples: Todd Huston of Indiana and Aaron Osmond of Utah– both are Republicans and both are youngish family guys, seeminlgy “nice guys”.
But each is employed by education-product sales companies while also serving in the state legislature in positions that influence decisions about which educational products will be needed, and will be purchased, using state tax dollars.
Huston works for the College Board, whose president financially contributed to his political campaign. Osmond works for Certiport-Pearson which has huge contracts with the state, and would probably have more if Osmond’s recent bill had passed.
The president of the College Board, David Coleman, recently gave Todd Huston a large (his second largest) campaign contribution, of $10,000. Other campaign contributers included Stand for Children, another controversial political group. David Coleman also hired Huston to be Senior Vice President of the College Board.
(Remember: prior to running the College Board, you will recall, Coleman served as chief architect of the ELA portion of the Common Core Standards. Coleman’s now working to alter the SAT to match his creation, the Common Core. Surely Huston has a role to play in that. David Coleman, Todd Huston and Aaron Osmond, are each influencing governmental education policy despite the fact that they work for these educational business companies.)
Will we file this information under ”Things that must be exposed and changed” or just “Things that make you go hmmm”?
It’s more than corporate aggression that comes into play. The organizations (Pearson, and now Coleman’s version of the College Board) hold extreme philosophical positions that many are uncomfortable with.
For example, Pearson pushes the idea of having not just every state, but every country using the exact same educational standards, and Pearson pushes public-private-partnerships, which means having business and government collude over education policy and funding. These ideas are promoted in the very public speeches of Pearson’s CEA, Sir Michael Barber.
Meanwhile, Coleman, the College Board president, pushes for the minimizing of classic literature and mocks narrative writing– and he doesn’t do it politely.
These people are not educators. They are businessmen– setting education policy.
I remember watching Senator Osmond, in a Senate Education Committee meeting last summer when Ted Rebarber and Jim Stergios testified that Common Core was set to harm Utah education. Senator Osmond was visibly agitated by their testimonies, and said that “the train had left the station” concerning Common Core, and he said that people should stop talking about the problems with Common Core.
His company sells Common Core implementation products. It wouldn’t do for him to side with Rebarber and Stergios, would it?
This two-hat wearing circumvents the American process of representative government. We trust our leaders to be objective enough to weigh options openmindedly. Someone whose paycheck comes from education technology and testing can not possibly be objective. Osmond, Huston and others in similar career paths should not be in roles of education policy making over a state.
We should question the financial and philosophical motivations of our education leaders. We should not allow the niceness of these individuals to wilt our resolve to make sure we are doing what is actually right for our children and not harming our educational system irreparably.
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…”
—– —— —–
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.”
If you live in Utah, and if you are concerned about the “global governance” (U.N. over U.S.) agenda in books and many schools, please contact your senator and tell them we want to AMEND OUT the part of the bill that gives advantages to students who enroll in the IB (a global governance indoctrination program) International Baccalaureate (IB).
We will want to defeat the bill if it stays in its present form, but we are asking for AN AMENDMENT to take the expensive and not-America-centered “IB” portion out. Why? Because IB teaches our kids that no country is blessed with a superior system; all governments are equally acceptable. (That includes communist, socialist, dictatorship-based and all other systems.)
Children should hold our U.S. Constitution and our nation’s great, God-fearing founders in a place of honor. IB does not teach this.
PLEASE CONTACT UTAH SENATORS – START WITH YOUR OWN SENATOR — be sure to let them know you are a constituent. (See contact info below)
SB-100 HIGHER EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP AMENDMENTS (Sponsor: Jerry Stevenson)
See bill text here: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillint/sb0100.pdf
This bill passed committee and will be debated and voted on in the Senate. It “allows the Board of Regents to assign additional weights to grades earned in International Baccalaureate program courses in determining scholarship eligibility in the Regents’ Scholarship Program.” We must educate our Senators about the downsides of the International Baccalaureate program.
Facts About International Baccalaureate (IB)
(International Baccalaureate Organization — IB Diploma Programme) http://www.ibo.org/become/guidance/
http://youtu.be/n_6u9a6xiKo?t=45s -news broadcast on I.B. in Idaho
IB Magazine: http://www.ibo.org/ibworld/jan2010/index.cfm
•The IB is neither transparent nor accountable to the Utah State Office of Education or the Utah State Legislature.
•The IB is expensive and lacks fiscal restraint when Utah shows nearly $20 billion in debt.
•The IB requires an international contract with arbitration under Swiss law.
•The IB is over-rated and lacks substantive research and shows no significant difference against competitive programs such as the Advanced Placement Program to justify its costly materials and professional development.
•In 1924 at Oxford University the finest progressive political/philosophical minds founded the IB with the intent to educate children of League of Nations, and later U.N., employees and ambassadors from many nations.
•In 1984 President Ronald Reagan withdrew US membership from UNESCO, calling it “un-American.”
•UNESCO was a founding sponsor and continues to be its close ally and collaborator.
•Until it became unpopular, the IB publicly endorsed the UN’s radical Earth Charter as its foundational philosophy, crafted by Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, chairman of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit whose declaration document was entitled Agenda 21.
•Both The Earth Charter and Agenda 21 share the same tenets: ◦Global unilateral disarmament (a violation of the Second Amendment);
◦Population control (including abortion on demand);
◦Extremist environmental policies that infringe on private property rights and that do not need scientific research to prove they are valid;
◦Redistribution of wealth through a global environmental tax, already in force federally and through foreign aid to eradicate poverty, undercutting domestic prosperity and free enterprise.
Because of all of the links to UN organizations and the global agenda indoctrination that is part of the IB curriculum, many parents will opt to keep their children out of IB programs. It is NOT fair that their students will then be at a disadvantage when applying for scholarships!
(go here to find your Senator: http://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp)
Express concerns over giving weighted consideration to IB, and ask them to VOTE “YES” on Amendments to take IB out of the bill!
Sen. Luz Robles 801-550-6434 cell
Sen. Jim Dabakis 801-815-3533 cell
Sen. Gene Davis 801-647-8924 cell
Sen. Pat Jones 801-278-7667 hm
Sen. Karen Mayne 801-968-7756 hm
Sen. Wayne Harper 801-566-5466 hm
Sen. Deidre Henderson 801-787-6197 cell
Sen. Brian Shiozawa 801-230-3406 hm
Sen. Wayne Niederhauser 801-942-3398 hm
Sen. Aaron Osmond 801-888-8742 cell
Sen. Howard Stephenson 801-572-1038 hm
Sen. Daniel Thatcher 801-759-4746 cell
Sen. Mark Madsen 801-361-4787 wk
Sen. John Valentine 801-224-1693 hm
Sen. Margaret Dayton 801-221-0623 hm * NO NEED TO CALL HER – SHE GETS IT!
Sen. Curt Bramble 801-361-5802 cell
Sen. Peter Knudson 435-730-4569 cell
Sen. Stuart Reid 801-337-4182 cell
Sen. Allen Christensen 801-782-5600 hm
Sen. Scott Jenkins 801-731-5120 hm
Sen. Stuart Adams 801-593-1776 hm
Sen. Todd Weiler 801-599-9823 cell
Sen. Ralph Okerlund 435-979-7077 cell
Sen. Lyle Hillyard 435-753-0043 hm
Sen. Kevin VanTassell 435-790-0675 cell
Sen. David Hinkins 435-384-5550 hm
Sen. Evan Vickers 435-817-5565 cell
Sen. Steven Urquhart 435-668-7759 wk
The Bill Sponsor is Sen. Jerry Stevenson 801-678-3147 cell
Make sure he understands IB and is willing to amend it out of the bill!
HERE ARE E-MAIL ADDRESSES
Video from Nevada Principal – How I.B. compares to A.P.
This video assesses the qualities of I.B. and A.P., tells which program most universities prefer, which program offers more choices to students, what similarities exist between A.P. and I.B. programs; the principal prefers A.P.
Senator Aaron Osmond
State School Board Chair Debra Roberts
Representative Kraig Powell
Governor Gary Herbert
We are not put here on earth only to eat cupcakes, to quote one another and make each other feel lovely. We are here to STAND UP and DO something when we see our freedoms being threatened, or when we see corruption or cruelty or lying or any wrong thing.
One verse that I particularly relate to in the Book of Mormon is this: “And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their concerning the freedom of their country.” (Alma 59:13)
I could paste it right into my diary: “And it came to pass that Christel was angry with the [Utah State School Board, Federal Dept. of Education, Governor Herbert, Representative Powell and Senator Aaron Osmond] because of their concerning the [educational] freedom of the country.”
In the Book of Mormon, there are two Moronis. This Moroni was a military captain, a great patriot, of whom it was previously written: “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto , behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. (Alma 48:17)
Where are our local Moronis? I think in D.C. we have two: I’ve seen Senator Chaffetz and Senator Lee each valiantly take on corruption and assaults on America’s freedom. Lee fought Hillary Clinton’s U.N. “Let’s take over the American oceans” treaty. Chaffetz put the “Fast and the Furious” corruption on trial at the Executive level. I haven’t followed all they’ve done, but what I’ve seen matches the spirit of Moroni’s fight for freedom.
But locally, we could really use more.
Today, I’m extremely upset with Senator Aaron Osmond for promoting SB100, a bill sponsored by Sen. J. Stevenson. I realize these legislators don’t have malicious intent, but neither do they seem to see what is so clear when you have studied what socialism is, and what our Constitution is supposed to protect. They just haven’t studied enough!
If you go to the Utah Legislative website right now it will say that the bill is passing merrily along with no trouble. Why? Have these legislators really not done any homework at all, or are they complicit with the socialist/globalist goals of those who wish to degrade the United States? SB100 gives preferential treatment to IB schooling in Utah, (and permits the expense of IB). International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, curriculum and tests are in no way accountable to Utah teachers, parents or the State School Board. It is a program run globally out of Switzerland, with tests graded by IB staff, and no say for any local voice in what is tested or taught. None. Additionally, IB curriculum promotes global citizenship, meaning that any country or system (such as the U.S. Constitution and its God-respecting principles) is no better or worse than ANY other– it’s equally to be taught and honored as is the communism of China, the socialism of Sweden, or the evil dictatorship of North Korea. IB cloaks itself in tolerance and global awareness, but it is anti-American in its refusal to acknowledge the superiority and goodness of any political system over another. There are other problems with IB. But that is the only one that is a real dealbreaker for me.
Meanwhile, Representative Kraig Powell has bought, hook, line and sinker, the notion that “global warming” and “climate change” are settled science– so much so that he’s pushing a bill run by environmentalist extremists in Utah. If you read the Twitter feeds or the newspapers, you will see it. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55764715-90/utah-climate-committee-bill.html.csp?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
It’s funny because just this week, there’s also news that makes Rep. Powell’s ideas look silly, saying that science shows humans are not creating global warming, even if it is somehow legitimately ever proven that the earth is warming, that it’s going to do real damage, or that legislation can alter its outcomes. Read that science here: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/11/19/study-drought-trends-estimates-possibly-overstated-due-to-inaccurate-science/ and here: http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/13919-new-report-man-made-global-warming-is-a-farce
I’ve never spoken to Sen. J. Stevenson, but have repeatedly spoken with Senator Osmond and Kraig Powell about these bills and I’ve asked them to run bills helping Utah to shake itself free of the chains of Common Core. Neither will act. Senator Osmond, of course, is an employee of Pearson Company, the main purveyor of Common Core and global same-education implementation products worldwide, (and Pearson has huge contracts with the State School Board of Utah) so Osmond’s not motivated to even study this stuff.
Powell, I can’t figure out. I see him in the hallway at church sometimes and we smile at each other and there’s no animosity from either of us. He knows a ton about Common Core because many of us in Heber have knocked ourselves over trying to educate him and get him to help us in this fight. But he has a lot of liberal and socialist friends, and friends in education who believe the claims of the proponents of Common Core. And I guess that’s why he won’t act. I don’t know, really.
Then there’s Governor Herbert. Just this week he was in D.C. testifying about how wonderful it is that Utah is aligning education with business to create a managed workforce. Sorry, but the whole Prosperity 2020 thing sounds exactly like socialism to me: manage the people; use your “human capital,” and I don’t see much liberty or individuality in that. Our Governor is likewise doing nothing about the data collection invasion that his state technology director, John Brandt, is foisting upon Utah, using six Utah agencies in his Utah Data Alliance. Brandt gives speeches for the federal agencies like NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) as well. He cannot be ignorant about the damages he’s doing to student and citizen privacy in our state. Can the governor be?
I hope and pray that better people will be willing to study these important issues, compare them to the original founding fathers’ documents, and to scripture, and to common sense, and to real, actual, empirical science.
I hope many of these good people then decide to run for office or school board or city council –or at least teach those who do, by studying the political movements and by trying to influence them correctly.
We need more people with good brains and solid hearts, who have an abiding testimony that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of freedom and truth, that the Constitution is a tangible reality to honor –and not something to claim that you honor while you write socialist bills.
I get the feeling that Herbert, Powell and Osmond actually like people like me. They see us as cheerleaders for the Constitution and for the GOP. They pat us on the head, figuratively, and say, “Run along now, dearie, and thanks for your enthusiasm,” while they continue to lead us down the path toward total socialism, which is the same thing, years down the developmental (progressive) path, as communism: total control of the state of each individual, including the absorption of property rights and family authority over the child. This is what I see as the result of Powell’s climate philosophy, Osmond’s education bill, and Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 (business-and-education-partnership).
Yes, I’m angry. We deserve more from these men.
Want to “shake the powers of hell” like Moroni? Vote in some guys like this ancient defender of freedom:
“And Moroni was… a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood… this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.” (Alma 48)
Moroni wrote a letter to his political representative. He said:
“Great has been your neglect towards us. And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state. Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless , while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?” (Alma 60)
And that is how I feel. The neglect of Herbert, Powell, the State School Board and Osmond is not a lack of sending provisions, but in their having done so little research homework, or, if they have done their research, the neglect is in not acting upon the truth when they learned it.
Dear Francis Gibson,
Missouri, South Carolina and Indiana have written legislation that could withdraw their states from Common Core.
I am writing to ask you to help pass similar legislation for Utah.
I was able to give a speech on this subject at the Weber County Republican Women’s group meeting this month. http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/weber-county-republican-womens-meeting-speech-on-common-core/
I will attach the text of that speech here, so that if there is still any doubt in your mind that Common Core is a financial, academic, states’ rights and privacy-rights disaster, this will clarify the point.
I write to you because my own representative, Kraig Powell, has closed his mind on this subject.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Please keep this in mind above all: the difference between what I am saying and what the proponents of Common Core are saying, is that my statements and claims are referenced and verifiable. The DOE’s and the NGA/CCSSO’s and the USOE’s all match, but all are empty claims with no provided references and no validation from empirical sources anywhere. Common Core is a massive, expensive academic experiment. An experiment! On our children.
We have been sold out, not by malice, but simply by the ignorance of our state school board and the former governor who signed us up.
My motive is pure, as a teacher and a mother who wants high quality education and actual freedom to change standards when we find some of them don’t match Utah’s needs and wants.
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.
In his presentation to the United Nations last year, Sweden’s Jonas Himmelstrand did some mythbusting about the “joys” of Swedish socialism.
Here’s the short version: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_un_new_york_handouts.pdf
Here are the long versions: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_haro_un_paper.pdf
Dear Utah Leaders,
I am writing to ask you not to promote the government-run preschool bill further. This preschool issue is keeping me up at night. Literally.
Why? I think about the borderline-poor moms –as I have often been– who will say, “Well, preschool is free, so I guess I better put my baby in the preschool and go make money.” It makes my heart ache. That is no kindly favor from the government. That is a temptation that most parents will not choose to resist.
It will push them to leave their children to go to work.
I am praying that you will take the time to listen further to Jonas Himmelstrand http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso
and to analyze how Sweden went from good, helpful intentions (based on someone’s version of research, as always) –to a point where parents are being disenfranchised from children via the “helpfulness” of the government.
I’ve been reading “A Patriot’s History of the United States.” Great book. I read that when the U.S. government decided to give money to single mothers, long ago, to be helpful, guess what happened? People stopped getting married, of course. So children went fatherless, literally, because of the “helpfulness” of the government; the temptation for that money was too great for people to resist. And it mostly impacted black families, who were economically more disadvantaged. It perpetuated the cycle of trouble for black families; fatherlessness led to children growing up troubled and in jail; more single moms, more fatherless kids, more poverty. No help at all.
I’ve also been in contact with Jonas Himmelstrand. His writings ring true. They make sense. They are profoundly different than the studies and reasoning that is bringing Utah legislators to consider adding free government preschool for at-risk children.
I appreciate that the government has good intentions. But if they are not based on correct principles (limiting the involvement of government, rather than increasing it) the intentions will backfire; it is only a question of how long it takes to backfire.
Putting at-risk babies in government preschools is not a good idea. Those families need strengthening, but not by being tempted to separate from those with whom they need the strong attachment bonds.
Encourage mothers to stay at home with their children. Don’t tempt them to go to work and drop off their kids. Could you use the money to create jobs for moms that they can perform from home, instead? Could you use the money to pay grandmothers to do the daycare if the moms have to work, at least? I’m sure there are solutions other than creating Swedish-styled free government preschool.
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So, after doing more reading today, I wrote the legislators another letter on the subject:
The following research sharply contradicts the research that has previously been presented in the Legislative Education Interim Committee meeting regarding the wisdom of providing early preschool for at-risk children.
While there is little debate about whether academic performance is enhanced for preschool attendees generally, it is found that behavioral problems, self-control problems, motor skill trouble, aggression, illness, worse parent-child relationships, and other disadvantages arise from early preschool attendance.
We must not assume the proposed Utah preschool bill is good in the short or long term, especially not for at-risk children.
Jonas Himmelstrand of Sweden, who provided me with the research, is an international consultant, speaker and author. He has consulted for the 2011 EU Child Wellbeing Workshop in Brussels, the 2011 UN World Expert Group Meeting in New York, the Institute of Marriage and Family in Canada, the Hungarian Presidency Conference, the Conferenza Famiglia in Italy, the FamilyPlatform Conference in Lisbon, and the Forum Europeen de Femmes in Brussels. He is also the chairman of the board of the world’s global home education conference. He suggested that I share this research with you.
Himmelstrand finds that Swedish children do not suffer from material poverty but from emotional poverty, attributed to too much separation from parents at too early an age.
His charts on the envisioned outcomes versus the actual outcomes of the Swedish model are astonishing. The envisioned model planned to increase academic success, to even out social class differences, and to liberate mothers, for example. The actual model resulted in serious discipline problems in school, national school rating –going from top to average in 30 years– plummeting quality in day care, high rates of sick leave, especially among women; deteriorating psychological health in youth, and deteriorating parental abilities, even in the middle class.
See pages 2 through 4:
He also directed me to the research done by others on this subject:
Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?
NBER Working Paper No. 10452 Issued in April 2004 NBER Program(s): CHED
Prekindergarten programs are expanding rapidly, but to date, evidence on their effects is quite limited. Using rich data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we estimate the effects of prekindergarten on children’s school readiness. We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavioral problems and reduces self-control. Furthermore, the effects of prekindergarten on skills largely dissipate by the spring of first grade, although the behavioral effects do not. Finally, effects differ depending on children’s family background and subsequent schooling, with the largest and most lasting academic gains for disadvantaged children and those attending schools with low levels of academic instruction.
Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being
NBER Working Paper No. 11832 Issued in December 2005 NBER Program(s): CHPE
The growing labor force participation of women with small children in both the U.S. and Canada has led to calls for increased public financing for childcare. The optimality of public financing depends on a host of factors, such as the “crowd-out” of existing childcare arrangements, the impact on female labor supply, and the effects on child well-being. The introduction of universal, highly-subsidized childcare in Quebec in the late 1990s provides an opportunity to address these issues. We carefully analyze the impacts of Quebec’s “$5 per day childcare” program on childcare utilization, labor supply, and child (and parent) outcomes in two parent families. We find strong evidence of a shift into new childcare use, although approximately one third of the newly reported use appears to come from women who previously worked and had informal arrangements. The labor supply impact is highly significant, and our measured elasticity of 0.236 is slightly smaller than previous credible estimates. Finally, we uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w11832 – Full text
Finally, Himmelstrand directs us to study the findings of the Canadian Institute of Marriage and Family.
This research includes a psychological explanation of why early formal learning is harmful to children, and offers some public policy advice: http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/nurturing-children-why-early-learning-does-not-help
The Institute says:
There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.
For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.”
I hope this is helpful to you.
Jonas Himmelstrand, Swedish education-freedom author, who was a guest on the Morgan Philpot radio show today, has recommended this article, wherein Dr. Gordon Neufelt explains why, rather than following the Swedish socialist model of preschool for the very young, children are better served when they start attending school later.
Nurturing children: Why “early learning” doesn’t help
Children should start attending school later, not earlier, Canadian development psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld reveals. “Early learning” programs for young children have no benefits for kids, he adds. So why are governments running down the opposite track?
August 30, 2012 | by Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
“I want to make sure that my son learns how to get along with others,” one parent will say. Another will add, “My daughter is shy. I want her to be with other children, to help her come out of her shell.” A third might enthusiastically report that her child loves all her friends at daycare: “She can’t wait to go and spend time with them!”
These are just some of the things parents say when it comes to the benefits they see in the social settings that pre-schools, daycares and all-day kindergarten provide. Parents are rightly concerned about whether their children get along well with others.
However, is it true that early interaction with peers improves socialization for young children? Canadian developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld says this is not the case, particularly in sending young children into “social” environments before they are ready. 
The word socialization can mean different things to different people.
With regards to small children, Dr. Neufeld clarifies one thing that socialization is not: “Probably the greatest myth that has evolved is this idea that socializing with one’s equals leads to socialization.”
Developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner also clarifies what socialization is not: “It should be clear that being socialized is not necessarily the same as being civilized. Nazi youth were also products of a socialization process.” 
Socialization in childrearing means rendering children fit for society so that children can grow and mature into becoming contributing adults, who can respectfully interact with others in community, be it at work or home, with colleagues, family and friends.
Successful socialization is of particular interest where reports of bullying hit the media with some regularity. 
For Dr. Neufeld and his colleagues at The Neufeld Institute, socialization is more complex than simply being able to get along well with peers.  Socialization involves being able to get along with others while at the same time being true to oneself.
Getting there from here
Dr. Neufeld describes a teacher who is unable to express her views for fear of causing conflict. Picture a staff meeting, where this teacher chooses to stay silent rather than disagree. This may create the appearance that she is “really nice,” and able to get along well with others—something she may well tell her students to do as well. The reality is she may be unable to hold on to her own identity in face of conflict.
Constantly agreeing and being nice may, in fact, be immaturity in disguise. “You have to be separate enough so you can be with your equals without losing your distinctiveness,” says Dr. Neufeld.
He adds that someone who always “gets along” may not be able to handle diplomacy without a loss of integrity. If this form of mature self-expression can be hard for adults, how much more difficult is it for children?
“Premature socialization,” says Dr. Neufeld, “was always considered by developmentalists to be the greatest sin in raising children ….[w]hen you put children together prematurely before they can hold on to themselves, then they become like [the others] and it crushes the individuality rather than hones it.” 
A is for “attachment”
One of the issues with large numbers of little people in group care settings is the issue of peer orientation. This means having small children attach to their peers, rather than to adults.
The concept of attachment, developed primarily by psychologist John Bowlby, denotes the instinct that causes adults to care for children and children to receive that care. Successful early attachment is necessary for adult emotional development. In Bowlby’s words, attachment is the tendency “of human beings to make strong affectional bonds to particular others.” 
As humans, we are highly sociable creatures. But we identify some relationships as being higher priority, and are very particular about who takes that position.  It is through these connections that we develop a sense of self. 
And importantly, our high priority attachment figures (aka the people we see the most of and really love) are intended to be enduring. These are not people who should disappear from our lives, neither are strong attachments something small children should “grow out of.” 
This is one reason why daycare employees can never imitate the potent power of the parent: A job is a job, and employees change cities or jobs with some regularity.
Helen Ward is the president of a non-partisan, grassroots group called Kids First Parents Association. She highlights how attachment and socialization work together. “In order for children to grow up into the mature adults we desire them to be, they have to spend time with adults they are attached to, not their own likewise immature peers.” She goes on: “This means that if we take the attachment figure away—through death, illness, distractions, daycare, or any disruption in attachment relationships—and replace it with peer attachment – puff – the kid will be a ‘lord of the flies’ type because the seemingly ‘socialized’ behaviour is simply copying, it is not ‘inside’ yet. It is developing, but can just as well ‘undevelop.’” 
If parents aren’t aware of this, they may interpret negative developments as positive. The three-year-old who can’t wait to be with his friends in daycare may in fact be on his way to becoming peer rather than parent attached, because being attached makes us want to be with those we are attached to.
The problem is that the more children are peer attached, the less attached they are to adults—and this can result in children becoming very hostile to being parented or taught.
When small children spend too much time with their peers, they will imitate the features of those they see around them. Dr. Neufeld speaks of a “flatlining” of culture as a result. “We have a children’s culture of today. In Europe, there is a crisis, which is that youth are not integrating into mainstream society and people believe it is happening in North America as well.”
The question might also be whether they are integrating into a newly mainstream culture that is not altogether mature. “Children have become fit for a society that does not reproduce itself and does not contribute to the larger society as a whole,” says Dr. Neufeld. 
Diversity—creating it, respecting it and allowing it to flourish—is one of today’s most popular buzzwords, something to which we pay lip service. However, the early placement of children with as-of-yet undeveloped personalities in group daycare for long hours, when they aren’t able to “hold on to” their own special, unique personalities creates sameness, not individuality.
This is, in many instances, one of the reasons parents might choose to delay entry to school. In fact, for much of Canada’s history, children did not attend so-called “early learning programs;” school started at age six.
Ironically, some who advocate for homeschooling do so in order for proper socialization to occur. In Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization, author Richard G. Medlin highlights how healthy socialization does happen for homeschoolers, writing “home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with—and feel close to—all sorts of people.” 
Another researcher, Larry Edward Shyers, compared homeschooled children with those in traditional schooling for his PhD thesis at University of Florida. He found that with regards to self-esteem, there was no difference. 
The problem with children socializing at school, Ward says, is that children can be fickle in their friendships. “Kid’s ‘friends’ are not really ‘friends’ in any meaningful sense of the word. They are not mature people who can handle another’s pain or difference of opinion. Peers want you to be the same as them,” says Ward.
The result is less individual expression and less personal growth, she concludes.
Crushing the spirit of childhood
Back in 1988, child psychologist David Elkind wrote The Hurried Child, saying, “we are going through one of those periods in history, such as the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, when children are the unwilling victims of societal upheaval and change….Today’s child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress.” 
Elkind worried that children are increasingly being treated like mini adults. In childhood as a replica of adulthood, daycares and pre-schools put children under academic pressure. Child sports teams have pro uniforms and poor peewee players are sidelined. Children’s clothes have an adult look about them. If this was Elkind’s problem some twenty years ago, the situation today is not much changed.
More evidence that the smallest of children are being subjected to adult standards is the Early Development Instrument (EDI).  Under the auspices of improving child outcomes, the EDI asks teachers to answer a host of entirely subjective questions about a child’s proficiency physically, academically and emotionally and then chronicles how and where children are “behind.”
Activists use this flawed research to lobby for more early learning programs for younger ages. In Ontario, for example, a special advisor to Premier McGuinty desires to create schools as hubs, where children can be dropped off all day, possibly all year, to attain greater “school readiness.” 
When Francois Legault, of the Coalition for Quebec’s Future recently proposed that secondary school should follow work schedules, running from 9 am to 5 pm, some found it provocative.  The reality is that many grade schoolers in before and after-school care already experience adult working days, and the same could be said of a toddler in daycare. Children’s lives are scheduled down to a T, with little free time to just be kids.
Why the anti-child direction?
The reasons for this are varied. However, a big one is the current trend in public policy which creates pressure for all parents to have full time jobs. As a result, labour force attachment trumps parent-child attachment. Canada’s below-replacement birthrate means we are constantly searching for more employees. Having both parents work full-time is entirely reliant on putting their children in some form of standardized care, hence the reation of subsidized daycares. 
This has little to do with child development. The problem is that once centre-based care is preferentially funded and the cost heavily tax-subsidized, it creates an incentive for parents to use it. At that point, parents no longer truly have a real choice. They can’t assess the unique needs of their own children because their lives have been set up around two parents at full time jobs.
When asked what are the gains from early learning for small children, Dr. Neufeld simply replies: “I don’t think there is anything to be gained except parental emancipation. And certainly not parental fulfillment. That’s a totally different issue.” 
What to do?
Dr. Neufeld emphasizes that who parents are to their children matters more than what they do. 
This research is not intended to panic parents whose young children are in all-day care. However, it is wise to understand why your children are there. Some parents put their children in care for the express purpose of socializing them; this is not a researched reason to do so.
For parents whose children must be in care, it would be wise to confirm that the “early learning” is limited exclusively to playing in an environment of adult attachment.  Sometimes it is parents themselves who put pressure on teachers to provide “educational content” to younger and younger ages. When the “report cards” come back and show poor grades, this creates further anxiety in parents who now believe their children are behind.
Parents should eschew the creation of any kind of one-size-fits-all system. This is the sort of system that governments try to create—to “help” each and every family. By definition, these environments are less personal and more distant from parents. Even the local primary school may not, in fact, be the closest thing to the home environment for small children, if for example, a neighbour next door wants to take in additional children on top of her own, and that neighbour is known to the parents and the child.
For far too long, this form of high quality care for kids has been labelled “unregulated,” by those who strive to create school-based daycares with unionized employees. Facing a lack of criticism in the press, “unregulated” has come to be known as “dangerous.” But Helen Ward points out that all parents are “unregulated,” and this alone is not cause for concern. Parents need to inspect all care from top to bottom—whether government-regulated or not.
There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.
For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.” 
- This article is based on an interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld on May 18, 2012. Dr. Neufeld is a developmental psychologist and the co-author of the 2004 national bestseller Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1970). Two worlds of childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, p. 2.
- For greater understanding of how to stem the bullying tide, see Simon, L. (2012, July 18). Empathy: An antidote to bullying. Ottawa: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. Retrieved from http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/empathy-antidote-bullying
- The Neufeld Institute can be found online here http://www.gordonneufeld.com/
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
- Green, M. and Scholes, M. (eds.) (2004). Attachment and human survival. London: Karnac, p. 7.
- Ibid, p. 8.
- Ibid, p. 37.
- Ibid, p. 8.
- Personal communication with Helen Ward, August 21, 2012.
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
- Medlin, R. G. (2000). The home education movement in context, practice, and theory. Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 75, No. 1/2, pp. 107-123.
- Bunday, K.M. (2006). Socialization: A great reason not to go to school. Retrieved from http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html
- Elkind, D. (1988). The Hurried Child. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc, pp. xiv, 3.
- The EDI questionnaire can be viewed online at http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/media/uploads/publications/edi_bc-yukon_2012.pdf
- Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario. Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865
- Quebec’s Francois Legault wants schools open from 9 to 5. (2012, August 9). The Canadian Press. Retrieved from http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Quebecs+Francois+Legault+wants+kids+stay+school+until/7063972/story.html
- For more on concept of schools as community hubs, see Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario.Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
- Denis Friske, D. (2012, January 16). Moments of connection with our children. The Neufeld Institute blog. Retrieved from http://www.neufeldinstitute.com/blog/2012/01/moments-of-connection-with-our-children/
- Laucius, J. (2012, February 4). All work and no play is not good for the developing brain, says psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Ottawa Citizen, p. J3. (Helen Ward also points out that “child led” or “free play” can in fact mean even less interaction for children with adults, as staff will simply provide toys and ensure that no child is physically hurt.)
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
I sent this letter today, because today, in the Utah Legislative Education Committee meeting, they are planning to vote on ”high-quality preschool.” Hmm. Does government-provided love turn out better than the parental kind? My research led me to sign the petition of support for reclaiming educational freedom in Sweden, here. http://www.rohus.org/eng_petition.html
Dear Senator Osmond,
Yesterday I saw the attached 6-minute video about Swedish families fleeing Sweden. Swedish government has taken on the role of “real parent,” mandating government schools and forbidding home school under any circumstance, since 2010.
So what? Why am sending you this link?
Something else in the video caught my attention: the Swedish government wants children as young as 12 months old in day care.
Senator, the idea of paying for all-day preschool here in Utah is a step toward the very same socialism that is destroying Sweden, the country of my mother’s birth. What begins as a good intention shifts into a family-damaging government mandate. It starts off as “all children deserve” and soon becomes “all children must.” There goes freedom. There goes parental authority over the child, given to the state. As the end of the video shows, Swedish mental health and the quality of education on the whole is dropping dramatically, despite so much money being spent on socialized education.
I am asking you not to support the redistribution of wealth in this or any other manner. It will have the effect of taking children from their mothers. Government does not have that right.
- - - -
Here are a few more thoughts on why it’s wrong to take taxpayers’ money to pay for government preschools. (This has happened in Sweden but it’s right now–today– the topic of the Utah legislative education committee’s discussion.)
1. It’s a socialist idea. It will have the same future consequences of other socialist agendas– collective, unmanageable costs/debts, family authority put into submission to big government interventions, and the growth of bureaucracy/taxation without long-term compensating results to show for it.
2. Even if it starts off only for poor or disadvantaged children, it is unlikely to remain so. The bar of “economically disadvantaged” historically keeps moving until, in the name of equality, it’s free for everyone. Similarly, part-time will quickly shift to full-time, and voluntary to mandatory. Socialism and its branches aim to serve all with perfect equality.
3. We waste tax money on programs that don’t work. The solution might be to get rid of so much bureaucracy rather than adding more layers of it. Utah could give both the responsibilities and the tax money back to the people it came from, rather than playing Kings and Peasants with the money and the mandates.
4. Regardless of troubling statistics about dropouts and achievement gaps, it’s a false assumption that more government supervision and more money gambled on new theories are the best solution. ( And what right does the state government have to push this? –This is not a rhetorical question.)
5. High-quality preschools and government do not go together. The government should get out of the business of preschools, period. It is not appropriate for a U.S. state, that believes in free enterprise and individual responsibility, to meddle with that free enterprise and create socialism just like Sweden’s, or other countries’, by putting itself between taxpayers and private/public preschools.
6. The state is literally going to tempt the middle class to feign poverty or other at-risk problems to get “free” daycare. The state is also going to tempt mothers to drop children in the preschool to to to work because, as everybody knows, being a stay at home mom is the hardest job on earth. And ”voluntary” preschool is a meaningless concept when government creates a dependent people by “helping” way too much and discouraging self-reliance and free enterprise.
When a parent is working full-time because of free preschool, how will he/she “visit” the child and how meaningful will that “visitation” be? This is really backwards. The parent visits her
child? Who is then the main caregiver of that tiny soul? A state caregiver that sees the child as a paycheck?! What are we actually in effect promoting or denying? Think, think!
7. Even if the state contracts with private providers, those providers are, in effect, government agents when the government mandates what will be taught and by whom and for whom; their innovations and self-determination are meaningless when they are governmentally contracted (to common core and other government-mandated programs.)
The whole concept of early intervention is opposed to parental authority over the child. The state intervenes. The state is so terrified of seeing a single tragic neglect case that it is willing to take away the responsibility and liberty of all the people. It’s not right.
Ezra Taft Benson said asked “Are we part of the problem or are we part of the solution?” I ask us that same question.
Ezra Taft Benson called socialism “a philosophy incompatible with man’s liberty... Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty… Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything… We have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism… If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved…
James Madison opposed the proposal to put Congress in the role of promoting the general welfare according to its whims in these words:
“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasure; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for [and it was an issue then], it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. (Madison)…Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism… compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s socialists—who call themselves egalitarians—are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right…
“The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this “equality” is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system…
“Edmund Burke, the great British political philosopher, warned of the threat of economic equality. He said,
A perfect equality will indeed be produced—that is to say, equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of the petitioners, a woeful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; and they depress high and low together beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.
“Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? …We stand for independence, thrift, and abolition of the dole.… Every individual who accepts [OR LEGISLATES] an unearned government gratuity is just as morally culpable as the individual who takes a handout from taxpayers’ money to pay his heat, electricity, or rent. There is no difference in principle between them. You did not come… to become [OR TO LEGISLATE FOR] a welfare recipient. You came here to be a light to the world, a light to society—to save society and to help to save this nation, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days, to ameliorate man’s social conditions. You are not here to be [OR TO PROMOTE] a parasite or freeloader. The price you pay for “something for nothing” may be more than you can afford. Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.”
Benson’s full speech here: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85
There is still plenty o’confusion in the state of Utah. Lawmakers are realizing that due to the Utah Constitution’s giving authority to the Board to determine educational issues, they are almost powerless (except to defund Common Core). The board seems skittish and embarrassed now that so many of us know the new standards are inferior and that our freedoms have been traded for what started out as a way to increase Utah’s chance at a federal education grant during an economic low. And some on the USOE and state school board ship seem to be steering toward the possibility of purchasing SBAC tests despite the fact that Utah just voted to cut membership ties with SBAC.
The board now admits it’s a federal program. Lawmakers are not fully aware yet of all aspects of Common Core, while the Board is digging in their heels about giving any references for their claims of increased rigor or local control.
It’s a great drama, but a sad one.
Illustration: After the meeting, Alisa Ellis and I asked School Board Chair Debra Roberts if we might get a chance to sit down and talk with her about all of this. She said, “We’ve already wasted $10,000 in Board time as this group has been sitting down with us so much.”
Really? We asked who they have actually been talking/sitting with. (I’ve never had the opportunity, but would like it. I have had the majority of my many emails ignored and was told “no” to a sit-down conference with USOE lawyer Carol Lear.)
Chair Roberts said, “Well, we’ve sat with Christel many times.” Hmm. I said, “I am Christel. And that is not true.”
She insisted it was. So, I asked who said that they had sat and talked with me. She didn’t say. I said that somebody has misinformed you or somebody needs to take a lie detector test.
She hurried away, refusing to even discuss sitting down with us. So did Superintendent Shumway. Strange. The board now seems afraid of the truth that might come out during a legitimate discussion with an educated citizen, and they simply will not give references for their claims nor will they sit down and talk like gentlemen. Or gentlewomen.
Both the Tribune and the Deseret News covered the historic meeting of the House and Senate Education Committee on Common Core at the State Capitol yesterday. But they failed to report on some of the more fascinating moments.
Like what? Well, they skipped the Data Alliance’s data-mashing discussion and skipped the probing questions legislators directed toward both the pro-Common Core, such as Utah Superintendent Larry Shumway (and his staff) and to the visiting experts who testified at the meeting, the heroes of Utah’s day:
Jim Stergios of the Boston-based Pioneer Institute and Ted Rebarber of the D.C. -based AccountabilityWorks
The papers also totally blew the hilarious part, where Rep. Moss’ rhetorical questions got “Yes!”es –called out by several audience members including me, after Rep. Moss asked, “Have these people even read the standards? Are they English teachers? Do they have Master’s Degrees?”
So, here are links to the local newspapers’ coverage of the event:
And here’s my version. Photos first, details follow.
Senator Howard Stephenson: he said if he were “the king of Utah,” he would follow the recommendation of the visiting education experts.
Representative Francis Gibson: he asked Stergios and Rebarber to clarify whether it was true that Massachusetts had had the highest educational standards in the nation [and had tested as an independent country, ranking in the top six internationally] before they dropped their standards to adopt Common Core. You could have heard a pin drop. Stergios answered: it was the very reason a Massachusetts scholar traveled to Utah to testify against Common Core.
Rebarber and Stergios: Why not brand Utah as the great state with courage to be independent of federal manipulation via Common Core?
Jim Stergios and Ted Rebarber have agreed to share written copies of their ten minute testimonies to the Utah legislature, but until I get a copy, here are a just few bullet points:
- The quality of the Common Core standards is mediocre. Cutting classic literature to make room for informational texts has been said by Dr. Sandra Stotsky to be weakening college prep, taking away from the richer and broader vocabulary of classic literature.
- The math standards are less rigorous; for example, they place Alg. I in high school rather than in middle school. Math lacks a coherent grade by grade progression. The Common Core experimental approach to teaching geometry has never been successfully piloted in the world.
- Stergios quoted Jason Zimba, math architect for Common Core, who said that passing the Common Core test in math will only show a student is prepared to enter a nonselective community college.
- Stergios said that CCSSO administrator Gene Wilhoit’s recent statement to the Utah School Board that “there’s no Common Core police,” is misleading. Stergios said that gentlemen’s agreements quickly become mandates, as the pattern of the Dept. of Education’s recent history shows. It is best to rely on what is in writing.
- Stergios mentioned the Race to the Top for DISTRICTS, which is brand new. This shows zero respect for state authority over education. There is a steady pattern of encroachment by the federal government on education.
- Common Core did not have adequate deliberation; after a 2 day approval and no public input, Utah adopted Common Core. Even Fordham Institute, a pro-common core think tank, rated Utah math standards higher prior to adoption of Common Core.
- Stergios said Utah should brand itself as independent, thus attracting more talent and economic growth by reversing the adoption of Common Core.
- Legislators hold the purse. There’s a separation of powers between the legislature and the State School Board, which holds the authority over determining standards. There’s also the Constitutional principle of checks and balances. The ESEA waiver shows the federal arm is tying funds to adoption of Common Core –or to a college program that the Dept. of Ed must approve. If legislators don’t approve of either the experimental, inferior aspect, or the federally-promoted aspect of the standards, they can withhold all Common Core funding. The school board will have to create independent standards.
- NAPE tests provide national results; SAT and ACT do not. They are only used by certain states, not all.
- SBAC’s passing scores are non-negotiable; the purpose is to define what proficient means. Utah can’t affect SBAC.
- Federal Dept of Education has herded states into a set of standards. The benefits for collaboration are over when all have the same standards, whether you call them Utah Core or Common Core. It is the same.
- Texas’ Robert Scott has said he would love to do collaborative work with other states, creating an item bank rather than exact common tests. There are other approaches and ways that don’t require everyone to be the very same.
- The legislature has a duty to protect the right of Utah citizens not to give up education to federal control. Protecting state sovereignty is a legitimate concern.
Of the nearly packed to capacity room, who spoke up or asked questions? Several lawmakers:
Rep. Ken Sumison:
Who spoke up from the Utah Data Alliance and NCES? One man:
And who spoke at lennnnggggth from the Utah State School Board?
Superintendent Larry Shumway
Assistant Superintendent Judy Park
(who used the word “thrilled” multiple times in the same sentence as “sharing with the Department of Education”)
–and Utah State School Board Chair Debra Roberts:
Chair Roberts said: “I don’t care what the federal government has to say…I will listen to Utah educators.” (But she refuses to speak for even five minutes to educators like me, who oppose Common Core. )
Others in the audience (non-speaking roles) included:
The Honorable Judge Norman Jackson: (who has thoroughly reviewed the legal aspects of Common Core and based on his assessment, recommended Utah reject Common Core)
Rep. Kraig Powell
who has been studying both sides of Common Core with interest
And the pro-freedom in education activist, Alisa Ellis, with many more citizens against Common Core restraints:
So, with the exception Aaron Osmond –who says he’s to the point of nausea because of how much he’s had to face Common Core controversy –most legislators and citizens and teachers still don’t understand what Common Core is. I make this judgement from having heard very important, basic questions asked by legislators.
Sen. Stephenson, Rep. Gibson, Rep. Nielsen, Rep. Moss, Rep. Christianson, Rep. Sumison and others asked good, probing questions and made clear, excellent points, such as Rep. Sumison’s “Whoever pays, makes the rules.” (He wasn’t referring to the fact that the legislators hold the Utah public purse, but to the fact that the federal government has financially incentivized Common Core.)
–I’ll get to the rest of the legislators in a minute.
First, all in the audience had to trudge through almost two hours of the Pro-Common Core Show led by Superintendent Larry Shumway and Judy Park.
Park reported on the No Child Left Behind waiver. Dr. Park bubbled and gushed about what she called her “thrill of sharing Utah’s work with the Department of ED” in applying for No Child Left Behind. She used the word “sharing” and “thrilled” multiple times. Superintendent Shumway said that he was “offended” that people “in this room” have implied that he gets something out of sitting on boards outside Utah other than providing a helpful service. He said he receives no pay for sitting on the board of CCSSO (The Council of Chief State School Officers). He did not mention another board he sits on, WestEd, which is the test writer for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
John Brandt and his staffer said the Utah Data Alliance is no threat to citizen privacy, although, he chuckled, ”there are no guarantees,” and he admitted that ”about 10 people will have clearance to access personally identifiable” citizen information.
The Q + A:
So: What did the legislators want to know? What did the pro and con answerers say?
When Rep. Moss asked her rhetorical questions and got “Yes!”es shouted out in response, Superintendent Shumway answered her, too: “Standards set a base line. Standards don’t set a cap.” (I thought: Really? What does the 15% speed limit on learning set by the Dept of Education, and copyrighted by NGA/CCSSO, do– if it does not cap our rights to educate as we see fit? Please.)
When Rep. Stephenson pointed to the academic reviews of Common Core that are unfavorable to the school board’s claims that the standards will increase rigor and strengthen legitimate college prep, Superintendent Shumway deflected the question. Waving aside official reviews by actual members of the only official national Common Core Validation Committee, professors who refused to sign off on the Common Core standards as being adequate, Superintendent Shumway said: “there’s no dearth of documents.” (The referenced reviews of Dr. Sandra Stotsky on English and by Dr. James Milgam on math are available in Exhibit A and B here: http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf and in many other places.
Rep. Christensen said he wants Utah to be independent and said, “Education is a local matter.” He was troubled by the”implicit recognition of federal supremacy,” illustrated by the majority of states having asked the federal government for waivers from No Child Left Behind. He added, “We’re going down a road” he is not happy about, illustrated by the fact he cited: a school board member said Utah had paid a $90,000 fine for noncompliance with No Child Left Behind.
In response, Superintendent Shumway said that there were various disclaimers in the No Child Left Behind application.
Rep. Nielsen asked if it was true that by 7th grade, under Common Core math, students would be two years behind world class standards. Jim Stergios responded that indeed, Common Core was a step backward for Utah, but it would be closer to one year behind. For other states, Common Core brings math standards back two years.
Rep. Nielsen stated concerns about local control, saying that the U.S. Dept of Education uses terms like “allows” this and “allows” that. Sup. Shumway responded that “We are navigating through compliated waters.”
Sen. Osmond and Sen. Stephenson asked cost-related questions: hadn’t Utah already borne the brunt of the online costs for technology to match Common Core? Ted Rebarber answered that the state should do a cost analysis as other states have done. Common Core requires transformative realignment to the national standards. Rebarber asked, “Why do it?” –Since the cost/benefit analysis shows Utah is giving away state authority while adding costs, for inferior standards or at best, very similar to previously held, state standards.
Sen. Stephenson asked about the “legitimate concerns about abandoning what districts are doing” concerning assessments. Sup. Shumway said, “We haven’t preselected any vendor [for testing]. We were careful not to create requirements that would exclude anyone.” Shumway invited any Utahn to go to schools.utah.gov and click on “popular links” and submit input on specific standards that Utahns find problematic. He said these must be academically central comments, not comments about state sovereignty over education.
Several legislators questioned the timing of simultaneously asking the public for feedback to change the standards when the test Request for Proposals (RFP) has already been written and the SBAC has long been in the test writing process. How could Utah’s changed standards match? (I would add, how do you think we’re going to get away with changing more than 15% of our standards when it’s copyrighted and the Dept. of Ed. is aiming for seamless commonality between states?)
Sup. Shumway said that the timetables are challenging.
Both Rep. Nielsen and Rep. Christensen were concerned with the costs of Common Core and the state longitudinal data system (SLDS), costs which have not been studied by Utah. The SLDS grant will run out in 2013.
Utah Technology Director John Brandt responded that he hoped the legislature would continue to fund SLDS, ”this valuable tool.”
Valuable tool for whom? Children? Parents? Freedom lovers? –Excuse me while I run screaming from the room and cross-stitch and frame in gold the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.
The SLDS and Data Alliance is either–
- What John Brandt and his team said it is, yesterday: a state network of data (never to be shared with federal agencies) –a way to share preschool-to-workforce data about Utahns, among six state agencies (Dept. of Workforce Services, Utah State Office of Education, and more). Brandt assured legislators that personally identifiable portions of this data would be only accessed by about ten people in the state, but countless people can access the nonidentifiable portions of the data.
This makes more sense since Brandt belongs to the Dept. of Education’s research arm, the NCES, and he also belongs to -and chairs– the group that developed and copyrighted the Common Core standards, the CCSSO or Council of Chief State School Officers. NCES has a long-standing “National Data Collection Model” you can view here: http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/Information/howToUse.aspx
So Brandt is a fed, along with being the Technology Director for the state of Utah.
Relevantly, the Dept. of Education’s Chief of Staff, Joanne Weiss, has recently said that she’s combining or “mashing” data systems of federal agencies and is “helping” states (Oh, thank you!) by writing reports to assist them in developing research partnerships. She has said, ”Politicians often warn of the law of unintended consequences—as if all unintended consequences are negative ones—but in the world of data, we should also be aware of the law of welcome surprises.” (Weiss at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) annual conference. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html Thanks, Ms. Weiss. That makes me feel better.
I will keep this in mind while I continue to study exemplary progressive collectivism such as China’s Ministry of Public Security, as I recall the “data sharing” on citizens in Germany’s 1940s, or as I enjoy George Orwell’s immortal “1984″.
Utah, let’s keep our wits about us.
There’s a meeting, open to the public, to be held in room 30 in the House Building at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City. This meeting will be important, as heavy hitters will be speaking about Common Core issues:
Dr. Larry Shumway, Utah Superintendent of Schools, John Brandt, Technology Director, and Dr. Judy Park, Associate Superintendent, will be speaking.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, University of Arkansas, member of Common Core Validation Committee http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/stotsky.html
–and Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, will be speaking.
A G E N D A
Education Interim Committee – Utah Legislature
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 • 2:00 p.m. • Room 30 House Building
1. Committee Business
2. Flexibility Waiver
Utah is among the 32 states granted a flexibility waiver to replace the federal accountability system created under No Child Left Behind with its own state accountability system. Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, schools will be evaluated based on a new state accountability system, and school performance reports will be issued this fall showing each school’s results under the new state accountability system. Committee members will receive a briefing on the flexibility waiver and the new state accountability system.
3. Utah Data Alliance and the State Longitudinal Data System
As a collaborative, multi-organizational partnership, the Utah Data Alliance seeks to enhance the quality of educational research and analysis in Utah regarding policies, practices, and programs by utilizing an integrated statewide longitudinal data system of individual, de-identified information. The Utah Data Alliance provides policy and decision makers research findings with the goal of improving education and workforce policy and practice. Committee members will receive a briefing on the Utah Data Alliance and the state longitudinal data system.
4. Report on Utah’s Core Standards and Participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Dr. Shumway will report on a process for the State Board of Education to receive and consider proposed changes to Utah’s core standards for English language arts and mathematics. He will also report on State Board of Education action regarding Utah’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium.
5. Common Core
Dr. Stotsky, a member of the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, will testify on the common core standards. Mr. Robert Scott, Commission of Education of Texas, a state that has not adopted the common core, will express his concerns with the common core.
• Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas
• Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education of Texas
6. Other Items/Adjourn
Democrats, Republicans and others packed the Wasatch Bagel Cafe in Park City to standing room only last night in an effort to learn the pros and cons of Utah’s membership in the Common Core Movement. Common Core is a set of national standards and common tests that was initiated by states, is incentivized and promoted by the federal government, and is backed financially by private interest groups, largely by Bill Gates.
Wasatch Representative Kraig Powell, Senate Education Committee Chair Aaron Osmond, House Committee Chair Francis Gibbons, and Joel Briscoe, also of the Utah Legislature, led the meeting. None of the four vocalized a strong stand for or against the Common Core Initiative. Questions and comments by citizens generally addressed the questions of whether local autonomy and control over educational standards and good education would be available with Common Core.
Doctor and Park City citizen John Zimmerman said, “We don’t need the federal government in education,” and asked why the Common Core educational movement was involved with the federal government. Aaron Osmond responded that the movement did not start out being federally led but the federal government has taken advantage of the movement. Kraig Powell added that it’s as if we were headed down the road in a small car and the federal government came along with a faster car and we got in.
Representative Kraig Powell said that raising educational standards is an important and laudable goal. He said that he trusts people and feels that as long as there is plenty of public discussion, Utah will come up with something we can all live with. He voiced concern about the Department of Education’s use of “shall” language in the No Child Left Behind waivers that push states toward Common Core. He mentioned that there was a larger legislative turnout than he’d ever seen last month when four national educational experts spoke against Common Core at a legislators’ lunch and at another public forum. He emphasized that there must be lots of input and study so people’s voices can be heard. (Currently, few citizens know what Common Core is.) Powell also noted that just as Medicaid has put mandates on Utah which come with funding concerns many Utahns are not comfortable with, there is a concern that the same demoralization of teachers and the same costly requirements may happen with Common Core that were problematic with No Child Left Behind.
Senate Education Committee Chair Aaron Osmond said that the Utah Constitution allows the state school board a lot of power. He voiced a concern that we must preserve state sovereignty and the right to control standards in our state, saying, ”If we lose that, I concur that it’s wrong.”
Newly appointed chair of the Utah House Education Committee, Francis Gibson, said that both the pro and con sides of the Common Core have arguments that make sense. He liked the fact that the standards promised not to dictate curriculum and hoped there was a way to fix the low portion of the math segments of Common Core. He did not mention whether there was a way to amend standards under the common core contractual documents.
Representative Joel Briscoe said that his entire family, including himself, consists of teachers. While the Common Core requires students to read less literature, he felt that fact did not represent any lowering of standards. He addressed the fact that at the high school level, 70% of English language readings are to be informational text with only 30% being allowed to be classic literature readings. He supports the less-literature, more-informational text shift. He did not address Common Core’s shift away from narrative writing. He did not address the non-amendability of the reading and writing standards.
Heber citizen Anissa Wardell asked what the legislators’ stand was on data collection, including personally identifiable student information, to be gathered without parental consent, a concern connected to Common Core reforms. Kraig Powell responded that we have to ask ourselves whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the P-20 systems and/or private entities track a child from before kindergarten through college and work. He did not take a stand on the question.
All four legislators said they applauded the effort of the Utah State School Board in attempting to raise educational standards for Utah.