Archive for the ‘liberty’ Tag
Utahns Against Common Core receives notes from parents and teachers on a regular basis. Here is a heartbreaking message from an anonymous teacher in Canyons District:
“We are currently gearing up for our new educator evaluation system called CTESS. Today I was reading through the evaluation and of the 12 standards 3 require you to show that you are supportive of and actively teaching the “Utah Core Standard”, otherwise known as “Common Core.” This is why teachers are afraid to speak out. I really am fearful for my job. There have been times when I have wanted to speak up, like recently when attending a district meeting and Common Core came up. The comment was made by a district official that those who were against Common Core were “kooks.” This is the environment teachers have to work in. If you disagree, you have no place to turn. I am ready to find another career and get out.”
Below is the full text of the resolution that Utah County Republicans voted to pass, in opposition to Common Core this week.
It will be interesting to see what Governor Herbert does with the mounting evidence that Utahns oppose Common Core. Despite publically taking a second look at the academics, he has not taken any steps to get a second look at state and federal data mining done in Utah, nor has he taken a second look at the actual governance structure of Common Core which seems far, far more important than the academic snapshot. The governor’s still moving full steam on with the Common Core-promoting Prosperity 2020 and SLDS systems in this state, and has not resigned from his Common Core-promoting role in the National Governors Association (that unelected, private trade group which created and copyrighted the Common Core.)
Governor, is it time to start listening more closely to voters?
Utah County Republican Resolution
WHEREAS, The Common Core State Standards Initiative (“Common Core”), adopted as part of the “Utah
Core,” is not a Utah state standards initiative, but rather a set of nationally-based standards and tests
developed through a collaboration between two NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) and
unelected boards and consortia from outside the state of Utah; and,
WHEREAS, Common Core binds us to an established copyright over standards, limiting our ability to
create or improve education standards that we deem best for our own children; and,
WHEREAS, the General Educational Provisions Act prohibits federal authority over curriculum and
testing, yet the U.S. Department of Education’s “Cooperative Agreements” confirm Common Core’s test-
building and data collection is federally managed; and,
WHEREAS, “student behavior indicators” – which include testing for mental health, social and cultural
(i.e. religious) habits and attitudes and family status – are now being used for Common Core tests and
WHEREAS, Common Core promotes the storage and sharing of private student and family data without
consent; using a pre-school through post-graduate (P-20) tracking system and a federally-funded State
Longitudinal Database (SLDS), creating substantial opportunities for invasion of privacy; and,
WHEREAS, Common Core intrudes on the constitutional authority of the states over education by
pressuring states to adopt the standards with financial incentives tied to President Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’, and if not adopted, penalties include loss of funds and, just as Oklahoma experienced a loss of
their ESEA waiver; and
WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee and Utah State Republican Convention recently passed a
resolution opposing Common Core State Standards;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we call on the Governor and the Utah State School Board to withdraw
from, and we ask the Utah State Legislature to discontinue funding programs in association with, the
Common Core State Standards Initiative/Utah’s Core and any other similar alliance, and;
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution shall be delivered to the Governor
and the State legislature requesting executive and legislative action.
Jenni White of Oklahoma’s Restore Oklahoma Public Education spoke last night in Midvale, Utah, to a clapping, cheering, energized crowd that included two legislators from the Utah House of Representatives, Kay Christofferson and LaVar Christiansen, both of whom stood and spoke after Jenni’s speech to voice their support.
Feisty, hilarious, sassy and smart, Jenni White’s presentation explained that she and her group have been working for many, many years (longer than the majority of us have in Utah) to stop Common Core. The bills that were written there never got heard, or only made it through one committee hearing, year after year. It took hard work and dogged persistence to work the miracle that Oklahoma finally saw this year. Her speech was filmed and will be posted soon. Here are highlights:
What Oklahoma moms did:
1. They didn’t just work with one or two legislators. They emailed all the legislators, every week, with short, vital pieces of information to help educate them about just what the Common Core Initiative has done to schools, to student privacy, to teacher autonomy, to the voice of parents, to the power of local control of education.
2. They showed up by the hundreds during the legislative session, wearing the green Stop Common Core t-shirts, and made it impossible during rallies for legislators to walk down the halls without swerving around green t-shirted parents and teachers and students. They would not be ignored or dismissed.
3. They sent legislative baseball cards, stop common core cookie bouquets, postcards, notes, legislator memos, tweets, emails.
4. They held a “Hear the Bills!” rally to persuade legislators to at least listen, to at least let this issue have a fair hearing.
5. They did photo ops with Governor Fallin, wearing the green t-shirts, even before she had decided to stand against Common Core.
6. They had meetings statewide, educating the public, asking the public to call their legislators and tell them they wanted Common Core to be repealed and replaced with better standards like Massachusetts had prior to the Common Core-ing of America.
7. They stuck together, not allowing infighting or small disagreements to break apart their coalition of parents, teachers and citizens who wanted Common Core to go away.
Since the Oklahoma miracle, some pro-Core advocates such as Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrelli, (a financial beneficiary of Bill Gates, of course) have tried to spin the Oklahoma miracle of repealing Common Core as a disaster, saying that Oklahoma teachers have no idea what to teach right now.
The indomitable Jenni White, rather than shrink under his arrogance and criticism, happily invited Petrelli to Oklahoma for an open debate and discussion on this subject.
Petrelli has accepted, according to his Twitter feed.
Thank you, Oklahoma! We love you!
If you have not already done so, please sign the petition letter that’s going to the State Board of Education. Link here.
Tomorrow’s state school board meeting is a big deal. Please be there and bring people. Wear a grass green shirt to show opposition to the federal ESEA/NCLB waiver and to Common Core.
At 9:00 a.m., this peaceful outdoor protest by the offices of education will feature YOU and YOUR friends and family, with your signs, taking a stand.
We will take a stand against the stripping away of local control of our schools, the guinea pig-like academic experimentation on our children, and against the replacement of classic, time-tested education with the Common Core snake oil that nobody was consulted about, prior to being billed for. We will stand against the unconstitutional power grab of the Department of Education and claim the right as parents and as citizens to reclaim local control. We are calling the bluff of the Department of Education, which pretends to authority that it does not hold.
If you have not already done so, please sign the petition letter that’s going to the State Board of Education. Link here.
Another letter and petition has already gone to the State School Board from members of the Utah Chamber of Commerce and others. It says the opposite message. Understand: the national and state Chambers of Commerce have put huge pressure on the state school boards to continue with the ESEA/NCLB waivers for one simple reason: money.
In their letter, signed by many Utah business people and local school board members, the governor’s appointee to review Common Core wrote that “as a key stakeholder, surely the perspectives and support of the business community are an important plan of any successful plan for improving education in the state.” Translation: “because we’ve invested money in the Common Core-based technologies and are making a mint off this experiment, and because we work for organizations heavily funded by Common Core financier Bill Gates, we want and claim a stake in your child’s education.”
Our letter, which was written yesterday, has already been signed by hundreds and hundreds of people. It says this (highlights):
To the Members of the Utah state Board of Education:
… To receive a waiver from NCLB, Utah agreed to option A, which required Utah to show proof that we had adopted Common Core. In other words, the state was coerced into agreeing to a reform package that exerts a far greater control over our state education system than NCLB.
The waiver should not be renewed… The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government no opportunity to be involved in Utah education. By renewing the waiver, Utah will be obligated to continue with their Common Core commitment to the federal government, which is a violation of both federal and state Constitutions.
…Utah law states that we can and shall be flexible with our funding to utilize it to meet state goals and objectives over federal goals and objectives.
Concerns that there may be a reduction in federal funds affecting Title I schools should not stop the board from doing the right thing.
It will be the responsibility of the legislature and the Governor to make sure that Title I schools have necessary funding.
Please do not sign the waiver.
Please ask friends to sign our letter to the board. Then come to tomorrow’s open board meeting and to the protest. If you are unable to come, write to the state and local boards of education.
————— On Children’s Privacy ————————–
The insatiable data-hunters at American Institutes for Research (AIR) –who also happen to create Utah’s SAGE/Common Core/Utah Core school tests– seem to qualify as stark enemies of student privacy and parental rights.
Desperate to access personal information about children, AIR wants us to believe the following lie: “your information is out there anyway, so stop fighting for your child’s right to privacy.” That’s the gist of this interview with Julia Lane, a “fellow” at American Institutes for Research (AIR). It’s short, and a must-see.
Jakell Sullivan, a Utah mom, has provided the following commentary on Julia Lane’s interview:
- “It’s impossible to get informed consent about collecting big-data.”
… (TRANSLATION-”We can’t wait for you, the parent, to understand our need to collect your child’s data. We’ll need to change public policies at the federal and state level without your consent. We can unilaterally do this by lobbying legislators to stomp out your parental rights.”)
- “Google knows where you are every single minute of the day”
… (TRANSLATION-”We couldn’t let Google have a monopoly over big-data, so we partnered with them in 2012. Now, we can drill down on what your child is doing and thinking. Luckily, your child will be using Google Chromebooks soon to learn and take SAGE tests. Once we get every child on a one-to-one device, we can continuously assess your child’s skills through the technology without them having to take a formal test—or be at school!”)
- “The private sector has been using the data to make a lot of money.”
… (TRANSLATION-”We deserve to make obscene amounts of money, too, by tracking your child’s thinking patterns from PreK to Workforce. Then, we can manipulate their education data to spread the wealth right back into our coffers.”)
- “In the public sector, we tend not to use those data.”
… (TRANSLATION-”We don’t see a need to follow ethical rules anymore. Everybody else is collecting big-data. We deserve big-data on your child! Your natural right to direct your child’s learning is getting in the way of US doing it. We deserve to control their learning!”)
- “The good that is being lost is incalculably high.”
… (TRANSLATION-”We can’t save your child because you won’t let us track their personal learning. We must be able to track what they think from PreK to Workforce—for the good of the collective.”)
- “The rules that exist are no longer clear and are probably no longer applicable.”
… (TRANSLATION-”We don’t think federal or state privacy laws are fair. We will unilaterally decide how Utah’s state policies will be changed so that we can track your child’s personal learning styles, beliefs, and behaviors. It’s for the good of the collective, of course!”)
This video shows how very wrong we are to buy into AIR at all, or to buy into the current “children live to serve the workforce” movement.
Consent does matter. Privacy is an important right. Personal choice shouldn’t be superseded by what so-called “stakeholders” desire. Governments and corporations don’t have the right to take away privacy –any more than they have the right to take away your property. No fluffy argument can trump these inherent rights.
Don’t let them have it! Don’t give your child’s privacy up so easily! The more people who opt their children out of taking the high-stakes AIR/SAGE tests, the less information these data hounds will have.
Just today, I was registering my high school student for the upcoming school year, online, and was asked many questions about personal, non-academic things: what languages do we speak at home, whether my child has contact lenses, emotional troubles, what our ethnic background is, and endless medical data questioning.
It was not possible to go to the next screen without saying “yes” or giving out each piece of information.
So I wrote to the school district and complained. Please do the same.
If many of us stand up, things will not continue to hurtle down the path toward a real-life Orwellian 1984 where privacy can no longer exist.
——————– On Children’s Happiness ————————–
Privacy from big-data mining is not the only reason people are opting their children out of state tests.
The other thing that opting your child out of state testing gives you, is a happier child. The tests are very long and don’t benefit your child. They are non-educating, are secretive (parents may not see them) and test the experimental Common Core standards rather than legitimate, classic education. Why participate? What is in it for your child?
Currently, teachers in Utah are under a gag order; they are not allowed to tell parents that parents have a legal right to opt a child out of state testing. The fact is that although schools are required by current law to administer these terrible tests, students and parents are under no obligation to take them. Schools are not allowed to penalize students for opting out, in any way.
Learn more about how and why to boycott SAGE/AIR/Common Core tests, and learn what your legal rights are, as a parent or as a student, at Utahns Against Common Core.
Click here to participate in Utah’s Stop Common Core T-shirt Design Contest and to get information about how to vote on the winning design.
We plan to wear these shirts at upcoming state school board meetings and at the State Capitol to help raise awareness about Common Core.
The shirts will be available in a week or two!