Archive for the ‘liberty’ Tag
Connecticut Against Common Core hosted Seton Hall University professor Dr. Christopher Tienken last month. Start at minute 4:22 for Dr. Tienken’s speech.
Dr. Tienken talks about intended and unintended consequences of any treatment –including educational “treatment,” to children. He explains how important it is to have evidence for the need and the effectiveness of Common Core, which he refers to as “the latest round of standardization.” He defines himself not as others do, as “anti-Common Core” but more “pro-evidence”. He assesses education reforms through the lens of evidence, sourcing all of his statements and writings against Common Core, which you may read at his website and in the many academic journals in which he has been published.
He challenges the assumptions that underlie advocacy for Common Core.
For example: What if the results of the international test are not meaningful? –We might not be lagging at all in international competitiveness. None of the international tests can tell you the quality of a national education system nor can they predict the economic future. That’s not just an opinion; that’s his job, he says –reading 400 page technical manuals on international testing. Only about 6,000 kids in a country take these tests, and they may not be at all representative of the rest of the kids in that country. In China and Singapore, for example, most students aren’t in high school when the tests are administered. Only the wealthiest kids take these tests, not second language learners and others. These tests, he says, are sensitive to factors outside of school. PISA and TIMMS tests, for example, measure skills akin to the 19th century. Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, skills that drive economies today, are not even measured.
Why do Americans think that one narrow test (not evidence based) will be the ultimate predictor of student and national economic achievement?
Dr. Tienken later breaks out the charts to show how well the United States is actually doing, showing the misguidedness of Common Core’s foundational claims.
Watch the video to hear the rest. It’s great.
By JaKell Sullivan and Christel Swasey
Common science standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are gleefully trending all over the nation now, birthed by the same folks who pushed Common Core English and Math (Achieve, Inc., David Coleman’s baby and US Delivery Institute, Pearson CEA Michael Barber’s baby.
Many states have rejected, or are wisely in the middle of debating rejecting, the common science standards.
South Carolina utterly rejected them. Wyoming’s legislature rejected them, in a move Truth in American Education called “a victory for objectivity and neutrality in science education.” (Read Wyoming citizens’ testimonies and more on Wyoming’s decision here.)
Meanwhile, in Kansas, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) have filed a federal law suit against the state school board and the state department of education for pushing NGSS in violation of the first and fourth amendments to the Constitution. In Kentucky, legislators wrote a bill to potentially reject the NGSS science standards, while Ohio passed a bill that made multi-state control of standards — including science standards– illegal.
So what about Utah? Aren’t we discussing this and vetting these standards thoroughly here? No, we are not.
Here in Utah, no legislator has written any bill to consider rejecting NGSS. Search the internet, and you’ll find there’s nothing in the legislature nor in recent news at all about NGSS in Utah.
A year ago there was. The then-chairwoman of the state school board Debra Roberts promised that Utah had no plans to adopt the NGSS standards although Utah would revise science standards. She said, “they will be uniquely Utah standards”. That turned out to be untrue.
Quietly, under the public radar, Utah’s Office of Education (USOE) is rushing forward to align with the national science standards without public knowledge. I did a quick word search on the Utah State Office of Education website for “Next generation science standards” and found 143 references to it in USOE-published pdf’s and professional development conferences. Right now, a Utah science standards review committee is reviewing Utah’s current science standards and is comparing them with NGSS national science standards.
According to a Utah law HB342, a committee including a handful of parents must “review and recommend” to the board any new revisions to curriculum. Some of those parents aren’t happy about being herded toward approving matching Utah’s science standards to NGSS science. They say it’s abundantly clear that the Utah State Office of Education wants the NGSS standards here in Utah.
Of course, the feeling is mutual; NGSS wants to be in Utah. That’s obvious since “Education First” of Utah (partner of NGSS) rolled out their (uncalled-for) five-year plan for Utah’s education system recently– and it so happens that “Education First” is not only partnered with the co-creators of NGSS: Achieve and US Delivery Institute but it also heavily promoted Common Core in propaganda mailings to the Utah legislature last year. Most likely, Education First will be promoting NGSS in similar legislator mailings and Prosperity 2020 radio spots– after they’ve been adopted, as was the case with Common Core.
Still, by law, it’s not Education First or its partners who have authority to set education policy or standards or create five-year plans. Even the USOE lacks that authority. It’s only the State School Board –with the assistance of the parent committee– who is supposed to weigh in.
Profound problems are being reported by the few parents who are allowed to weigh in on these standards.
1- First, oddly, some of the same individuals are serving on both the new science standards writing committee and the review committee. That is like the judge judging himself.
2- Second, the “new and improved” Utah science standards currently being “reviewed” by parents just so happen to be 99.9% the same as the national, standardized Next Generation Science Standards, according to parents currently on that committee.
3- Third, parents note that even thought the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) does not have legal authority to make new science standards for Utah schools; the Utah State School Board does; yet the board has not been in charge of this science standards-altering process; the USOE took it over.
4- Fourth: NGSS science standards –to which Utah’s aiming to align– do come from the same private business people who brought us Common Core math and English standards: Achieve Inc., David Coleman, etc. , yet the claim is that these science standards have nothing to do with Common Core.
5- Fifth: Most importantly– NGSS are not scientifically neutral or objective. The NGSS Frameworks and Standards promote every tenet of a belief system called secular humanism, as listed in Humanist Manifesto III. This is not separating church and state; it is creating a dogma of anti-religion as a religion.
To understand #5, jump to the Kansas law suit on this issue.
In December of last year, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) filed suit in federal court against the Kansas State Board of Education and the Kansas Department of Education to stop implementation of science standards designed for every child in the United States. Why?
The suit says that NGSS science standards aren’t objective nor neutral science standards. Rather than showing multiple beliefs about the origin and end of life, they adhere religiously to the humanistic/atheistic view of science, which is, ironically, pushing religion: the anti-religion religion. This violates the Constitution’s first and fourteenth amendments. NGSS pushers try to argue that anyone opposed to NGSS is for teaching another religion in the classroom. Actually, the opposite is true. It is the NGSS which promotes its religion of atheism and secular humanism represented in NGSS. That’s not only not objective, not neutral, and not scientific; it’s also a violation of law. Pushing secular humanism and atheism (and controversial environmental issues) as if they were settled facts is, ironically, unscientific.
In the words of John Calvert, lead counsel for the plaintiffs:
“This case is actually about a concealed Orthodoxy that requires all explanations provided by science to be materialistic/atheistic.”
A press release from Citizens for Objective Public Education states, “The Orthodoxy is not religiously neutral as it permits only the materialistic/atheistic answers to ultimate religious questions. The concealed use of the Orthodoxy in [Frameworks & Standards] has the effect of promoting the core tenets of non-theistic religions like Atheism and Religious (secular) Humanism.”
The press release lists mechanisms and strategies used by the NGSS Frameworks and Standards to establish the materialistic/atheistic worldview:
- Systematic omissions and misrepresentations
- Teaching materialistic/atheistic ideas to primary children whose minds are susceptible to blindly accepting them
- Programs designed to become habits of mind
- Implicit exclusion of theists from provisions that require education to promote “equity,” diversity and non-discrimination
How did NGSS (and how did Common Core) make such strides across America? Here’s how.
1. State Offices of Education now only exist to pedal federal programs that are administrative in nature, not Constitutional. We’ve strayed not only from our national Constitution but from our Utah Constitution also. Rather than allow the state school board to truly set standards, the USOE offices run the educational show, unaccountable to anyone.
2. Both the Common Core Standards and NGSS and the new AP History Standards come with Appendices and Federal Frameworks and implementation handbooks to control adoption, curriculum and how teachers teach.
The NGSS come with a written Framework in order to control what/how teachers teach. What is tested is what will have to be taught.
Does anyone wonder why SAGE tests, already administered statewide last year, INCLUDED SCIENCE questions? Wasn’t the original claim that Common Core standards just included math and English? Nope. The AIR/SAGE tests were already set up to test the NGSS from the start. The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) knew that we would essentially be adopting the NGSS.
The USOE’s deceptive relationship with AIR and deceptions to the State Board and to parents of Utah have to be stopped. The USOE knows that the Common Core Standards’ Appendices and NGSS Framework will control what/how teachers teach and they know that SAGE tests are already set up to test NGSS.
The parent committee to review the science standards is a mockery of the Utah law that set it up. Meanwhile, NGSS also goes out of its way to create, in its NGSS Implementation workbook a long list for states of useful “Members of a Guiding Coalition” but parents are excluded from the recommended coalition member list. Oversight? Hardly.
The guiding coalition of those who should adopt and implement NGSS standards is officially defined this way: “a small group of highly visible and credible leaders who share your aspiration and will sustain your effort and will implement NGSS in the face of pushback...” (This reminds me of the way the USOE has gone out of its way to marginalize, demonize, or simply ignore parent pushback while it told the public that appendices and frameworks would not control Utah education at the local level.) Here are those links, for reference:
Common Core Appendices (For English Standards):
Common Core Appendix (For Math):
Common Core Framework (Next Generation Science Standards):
Note that the Science Standards report admits the purpose of its framework: “Students will make the greatest strides in learning science and engineering when all components of the system—from professional development for teachers to curricula and assessments to time allocated for these subjects during the school day—are aligned with the vision of the framework.”
3. The College Board, under the direction of David Coleman, Common Core’s architect, is revamping ALL AP Courses to include Federal Frameworks to control curriculum and pedagogy. For example:
AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework
AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework Evidence Planner for Teachers (teachers manual)
4. Big-Government and Big-Business both within Utah and elsewhere are profiting from federal reforms that these Appendices and Frameworks require of states. This includes federal programs to retrain principals and teachers to “trust that data” and federally funded programs to implement 1-to-1 technology in schools.
Last week, the Governor’s committee chair, Rich Kendall, along with the Salt Lake Chamber and Education First, unveiled their 5-year education plan. No teacher or school board or parental input was needed. This plan hinges on Common Core’s English and math standards now (and will no doubt eventually include all of Utah’s standards that will be aligned to Common Core for the profit of business, not to profit or protect our children.
Education First and the Governor’s Prosperity 2020 really must believe that parents don’t see what’s going on. The entire standards review process is political theater—and parents, teachers, and local school districts are being played for patsies.
5. The Appendices and Federal Frameworks function to dismantle local education control because he who controls the testing, controls the teachers. These Frameworks are embedded into the AIR/SAGE tests and in 1-to-1 technology, coming to our schools via federal funding.
6. As the Federal Frameworks work with business powers to dismantle local education control, we will see our representative form of government dismantled. The Federal Executive Branch is effectively corralling states by using administrative law, bypassing Constitutional law.
Let’s stop the “Next Generation Science Standards”.
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.