Archive for the ‘mothers against common core’ Tag
by Whitne Strain and Christel Swasey
Long ago, the horrific invading soldiers of Genghis Khan used children as shields. Seeing innocent children sandwiched between defenders and invaders, few defenders would continue a defense.
That image, from “The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World” comes to mind as we watch the U.S. Secretary of Education’s recent war against what he sees as a noncompliant Washington State.
Washington State became a thorn in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s side when the state refused to comply with the federal agenda that would tie teacher evaluations to students’ Common Core test scores.
Washington State’s leaders had listened to teachers and parents; they then stood up to the unconstitutional federal demands and just said no. They would not comply with the damaging policy of tying teacher evaluation to student scores.
The federal response was a punch in the face: Duncan stripped Washington of its waiver from ESEA (aka No Child Left Behind).
Why is that a punch in Washington State’s face? Losing the waiver means that Washington now will get reburied in the absurd, impossible NCLB mandates –and will lose funding.
Duncan not only punished Washington state; he especially punished the state’s neediest children.
According to the Washington Spokesman-Review, “Washington is the first state to lose control over federal dollars used to help students in the poorest schools. The result: Districts will be forced to set aside the $40 million they had been getting for those student services”.
We wonder: how does Duncan sleep at night?
Read his wordy, meaningless federal explanation letter here. It is so verbiose and devoid of goodness that we won’t quote a single word. But do read teacher Peter Greene’s clever and hilarious teacher’s translation of Duncan’s letter to Washington, it here — spot-on.
Here’s Greene’s conclusion:
“Washington got to ignore its violation of federal NCLB laws if they agreed to install Duncan’s own untried, untested, unproven, unsubstantiated but very specific prescriptions about how to use CCSS [Common Core] tests to evaluate teachers and principals… Duncan doesn’t just believe that CCSS [Common Core] test-based measures of teachers and principals are a good idea. He doesn’t just deny every stone on the mountain made out of evidence that he’s wrong. He has given CCSS test-based measurement the full weight of federal law.
So what will happen to Washington, and who will do it? Or will the legislators freak out and panic, installing Arne’s junk science system at the 11th hour to win back his Kingly affection? You can bet a few other states will be watching… “
Thank you, Mr. Greene. Yes, we are watching.
by the mother of the Utah high school student who captured questionable screen shots of the Common Core/SAGE test
The minds of our children are our most precious asset. They are the most vulnerable citizens and we must protect them.
If my daughter comes to me with a questionable essay test, then I must listen to her and validate her feelings. But more than that, I felt like other parents deserve to know that kind of propaganda that is being pushed on our children.
Abraham Lincoln said, “He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statues or pronounces decisions”. The public sentiment is being changed here, little by little. These high school students who were in the room with my daughter were not, for the most part, taking this essay test seriously. They thought the questions were a joke. Her daughter was offended by the claims in the articles attached to her test question.
The statement made about books and dyslexia was a complete joke. We know people who have had dyslexia and work through it. Now they are fabulous readers. Books do not discriminate against them.
Even if these questions are just being posed in some alternate universe, they are biased.
Ultimately, the reason why Common Core and SAGE tests are raising so many flags for parents is because we cannot even see the test after the fact.
Why not make test questions available to see after the tests are taken? Why does everything have to be kept secret?
Again, I say, that my daughter was not cheating. No one even felt it necessary to cheat because they were not being graded anyway.
Let’s have some common sense here. Let’s try to reason together for the safety and protection of our children from powerful men and women who want to take over our education system so they can rule the minds of our children.
Thank you to this mother and her courageous high school daughter.
Now, another Utah mother reported that her high-school attending son took the Common Core writing test this week.
Her son saw bias in a question that was framed around the question of whether property ownership or renting is better. (He didn’t take any screen shots.)
Some readers may not see his test question as propaganda. I do. Property ownership is basic to the pursuit of happiness. Americans have always seen this as true; it’s one reason we fought England in the 1770’s. Being subservient to a landlord will never be superior to the empowerment of owning your own land, in any universe.
As Professor Boettke of George Mason University has put it, “Few concepts have been more important for human survival, yet maligned as unjust by intellectuals, as the concept of private property rights. Since at least the time of Aristotle, the superiority of private property over collective ownership in generating incentives to use scarce resources effectively has been recognized. It was a core idea of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume and Adam Smith, as well as the American Revolutionaries such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.”
But there are some today (including the test writers, apparently) who want young people to question the wisdom of property ownership. It’s a very trendy concept within the education branch of the United Nations and elsewhere to suggest that individual property ownership is “not sustainable”. Renting, they say, is more compassionate to Mother Earth.
Introducing this socialist notion to impressionable minds during a secret test makes a lot of sense to those who oppose personal property ownership. Undiscerning others think it’s fine. They chalk it up to “critical thinking” and the humanists’ idea that truth and God don’t exist. Yet critical-thinking humanists don’t like it when students or parents think critically about the assignments. Ironically, thinking critically about the test is called a shutting down of critical thinking.
In the 80’s when I took high school writing tests, we were given literature-based writing assignments that were not very controversial nor politically charged, yet they demanded strong critical thinking skills –and as a bonus, the test itself exposed students to time-tested classics.
If the shift from classic literature to modern informational text hadn’t taken place, as it did under the Common Core, our students might actually have been exposed to something valuable during these tests, rather than being exposed to the ideas that video games could have more value than libraries of books, or that renting a little apartment might have more value than owning a mansion.
How dumb do they think our children are?
Robert Scott is the former Texas Commissioner of Education and the man responsible for the heroic “No Thanks” that Texas gave to Common Core, back when virtually every other state was swallowing that pill for a shot at the Race to the Top millions.
This week, Pioneer Institute has published a white paper by Robert Scott that explains why preserving the local control guaranteed in our U.S. Constitution demands stopping funding for Common Core. It is called “A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education“.
Its summary states:
“… the United States has witnessed a sweeping effort to dramatically alter how educational systems are governed and standards and curricula are developed. … the federal government has succeeded in fundamentally altering the relationships between Washington and the states… participating states have ceded their autonomy to design and oversee the implementation of their own standards and tests. The implications of ceding this autonomy are varied. Not only do some states risk sacrificing high quality standards for national standards that may be less rigorous, all states are sacrificing their ability to inform what students learn…”
That last line is the hardest punch in the gut to any of us, from Common Core: “All states are sacrificing their ability to inform what students learn.”
We may see great damages from Common Core’s confusing math, limitation of classic literature, discouraged cursive, or creation of a monopoly on thought throughout the textbook publishing industry. And yes, all these things are bad.
But the real and incomparable tragedy is the loss of control, and the twin fact that those who have lost it refuse to admit it’s gone.
This is why Robert Scott’s paper is so important. It helps expose the lie that the general public has been led to believe. That lie is everywhere; just look around you. All over countless official school board websites in various states who have fallen victim to Common Core, you see the same thing: a claim that local control remains in place, under Common Core.
But as Robert Scott explains, Common Core is a control grab by the federal government partnering with private groups, circumventing We, The People:
“… my original response to the effort was one of “wait and see.” If something truly remarkable came out of such a process, it would be foolish for Texas not to incorporate it into our curriculum frameworks. Unfortunately, that was not the offer. Once we were told that states had to adopt the so-called Common Core State Standards in English and math with only a marginal opportunity for differentiation, it was clear that this was not about collaboration among the states. It was about control by the federal government and a few national organizations who believe they will be the ones to operate this new machinery.”
I have to comment. Those “few national organizations” that Mr. Scott referred to include two big-boys’ clubs that I can not stomach: the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) . Its members are not elected by the public, and they’re under no sunshine laws for accountability or transparency to taxpayers.
They work under the radar. The un-transparent and private groups have no authority to be setting state or national educational standards, yet they do it anyway. They are even the basis upon which Arne Duncan labels Common Core a “state-led” movement.
These groups happen to include many (but not all) governors and superintendents. These groups form the backbone of Common Core governance and exclude all states from any amendment process to the shared standards. These groups solely developed and copyrighted the standards –by their own claim. And they were funded, by the multi-millions by Bill Gates, another influence we can’t un-elect. These groups represent a big part of the problem: public-private-partnerships (P3) totally circumvent local authority and voter’s voices. And they run contrary to the spirit of Constitutional respect for local control. Who voted them in? Nobody. Yet they birthed Common Core which has almost entirely taken over American schooling and testing.
This “new” governance system is a direction we have to turn around from or risk losing all local autonomy.
Robert Scott writes: “…if we continue down the current path to national education standards and tests, the United States stands to lose that which makes our education system unique among nations: our long tradition of state and local autonomy. It is important to remember that American schools were established in towns and cities by parents and community members who saw the value of formal education. This organic approach ultimately led to a system of compulsory education overseen by each state, but until now, the tradition of local schooling has largely been maintained. American public schools are governed by local school boards and committees comprised of parents and community members. Even at the state level, citizens with an understanding of local norms and interests drive decision-making processes around standards and curricula. These facts beg the question: If we nationalize standards and testing in this country, what is the real impact of the likely loss of state and local autonomy and input?”
Please read the rest.
Here’s a link to the full text of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 global transformation plan: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/index.html
I take particular interest in these three chapters: 25, 24, and 36, as a teacher and as a mother.
Chapter 25 – the one about children: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-25.htm
Chapter 24- the one about girls: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-24.htm
Chapter 36- the one about education: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-36.htm
If you are new to governmentspeak, you won’t see many red flags. It’s not until you slow down and really think about what they are writing (and not writing) that you begin to see how twisted this Agenda 21 really is.
From Chapter 25: “Ensure access for all youth to all types of education… ensure that education… incorporates the concepts of environmental awareness and sustainable development throughout the curricula…”
Did you catch that? Throughout curricula, that means in every single class– spelling, grammar, science, English, math, history, technology, art, languages, sports, student government, debate, home economics, and the rest– students must be learning environmental awareness and sustainable development? Does that not strike you as dogmatic- almost crazy?
Also from Chapter 25: ” Consider…recommendations of… youth conferences and other forums that offer youth perspectives.”
–On first reading, that sounds fine, right? Listening to young people. What could possibly be wrong with it?
Well, look up “Delphi Technique” when you have some time on your hands.
There are sustainability youth “conferences” happening right now that are clearly little more than the globalists’ politically motivated indoctrination camps.
After youth spend time “dialoging” about environmental issues –where the dialogue is being controlled by Agenda 21 activist facilitators– those facilitators will take the youth recommendations back to headquarters. Nice. Here’a a link to such a youth conference. All 14-year-olds and up are cordially invited to be totally immersed in the green, anti-sovereignty, anti-constitution, pro-collectivism, pro-communist, environmental agenda: http://www.agenda21now.org/index.php?section=home
It should not be creeping into our schools. But it is.
Teachers are being taught to teach sustainable development across the curricula.
The U.S. Department of Education is pushing it. http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/greening-department-education-secretary-duncans-remarks-sustainability-summit
Secretary Duncan says in the above linked speech, “Educators have a central role in this… They teach students about how the climate is changing. They explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy. Historically, the Department of Education hasn’t been doing enough in the sustainability movement. Today, I promise you that we will be a committed partner.”
And here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001433/143370e.pdf Unesco promotes “Guidelines and Recommendations for Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability”
It’s obvious that teachers are being pushed in the direction of Agenda 21 without knowing it’s a political agenda. The Agenda 21 tenets, such as the supposed importance of limiting human reproduction, of limiting building, sports or recreational activities that touch grass, oceans or trees; of limiting airplane and car use, or of believing that there is human made global warming, are not settled facts among scientific communities (or in religious ones, for that matter.) Yet teachers are supposed to teach them as settled facts, as doctrine.
Please have the courage to say no if you are a teacher, a school board member, a principal, or a parent.
Even if you happen to believe in the tenets of Agenda 21, such as global warming, population control, or putting plants above or equal with humans’ needs, do you believe that all children should be subject to these teachings, regardless of what their parents or teachers or churches believe?
Shouldn’t a child be taught to weigh competing theories and judge empirical evidence for his/herself, rather than accepting a dogma blindly? Isn’t that what education is supposed to mean?
Yukon College Professor Bob Jickling’s article on this subject is worth reading: “Why I Don’t Want my Children to be Educated for Sustainable Development”