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For Utah School Districts: A Common Core Fact-Checking Adventure   1 comment

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Let’s not call this research!   This is a fact-checking adventure.

This adventure begins because of the FAQ statements about Common Core posted at the Provo  School District website.  (See it on their  website or just scroll to the bottom of the page where I’ve pasted it.)

This post is not meant to be accusatory or mean.  Provo District and other districts tend to trust and echo  what’s spoken and posted by the State Office.   Clearly, districts and boards, like anyone, can and do make factual errors; but when the errors are very clearly pointed out, those mistakes should be corrected.

I apologize for the length of this article.  I chiseled and chiseled but cannot in good conscience make it any shorter. 

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Question #1 at the Provo District FAQ states: “The Common Core was a grassroots initiative initiated by state governors and Superintendents in 2007.”

Common Core is far from being “grassroots.”  President Obama has been pushing for national standards for many years.  In 2007, he was justifying his decision to stop NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration programs to fund “his” new education program.  His administration has used different terms to refer to his takeover of local education, but it has also provided a federal, official definition   of “college and career ready standards” being “standards that are common to a significant number of states” –which can only be Common Core.  He paid for Common Core test development.  And Obama’s famous blueprint for reform included four education reforms, one of which was data collection, one of which was common standards and tests, and you can read the rest.

Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, claimed that a federal takeover of education was Obama’s idea.  Buried in the second half of a long, glowing official speech about U.S. education reform are  these words by Arne Duncan: “The North Star guiding the alignment of our cradle-to-career education agenda is President Obama’s goal” –and he said that even though: “Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy,” Obama “has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more…  America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform.”

Secretary Duncan  gloated that many states fell for the financially-baited federal Common Core hook without debating the move, but Duncan always carefully called the Standards a state-led creation, keeping up the ruse.  He said that a majority of states “and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common college-ready standards… That is an absolute game-changer.”

Indeed it was a game changer.

To clear up doubt about whether Common Core was or was not grassroots-and-teacher-led, just follow the money trail. Those who paid for and promote this are being paid, or will be handsomely paid as it is implemented, to do so. The SBAC and PARCC Common Core tests are funded by the federal government. The Common Core standards’ writing, marketing and implementation are funded primarily by Microsoft owner, Pearson-Ed partner Bill Gates.   This unelected influence continues locally.  In Utah, the ways in which Pearson/Gates controls school data collection  is formidable.

Most telling is the official partnership of the Department of Education with the Common Core creators.  The ongoing support (coercion) of the federal government to have states adopt the private-trade-group held, copyrighted Common Core means that Common Core is neither purely a federal takeover nor is it purely a privatization of public schools, but it is a public-private partnership, a concept that takes voters out of the decision making driver’s seat.

Question #1 also misleads us by saying that Common Core was “initiated by state governors and superintendents.”   It is true that the governors’ club, (NGA) and the superintendents’ club, (CCSSO) did create and copyright Common Core.  Their “frequently asked questions” officially explains:  “the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead…”  But not all governors belong to NGA!  Not all superintendents belong to CCSSO!  Some, in fact, are vehemently opposed to these private, closed-door, non-transparent, unelected trade organizations that wield falsely assumed power.  I say “falsely assumed” because they pretend to Congress-like national representational authority for states, but they are not an elected group.  No voter can affect what they do.  No reporter can report on what they do.

Questions 2, 3 and 4 take on the question of whether standards and curriculum are independent of one another.  This is like saying that a skeleton (standards) does not dictate what a body (curriculum) looks like.  It’s a half-truth: sure, they are not the same thing.  But I defy anyone to build a curriculum and related tests that truly soar above or are very different looking than the standards they are built upon.  Watch the statement in a video by main Common Core funder Bill Gates as he explains to legislators that he’s looking forward to schools being a uniform customer base, and that “we’ll only know if Common Core standards work” when the standards, curriculum and tests align.  You might also listen to teachers who testify that standards do drive curriculum and testing, as they narrow the autonomy and innovation of a classroom.

Question 5 asserts that the Common Core standards were internationally benchmarked.  This is not true.

Dr. James Milgram, the Stanford emeritus professor of mathematics who served on the Common Core validation committee and who refused to sign off on the standards, said:

I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry. Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course… They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries…”

Likewise, Professor Sandra Stotsky, who served on the same committee, who also refused to sign off on the Common Core standards because they were academically inferior,  has written:

“…we are regularly told that Common Core’s standards are internationally benchmarked. Joel Klein, former head of the New York City schools, most recently repeated this myth in an interview with Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal editor, during the first week in June. Not mentioned at all in the interview or the op-ed he co-authored in the WSJ a week later is Klein’s current position in a company that does a lot of business with Common Core. An Exxon ad, repeated multiple times during a recently televised national tennis match, also suggested that Common Core’s standards were internationally benchmarked. We don’t know who influenced Exxon’s education director. Gigot never asked Klein what countries we were supposedly benchmarked to. Nor did the Exxon ad name a country to which these standards were supposedly benchmarked. Klein wouldn’t have been able to answer, nor could Exxon have named a country because Common Core’s standards are not internationally benchmarked. Neither the methodologically flawed study by William Schmidt of Michigan State University, nor the post-Common Core studies by David Conley of the University of Oregon, all funded by the Gates Foundation, have shown that Common Core’s content is close to, never mind equal to, the level of the academic content of the mathematics and English standards in high-achieving countries.”

In which top-achieving country is Algebra pushed to grade 9 instead of grade 8?  In which top-achieving country is classic literature being replaced gradually by informational text?  The phrase “internationally benchmarked” is misleading millions of people.

Question 6 states that the federal government has no role in the implementation or development of Common Core.  This is a half-truth; as shown above, the federal government partnered with private groups who are developing and implementing the Common Core.  The role of the federal government has been to heavy-handedly partner with and to promote the Career and College Readiness /aka Common Core Initiative’s full agenda, with grants, speeches, and threats –while saying that localities retain freedom to choose.

Question 7 asks:  Will Utah taxpayers have to pay more money to implement the new Utah Core Standards?  The Provo District says that it will not cost any additional money.  This cannot possibly be true– even common sense alerts us to this, but so does Pioneer Institute, a rare think tank that is not-Bill-Gates-nor-federally funded. Here is that think tank’s report.

Reason this out. When, in the past, have districts needed to throw out and replace virtually all old text books for totally different math and English standards?  Never.  When have there been so many wholly transformative (for good or ill) teacher development classes statewide? Never.  When has the state tested students so often and so heavily to align with national  testing practices?  Taxpayers even had to fund the marketing and political blitzing of the Utah State Office of Education as it has aimed to persuade parents that Common Core is a positive change.

Question 8 asks, “How does the local school board fit into the Common Core?”  Without saying so directly, it answers its own question:  the local school board’s job has seemingly become to nod and agree with all that the state pushes upon it, groupthink style.

Question  9 asks, “Do these standards incorporate both content and skills?”  While it is true that both content and skills are partially covered in Common Core, it is an important reality that less knowledge and more of what Dr. Stotsky refers to as “empty skill sets,” with much less content, is being taught under Common Core.   Virtually everything has changed, and all without field testing or academic research to base the changes upon.  Even  vocabulary words are changing to less literary, more technical/industrial words, words that are being called “more relevant” than the rich vocabulary offered in the literary classics.   And, while small passages of founding documents and classic literature are to be taught and tested, they are not to be placed in context nor read in whole.   This, to me, looks like dumbing down.  Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire explains:  “The central message in their guidelines is that the focus should be on “the text itself”… The text should be understood in “its own terms.” While the personal connections and judgments of the readers may enter in later, they should do so only after students demonstrate “a clear understanding of what they read.” So the model of reading seems to have two stages—first a close reading in which the reader withholds judgment or comparison with other texts, focusing solely on what is happening within “the four corners of the text.” And only then are prior knowledge, personal association, and appraisal allowed in.  This seems to me an inhuman, even impossible, and certainly unwise prescription.”  -Speaking Back to the Common Core

The Provo District claims:  “In Mathematics, the Common Core State Standards lay a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction…”  At which ages are these math concepts being taught?  Many foundational concepts have been pushed back.  Fluency with fractions/decimals/ratios is pushed to junior high, when it used to be foundational for elementary school levels.  Most calculus and  other higher math concepts are pushed out of high school completely– not available until college.   Dr. James Milgram said that Common Core math standards “only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry. Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course…”  Noted math expert Ze’ev Wurman has noted that Common Core math standards, now set in the concrete of nationalized, high-stakes testing, “mark the cessation of educational standards improvement in the United States.”

Question 10 asks whether these math standards cover all the key math topics in the proper sequence.  It claims that the Common Core math standards “are coherent and based on evidence”  No link to such evidence is given.

We need such evidence.  Academics nationwide are pointing out that because no evidence exists, the standards are an experiment.  They were never field tested prior to the nationwide rollout.

Dr. Milgram has said, “There is no point where the student-constructed algorithms are explicitly replaced by the very efficient standard methods for doing one-digit operations. Why does Common Core adopt this convoluted method of teaching math? The stated reason is that learning the standard algorithm doesn’t give students a “deeper conceptual understanding” of what they’re doing. But the use of student-constructed algorithms is at odds with the practices of high-achieving countries and is not supported by research. Common Core is using our children for a huge and risky experiment.”

Question 11  addresses the ongoing discussion about who has control of the classroom.  Provo District states that the Common Core standards “do not dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms, as well as select instructional materials they feel are most appropriate.”

But teachers are testifying that this is not true.  Utah teachers Ann Florence, Stuart Harper, Susan Wilcox, Malin Williams, Diana McKay and many other teachers have spoken out and risked or lost their jobs to tell a very different story.   In addition, we have the above-cited testimony of funder Bill Gates  who says that the standards, tests and curriculum will align to prove that the standards “work.”  It’s like the old Ford Advertisement: “You can Have Any Color As Long as it’s Black.”  The state, federal, and corporate ed sales (textbook companies) say the same thing: “You can have any standards as long as they are the exact same as all other states’ standards.”  Almost all the curriculum in the nation is aligning, building a new education system on a very sandy foundation.  The fact is that there is a Common Core  15% no-adding-to-the-standards rule in contracts and agreements that is common knowledge, both in testing and curriculum.  The USOE continues to dismiss the suffocating 15% rule as “not a big deal.”

Question 12 asks what would happen if Utah were to reject Common Core.  The Provo District then says that because the Common Core Standards “are not federal” that this would not alter Utah’s relationship with the federal government.  This assertion contains two untrue portions: 1) saying that Common Core Standards are not federal implies that they are not federally approved/federally promoted/federally set as conditions for receipt of federal grants and Title I monies.  But they are all of those things.

Although the NGA/CCSSO wrote and copyrighted the standards, the federal government has pushed  them more than anyone —has disguised the nature  and name of it, deceptive language. Federally, the Common Core Standards are called the “College and Career-Ready Standards.”  But at the NGA/CCSSO level, it’s called Common Core.  The feds officially defined “College and Career Ready Standards” as “standards common to a significant number of states.”  See this official re-definition on the federal education website.  Although federal insiders know this, they don’t choose to clarify it.

Question 12 goes on to say that because Utah Law now requires computer adaptive testing, the  testing would continue with AIR (American Institutes for Research) even if we rejected Common Core itself.  This does not make sense; Utah’s AIR (aka SAGE)  test is aligned to Common Core.   Why would we stick with that after dropping Common Core?  Were we to reject Common Core, we would then create an alternative test with a non-Common Core aligned company using better, independent standards.

Question 12 states that the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) would still be in  place. This is true, and problematic.  Since Utah has no proper protections in place over the privacy of student data, and since the federal goverment shredded formerly protective federal FERPA privacy laws, Utah would have to either create proper protections legislatively, or Utah would need to shut down the SLDS and return the $9.6 million that Utah accepted from the federal government to create it, using federally directed interoperability frameworks  (see pages 2 and 4 on that grant’s pdf) which created a de facto national data collection system).   Since national data collection systems, de facto or not, are illegal, it would be preferable to shut down the SLDS.

Question 12 further states that “Utah would have to go through the expense of writing a new core or adopt  the former core–which is not seen as “College and Career Ready” standards… newly purchased materials have to be discarded. If Utah  writes unique standards, there will be little or no available materials or textbooks to  support their instruction.”  This is mostly correct.  Utah’s hasty adoption of Common Core has cost her countless millions in newly purchased materials and programs.  (See question 7 above, which ironically asserts that the cost of Common Core is not an issue.)  There are  a limited number of textbook companies that offer curriculum independent from Common Core.  Some curriculum companies, such as Saxon Math and Shirley Grammar, still offer editions that have not changed to Common Core to accomodate private schools and home schools.  Others, such as the Institute for Excellence in Writing, have re-labeled curriculum, calling it Common Core aligned,  but have not made actual changes to it.  Remember that all older (classical education) texts are independent of Common Core, since Common Core only began its explosive  existence in the past four years.

Question 13 asks what assessments are required by the federal government and answers that ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) aka “No  Child Left Behind” requires states to have  assessments in math, language arts, and science. This is true. What isn’t explained, and should be, is this:  The federal government first of all has no constitutional business requiring states to have assessments.  See the U.S. Constitution and G.E.P.A. law (General Educational Provisions Act).

Yet the federal government now corrals its state funding  to be used for tests, technologies, professional development, and student computer devices only if and when they are aligned with Common Core (aka College and Career Ready, or CCR).  The federal government approves a limited number of testing organizations and consortia.  (Utah’s so-called choice, the A.I.R. company, has “developed the only computer adaptive test that is federally approved.“)

Question 15 contends that “Utah teachers will write all of the questions that will be used in the new assessment  system”  and that “Every teacher in the state has been invited to participate in the item writing.”   Every teacher in the state has not been invited.  Ask around.  It’s not true.  Also, in the words of the actual contract that Utah and the A.I.R. testing company have signed –the contract is available from the State Office of Education–  a combination of AIR psychometricians, and also Utah teachers, are co-writing the test items.  Why let a single psychometrician anywhere near our children’s academic tests?

 

Question 16  discusses the 15-parent panel which reviews the AIR/SAGE tests to see that they are strictly academic.  The panel’s work has not been given the respect it deserved.  Nor can we honestly say that the USOE is not collecting behavioral data, inside the SAGE test or by other state-created methods to be discussed below.

Of her experience on the parent panel, mother Alyson Williams, stated (see the comments section) that:

“There were questions that parents flagged as inappropriate, subjective or biased. We were promised that these test items would be reviewed and addressed and that we would get to see how they were addressed… long after this Spring’s pilot, unfortunately… I feel it is a manipulation of my cooperation to characterize it as unreserved approval of these assessments.”

Another member of the panel, Louisa Walker, stated: “Quoted from [Assistant State Superintendent] Judy Park: ‘… Every parent on the panel… agreed that there was nothing in the questions that was inappropriate.’ I served on that 15 parent committee, and I will tell you that is not trueI wasn’t the only one to flag items because of subjective, inappropriate, or misleading content…”

A third member of the parent panel, Jennie Earl, stated that only 2 or 3 parents actually read each of the questions, due to the huge number of questions and small number of parents permitted to read them.  She wrote:   “… a parent would read a question they had concerns with to gather additional insight from the other parents in the room… because of the nature of the content in the question or bias in the wording…. These items were flagged in addition to other items parents felt needed revision or removal. We don’t know the final outcome thus far on flagged items…  I might add… measuring teachers and schools based on a value-added model or growth model is not a valid measurement tool for identifying effective teachers or schools.”

A fourth member of the 15-parent state panel, Kim Kehrer, wrote: “I was also on the parent panel. The questions were reviewed at most by two members of the 15 parent panel. Here are the facts: 43 questions were removed due to various reasons. 160 questions were changed or modified to address the question of concern and 397 questions will be used in the testing and reviewed again next year. I second Jennie Earl’s comment that we are not a validating committee.”

In addition to these concerns, the idea that the tests were strictly academic must be addressed.  That cannot be believed by any rational researcher.

Here’s why:

1-  Do a word search on the AIR contract with Utah; the word “psychometric” comes up 73 times. (Look up that word’s definition and find that psychometrics are psychological and educational measurement using tests.)

2-  Look up the AIR company:  “AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation”.

3-  Look at Utah’s legislation about computer adaptive state testing and learn that HB15, created in 2012, requires the collection of  behavior indicators. It calls for “ the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance” as part of the testing. This is Utah’s S.A.G.E. test or A.I.R.– test. (There were other, similar laws, years prior to this, as well.) –Are we to believe that although AIR’s purpose is to test behavioral and social indicators, and although Utah law says that the test must test behavioral indicators, the test still won’t?

4- See Utah’s SLDS grant application starting at page 87  and read how non-cognitive behaviors that have nothing to do with academics, will be collected and studied. (This may or may not include information embedded in AIR/SAGE tests)  These behaviors will include “social comfort and integration, academic conscientiousness, resiliency, etc.” to be evaluated in part through the psychometric census known as the “Student Strengths Inventory. (SSI)” That inventory –a child’s psychological information– will be integrated into the database (SLDS).  The SLDS grant promises to integrate psychological data into the state database.

“With the introduction of UtahFutures and the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) and its focus on noncognitive data, combining such data with other longitudinal student level data to the USOE Data Warehouse the UDA.”  It also says: “… psychosocial or noncognitive factors… include, but are not limited to educational commitment, academic engagement and conscientiousness, social comfort and social integration, academic self-efficacy, resiliency…  Until recently, institutions had to rely on standardized cognitive measures to identify student needs. … We propose to census test all current student in grades 11 and 12 using… SSI,  a measure of noncognitive attitudes and behaviors.” The Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) is a “psychometric census” to be taken by every 11th and 12th grade student in Utah.

The Utah Office of Education openly admits to gathering student psychological data.  It has not yet openly admitted that SAGE/AIR tests do this.  But with such a policy, openly shown in the USOE’s SLDS grant, why wouldn’t the USOE also, soon if not now, use the SAGE test along with SSI, to gather attitude and belief data on Utah children?  The point is that proper legal protections are not in place.  Student data and family privacy is vulnerable.

5– The USOE has a history of working in harmony with even the unconstitutional federal initiatives.  The U.S. Department of Education  issued a report on school gathering of behavioral/belief data.  Read its 2013 “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance” report.  It encourages assessment of student beliefs and personality characteristics, and the keeping of longitudinal records of these traits.  The report encourages the use of facial expression cameras, wireless skin conductors, posture analysis seats and other physical devices to measure student attitudes, beliefs and engagement with what is being presented. (see page 44)

Why isn’t the Provo District and the Utah School Board making statements of discontent with the directions in which the federal government is taking education and data collection in light of such federal reports and recommendations?

Question 18, 19 and 20 concern student data privacy.  18 asks what individual student information is given to the federal government  from the assessments given in Utah. It says that “districts do not gather personal information from families such as religion affiliation.”  It says, “The Federal  Government does not have a direct connection with the Utah data base.”

Almost no proper legal protections are in place for student data privacy, while parents are not permitted to opt any public/charter school-attending child out of the state database (SLDS).  Also, formerly protective federal FERPA privacy laws have been shredded by the Department of Education.  Changes include reducing the requirement (of getting parental consent prior to accessing personally identifiable student information) to an optional “best practice“.   At the same time, local privacy laws at least in Utah, are unspecific. Data alliances and data sharing practices among agencies grow and grow, almost unrestrained by privacy laws.

The federal government has long been collecting aggregate (partial, grouped, not easily personally-identifiable) student data.  The CCSSO has been collecting national data, too.  This is common knowledge.

What is in question is whether these D.C. entities have any access to the fifty State Longitudinal Database Systems, which contain personally identifiable information, databases which are (by federal grant-mandate) inter-operable databases.  This question was addressed, ironically, by an insider, a writer named David DeSchryver who aimed to persuade readers to agree that ESEA (No Child Left Behind, a federal law) should be reauthorized.   While I disagree with that thesis, I appreciate that the author of the Whiteboard Advisors article revealed what should be common knowledge: the federal government is collecting SLDS-collected student data via the IES and NCES.

He writes: “Most readers are probably not aware that the law [ESEA] authorizes the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and other research related work. IES provides much of the commonly used and accepted data on US public schools…. the IES is uniquely positioned…  It has access to data from every state and school district…  This data…  bolstered by longitudinal data systems, will benefit the entire field of education. More data, however, requires more organization and IES plays an important role here… It helps to standardize data structure so that new data can connect to prior data sets and research.”

The CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) which  copyrighted Common Core and created it, the same CCSSO that created Common Educational Data Standards –has an openly admitted, openly stated mission to disaggregate student data.  (See goal #4) The past and current State Superintendents and the Associate State Superintendent of Utah are members of CCSSO.  Assistant Superintendent Judy Park is also a writer for CCSSO.  This makes me fairly confident that these Utahns are aware of what the CCSSO stands for and what its goals are.

To dis-aggregate means to move toward specificity:  identifying which individual person did what. Disaggregation means that academic bundles of students’ information will be separated into groups that are increasingly easy to identify individually.  A press release showed that Choice/Pearson partnered with the state of Utah to create the UTREX system that would disaggregate student data.

(Every Utahns should ask our top education leaders and legislators why, on the CCSSO website, it states that one of its main goals is “Continued Commitment to Disaggregation” of student data.  Why do we remain supporters of CCSSO?)

Provo district says that ” The Federal Government has no direct access to this [SLDS/UTREX data] system.”  But indirectly, it does.  From the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) we read: “states must… continue building linkages [from K-12] … across critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice…” So if the federal government has access to any DQC-adhering state’s database, it will have access to the other agencies’ information about citizens linked thereby.

Utah is a Data Quality Campaign adherent.   The DQC used Utah in its report as a prime example of how its state foster care services data and its school-collected data were combined to find out information about a certain child.  Parental rights or student privacy rights were not mentioned as being a relevant part of that equation.

The federal EDFACTS data exchange claims that it’s gathering national data.  The student data dis-aggregation club, CCSSO, is officially partnered with the federal government to use CEDS, common data standards in education which make student data more easily disaggregated.   Additionally, the federal government paid for all 50 states to have federally-structured State Longitudinal Database Systems to collect personally identifiable information.  National Data Collection Models encourage (but do not require) personally identifiable information to be collected and shared between agencies and among states.  And at the Arne Duncan-approveData Quality Campaign, we learn that  the answer to” “Are education data just test scores?” is: “No… Data include student and teacher attendance, services students receive, student academic development and growth, teacher preparation information, postsecondary success and remediation rates, and more.”

Previous to widespread scrutiny of the (federal branch) NCES’s National Data Collection Model (NDCM) and prior to the NDCM removing this information, but, as older  news articlesvideos and blogs testify–  it was suggested by the federal model that student nicknames, religious affiliation, birthdate, GPA, allergies, maternal last name, voting status and many more data fields should be filled by schools.   (For evidence see screenshots which were saved from NDCM – minute 27:26 on this video by the Restore Oklahoma Public Education group.  I, too, saw and wrote about them here.)

Question 21 correctly asserts that Utah state law (code 53A-1-402.6) allows Utah to “exit any agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding, or consortium that cedes control of Utah’s core curriculum standards.”  The problem has never been that we can’t exit; it’s that there is not enough understanding of the gravity of the Common Core error, nor enough political will, to choose to exit.

Question 22 says that adequate public feedback opportunities were given prior to adoption of Common Core.  Whether on the national or state level, this is untrue.  This assertion has been rebutted by the Alpine School District (minutes) and by Alpine Board member Wendy Hart,  as well as by the Karl G. Maeser School Board.  Maesar’s statement to the Utah School Board says, “there were no opportunities for review of these standards by local school districts or parents.”

If adequate feedback opportunities had been offered, wouldn’t parents at least know the term “Common Core” prior to being told it was already adopted?  If adequate public feedback opportunities had been offered, wouldn’t legislatures that are now paying for its implementation have had some discussion in the newspapers?  Wouldn’t teachers (like me) have been sent an email, inviting us to research and submit public comment on the subject?  The fact that the public debates on the topic and the vast firestorm of anti-Common Core disapproval is happening now, FOUR YEARS AFTER Utah implemented it, is evidence that it was not properly, adequately discussed prior to adoption.  For more on this absurd hastiness, listen to the public record audio “minutes” of the state school board in 2010 as they hastily adopted the standards without even a full first reading, due to federal time pressure on a grant application deadline that was Common Core adoption-dependent:

May 1, 2009 Utah School Board Meeting, Agenda Item: National Common Standards
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Audiocast/2009.aspx
June 17, 2009 Legislative Interim Education Committee Meeting
Quoted audio starts about 27:30
http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=17&clip_id=5624
July 18, 2011 Alpine School Board Training, select the first audio file, quoted starts about 27:14
http://sbs.alpinedistrict.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/eAgenda.woa/wa/displayMeeting?meetingID=850

 

 

Finally, for your reference, here is the original Q & A:

_________________________________

 

Provo School District

Common Core FAQ*

* Provo City School District recognizes Seth Sorensen, the Curriculum and Assessment Specialist for Nebo School District for his work in creating the original FAQ document on which this is based.

Q1. Who led the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

A. The Common Core was a grassroots initiative initiated by state governors and  Superintendents in 2007. The nation’s governors and education commissioners,  through their representative organizations, the National Governors Association  (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of  the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers,  parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with  state leaders have provided input into the development of the standards.

Q2. What are core standards?

A. Core or educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills  and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. Standards are concepts that need to be taught, such as addition of fractions in  mathematics, and the grade level where they should be taught.

Q3. What is the difference between standards and curriculum?
A. Standards are the required skills and concepts for the students to achieve. Curriculum include the materials and content that is used to teach the standards.

Q4. Who chooses/adopts state standards and curriculum?
A. The Utah Constitution designates to the Utah State School Board the  responsibility to choose state standards. Local school boards and the Utah  Legislature do not. Local school boards and schools select the curriculum, which is  generally the textbook or program for delivering the standards. Local school teams  and individual teachers choose the everyday lesson content. The Federal  Government has no say in either standards, curriculum or everyday lesson content.  Utah State Code states in 53A-1-402.6. Core curriculum standards: “(1)  In establishing minimum standards related to curriculum and instruction  requirements under Section 53A-1-402, the State Board of Education shall,  in consultation with local school boards, school superintendents, teachers,  employers, and parents implement core curriculum standards which will  enable students to, among other objectives:
(a) communicate effectively, both verbally and through written communication;
(b) apply mathematics; and
(c) access, analyze, and apply information.”

The Utah Code also spells out local school board control of materials:

“(4) Local school boards shall design their school programs, that are supported by  generally accepted scientific standards of evidence, to focus on the core  curriculum standards with the expectation that each program will enhance  or help achieve mastery of the core curriculum standards.
(5) Except as provided in Section 53A-13-101, each school may select  instructional materials and methods of teaching, that are supported by  generally accepted scientific standards of evidence, that it considers most  appropriate to meet core curriculum standards.”  http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE53A/htm/53A01_040206.htm

Q5. Are the standards internationally benchmarked?
Yes. International benchmarking played a significant role in both sets of standards.  In fact, the college and career ready standards include an appendix listing the  evidence that was consulted in drafting the standards and the international data  used in the benchmarking process.

 Q6. Does the federal government play a role in Common Core standards  implementation? A. “The Federal Government had no role in the development of the Common Core  State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation. The Common Core  State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that is not part of No Child Left Behind  and adoption of the standards is in no way mandatory. “

http://www.corestandards.org/resources/frequently-asked-questions

Q7. Will Utah taxpayers have to pay more money to implement the new Utah  Core Standards?
A. The Utah State Board of Education regularly updates the Utah Core Standards.  The funding for the implementation of this latest set of standards will not cost Utah  taxpayers additional money. The professional development that takes place in the  districts will remain at the same level it has for the past decade; the only change will be the content focus. School districts are concerned with their ability to provide the  technology and infrastructure necessary to support electronic testing associated  with the new SAGE assessment of the Utah Core Standards. The Utah Legislature  has not raised taxes to fund this change. Provo City School District supports the  advancement of student access to technology and related programs and has been  using existing local and state funding to move in this direction.

Q8. How does the local school board fit into the Common core?
A. School Board powers and duties generally, according to State Code 53A-3-402.  include:
“ (1) Each local school board shall: (a) implement the core curriculum utilizing instructional materials that best
correlate to the core curriculum and graduation requirements;
(b) administer tests, required by the State Board of Education, which measure  the progress of each student, and coordinate with the state superintendent and  State Board of Education to assess results and create plans to improve the student’s  progress which shall be submitted to the State Office of Education for approval;”

http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE53A/htm/53A03_040200.htm

Q9. Do these standards incorporate both content and skills?
A. Yes. “In English Language Arts, the Common Core State Standards require  certain critical content for all students, including:
• Classic myths and stories from around the world;
• America’s Founding Documents;
• Foundational American literature: and
• Shakespeare.
The remaining crucial decisions about what content should be taught are left to  state and local determination. In addition to content coverage, the Common Core  State Standards require that students systematically acquire knowledge in literature  and other disciplines through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

In Mathematics, the Common Core State Standards lay a solid foundation in:
whole numbers;
addition;
subtraction;
multiplication;
division:
fractions; and
decimals.
Taken together, these elements support a student’s ability to learn and apply more  demanding math concepts and procedures. The middle school and high school  standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to  real world issues and challenges; they prepare students to think and reason  mathematically.”

Q10. Do the math standards cover all the key math topics in the proper sequence?
A. The mathematical progressions presented in the Common Core State Standards  are coherent and based on evidence. Part of the problem with having 50 different  sets of state standards is that different states cover different topics at different  grade levels. Coming to consensus guarantees that from the viewpoint of any given  state, topics will move up or down in the grade level sequence. This is unavoidable.  What is important to keep in mind is that the progression in the Common Core State Standards is mathematically coherent and leads to college and career readiness at  an internationally competitive level.
Q11. What requirements do the Common Core State Standards give to  teachers?

A. The Common Core State Standards are merely a clear set of expectations and  curriculum standards for the knowledge and skills students need in English/  language arts and mathematics at each grade level to prepare students to graduate  college and career ready. The standards establish what students need to learn, but  they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise  lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their
classrooms, as well as select instructional materials they feel are most appropriate  for their students.

Q12. If Utah were to abandon the Utah Core Standards, what would that  mean?
A. The relationship with Federal Government would not change, because the Utah  Core Standards are not Federal. Utah Law still requires adaptive testing, so the  testing will continue with AIR. The Longitudinal Data system would still be in  place. Utah would have to go through the expense of writing a new core or adopt  the former core–which is not seen as “College and Career Ready” standards. There  may be an expense if newly purchased materials have to be discarded. If Utah  writes unique standards, there will be little or no available materials or textbooks to  support their instruction.

Q13. What assessments are required by the Federal Government?
An ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) was originally passed in 1965  and had major revisions in 1980, 1994, and 2001 (This latest revision called No  Child Left Behind). The current requirements of this act require states to have  assessments in place in Math, Language Arts, and Science. They leave the decision  to the states to determine the assessments and this selection is submitted to the U.S.  Department of Education.

Q14. What assessments are required by the Utah State Legislature?
A. The Utah State Legislature requires the following assessments in State Statute:
• Computer Adaptive Assessment in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and an alternate assessment for students with severe cognitive disabilities. These assessments are given to all students in 3rd-11th Grade (CRTs and UAA).
• Statewide Reading assessment given 3 times per year to every K-3rd grade student (DIBELS).
• Kindergarten-2nd grade end of year assessments, which are developed by school districts. • Direct Writing Assessment given to all 5th and 8th grade students (DWA).
• New College and Career ready Assessments given to all 8th -11th grade students (ACT and companion assessments, Explore and Plan).
• An English Language Learning assessment, which places students at various levels of English proficiency (WIDA).

Q15. Who writes the questions that will be used in the new assessment  system?
Utah teachers will write all of the questions that will be used in the new assessment  system. Every teacher in the state has been invited to participate in the item writing  and all volunteers meet together for weeks with administrators and curriculum  specialists from the Utah State Office of Education to develop test items that will  accurately measure student learning of standards within the core curriculum.

–Q16. Are all questions on the new assessments reviewed by a parent group?
A. Yes. All questions are reviewed by a group of 15 parents. This parent group will  verify that all test questions are strictly academic. See the following link: Utah State  contract with AIR: http://www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/Adaptive-Assessment-System/136199-AIR.aspx   (See page 7 for the language that requires USOE and Parent review to approve any
test question before they are used by students.)

Q17. Was AIR assessment required by the Federal Government?
A. No. Utah Legislature passed an Adaptive Assessment law after a successful piloting of adaptive testing. (House Bill 15, 2012) Utah issued a Request for  Proposals (RFP) for an adaptive assessment vendor and AIR was chosen. AIR is a  leader in academic testing and had a superior product for end of level tests,  formative tests and interim tests.

Q18. What individual student information is given to the Federal Government  from the assessments given in Utah?

A. None. The only data provided to the federal government by the State of Utah is  aggregate school-level data. No individual student data is provided. The Federal  Government does not have a direct connection with the Utah data base. School  districts do not gather personal information from families such as religion affiliation
or political party

Q19. What is the Longitudinal Data System in Utah?
A. With 41 school districts and 84 charter schools that use at least 10 different  types of student information systems, Utah needed a way to communicate within  the education system. The Longitudinal Data system is called UTREx. The first task  of UTREx was to assign each student a unique number (SSID), so that two school  districts or charter schools could not claim funding from the state for the same  student. It is also used to help transfer student transcript information to higher  education. A great benefit is the ability to transfer student records for students who  move from one district or charter to the next. The UTREx system improves accuracy  and efficiency of education. Hundreds of hours of time for school personnel will be  saved because of the UTREx system. The Federal Government has no access to this  system

Q20. Are we as schools and districts required to collect more student  information as a result of Utah Senate Bill 82, known as the “Digital Backpack”,  passed in 2013?
A. Yes This Utah bill requires a new system that “collects longitudinal student  transcript data from LEAs (districts and charter schools) and the unique student  identifiers as described in Section 53A-1-603.5.”
The bill summary states:  “This bill:
defines terms;
requires the State Board of Education to establish the Utah Student  Record Store where an authorized LEA user may access student data in a  Student Achievement backpack that is relevant to the user’s LEA or school;

specifies the data to be included in a Student Achievement Backpack;  and  requires the State Board of Education to ensure that student data in a  Student Achievement Backpack is accessible through an LEA’s student  information system by June 30, 2017.”
This bill effectively doubles the amount of data districts are required to send on to  the State office of Education. This new data includes things like school attendance,  student growth scores, student reading level, student writing sample, student  performance by standard and objective, etc…
Text from SB 82: http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/sbillamd/SB0082S01.htm

Q21. Can the State of Utah change their core standards at any time?
A. According to state code 53A-1-402.6. Core curriculum standards.
“(6) The state may exit any agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding, or  consortium that cedes control of Utah’s core curriculum standards to any other  entity, including a federal agency or consortium, for any reason, including:
(a) the cost of developing or implementing core curriculum standards; (b) the proposed core curriculum standards are inconsistent with community
values; or
(c) the agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding, or consortium:
(i) was entered into in violation of Part 9, Implementing Federal Programs  Act, or Title 63J, Chapter 5, Federal Funds Procedures Act;
(ii) conflicts with Utah law;
(iii) requires Utah student data to be included in a national or multi-state  database;
(iv) requires records of teacher performance to be included in a national or  multi-state database; or
(v) imposes curriculum, assessment, or data tracking requirements on home  school or private school students.
(7) The State Board of Education shall annually report to the Education Interim  Committee on the development and implementation of core curriculum standards.”

http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE53A/htm/53A01_040206.htm

Q22. Was any feedback given from the public or any group on the common core prior to adoption by states?

A. Yes. There were a number of opportunities given for the public, as well as other  groups such as educators to give feedback on the core standards, as well as the  college and career ready standards.

Summary of public feedback on K-12 standards: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/k-12-feedback-summary.pdf
Summary of Public Feedback on College and Career Ready Standards:

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CorePublicFeedback.pdf

–From the Provo School District website

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Conspiracy Fact: Obama Budget to Cement Common Core   3 comments

Conspiracy theory: not.  This is conspiracy fact.

It’s become impossible to ignore the Constitutionally illegal federal takeover of education that uses federal grants, corporate partnerships with federal agencies, and now, the federal budget, to wrench power away from “we the people.”  They are successfully moving the levers of control from us to these non-transparent, unaccountable-to-voters, closed-door organizations which are officially partnered with the federal government.) The voter and her representatives are forgotten in the process.

I didn’t know, until I read Neal McClusky’s blog at Cato Institute this week, though, that Obama had planned to cement Common Core via his latest budget proposal.  But now I’ve seen it for myself.

obama

If Obama succeeds unimpeded by Congress, how will states still claim the option of withdrawing from the Common Core –and all the tests and data collection that Common Core entails?  How I hope Congress is watching –and will act.  This is where we need those checks and balances –ACTING.

President Obama, McClusky explained, “wants to make the Core permanent by attaching annual federal funding to its use, and to performance on related tests. Just as the administration called for in its 2010 NCLB reauthorization proposal, [the President] wants to employ more than a one-time program, or temporary waivers, to impose “college and career-ready standards,” which–thanks to RTTT and waivers–is essentially synonymous with Common Core. In fact, President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.

This was utterly predictable … RTTT was the foot in the door, and once most states were using the same standards and tests, there was little question what Washington would eventually say: “Since everyone’s using the same tests and standards anyway, might as well make federal policy based on that.”

Perhaps given the scorching heat the Common Core has been taking lately, most people didn’t expect the administration to make the move so soon, but rational people knew it would eventually come. Indeed, the “tripod” of standards, tests, and accountability that many Core-ites believe is needed to make “standards-based reform” function, logically demands federal control… the end game is almost certainly complete federal control by connecting national standards and tests to annual federal funding.  And that, it is now quite clear, is no conspiracy theory.” 

So much for  the Utah State Office of Education’s oft-published claim that Common  Core is federal-strings-free.  Maybe now they’ll remove those lies from the USOE website.  Maybe now our State School Board will stop dismissing people’s concerns by assaulting them with the label “conspiracy theorists.”  Maybe.

But I’m finding no relief in the thought  that the state school board can’t keep calling us names anymore.  (It really never bothered me that much, to tell you the truth.  I just took it as a sign of their confusion.)

But I wish– oh, how I wish– that Utah had never given away the right to keep control.  We had a Constitutional RIGHT to locally control that “tripod” — standards, tests, and local accountability.  We did not fight for it.   Too few made a peep.

If Obama’s budget succeeds,  we appear to be toast.

Call your Congressmen.

 

———————

 

P.S.  If you live in Utah, be the 10,000th petition signer at http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com

What Is Common Core: 101   40 comments

common core logo

What Is Common Core? 

This post aims to be as unmistakably direct and documented as possible.    Feel free to use it without asking permission.

DOES  COMMON CORE PREPARE STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE?

Not for a 4-year university.  It minimally prepares students for the non-collegiate workforce or for non-selective community colleges.

zimba

A key Common Core creator, Jason Zimba, said that the Common Core can prepare students for non-selective colleges but that it does not prepare students for STEM careers.  He said:  “I think it’s a fair critique that it’s a minimal definition of college readiness…  but not for the colleges most parents aspire to… Not only not for STEM, it’s also not for selective colleges. For example, for U.C. Berkeley,  whether you are going to be an engineer or not, you’d better have precalculus to get into U.C. Berkeley.”

IS THERE AN AMENDMENT PROCESS FOR VOTERS TO ALTER THE COMMON CORE?

No.  When it changes, it will be changed by those who wrote them. (See official site .)

ARE COMMON CORE STANDARDS LOCALLY CONTROLLED?

No. They are under copyright by an unelected, private D.C. group called NGA/CCSSO which has reserved the legal right to alter them.  The federal government has made money and waivers conditional on using Common Core standards and tests.

ccssonga

DO THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS  IMPROVE K-12 EDUCATION?

No one knows.  They are an unpiloted experiment.   But people who are financially invested in Common Core  say yes  to the question, while people who aren’t financially interested, and who study and analyze the Common Core standards, say no.

milgram

Dr. James Milgram (Stanford University emeritus professor who served on the official Common Core validation committee) reported:

I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or GeometryMoreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course…  They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.“

stotsky

Dr. Sandra Stotsky (University of Arkansas emeritus professor who served on official Common Core validation committee and also refused to sign off on the academic legitimacy of the Common Core) said:

As empty skill sets, Common Core’s ELA standards do not strengthen the high school curriculum. Nor can they reduce post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. As empty skill sets, Common Core’s ELA “college readinessstandards weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework, decrease the capacity for analytical thinkingand completely muddle the development of writing skills.” Full testimony here.

book and kite

IS COMMON CORE LEGAL?

No.  Under the Constitution, education belongs to individual states.  It is illegal for the federal government to interfere in the states’ right of making educational decisions.  National standards are illegal.  National data collection is illegal.  And the General Educational Provisions Act prohibits the federal government from directing education –very, very clearly:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”  

capitol roof

DOES COMMON CORE REALLY  TAKE AWAY MOST OF THE TRADITIONAL CLASSIC LITERATURE AND NARRATIVE WRITING?

Yes.  Although it does not specify which classic books cannot be read, the Common Core contains a chart that explains that in fourth grade, students must cut their classic/fiction reading to 50%.  By twelfth grade, students must reduce their classic/fiction reading to 30% with informational text taking up 70% of the time spent reading.

Grade Literary Information
4 50% 50%
8 45% 55%
12 30% 70%

WHAT IS INFORMATIONAL TEXT?

Informational text is anything that used to belong mostly in other subjects. It is now taking 70% of high school seniors’ English class readings, in the form of scientific writings, political writings; opinion pieces; almost anything other than classic novels, poetry, plays or other fictional works.

tucker

WHY DON’T COMMON CORE PROPONENTS WANT STUDENTS TO LEARN MUCH MATH?

It costs money to educate beyond minimal workforce training.  In  this 2013 document put out by the NCEE (National Center on Education and the Economy) we learn that it’s not important under Common Core to have high educational standards in high school;  it’s seen as a waste of time to educate the high school graduates past Algebra II. They’re pushing for an emphasis on the lowest common denominator, while deceptively marketing Common Core as a push for “rigorous” academics.

Read these Common Core proponents’ lips:  “Mastery of Algebra II is widely thought to be a prerequisite for success in college and careers. Our research shows that that is not so… Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers. The high school mathematics curriculum is now centered on the teaching of a sequence of courses leading to calculus that includes Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. However, fewer than five percent of American workers and an even smaller percentage of community college students will ever need to master the courses in this sequence in their college or in the workplace… they should not be required courses in our high schools. To require these courses in high school is to deny to many students the opportunity to graduate high school because they have not mastered a sequence of mathematics courses they will never need. In the face of these findings, the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”

The report goes on to say that traditional high school English classes, with their emphasis on classic literature and personal, narrative writing, is useless.  The report says that Common Core will save students from the irrelevant classics with a new emphasis on technical subjects and social studies via the dominance of informational text:

The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (CCSSE) address reading in history/social studies as well as science and technical subjects, and in so doing may increase the relevance of high school instruction.”

In calling classic literature and personal writing irrelevant, these Common Core proponents underscore the idea that job prep matters, but not the pursuit of wisdom or knowledge.

WHY DID ALMOST EVERY STATE IN THE U.S. DROP THEIR EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS, WHETHER LOWER OR HIGHER,  TO ADOPT COMMON CORE STANDARDS?

Proponents say that the reason was to improve education.  Opponents say that it had nothing to do with education; that the standards were adopted without analysis or any vetting because the adoption was offered by the federal government under time pressure, in exchange for a chance at large federal grant monies called Race to the Top.  Even those states that applied and won no money (like Utah) stayed with Common Core, because there were many other federal reasons and incentives to do so.

WILL  THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS REMAIN AS THEY ARE TODAY?  

No. Common Core’s official site says:  “The Standards are intended to be a living work: as new and better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised accordingly.”  There’s no way for the governed to revise the document by which they’ve agreed to be governed.

common core logo

WHY DOES THE STATE SCHOOL BOARD SAY WE’RE FREE TO CHANGE THEM?

States can’t delete anything.  We can add –a tiny bit.   A Common Core 15% rule  says: “A State may supplement such standards with additional standards, provided that the additional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State’s total  standards”

(This rule is repeated in the federal waivers from No Child Left Behind, in the Race to the Top Assessments Grant application, in documents of both PARCC and SBAC testing groups, and in the implementation guide of Achieve, the group contracted to create Common Core.)

WILL THE CREATORS OF COMMON CORE CHANGE THESE STANDARDS WITHOUT OUR APPROVAL?

Yes.  Common Core’s official site says:  “The Standards are intended to be a living work: as new and better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised accordingly.”  There’s no invitation for the governed to revise.

copyright

WHERE DO PROPONENTS GET THE NOTION THAT COMMON CORE WILL IMPROVE  EDUCATION?

From believable, expensive marketing lines.  Not from evidence.  Opponents point out that there was never any field testing for Common Core standards;  so this is a national experiment using virtually all children.  Supporters never attempt to explain how education is supposedly improved by Common Core, nor show a pilot state or pilot classroom where Common Core had been successfully used.    Beyond the many pleasant-sounding and but words, there is no documentation or evidence to back up any of the claims that the standards are higher, nor the other claims such as “Common Core was internationally benchmarked” or “is rigorous” or “improves college and career readiness.”  They are baseless advertising words.

Upon this lack of evidence we build our children’s futures.

bill at nga

ARE COMMON CORE STANDARDS FREE TO US?

No.  The standards’ development and marketing was paid for primarily by Bill Gates.  The Common Core tests for most states was paid for primarily by the federal government.  States pay countless millions for the rest of the Common Core Initiative:  the re-training, new text purchases, aligned computer technologies, etc.  They incorrectly say that these high costs would have been spent anyway, even without Common Core.

WAS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT “HANDS-OFF” THE STATES’ ADOPTION OF COMMON CORE?

No.  Secretary Duncan announced and praised the release of the standards in 2010.  He bribed states using Race to the Top grant money.  He contracted with the testing groups to micromanage the Common Core tests, in exchange for federal grant money.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

DID THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BRIBE STATES TO ADOPT COMMON CORE?

Yes. States received federal ARRA money to implement pre-common core reforms that paved the way for Common Core, including building a State Longitudinal Database System.  There were 4 federal key objectives for education reforms  laid out by President Obama which were the four conditions for receiving stimulus monies.  Federally defined common standards and tests were one of the conditions.

More evidence of bribery and coercion can be seen in the timing of a majority of the states’ adopting Common Core simultaneously with the Race to the Top money lure.  And recently, a group of U.S. Senators have denounced what the Executive Branch (Obama Administration) has done in coercing states with  Common Core bribes.

obama light

 

IS COMMON CORE RELATED TO STUDENT DATA MINING?

Yes.   But Secretary Arne Duncan told the American Society of News Editors that opponents make “outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t.” 

He just told a bold-faced lie.  The federal Edfacts Exchange collects data for local, state and federal levels.  The federal government paid for the states to build matching and interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems.  The White House hosts Datapalooza where Common Core and common data standards are spoken of warmly and together.  The Department of Education is listed as a partner at the EIMAC (Education Information Management Advisory Consortia) There are many other things that the Department of Education has done to take away student privacy, aiming aims to align common data standards with common educational standards.

Data Baby

WHAT SPECIFICALLY DID THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DO TO REMOVE PRIVACY FROM STUDENT DATA?

– It bribed the states with ARRA Stimulus monies to build 50 linkable, twinlike State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS). This  created a virtual national database.

– It altered the (previously privacy-protective) federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) law to make access to personally identifiable student data –including biological and behavioral data–  “legal”.  Now, the act of requiring parental consent (to share personally identifiable information) has been reduced from a requirement to just a “best practice” according to the altered federal FERPA regulations.

Best practice FERPA

For more information on this, study the lawsuit between the Electronic Information Privacy Center and the Department of Education.

– The US Department of Education partnered with private groups, including the Data Quality Campaign and the CCSSO (that’s the Council of Chief State School Officers –copyright holders on Common Core–) to collect student data nationally.

For a 15-minute crash-course on Common Core’s connection with student data mining, watch this video by Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project:

IS THIS ABOUT MAKING MONEY AT THE EXPENSE OF QUALITY EDUCATION?

Yes.  Educational gains are not the motivator for Common Core.  Notice that proponents are either financially invested in the implementation of Common Core, or else must be subservient to it and call it good because they rely on payment from those who are invested.  The financial obligation should make the following groups’ promotion of Common Core extremely suspect:

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - MicrosoftPearson Education - National PTA - Jeb Bush - Harvard University - National Governors’ Association - Council of Chief State School Officers - Fordham Institute – Manhattan Institute – Exxon, and many, many more.

 

IS COMMON CORE RESPECTED BY HIGHER ED?

132 professors of Catholic Universities recently wrote  a letter denouncing Common Core on both academic and moral grounds.

Also:

Dr. Anthony Esolen of Providence College in Rhode Island has written:

“What appalls me most about the standards … is the cavalier contempt for great works of human art and thought, in literary form. It is a sheer ignorance of the life of the imagination. We are not programming machines. We are teaching children. We are not producing functionaries, factory-like. We are to be forming the minds and hearts of men and women… to be human beings, honoring what is good and right and cherishing what is beautiful.”

Dr. Thomas Newkirk of University of New Hampshire has written:

The standards are portrayed as so consensual, so universally endorsed, so thoroughly researched and vetted, so self-evidently necessary to economic progress, so broadly representative of beliefs in the educational community—that they cease to be even debatable… The principle of opportunity costs prompts us to ask: “What conversations won’t we be having?” Since the CCSS virtually ignore poetry, will we cease to speak about it? What about character education, service learning? What about fiction writing in the upper high school grades? What about the arts that are not amenable to standardized testing? … We lose opportunities when we cease to discuss these issues and allow the CCSS to completely set the agenda, when the only map is the one it creates.”

Dr. Daniel Coupland of Hillsdale College has written:

“Yes, man is made for work, but he’s also made for so much more… Education should be about the highest things. We should study these things of the stars, plant cells, Mozart’s Requiem… not simply because they’ll get us into the right college or into the right line of work. Rather, we should study these noble things because they can tell us who we are, why we’re here… If education has become –as Common Core openly declares– preparation for work in a global economy, then this situation is far worse than Common Core critics ever anticipated. And the concerns about cost, and quality, and yes, even the constitutionality of Common Core, pale in comparison to the concerns for the hearts, minds, and souls of American children.”

 Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University has written:

“Education reform in the United States is being driven largely by ideology, rhetoric, and dogma instead of evidence…. Where is the evidence of the efficacy of the standards? … Let us be very frank: The CCSS are no improvement over the current set of state standards. The CCSS are simply another set of lists of performance objectives.”  Dr. Tienken also has two powerful short videos on the subject of standards and of assessments.

Dr. Alan Manning of Brigham Young University has written:

“The Core standards just set in concrete approaches to reading/writing that we already know don’t work very well. Having the Core standards set in concrete means that any attempts to innovate and improve reading/writing instruction will certainly be crushed. Actual learning outcomes will stagnate at best. An argument can be made that any improvement in reading/writing instruction should include more rather than less attention the reading/analysis of stories known to effective in terms of structure (i.e. “classic” time-tested stories). An argument can be made that any improvement in reading/writing instruction should include more rather than fewer exercises where students write stories themselves that are modeled on the classics. This creates a more stable foundation on which students can build skills for other kinds of writing. The Core standards would prevent public schools from testing these kinds of approaches.”

Dr. Bill Evers of Hoover Institute at Stanford University noted:

“The Common Core — effectively national math and English curriculum standards coming soon to a school near you — is supposed to be a new, higher bar that will take the United States from the academic doldrums to international dominance.

So why is there so much unhappiness about it? There didn’t seem to be much just three years ago. Back then, state school boards and governors were sprinting to adopt the Core. In practically the blink of an eye, 45 states had signed on.

But states weren’t leaping because they couldn’t resist the Core’s academic magnetism. They were leaping because it was the Great Recession — and the Obama administration was dangling a $4.35 billion Race to the Top carrot in front of them. Big points in that federal program were awarded for adopting the Core, so, with little public debate, most did.”

Dr. Terrence Moore of Hillsdale College has written:

“Literature is the study of human nature. If we dissect it in this meaningless way, kids not only do not become college and career ready, they don’t even have a love of learning; they don’t even have an understanding of their fellow men… The thing that bothers me more than anything else is found on page number one of the introduction. That says that Common Core is a living work. That means that the thing that you vote on today could be something different tomorrow, and five years from now it is completely unrecognizable.”    (Dr. Moore also wrote a most excellent book about Common Core English standards, entitled “The Storykillers.”)

Dr. Sandra Stotky (spoken of at the top) has written:

“The wisest move all states could make to ensure that students learn to read, understand, and use the English language appropriately before they graduate from high school is first to abandon Common Core’s ‘standards’…”

“The notion that Common Core’s college and career readiness standards are “rigorous” needs to be publicly put to bed by Arne Duncan, his friends at the Fordham Institute and the media. Two of Common Core’s own mathematics standards writers have publicly stated how weak Common Core’s college readiness mathematics standards are. At a public meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in March 2010, physics professor Jason Zimba said, “The concept of college readiness is minimal and focuses on non-selective colleges.”

Dr. Stotsky also testified that:

“Beyond the lack of clarity from the outset about what college readiness was intended to mean and for whom, Common Core has yet to provide a solid evidentiary base for its minimalist conceptualization of college readiness–and for equating college readiness with career readiness. Moreover… it had no evidence on both issues.”

“Common Core supporters still can’t figure out how to deal with legitimate criticisms of its English language arts (ELA) standards. So they just keep parroting the line that Common Core’s ELA skills are actually standards, are rigorous and prioritize literary study, when it’s quite obvious to any English teacher that they are none of the above.”

“Common Core was/is not about high-quality national education standards. It was/is not about getting low-income, high-achieving students into advanced math and science courses in high school and then into college. CCSSI was and is about how to lower the academic level of what states require for high school diplomas and for admission to public colleges.”

“Of course, Common Core proponents can’t say that lowering academic standards is their goal. Instead, they claim that its standards will reduce the seemingly terrible problems we have with interstate mobility (actually less than 2 percent nationally) or enable Massachusetts teachers to know how Mississippi students compare to theirs (something they never said they were eager to learn), or facilitate nationally the sale of high-tech products to the public schools (something the P-21 skills folks were eager for). They have looked desperately for motivating issues and these are the best cards in their deck, as poor as they are.”

“Their major selling point is how poor our K-12 public education system is in too many states. But it needs to be strengthened, not weakened. We continue to need capable doctors and engineers who build bridges and tunnels that won’t collapse.”

“Are we as a society really ready to agree to Common Core’s low-expectations for college readiness (as professors Zimba and McCallum indicate)? Are we willing to lower the bar as a way of closing the achievement gap?”

“We hear no proponents or endorsers of Common Core’s standards warning this country about the effects of the college-readiness level in Common Core’s mathematics standards on postsecondary and post-baccalaureate academic and professional programs. We hear no proponents or endorsers of Common Core’s standards advising district superintendents and state education policy makers on the kind of mathematics curriculum and courses they need to make available in our secondary schools if our undergraduate engineering colleges are to enroll American students. At this time we can only conclude that a gigantic fraud has been perpetrated on this country, in particular on parents in this country, by those developing, promoting, or endorsing Common Core’s standards. We have no illusion that the college-readiness level in ELA will be any more demanding than Common Core’s college-readiness level in mathematics.” – Sept. 2013 paper: Can This Country Survive Common Core’s College Readiness Level? by R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky

Dr. William Mathis, of the University of Colorado, has written:

“The adoption of a set of standards and assessments, by themselves, is unlikely to improve learning, increase test scores, or close the achievement gap. • For schools and districts with weak or non-existent curriculum articulation, the CCSS may adequately serve as a basic curriculum. • The assessment consortia are currently focused on mathematics and English/language arts. Schools, districts, and states must take proactive steps to protect other vital purposes of education such as citizenship, the arts, and maximizing individual talents – as well as the sciences and social sciences. As testbased penalties have increased, the instructional attention given to non-tested areas has decreased. • Educators and policymakers need to be aware of the significant costs in instructional materials, training and computerized testing platforms the CCSS requires. It is unlikely the federal or state governments will adequately cover these costs. • The nation’s “international economic competitiveness” is unlikely to be affected by the presence or absence of national standards.”

capitol with alyson

———————-

Parents and retired teachers, it is up to us to stop this thing.  Teachers who are currently teaching, or principals, or others who work in the education sales industry dare not speak up too loudly or risk losing their jobs.  It is up to us.

Chicago Teacher Paul Horton: Obama’s Corporate Friends Dictate Education Policy   4 comments

 children

Why Obama’s Education Policies will not Change

Guest post by Chicago high school history teacher Paul Horton, also posted at Edweek 

 

Back before the President was elected, he spoke to the 80th annual convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). It is useful to compare the President’s speech to the AFT in July of 2008 and his state of the union address last week. In his state of the Union speech of 2013, he spoke of states “voluntarily” complying with the DOEd’s Race to the Top program. He is fond of saying that learning “is more than bubble tests,” and that “change is hard.”

It is also interesting to note that the President began this year’s state of the union speech with a compliment to teachers–an election cycle is approaching—but that he stuck with the “bubble test” line, and, most importantly, with the “change is hard” line.

My guess is that he dropped the “voluntary” line because many teachers, students, and parents don’t buy it anymore. Too many folks know too much.

obama

I have just taken a closer look at the history of Illinois compliance. This example might be similar to what happened in many other states.

On January 13 and 14 of 2010, Governor Quinn and state Education Superintendent Christopher Koch signed the first round RTTT Illinois Application. Initial endorsements came from the Commercial Club of Chicago’s who’s who.

When Tennessee and D.C. won the first round, the pressure was on to beef up endorsements for the 2nd round of grants. This is where the heavy political muscle was applied. Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) put out fact sheets indicating that Illinois’ first application lacked broader support from education, business, and political leaders, the state legislature then magically brought a bill to the floor that called for a 1% increase in Education funding right at the point when Federal money that had allowed districts to retain thousand of teachers was cut off for the next fiscal year.

The money available would be dangled before the states facing huge cuts in the form of a Race to the Top grant competition. According to Illinois AFT President Ed Geppert, “Illinois is on the brink of budget disaster.” (Illinois AFT Facebook posting, March 10, 2010)

aft

In response, AFT mobilized its base in rallies to increase state funding. But the state legislature had the NEA and AFT over a barrel. Not surprisingly, as the state Education bill was being negotiated, NEA and AFT both sent in phase two RTTT application endorsement letters. At the same time (February-July), district superintendents and NEA and AFT locals were being pressured to sign Memorandums of Understanding (MOUS) to mandate adherence to the Common Core Curriculum (CCCS), standardized testing based on the CCCS, Value Added Assessments (VAM), greater openness to charter school openings, and more support for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM). This all sounded great to districts and locals facing huge job cuts, they could see the gruesome budget guillotine out the window.

With some resistance from better-funded north shore (Chicago) districts (i.e. Evanston) the state achieved “voluntary” buy-in when districts gave up local control of curriculum and union locals begged for crumbs at the legislative bargaining table.

A question that could be asked is: how could the state legislature be lined up so quickly to apply the pressure on districts and unions? My educated guess is DFER.  DFER had access to “insider information” from DOEd.

pearson                      sir michael barber

gatesdemocrats for ed reform

A very porous membrane exists between the Department of Education, Democrats for Education Reform, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Pearson Education.

DFER made it known to the Illinois House Speaker and Governor that Illinois’ application did not look “voluntary” enough. The House Speaker and the Governor’s allies in the state legislature came up with the idea of an underfunded Education bill as the leverage needed to create “voluntary” support for RTTT. Dozens of letters of endorsement began arriving to the Governor’s office in early May.

“Voluntary” my…. foot!

Back to the President’s campaign speech in July 2008 to the AFT convention. At this point Bill Gates was playing pretty coy with the President’s campaign. Candidate Obama already had strong ties to DFER, having worked with DFER as a state senator and US senator.  His close circle of friends, the friends who had provided him with the cash to make it through the primaries, all supported charter schools.  John Rogers created created the Ariel Academy and the Ariel Foundation. Marty Nesbitt and Penny Pritzker were breaking into the business of creating charter schools: the Noble Charter chain. Mr. Nesbitt, Diana Mendley Rauner, Rahm Emanuel, and Valerie Jarrett had close ties with the Chicago Housing Authority. Mr. Nesbitt was the CHA Board Chairman and worked to implement a Federally subsidized plan (Hope VI) in the Plan for Transformation that demolished public housing units and created public-private partnerships for mixed income development on the west and “mid-south” sides.

At the same time, the Commercial Club of Chicago hatched the Renaissance 2010 plan that sought to close 60 public schools in these mixed income developments and replace them with a mix of 100 public and private charter schools. The push for the Olympic bid for 2016 was intended to speed up south side gentrification to create a developer’s profit bonanza. Brand new “streamlined” charter schools would attract upper middle class buyers into mixed-income neighborhoods. (Pauline Lipman, The New Political Economy of Urban Education, 74-99)

The Olympic bid fell flat on its face, and the neighborhoods were not mixing as rapidly as developers hoped in the wake of the 2008 crash.

But the charter schools are still being built and public schools are still being closed in gentrifying areas. Former public housing residents are pushed out of these mixed income neighborhoods. Because the neighborhood schools lose enrollment, they are closed. Public schools are then replaced by charters that require an extensive application process. This story is the narrative of “reform” in several major cities. (Lipman, 95-99)

Candidate Obama, in his speech video cast to the American Federation of Teachers convention, insisted, “that we must fix the failures of “No Child Left Behind by providing the funding that was promised, giving states the resources that they need, and finally meeting our commitment to special education.”

“It is time to start treating teachers properly….In May, I visited a school in Colorado where just three years ago, only half the seniors are accepted to college. But thanks to the hard work of caring parents, innovative educators, and some very committed students, all forty-four seniors at this year’s class were accepted to more than seventy colleges and universities across the country. And that example trickles down.”

What the President did not tell the AFT crowd  in 2008 was that the school that he was describing was a charter school that had closed its doors to a large percentage of students who started with the class that the future President was holding up as a model for all educators. He was also very careful not to mention that the school employed non-union teachers and was created by a former Teacher for America teacher—Michael Johnston.

The President knew what he was planning because his closest friends, and most important bundlers: John Rogers (Arne Duncan’s best friend), Marty Nesbitt (the President’s best friend), and Penny Pritzker (Marty Nesbitt’s boss who invested $50 million in his “Parking Spot” start-up), all board members of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (who served on that board with Michelle Obama), were heavily invested in the Noble charter chain.

For President Obama, education policy will not change because he owes the DFER bundlers, his closest friends, and Bill Gates a huge payback for their investment of time and funds into his campaign.

Our education policy is their education policy.  It is a policy for those who own stock in charter chains, Microsoft, Apple, HP, and Pearson Education.

“Change is hard.”

Should Corporations and political friends be allowed to dictate Education Policy?

children

 

Senators Stand Up to Obama and Duncan’s Common Core in D.C   6 comments

God bless these senators!

From a press release from Senator Mike Lee’s website:

Feb 05 2014

Senators Introduce Resolution Denouncing Obama Administration’s Coercion of States with Common Core

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will introduce a resolution strongly denouncing the Obama Administration’s coercion of states into adopting Common Core State Standards by conferring preferences in federal grants and flexibility waivers.  The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming).
senator cochran mississ
The Obama Administration has effectively bribed and coerced states into adopting Common Core,” said Graham.  “Blanket education standards should not be a prerequisite for federal funding.  In order to have a competitive application for some federal grants and flexibility waivers, states have to adopt Common Core.  This is simply not the way the Obama Administration should be handling education policy. Our resolution affirms that education belongs in the hands of our parents, local officials and states.
senator graham
Educational decisions are best made by parents and teachers – not bureaucrats in Washington,” said Scott.  “While Common Core started out as a state-led initiative, the federal government unfortunately decided to use carrots and sticks to coerce states into adopting national standards and assessments. That is simply the wrong choice for our kids.”
senator scott
“It is crucial that the money being spent on education in Oklahoma be controlled by Oklahomans who are familiar with the needs of our schools and students,” said Inhofe. “This is why I am proud to join Senator Graham in introducing a resolution that enforces vital education practices of leaving the decisions of children’s educational needs to the state and the parents.
senator inofe
Common Core is another example of Washington trying to control all aspects of Americans’ lives, including the education of our children,” said Cruz.  “We should not allow the federal government to dictate what our children learn; rather, parents, through their teachers, local schools and state systems, should be able to direct the education of their children.”
senator cruz
Common Core has become polluted with Federal guidelines and mandates that interfere with the ability of parents, teachers and principals to deliver the education our children deserve,” said Lee.  “Rather than increasing coercion, we should be demanding that further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards be eliminated.”
senator lee
Decisions about what content students should be taught have enormous consequences for children and so should be made as close as possible to the affected parents and students,” said Grassley.  “Federal interference in this area disrupts the direct line of accountability between parents and those making decisions about their children’s education.  It also takes away needed flexibility from state education leaders to make changes as they learn more about what works and what does not.”
senator grassley
This Administration favors a national school board approach to education and likes to ignore individual states’ decisions,” said Enzi. “It uses ‘free’ money as the carrot to dangle in front of the states. In effect it is trying to force states into accepting a one-size-fits-all approach. This coercion with Common Core is another example of the federal government trampling on states’ rights and is the wrong approach to fixing our education system in this country.”
The major provisions of the resolution affirm:
  • Education belongs in the hands of parents, local education officials, and states.
  • The federal government should not coerce states into adopting common education standards.
  • No future application process for any federal grant funds or waivers should award additional points, or provide any preference, for the adoption of Common Core.

FACT SHEET :

  • Strongly denounces President Obama’s coercion of states into adopting Common Core by conferring preferences in federal grants and flexibility waivers.
  • Strongly supports the restoration and protection of state authority and flexibility in establishing and defining challenging student academic standards and assessments.

———————-

By the way, the Utah State Office of Education still claims  that there are “no federal strings” attached to Common Core.   Will they ever tell the people of Utah ?

Pullman: Common Core is the Big Election Issue That Politicians Try to Ignore   2 comments

Published this week at The Federalist is an article by Joy Pullman: “Common Core: The Biggest Election Issue Washington Prefers to Ignore”.

Pullman points out that while Washington does its best to ignore or discredit Common Core opposition, the fact remains that some heavy names and powerful organizations are fighting Common Core:

“Common Core opponents include, as entire institutions or representatives from them, the American Principles Project, Americans for Prosperity, the Badass Teachers Association, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, Class Size Matters, Eagle Forum, FreedomWorks, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Goldwater Institute, the Heartland Institute (where I work), the Heritage Foundation, Hillsdale College, the Hoover Institute, Notre Dame University, the National Association of Scholars, the Pioneer Institute, Stanford University, United Opt-Out, and leaders from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to a coalition of Catholic university scholars and teachers union darling Diane Ravitch. These organizations’ flavors range from constitutionalist to libertarian to liberal. The people making the noise are regular moms, dads, and grandparents, but they’re backed up by organizations with intellectual chops.”

She writes, “Even so, knowledge of Common Core is relatively low among the general public, so many politicians have seen this as an opening to disregard or ignore it. That’s a dangerous move….the biggest thing Washington politicos may be overlooking about Common Core is the simple fact that wedge issues matter. Most of the populace does not show up to vote for most elections. People who have strong reasons to vote do, and turnout often determines elections. Getting passionate people to vote is half the point of a campaign. The Common Core moms have a reason to vote, and boy, do they have a lot of friends.”

Read the whole article.

7 Links to Evidence of Federal Control of Common Core   9 comments

arne barackk

Folks, there can be no question that the federal government is using Common Core to take away our freedoms.

So why do many people still believe that “there’s no federal control of Common Core”? Because trusted education leaders are not being forthright with –or are not in possession of– the truth. Here in Utah, for example, the Utah State Office of Education, has a “fact-versus-fiction” pamphlet which still says that the standards “are not federally controlled.”

The fact is that states that adopted Common Core standards are being co-parented by two groups in partnership, neither of which takes seriously the constitutional rights of the states to govern education locally: these partners are 1) The federal government and 2) Private trade clubs financed by Bill Gates– NGA and CCSSO.

So first, here’s evidence of terrible federal controls: (click to fact check, please)

1. Federal micromanagement in Common Core testing grant conditions and now, Race to the Top grant lures that go directly to districts and ignore state authority over districts.
2.Federal ESEA 15% capped waiver conditions that deny states the right to add more than 15% to our standards;
3. Federal reviews of tests
4. Federal data collection
5. Federal
disfiguration of previously protective FERPA laws that removed parental rights over student data;
6. President Obama’s four assurances for education reform which governors promised to enact in exchange for ARRA stimulus funds;
7.Obama’s withholding of funds from schools that do not adopt Common Core as read in his Blueprint for Reform (aka The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) which says, “Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states.”

barack arne

And here’s evidence of unelected, corporate controls of Common Core:

1) Common Core copyrights (and “living work” alteration rights) are held solely by two unelected, private clubs, the superintendents’ club (aka CCSSO) and a governors’ club (aka NGA).
2) These two clubs’ Common Core creation was influenced and funded not by voters/taxpayers, by the politically extreme Bill Gates, who has spent over $5 Billion on his personal, awful version of education reform– and that dollar amount is his own admission.
3) No amendment process exists for states to co-amend the “living work” standards. The “living work” statement means that OUR standards will be changed without representation from US as the states; it will be controlled by the private trade groups CCSSO/NGA.
4) Bill Gates and Pearson are partnered. (Biggest ed sales company partnered with 2nd richest man on earth, all in the effort to force Common Core on everyone.)
5) The speech of corporate sponsor Bill Gates when he explains that “We’ll only know [Common Core] this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.” This explains why he is giving away so much money so that companies can be united in the gold rush of creating Common Core curriculum.
6. Virtually every textbook sales company now loudly advertises being “common core aligned” which creates a national monopoly on textbook-thought. This, despite the fact that the standards are unpiloted, experimental (in the words of Dr. Christopher Tienken, Common Core is education malpractice.)
7. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many huge corporations (ExxonMobil) are loudly selling Common Core as a way of creating wealth, despite the standards’ untested nature.

The federal partnering with the private groups like CCSSO/NGA, means that mandates and thought-monopolies of Common Core are truly beyond even legislative control. –Because they are privately controlled, they’re beyond voters’ influence.

This is why nothing short of an outright rejection of all things Common Core can restore us to educational freedom.

Why should you care? Why should you fight this, even if you don’t have children in school? Because of the Constitution.

The Constitution sets us apart as the only country on earth that has ever truly had the “freedom experiment” work. This makes us a miraculous exception. Why would we ever shred the Constitution by accepting initiatives that disfigure our representative system?

The G.E.P.A. law states that “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”

So the federal government is prohibited from creating tests or instructional materials– but the private groups NGA and CCSSO, funded by Gates, are not! This is why the federal Department of Education officially partnered with these unelected, private corporate interests –groups which are not accountable to G.E.P.A. laws, to teachers, principals, taxpayers, voters or children. (This may also explain why Arne Duncan goes to such great lengths to distinguish between standards and curriculum. Everybody knows that standards dictate curriculum like a frame dictates the height and width of a house. But GEPA law doesn’t use the word “standards.”)

We are in unrepresented dire straits: In no way do voters or teachers (or states themselves) control what is now set in the Common Core standards.

This is true in spite of the so often-repeated “the standards are state-led” marketing line. Don’t believe the marketing lines! So much money is money being spent on marketing Common Core because of Bill Gates. Gates sees this whole Common Core movement as a way to establish his (and Pearson’s) “uniform customer base.”

Watch Gates say these words in his speech if you haven’t already. This speech needs to be widely known, especially by school boards –so that we can boycott this monopoly on thought and on our precious taxpayer dollars.

Please don’t let people keep getting away with saying that the Common Core is free from federal controls, or that “we can add anything we want to it” and “there are no strings attached.” It simply isn’t true.

(How we wish that it was.)

arne barack

Video: Dr. Christopher Tienken Speaks Out in New York   1 comment

Dr. Christopher Tienken spoke at a conference on Common Core held in New York this month. His hard-hitting speech, posted below, includes the powerful, shattering truth that there’s no evidence to support the claims of Common Core proponents. The emperor is wearing no clothes.

“Major policies that we impose on children and parents should have evidence to support their effectiveness.” -Dr. Christopher Tienken, Seton Hall University

After you watch the speech, read Dr. Tienken’s scholarship, book chapter excerpts and previously released video about Common Core at his website.

The German Government Versus the Wunderlich Family   1 comment

The Wunderlich Family of Germany was attacked by their own government yesterday, as armed police stormed into their home and took away their four children.

There was no criminal charge of any kind– other than home-schooling.

This, in a so-called free nation? Although millions of children are home schooled legally in in many places, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Peru, Botswana, and so on, it is a sad fact that home school is now a punishable crime in Germany, Sweden, Beijing, and elsewhere.

And– while technically not illegal in the countries of France, Greece or Norway, it is extremely tightly –and sometimes cruelly– controlled by the governments there and elsewhere.

This nightmare treatment of the Wunderlich family, the Romeike family, the Himmelstrand family and others undermines the right for children to belong with and belong to their families, not to a government.

Our own President Obama said in his recent State of the Union address that he hopes the U.S. system will soon be more like Germany’s educational system. How can he admire it?

German educational-workforce tracking is efficient, sure. But it’s totally lacking in liberty; a heartless,worker-bee creating, human-dignity-sapping educational system.

By the way, Obama also derides private, religious schools, for being what he calls “divisive.”

Did we just get that right? The President of what is supposed to be the freest country on earth doesn’t approve of private or religious schools and likes the German example of education? So, does Obama approve of Germany’s actions against these families? His Attorney General Eric Holder sure does.

Would they approve of U.S. police taking away custody of the millions of U.S. children who are home schooled here, as well?

Considering the fact that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder kicked the Romeike family out of the USA, how far off are we from truly having to fight this fight?

Huge kudos to Congressman Marlin Stutzman of Indiana and the 26 additional members of Congress who recently signed a powerful letter to Attorney General Eric Holder saying what needed to be said: “Americans don’t subscribe to the European notion that children belong to the community or the state—they belong to their parents.” The letter also said:

Dear Attorney General Holder,

We respectfully ask that, as the chief law enforcement officer of a nation founded as a safe haven for those who seek liberty, you grant asylum to the Romeike family who fled to the United States in 2008 after suffering persecution from the German government as a result of their decision to homeschool their children.


A decision to deny the Romeikes the opportunity to educate their children freely is a decision to abandon our commitment to freedom.
Doing so would put America alongside those countries that believe children belong to the community or state. A country founded on freedom should stand for the fact that they belong to their parents.

Read the rest here.

Another Unbearably Long Email Discussion With UT Board Member Dave Thomas   2 comments

For anyone who can stand to plow through it, here’s another letter I wrote in response to Mr. Thomas’s response to my response to his response to my questions posted in the Deseret News op-ed last month.
____________________________________________________________

Dear Mr. Dave Thomas,

Please remember that I am not your enemy. I am a fellow Utahn, a mother, and a teacher. I hope for great schools and happy kids and teachers. I hope for the maintenance of local control of education. That is the goal here. Just to clarify.

On Evidence: You said: I actually gave more than Fordham’s opinion (although I might add that the Fordham study is the most extensive that has been done). I included the source material that backs up the Common Core standards in math and English language arts. You claim that the standards are not research based, but every time you are given the research your response is simply to ignore them. Common Core uses the “best practices” in both the United States as well as internationally. My research shows the Common Core standards not to be experimental, but an increase in quality and rigor over Utah’s prior standards. Math and ELA experts at our Utah colleges and universities agree with me.

I say: Even your fellow board member, Dixie Allen, admits that there is no evidence to support claims that Common Core will improve education; so she bases her approval of Common Core on trust –that those who wrote the standards had the best interests of students at heart. This is like buying a car, trusting that it won’t break down, trusting that its claims to improve gas mileage are correct— but never having test-driven it –or never even reading about someone who had actually test driven it. Since Common Core has never been piloted, it cannot be more than an experiment. You say that professors agree with you, but I, too, quote names of professors at BYU, UVU, Stanford University, Seton Hall University, University of New Hampshire, University of Colorado, etc., who do not agree that Common Core will “increase quality and rigor” in math.

On the Reduction of literature: You said:

Your response is to simply brush off the actual language of the standards and assert that “its common knowledge” that informational texts will be the main type of reading in English classes. Actually, that’s not common knowledge, because it is inconsistent with the actual standards. Both informational texts and classic literature will be taught in English classes. As I noted, the 70-30% ratio that is being touted as being exclusive to English classes is actually across the entire curriculum. Hence math, science and social studies teachers will not be teaching literature, but will be teaching the vast majority of the informational texts. Again, there is nothing in the Common Core ELA which states that the main teaching in English classes will be informational texts at the expense of literature. If you have some precise standards which state this, then I would like to see them because I can’t find them. As for textbooks, there are plenty of textbooks that have come out asserting that they are common core aligned. Most are not. Teachers and school districts will need to be vigilant in selecting textbooks and other instructional materials that truly align to the Utah core standards.

I say: Common Core increases informational text and reduces classic literature. For proof, in addition to actually reading the standards themselves, in addition to looking at Common Core curriculum sales companies’ interpretations of the standards, in addition to reading debate on the subject in the New York Times and Washington Post, in addition to listening to testimonies of Professor Stotsky and others, you can simply watch ELA chief architect David Coleman’s video speeches to teachers. Remember that he is not only the ELA architect, but now President of the College Board, aligning his radical ideas to the SAT. Watch his contempt for narrative writing and his preference for informational text. Watch his sterile view of reading. Is this what you, or most teachers, or most Utahns, believe in and hope for, for our children? I have never seen a believable or clear explanation of how that 70%/30% split would be accomplished across all subjects. Are there trainings for math, science, and P.E. teachers on how to teach English Language Arts in the Common Core Academies of Utah?

On Math Problems: You said:

Actually, the majority of math professionals are trending in the direction of an integrated model, as the National Math Panel suggests….

Dr. Milgram certainly dissented from the Validation Committee, but he was not the only mathematician on the Committee – there were a total of 5. In fact, there were 18 math professors on the Math Work Group and another 9 on the Feedback Group. I point to Dr. Wu because he was another one of the authors of the California Math Standards. The reality is that the vast majority of math educators support the Common Core math standards, including our most prominent Utah math professors. I find it interesting that you find it offensive that experts from outside Utah were involved in creating the Common Core State Standards, but you rely upon Dr. Milgram and other outside experts. Notwithstanding, I also rely upon our inside Utah experts who overwhelmingly approve of the Common Core Math Standards. Why don’t they have as much influence on you as Dr. Milgram?

I have found it interesting that Dr. Milgram does not seem to endorse any math standards that he, himself, has not personally written. He didn’t like our 2007 Utah math standards either….

As for the majority of Utahns never being able to weigh in? There were a total of three 30 day comment periods before the Utah Board adopted the standards.

I am not a math expert, although I have taught elementary school level math. Yet, this much I know: there is no universally endorsed math belief. There are math wars raging. So it is not true that “most” math professionals are believing in or trending toward any single math style. This math war issue needs to be vetted by the Utah public and by Utah teachers, not by a tiny group of mostly non-educators who make up our school board.

As for the majority of Utahns being able to weigh in on the math or English? My teaching credential has never lapsed, yet I never even received a letter or an email of any kind, letting me know that my entire future career would be drastically different because Common Core had come to town. It is absurd to think that Utah teachers or other citizens would surf onto the USOE website frequently enough to have been aware of Common Core’s adoption or of the public comment period.

To the claim that there were 5 “mathematicians” on the Validation Committee: Not everyone who has the word “mathematics” in his title is a math expert. As Dr. Milgram explains: “each of the others mentioned as ‘mathematicians’ on the validation committee actually has his or her advanced degree (if any) in mathematics education, not mathematics. I suppose that there is a general confusion about this distinction since both subjects have the word mathematics in their description. But there is actually a vast difference. The mathematical knowledge of virtually all U.S. citizens who call themselves mathematics educators stops with ratios and rates, not even algebra or calculus. Most of them are assumed to have had calculus in college, but typically it didn’t stick, and when I or my colleagues talk with such people we have to be very careful, as their knowledge of the actual subject is spotty.”

So Dr. Milgram was, in fact, the only mathematician, by this definition, on the Validation Committee, and the only one who really understood what preparation is required for higher-level university mathematics.

But as math-standards-drafter Jason Zimba has admitted, Common Core is not designed to prepare students for such courses – only for math at nonselective community colleges.

Even Common Core proponents admit that the math standards were not drafted by “70 math experts” but rather by three men: Jason Zimba, Phil Daro, and William McCallum (only McCallum had any previous experience writing standards). The other members of the two groups established as the “development team” (especially the large Feedback Group) frequently saw their contributions ignored, without comment. Because the drafters worked in secret, without open-meetings scrutiny or public comment, it’s impossible to know any of the thought processes that went into creating the standards. The only thing we know for certain is Zimba’s admission (see above) about the low level of the Standards, and McCallum’s comment that the math standards would not be “too high,” especially compared with the high-achieving Asian countries.

Sources:

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/06/07/five-people-wrote-state-led-common-core

http://boston.com/community/blogs/rock_the_schoolhouse/2011/11/myths_about_national_standards.html

http://www.nga.org/cms/home/news-room/news-releases/page_2009/col2-content/main-content-list/title_common-core-state-standards-initiative-validation-committee-announced.html

http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky-Invited-Testimony-for-Georgia.pdf

On Amendability: You said:

With respect to Utah, there is no 15% cap. Such was certainly discussed by the NGA and CCSSO, but the 15% cap rule did not make it into the actual public license. The public license allows free use of the standards without any 15% cap. I have read the Utah NCLB Flexibility Waiver, and there is no 15% cap in that either. I admit that I have not researched the Race to the Top requirements because Utah did not receive a grant and is not bound by such. The Utah State Board of Education has never asked for permission from anyone to modify our Utah core standards and as long as I am on the Board never will.

There is a 15% cap. You are right that the copyrighters didn’t place it; but the federal government and its associates did. The same language is repeated in many places, including in the Race to the Top grant application, Race to the Top for Assessments, in the documents of SBAC, PARCC, and Achieve, Inc., and it was also previously in the ESEA, but has been removed. For example, see http://www.achieve.org/files/FINAL-CCSSImplementationGuide.pdf

You said that the board never asked permission to alter Utah’s standards, yet on the Utah Core Standards document online, to which the link is currently broken, it said “Modified by Permission.”

On Data Collection: You say:

While admitting that the Common Core State Standards do not require data collection, you assert that the “Common Core agenda” does. I am not aware of such an agenda. Certainly the President has such an agenda, but the President is not part of the Common Core Initiative, although I admit that he wants to be. He certainly would like to use the Consortiums to collect data, but we are not members of SBAC.

You assume that AIR will violate our agreement and Utah law, and share Utah private student data with SBAC. We have received written assurances from AIR that they will not be sharing such data. Hence, you assume wrongdoing where there is no evidence of such.

Your answer, however, did not address my concerns – which are with NAEP. The National Education Data Model is not being used by Utah and will not be used by Utah. NAEP, however, is a different story. I have tremendous concerns over NAEP.

I say: It doesn’t matter whether the corporate groups (Bill Gates/Pearson/Achieve/AIR) or the federal groups (Obama/Duncan/Linda Darling-Hammond) first pushed national, Common Core standards and the data collection agenda, which moves hand in hand with the common tests and standards. Both groups are shamelessly power-grabbing. The two groups are equally unwelcome to monopolize Utah education standards and tests.

It matters who here in Utah will put a stop to it.

The corporate – public collusion creates a loss of local voices and local control in multiple ways. Those at the top benefit financially and control-wise, when they can persuade all of us to believe in their collectivist ideology.

You may not have read the report by the President’s Equity and Excellence Commission entitled “For Each And Every Child.” In it, we learn that redistribution of resources is the whole point of the “education reform” agenda, Common Core or whatever you want to call it. Redistribution– of money and of teachers and principals. A total loss of local control. This top-down redistribution can not be accomplished if those governmental bodies and corporate bodies at the top do not have access to personally identifiable information about teachers, as well as of students.

We cannot separate data collection issues from Common Core reforms. They work hand in hand.

To protect Utah citizens from groups gaining improper access to student data, we need more than assurances. (I am not interested in evidence of wrongdoing; we need impenetrable knowledge that such improper access is impossible) I mean that we need to end Utah’s use of the federally promoted and funded and nationally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS). We should at the very least make parents aware that personally identifiable information on their student is being collected, and make an opt-out form available widely.

On Testing: You said:

Unlike SBAC, we control our own CAT. AIR is our contractor who works for us, not for SBAC. So I see a big difference between SBAC and AIR. The tests given and the questions asked are approved by the State Board, not AIR. We have a 15 member parent committee who also reviews all of the questions. With respect to “behavorial indicators,” AIR is not free to ask any questions about Utah students. Behavioral indicators has been interpreted by the State Board to mean only graduation data, grades, school discipline and attendance – nothing more. AIR has no ability to collect the data which you fear them collecting. While AIR does behavioral research, that is not what they are tasked with in our contractual arrangement. AIR is one of the premiere computer adaptive testing providers – that is what we contracted with them to do.

I say: AIR is partnered with SBAC and is philosophically aligned (and contractually connected) with George Soros, the Clintons, Microsoft/Gates, and the U.S. Department of Education, to name a few.

What evidence do we have that Utah, not AIR and its partners, has full control over the AIR common core-aligned test? How can we ever go beyond the 15% Common Core alignment rule for common core aligned tests? What are the actual writers’ names and qualifications for AIR tests for Utah? What qualifies the State Board to approve questions while Utah teachers and principals cannot? Why can’t all parents– not just fifteen– see the questions? Have you read what Utah psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson has advised us on this subject?

On Constitutionality: You said:

The State Board completely controls the standards and testing as it pertains to the Utah core standards. Of this I have first-hand knowledge.

I say: The State Board has zero say in what will be written on the NGA/CCSSO produced Common Core standards, nor can they affect its future changes which will be handed down, top-down, to all the states who adopted Common Core. The State Board has no evidence that is can write AIR/SAGE tests to any standard that it desires, beyond the 15% rule for Common Core aligned tests.

On Spiral of Silence: You say:

Once again, I see no evidence of such. Provide to me a name and contact information of a teacher whose job was threatened by speaking out against the Utah Core standards.

I say: No, I will not provide to you the names of the Utah teachers and other staff who I have personally spoken with, who feel that their jobs are threatened if they who dare speak out about Common Core. I have already provided you with the names of those who have retired who are speaking out. And I can promise you that there are many who currently teach, who wish they dared.

On Not Being State-Led: You say:

This assumes that the Common Core Initiative is a federal led effort. There is no evidence of such. Simply because President Obama wants to claim credit for something he didn’t do, does not make it so. I believe he also got a Noble Peace Prize for not doing anything either. These trade organizations are state led – the elected governors and state superintendents control them. 48 state boards of education joined them in the Initiative. The federal government was expressly excluded and no federal funds were used. The states often act through their trade associations as a collective group. The National Governors Association does that on a regular basis. It was in my capacity as a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education and member of the Utah State Board that I confronted the US Department of Education. You assume that the elected governors, state superintendents and state school boards do not control their own associations. I can tell you that in my experience that is not the case.

I say: Is the NGA or CCSSO accountable to the public? No. Do they have open door meetings or financial transparency? No. Were they elected to determine my local school district’s policies in educational matters? No. Do they have a right to assume governance and influence over my child or over me as a teacher, when I have not elected them nor can I un-elect them? No. These groups are not representative of the states. Not even all superintendents belong to CCSSO. Not even all governors belong to NGA. It’s all outside the framework of our founding.

State-led implies that Congressmen and Representatives led and vetted it, in the American way, which is by voter representation. This was never the case. It is not honorable to continue to call this “state-led” because it implies something that it never was– a movement with actual representation.

On Cost: You say:

Tell me who those teachers are so I can confirm this. I find this hard to believe because none of our textbooks have ever been aligned to our core standards. We have intentionally put forth a 5 year implementation of the Utah core standards so that textbooks are bought on the same current cycle. Line items on the costs of teacher development and textbooks are available through the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst as well as from the Utah State Office of Education. Those budgets do not show any measureable increase in the amount spent on either teacher development or textbooks. In fact, you find that over time, the teacher development monies have significantly decreased.

I say: No, I will not provide to you the names of the Utah teachers and other staff who I have personally spoken with.

Governor Herbert agreed in a face to face meeting that a cost analysis should have been done, and was not. He agreed to have one done. He has not. All we have is your word for it. Nothing is on paper. This is not fiscally responsible, especially considering that the largest chunk of Utah tax monies go toward education, and in this case, toward implementation and marketing of Common Core in Utah.

On NAEP: You say:

…the horse you’re riding, the 2001 Massachusetts standards, are the dressed up federal NAEP standards. Dr. Stotsky sits on the NAEP Steering Committee for the Reading Framework. Dr. Driscoll, the Commissioner of Education of Mass, has stated that they aligned their standards and curriculum to NAEP. You will find that I am not a believer in NAEP.

I say: Honestly, I have not studied NAEP very much. So I asked friends in Massachusetts. They told me this, which I will not right now take time to verify, but you and I should both study it further, obviously.

“NAEP only has assessment standards–for its tests. It has no curriculum standards. Stotsky helped to develop curriculum standards in MA. They were approved by the teachers in the state. Stotsky is not on any NAEP committee. To get $250,000 in Race to the Top money, MA adopted Common Core. Gates funded evaluations that were intended to show Common Core standards were better than MA own standards.”

In closing, Mr. Thomas, I am sure you and I would both have a better summer if we actually met face to face rather than spending so much time writing unbearably long emails back and forth.

Please let me know if this is a possibility.

Christel Swasey

Laurie Rogers: On Taking Over Children, America’s Future   1 comment

I love this educator’s site, entitled Betrayed –by Laurie Rogers.

This most recent article on the Betrayed website is greatly enriched by Laurie Rogers’ use of Animal Farm quotes, like: “He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” (Animal Farm)

Article reposted in full, with permission from Laurie H. Rogers

Click on link to read the original, with electronic links to referenced items.

Enjoy!

Children are the key to America’s future. The government wants control of that key.

Those who exert the first influence upon the mind, have the greatest power.– Horace Mann, Thoughts

The writing is on the wall. In a June 7, 2013, statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said President Obama is planning to “redesign” America’s high schools. This redesigning will take place through “competitive grants” (also known as “bait”). Who will pay for this redesigning? (Taxpayers will, as we always do.) How much will it cost? (The secretary and president haven’t said, as they rarely do.) Does the president have the legal or constitutional authority to “redesign” America’s high schools? (No.) According to 20 USC 3403, Obama and Duncan also lack the authority to direct standards, curriculum and teaching approaches. That isn’t stopping them. They say their interventions are for our own good.

He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? (Animal Farm)

Please take note of the language in Duncan’s press release. The “redesigned” high schools will entail:

•”Student-centered” learning

•”Project- or-problem-based” learning

•”Real-world experiences” and “real-world challenges”

•”Evidence-based professional development”

•Engaging in “complex projects” and working with others to apply knowledge

•Moving “away from the traditional notion of seat time”Uh, oh.

Math advocates will recognize that language. It typically alerts us to reform math – to fuzzy content, “discovery learning” (or constructivism), excessive group work, teachers who don’t directly teach, and lofty concepts presented before skills. That approach has not worked well for students for the last three decades.

It seems Duncan is a reformer, and why wouldn’t he be? Public education systems, colleges of education, curriculum developers and policy makers all have been bathed in reform philosophy and approaches since the 1980s. The president’s new mandate – excuse me, his new initiative – appears to mandate an instructional model that has completely failed children for 30 years.

Duncan and Obama also push the controversial Common Core initiatives, which are leading many districts to fuzzy math and weak English programs. The CC math standards contain a separate section, called the “Standards for Mathematical Practice.” Many states and districts are emphasizing the SMP, and the SMP supports a constructivist approach. Voila: more reform math.

It’s noteworthy that the publisher of Singapore Math – a series long praised by traditionalists – released a new “discovery” version based on the CC. Other publishers also have done so. They appear to believe the CC embraces constructivism, and they’re going along with it.

And now we have this high-school initiative, announced with the same language used by proponents of reform math. After three decades of grim failure, reform approaches to math are unlikely to suddenly work for students just because the feds throw another trillion taxpayer dollars at them.

In April, Obama also announced plans to “expand” early learning programs for 4-year-olds, rolling them into the K-12 system. Initially, children will be from low-income families, but other families and toddlers are to be rolled in, too. “Preschool for All” is estimated to cost taxpayers $75 billion over 10 years.

This de facto federal takeover of public education is cunning and devious. Many Americans have been persuaded that the Common Core and related initiatives are “state-led” and academically better; that nothing is federally mandated; that our right to privacy is intact; and that the Standards are the key.

Not true.

Proponents say the CC initiatives are voluntary; internationally benchmarked; research-based; rigorous; proved to work; that they’ll save money; they’ll provide commonality and consistency; and that they aren’t “one-size-fits-all.”

Not true.

The CC initiatives were never internationally benchmarked or academically sufficient. They aren’t grounded in scientifically conducted, replicable research. They’re unproved, with no student data behind them. They’re a national experiment on children. They won’t save taxpayers money. A base cost estimate just to get started is $140 billion nationwide (14,000 school districts x $10 million each).

The CC initiatives are voluntary only in a technical sense. States and districts have been threatened with the loss of federal funds, with the loss of money for impoverished students, and (ironically) with punishments under the No Child Left Behind Act if they don’t comply.

This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. (Animal Farm)

The CC initiatives aren’t “state-led.” The feds are pushing them very hard. They were rammed through states before they were completed, with many proponents appearing to have had a financial reason to support them. The Department of Education has yet to fulfill my FOIA request from four years ago on its role in the development of the CC, but even if the initiatives really were “state-led,” why do the organizations in charge claim to not be subject to public-disclosure laws?

The nature of the CC also is expanding rapidly. Initially, this was K-12 standards in mathematics and English/language arts, but now it’s to be a complete nationalized educational program – with standards, tests, curricula and professional development; from cradle through workforce (P-20); in all subjects, all grades and all schools; in daycares, preschools, K-12 systems and colleges.

The CC initiatives also include an intrusive national database on children and their parents and guardians. Data and information are to be collected and shipped around public agencies, corporations and organizations without our knowledge or consent. Certain state and federal laws were altered or ignored in order to allow and facilitate this sharing of private information. Citizens were not informed.

At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. … [N]ear at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. (Animal Farm)

The CC initiatives appear to entail serious violations of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Code. The overall deceit is so huge, few believe it. Fewer in leadership have questioned it. Legislators on all sides, media, state agencies, governors, districts, money advocates, unions, corporations and foundations have lined up at the Common Core trough, ready for a treat and a pat on the head.

The birds did not understand Snowball’s long words, but they accepted his explanation, and all the humbler animals set to work to learn the new maxim by heart. (Animal Farm)

How long will it be before the feds threaten the loss of taxpayer dollars if states don’t comply with the new high school “grant” initiative or the new early learning initiative? How long before states and districts shrug off questions from parents and taxpayers, saying they had no choice in these matters?

Considering the unproved and dictatorial nature of these federal initiatives, they can’t be about academics. I expect the feds will find it necessary to redesign middle schools to “align” with redesigned high schools. Elementary schools will have to “align” with redesigned middle schools. Preschools will have to “align” with redesigned elementary schools. Colleges are already aligning. It will be one brick at a time, each ripped from the fabric and foundation of the country. This is about control.

With this incredible taxpayer expense – and with academic programs that continue to be as weak as a White House explanation – the children and the country will sink into economic and academic dust. Education policy makers have learned nothing over three decades. Or, perhaps they’ve learned everything. Choose your poison. No doubt, Obama and Duncan will report great improvements.

Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer – except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. (Animal Farm)

The Department of Education is now dictatorial and intrusive, assisted by non-government organizations and corporations working together behind our back. Did you think fascism was just for right-wingers? Read up on “fascism” (but do look beyond Google’s definition). This is educational tyranny.

There are some things you can do, however:

Help your child. Fill in academic gaps. Leave the public system if it isn’t working for your child.•Support Alabama Representative Martha Roby’s effort to rein in the U.S. Department of Education. Ask your representatives to support H.R.5 (the Student Success Act 2013), introduced in Congress on June 6, 2013. This bill won’t undo everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Say no to the intrusive data collection that comes with a district’s participation in the CC. Don’t tell them anything about your family that you don’t want Bill Gates, Pearson Education, the ED, the IRS, the Department of Justice, and other government agencies to know. Refuse questionnaires and surveys. Don’t tell them your voting status, political preference or religion.

“In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king…” (BBC series Sherlock). Don’t let them have the key.

———————————-

Rogers, L. (June 2013). “Children are the key to America’s future. The government wants control of that key.”

Retrieved June 17 2013 from the Betrayed Web site: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com

Obama Redesigning All High Schools   11 comments

The Federal government is altering America and shrinking liberty so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with all the destruction. Much of it is connected to education reforms.

There’s the removal of local control of education via Common Core tests/standards. There’s the removal of parental consent via the 50 federally placed (paid-for) State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS and P-20) which track all children and from which no student can opt out. There’s Obamacare and its mandate to support abortion, and its related plot to increase the numbers of medical facilities that are in public schools. There’s the IRS/FBI assault on privacy, which violates our Constitutional right not to be subject to unlawful searches and seizures and which plays in to the SLDS/P-20 tracking. There’s Obama’s ConnectEd Initiative, which taxes phone bills to pay for Common Core testing technology nationally, regardless of how any of us feel about the unvetted Common Core. But all of this is old news.

Today I learned that Obama is “redesigning” all high schools.

Here’s the link. http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-redesigning-americas-high-schools

In part, the redesigning will “promote a rethinking of the high school learning experience” by using more “student-centered learning,” using more “wrap-around support services,” provide “career-related competencies,” doing “project-or-problem-based learning” do “structured work-based learning,” “redesigning school calendars,” and “expanding a comprehensive system of student support.”

It’s central planning. The “wraparound support services” were described by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the interview below. Arne wants 6-7 days a week of school. He wants schools to be the center of society, rather than families being the center of society. He is a socialist.

Are we all?

Obama’s Common Core Tax Hike   2 comments

Since many schools do not have the technologies necessary for nationalized testing of Common Core standards, President Obama has decided to raise taxes on everyone’s phone bills to pay for the Common Core testing access.

Yes, really.

See this Huffington Post article about the new ConnectED Initiative.

A national Common Core tax hike.

This is tyranny. What about the states that rejected Common Core? What about the home schoolers and private schools that reject Common Core? Why do we all have to pay for Common Core?

We were told that Common Core was voluntary. We were told that we can get out of Common Core any time we like. But now we’re told that we have to pay taxes to support it.

If you don’t pay taxes, you end up in jail.

Voluntarily?

Source Documents for Common Core   11 comments

Nobody has to choose between relying on the proponents of Common Core, or relying on the opponents of Common Core.

To find out what Common Core really is and does to education and to liberty, study for yourself.

These are just a starter batch. There are more!  Some of these are Utah-specific.  If you are in another state, do a related word search to easily find your own.

 

DOCUMENTS:

The Race to the Top Grant Application

The No Child Left Behind Waiver

The State Longitudinal Database System Grant

The lawsuit against the Department of Education

The copyright on Common Core held by CCSSO/NGA

The report entitled “For Each And Every Child” from the Equity and Excellence Commission

The Cooperative Agreements between the Dept. of Education and the testing consortia

The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education

The speeches of President Obama on education

The speeches of the CEA of Pearson Ed, Sir Michael Barber

The speeches of the main funder of Common Core, Bill Gates

The speeches of David Coleman, a noneducator, the architect of the Common Core ELA standards and now promoted to College Board President

The Dept. of Ed report: Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance

The federal websites such as the EdFacts Exchange,  the Common Education Data Standards, the National Data Collection Model, and the Data Quality Campaign, sites because three of these four ask us to give personally identifiable information on students, from our state database.

The Common Core English and Math standards

The full contract that Utah has signed with the American Institutes for Research (if you can get a copy from the USOE; it is not online yet). Here is AIR’s common core implementation document.

————————–

Here are some explanations of each of the documents, and what you can learn from them.

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The Race to the Top Grant Application  - Utah got points for having a kid-tracking SLDS database system.  Utah got more points for having adopted Common Core.  This was how we got into it.  Despite not winning the grant money, we remained in these systems.

The No Child Left Behind Waiver  – This shows the 15% cap the federal government put on top of the copyrighted, unamendable Common Core standards.

The State Longitudinal Database System Grant  – This is a federally paid-for database that every state in the US now has.  It tracks students within the state.  Aggregated data ion students is sent from this system to the federal EdFacts Exchange.

The lawsuit against the Department of Education  – The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the DOE for destroying the previously data-privacy protective federal FERPA. The lawsuit explains which terms were redefined, which agencies now have legal access to the private data of students, and much more.

The copyright on Common Core held by CCSSO/NGA  – The fact that there are “terms of use” and a copyright shows that we have no local control over the standards which are written behind closed doors in D.C.

The report entitled “For Each And Every Child” from the Equity and Excellence Commission – This report was commissioned by Obama.  It reveals that redistribution of wealth is the real reason that Obama wants a national education system.

The Cooperative Agreements between the Dept. of Education and the testing consortia – Even though Utah escaped the SBAC and is not bound by the Cooperative Agreement directly, Utah’s current testing group, A.I.R., works closely with SBAC.  This document shows how clearly the DOE has broken laws like the General Educational Provisions Act and the 10th Amendment.  It mandates the synchronizing of tests and the sharing of data to triangulate the SBAC, PARCC and DOE.

The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education – He seems to believe Common Core was Obama’s idea from the start.

The speeches of President Obama on education – Obama’s goal is total control of everything– teachers, tests, money, and toddlers.

The speeches of the CEA of Pearson Ed, Sir Michael Barber – Barber wants every  school on the globe to have the exact same academic standards and to underpin every standard with environmental propaganda.  He also likes having global data on kids and stresses the term “sustainable reform” which is “irreversible reform”.

The speeches of the main funder of Common Core, Bill Gates – He’s funded Common Core almost completely on his own; he’s partnered with Pearson; he says “we won’t know it works until all the tests and curriculum aligns with the standards” so he’s writing curriculum for us all.

The speeches of David Coleman, a noneducator, the architect of the Common Core ELA standards and now promoted to College Board President -He mocks narrative writing, he’s diminished the percentage of classic literature that’s allowable in the standards, he’s not been elected, he’s never taught school, yet he’s almost singlehandedly destroyed the quality and liberty of an English teacher’s classroom. And as he’s now the College Board President, he’s aligning the SAT to his version of what Common standards should be.  This will hurt colleges.

The Dept. of Ed report: Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance  – behavioral indicators of students are wanted by the federal government.  It’s all about control.

The federal websites such as the EdFacts Exchange, the Common Education Data Standards, the National Data Collection Model, and the Data Quality Campaign, sites because three of these four ask us to give personally identifiable information on students, from our state database.  -The first link shows what we already give to the federal government; the others show what the federal government is requesting that we share, which does include intimate, personally identifiable information.

The Common Core English and Math standards – These are the actual standards.

The full contract that Utah has signed with the American Institutes for Research (if you can get a copy from the USOE; it is not online yet). Here is AIR’s common core implementation document.  – This shows that AIR is not an academic testing group but a behavioral research institute.  Parents and teachers may not see the test questions.

The General Educational Provisions Act (G.E.P.A. Law) – Yes, Common Core is Illegal.   12 comments

The shortest, most important post I’ve written:

In addition to the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, a federal law called The General Educational Provisons Act (G.E.P.A.)

 prohibits the federal government from directing education –very, very clearly:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…

 

Read the rest here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a

Please ask an honest legislator to notice that Obama and Secretary Duncan  openly promote Common Core –and use our taxes to give out grants for common core tests.  Someone has to stop this.

Get Wise, America: Defining Terms of Education Reform   3 comments

America, we need to get smart about education reform. Fast.

Lesson one:  when education reformers use the term “rigorous,” they mean to impress you.  Don’t be impressed.  One size fits all education can never be rigorous for every student.  That’s like calling a mile run “rigorous.”  It might be rigorous for the couch potatoes but it won’t be for the athletes.   The term is meaningless when applied to every child and stripped of teacher input.

Lesson two: when education reformers use the term “high quality teacher,they mean their version. Don’t buy the assumption that what they call a high quality teacher is what you imagine when you think of a great teacher.  The new high quality teacher must be “effective” as a data-collector, test-prepper, and political indoctrinator of environmental and social justice agendas.  Gone are the days when good teachers were characterized by benevolence, spontaneity, creativity, love, nurturing, and intellectual openness and honesty.  A high quality teacher to the Dept. of Ed means one that pushes the line that the government wants pushed, one that no parent got to vote on.

Lesson three: when education reformers use the term “education reform,” they mean their version.  It’s a tightly controlled, standardized, data-collection focused, collective-not-individual focused, environmentally-obsessed, social-justice promoting, uncreative  form of education that has little to do with what a particular student needs or wants. Don’t buy the assumption that it’s actually improving education the way a reasonable parent or grandparent would want education to be improved!  Ask for evidence and empirical studies to back up claims– always.

Lesson four: when education reformers use the term “internationally competitive,” they mean to intimidate you.  Don’t be intimidated.  The truth is that America turns out so many highly qualified college graduates that we can’t even employ them all.  We are incredibly competitive internationally.  Not only are we smart, but we are creative because we have been free.  We innovate miracles in medicine, technology, entertainment and agriculture because we have not been stifled as so many other countries are.  Watch this video.

Lesson five:  when education reformers name-drop, (Harvard, Stanford, Fordham Foundation, Manhattan Institute, the P.T.A., etc.) they mean to marginalize you.  Don’t be moved.  Common Core is educational malpractice and many –even in academia– know it.  Common Core is an untested experiment being pushed without empirical evidence as a foundation.  Harvard, Stanford and countless other supposedly intellectual institutions have been literally bought with Bill Gates’ foundation money –bribed to say that the naked emperor is wearing clothes–  and these establishments have, by taking Gates’ bribes, lost their ability to question the validity of the Common Core.  Don’t listen to anyone’s academic reviews who has been paid to say Common Core is valid.  That’s not honest; that’s gold digging.

Lesson six:  when education reformers say Common Core is “state-led,” they mean to reassure you that it’s no threat to your constitutional rights.  Don’t be fooled.  There’s nothing state-led about Common Core.  Legislators were completely bypassed.  There was never a vote.  There was never a public discussion.  Most people in most states still don’t even know what the term Common Core means, much less feel they led the process.  The standards were developed stealthily behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., by the NGA/CCSSO, two unelected groups who copyrighted the standards and who have provided no amendment process for any state to alter a single strand of a standard.   And the federal government claims credit for pushing the standards on the states.  Just listen to Sec. Duncan’s and Pres. Obama’s speeches on the subject. For example, see Sec. Duncan’s 2010 speech on “The Vision of Education Reform“:

“In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming.

But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked. That is an absolute game-changer in a system which until now set 50 different goalposts for success.

The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards.”

The unconstitutional, detrimental, top-down nationalization of education and usurpation of states’ rights to determine education has clearly and without question, occurred.

The thing that remains unclear is this:  what are Americans going to do about it?
 

Obama and UT Senator Push For Government Preschools: Why it’s So Wrong   1 comment

 

Interesting.  In the same month, both President Obama and Utah’s Sen. Aaron Osmond are pushing to get more toddlers in the arms of the government.  Are they concerned for the well-being of the little ones?  Then why are they doing this?  Why does government desire to hold our babies while we work?

Two reasons: both titled “human capital.”

1.  HUMAN CAPITAL.  Government sees toddlers as property.  Socialist-styled governments increasingly are using the term “human capital” to refer to the people they plan to feed, work, tax, and yes, teach.  They want to imprint upon their capital their ideas and values as early as possible.  Yes, it’s creepy.  But it’s no secret; it’s very openly admitted and promoted.  “Education for all” (UNESCO’s term) has now become “Preschool for all” (Obama’s term.)

2. HUMAN CAPITAL. Government sees mothers (or fathers) as property. The socialist-styled governments are increasingly hoping to redistribute the parents; if a parent is highly educated or trained, it is not in the best interest of those who view those parents as human capital to “allow” them to be home, raising children, when they could be serving the government in other ways.  It is a basic choice that is being taken away from a parent when the government financially or in other ways, incentivizes the leaving of babies in daycare so that the adults will work and be taxed.

Think I’m making this up?

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s speech:  “Improving Human Capital in an Competitive World– Education Reform in the United States”  here:

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTEDUCATION/0,,contentMDK:22848251~menuPK:282425~pagePK:64020865~piPK:149114~theSitePK:282386,00.html

Then read Sweden’s Mireja Institute’s sad “lessons learned” on the topic, here:  http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso

We are not the government’s human capital.  We are free human beings, children of God.

Let’s not be asleep while our leaders turn our society into a socialist/communist styled nanny-government nation and manipulate our babies out of our arms.

Recognize the wrong-minded, popular notion that socialism is good, that government is the ultimate provider, and that individual families are inept caretakers for their own offspring.  This should be taken as false doctrine in any church, in any family, in any reasonable mind.  Government can never provide a thing; it can only forcibly take from you to redistribute to me, or, forcibly take from me to redistribute to you.  But government is not a provider– it’s only a forcible redistributor.

I believe these words on the subject, from Ezra Taft Benson:

It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.

“We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence.

“It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.

“Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.”
http://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/11/the-honored-place-of-woman?lang=eng

 

 

 

Michelle Malkin: Waking Up America to Stop Common Core   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin is determined to wake America up to recognize what harm Common Core is doing to American K-12 education.

Most parents don’t even know what Common Core is.

In part II of her analysis of the Common Core, a nationalized education program heavily promoted, overseen and incentivized by President Obama’s administration, Malkin emphasizes the fact that the Common Core’s “cheerleaders’ claim that their agenda came from the bottom up is false. Flat-out false.”

She says that although the Washington, D.C., board of education “earned widespread mockery this week when it proposed allowing high school students — in the nation’s own capital — to skip a basic U.S. government course to graduate,” that this proposal “is fiddlesticks compared to what the federal government is doing to eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.”

Amen, sister.

Read Malkin’s articlehttp://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/25/rotten-to-the-core-part-2-readin-writin-and-deconstructionism/

Michelle Malkin: Common Core is Obama’s War on Academics   1 comment

  Watch out, Common Core.  Political analysis Michelle Malkin has stepped up to the plate.

Malkin’s New Year’s resolution is to use her syndicated column and blog space “to expose how progressive “reformers” — mal-formers — are corrupting our schools.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/23/rotten-to-the-core-obamas-war-on-academic-standards-part-1/

Rotten to the Core: Obama’s War on Academic Standards

  By Michelle Malkin  – (Part 1)

 

January 23, 2013 09:43 AM

…This is the first in an ongoing series on “Common Core,” the stealthy federal takeover of school curriculum and standards across the country.

…. Under President Obama, these top-down mal-formers — empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by misguided liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates — are now presiding over a radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum. It’s being done in the name of federal “Common Core” standards that do anything but raise achievement standards.

… In practice, Common Core’s dubious “college- and career”-ready standards undermine local control of education, usurp state autonomy over curricular materials, and foist untested, mediocre and incoherent pedagogical theories on America’s schoolchildren.

Over the next several weeks and months, I’ll use this column space to expose who’s behind this disastrous scheme in D.C. backrooms. I’ll tell you who’s fighting it in grassroots tea party and parental revolts across the country from Massachusetts to Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Utah. And most importantly, I’ll explain how this unprecedented federal meddling is corrupting our children’s classrooms and textbooks…

 

Full Text:

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/01/23/rotten-to-the-core-obamas-war-on-academic-standards-part-1/

History Teacher Speaks Out: Stop Common Core   2 comments

A History Teacher’s Message to America

About Common Core Standards

by C.E. White

This week, President Obama will be sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States of America.

As a history teacher, I was elated to learn he would be placing his hand on two Bibles, one belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other belonging to President Abraham Lincoln, when he takes the oath of office to lead our great nation. Dr. King and President Lincoln helped define civil rights for America…historical heroes who transformed the idea of justice and equality.

As jubilant as I am that President Obama is symbolically using the bibles of two of the greatest Americans in our nation’s history, I am saddened that this administration seems to have forgotten what Dr. King and President Lincoln promoted regarding education.

In Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” he stated “the goal of America is freedom.” As a teacher, it is such an honor to teach America’s children about freedom and patriotism. However, over the past few years, I began to learn about a new education reform initiative called Common Core Standards. A few years ago, when I first heard of Common Core, I began doing my own research. My students represent the future of the United States of America, and what they learn is of utmost importance to me. I care about their future, and the future of our country.

My research of Common Core Standards kept me awake at night, because what I discovered was so shocking. I discovered that Common Core Standards is about so much more than educational standards. I wanted so badly to believe these changes would be good for our children. How can “common” standards be a bad thing? After all, isn’t it nice to have students learning the same exceptional standards from Alabama to Alaska, from Minnesota to Massachusetts?

As a teacher, I began to spend nights, weekends, summers, even Christmas Day researching Common Core, because these reforms were so massive and were happening so quickly, it was hard to keep up with how American education was being transformed. I quickly began to realize that the American education system under Common Core goes against everything great Americans like Dr. King and President Lincoln ever taught. The very freedoms we celebrate and hold dear are in question when I think of what Common Core means for the United States.

One of my favorite writings about education from Dr. King is a paper entitled “The Purpose of Education.” In it, he wrote “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
When I sit in faculty meetings about Common Core, I hear “curriculum specialists” tell me that Common Core is here to stay and I must “embrace change.” I am forced to drink the kool-aid. These specialists don’t tell us to search for facts about Common Core on our own, they simply tell us what the people paid to promote Common Core want us to know. Didn’t Dr. King want us to separate facts from fiction? Why are we only given information from sources paid to say Common Core is a good thing? Isn’t that the exact same type of propaganda Dr. King discussed in his writings about education? Shouldn’t we discuss why thousands of Americans are calling for a repeal of the standards?

I am told that I must embrace Common Core and I infer that resisting the changes associated with Common Core will label me “resistant to change.” As a teacher, I definitely believe our classrooms are changing with the times and I am not afraid of change. Teachers across America are hearing similar stories about how they should “feel” about Common Core. This is a brainwashing bully tactic. It reminds me of my 8th graders’ lesson on bullying, when I teach them to have an opinion of their own. Just because “everyone’s doing it,” doesn’t make it right. In regards to Common Core, I am not afraid of change. I am just not going to sell-out my students’ education so that Pearson, the Gates Foundation, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Marc Tucker and others can experiment on our children.

I agree with Dr. King, which is why I am so saddened at how propaganda from an elite few is literally changing the face of America’s future with nothing more than a grand experiment called Common Core Standards. Our children deserve more. Our teachers deserve more. Our country deserves more. Education reform is the civil rights issue of our generation, and sadly, parents, teachers, and students have been left out of the process.

President Lincoln once said “the philosophy of the classroom today, will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.” With Common Core, new standardized tests have inundated classrooms with problems of their own. Teachers find themselves “teaching to the test” more and more. These tests violate our states’ rights. I wonder if parents realized that all states aren’t created equal in Common Core tests? Shouldn’t all states, under “common” standards for everyone have everyone’s equal input on how students are tested?

What about privacy under Common Core? Why didn’t local boards of education tell parents about the changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act? Do parents realize their child’s data, including biometric data such as fingerprints and retinal scans, is being placed in a state longitudinal data system and shared with others?

If our philosophy of the classroom is to violate states’ rights, use children and teachers as guinea pigs, and hide from parents the fact that their child’s data is no longer private, it can only be inferred that the philosophy of government tomorrow will do the same. What is America becoming?

As I watched President Obama place his hand on the bibles of Dr. King and President Lincoln, the history teacher in me was overjoyed to watch such a patriotic moment in U.S. history. And yet, I was crushed at the realization that if we do not stop Common Core and preserve the United States educational system, the philosophy of our government tomorrow will not be the America we know and love.

C.E. White

Read the Full Text of Agenda 21 (Educational Systems to be Supplanted by Environmental Agenda)   21 comments

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.

Two examples:

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”

Link here:

http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/green-propaganda-does-not-belong-in-schools-yukon-college-professor-explains/

The Importance of Individual Freedom   Leave a comment

The song goes, “I am a child of God.”

Not, “We are a group of children of God.”

Why?

Why does the individual and his/her power to choose, matter so much?

I have been thinking a lot about what individual liberty and responsibility mean, since this Nov. 6th election, and have come to the conclusion that many Americans must fear individual freedom.  And I’ve been thinking about Ayn Rand.  Did you ever read “Anthem” –the novel in which people don’t know the word “I” anymore?

For all the positive effects of having a united society and a cooperative spirit, there is a dark side to collective and cooperative movements.  But some fear the responsibility that comes with freedom, so much that they choose to give away their own autonomy in the attempt to gain security (in the form of government handouts, whether of money or of “we know best” life planning handouts, such as the managed workforce that our education system is becoming).  They choose the collective responsibility over the individual responsibility.  But this ultimately crushes the individual.  People need freedom like they need air to breathe, but they are also afraid to be free because they don’t want to be responsible for the consequences of their own decisions.  They willingly give up this precious, hard-won prize, believing the lies of those who hope to control them.

It’s like a prisoner who is released from jail but returns deliberately, because he fears the unknown more than he fears jail.  It’s like the abused wife who returns to her control freak husband because she fears the emotional or financial realities of independence.  They should be stronger than this!  They should shoulder the burden and the joy of freedom from oppression and overregulation!

By buying into socialism, collectivism, communism (and even the educational movement of nationalizing education, common core)  we reject choice and local accountability; we are giving up true America.

   Ayn Rand’s book, Anthem tells of a world in which the concept of individuality and the word “I” do not exist.

Everything is “we” and everything is common.  The individual does not matter; only the collective matters.

Here is a quote from Anthem.

“The word “We” is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?

But I am done with this creed of corruption.

I am done with the monster of “We,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word:

“I.” 

―    Ayn Rand

What does this quote from this book have to do with Common Core?

Everything. When education is nationalized, when local control over schools is lost, when all major tests are standardized and nationalized, when standards must match from village to village and state to state (and from nation to nation, if the globalists get their way) then there is no individuality.  Freedom is lost.

And why are we buying it?  Why do we want to have common education rather than local autonomy and the freedom to set our own standards and innovate according to our local needs and desires?

Is freedom really so scary?  Scarier than losing it?

Consider these words on the subject, from another great man, Howard W. Hunter:

“What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms. . . .

If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.

Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost. Speeches of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest”, Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966

“From my own experience in business and as a lawyer and church worker, and from my firsthand observations in this country and other countries of the world, there appears to me to be a trend to shift responsibility for life and its processes from the individual to the state. In this shift there is a basic violation of the law of the harvest, or the law of justice. The attitude of “something for nothing” is encouraged. The government is often looked to as the source of wealth. There is a feeling that the government should step in and take care of one’s needs, one’s emergencies, and one’s future. Just as my friend actually became a slave to his own ignorance and bad habits by refusing to accept the responsibility for his own education and moral growth, so, also, can an entire people be imperceptibly transferred from individuals, families, and communities to the federal government.”

Speeches of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest.” Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966

Why Obama’s pushing and paying for Master Teacher Corps   3 comments

Why’s Obama allocating money to pay local teachers with federal money? Hmm.
It’s gotten to the point that I automatically search the United Nations’ website any time I wonder why Obama or Arne Duncan are coming up with a new reform.  It’s the fastest way to figure out what they are really doing. They have no interest in local sovereignty, whether state or national.
Look at this:
From the White House, July 2012:
“Today, the  Obama Administration announced the President’s plan to create a national  Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering (STEM) Master Teacher Corps. The STEM  Master Teacher Corps will begin in 50 locations across the country… Over the next four years the Corps will expand to  include 10,000 of the best STEM teachers in the nation…  STEM education is one of President Obama’s top  priorities… In a roundtable today with a group of K-12 math and science teachers at the  White House, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Domestic Policy Council  Director Cecilia Muñoz, OSTP Director Dr. John Holdren, and PCAST Co-Chair Dr.  Eric Lander announced the proposal, which the Administration will launch with  the $1 billion allocated in President Obama’s 2013 budget plancurrently before  Congress…”The rest of the text: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/07/18/president-obama-announces-new-plan-create-stem-master-teaching-corps

-  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  -

What does it mean? 

The entity providing the paycheck is the entity that gets to call the shots.  That means, the feds will be telling those local teachers who “qualify” as master teachers, what to do and how to do it.

For those of you who have been under a rock, Common Core math (Obama-and-co.’s -approved math) is much different than traditional, time-tested math. Common Core math is fuzzy-styled, student-and group-work-centered and highly controversial math that pooh-poohs excellent traditions of teaching such as drilling math facts and actually showing students how to do algorithms. Common Core has students waste energy guessing and fumbling toward the formulas, often working in collective groups. 

But it’s the math that Obama and Secretary Duncan believe in.

Secondly, Common Core science will be far different from traditional, empirically-based science. It will be politicized version of science that focuses on “green” education, “sustainability” and on “global,” rather than local, citizenship.  It’s a globalist, anti-Constitution indoctrination that uses the smokescreen of  “sustainability” as if that word defines real science, but it’s based not on widely recognized scientific truth but rather is based on control-and-politics based “green” science, Al Gore style. 

Our American STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) teachers will teach that socialists’ version of these subjects to our children.  It’s political indoctrination, absolutely.

Think it’s a conspiracy theory?  Then fact-check me. Read  Obama’s, Duncan’s, Sir Michael Barber’s, and the United Nations’ own words on education reform and see if it’s not all built on the foundation of “sustainability” indoctrination.

This is the reason Obama’s pushing STEM Master Teacher Corps and allocating taxes (or debts) for it; he wants to “transform” education according to the education chapter of the United Nations’ agenda for our century. 

Fact-check here: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_25.shtml and http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=218

Bill Gates: Common Core promoter, United Nations promoter, Unesco’s Constitution promoter.

And, for another article, this one from the Heritage Foundation, on the same subject:

  Obama Proposes Federal Paychecks for Local Teachers

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/07/19/obama-proposes-federal-paychecks-for-local-teachers/

Obama’s Career Tracking and Education Reforms: So Much More Than Common Core   3 comments

  The more you study the plans and plots of Obama and of his Federal Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, the more you see the crushing trend.  They crush any individuality and local independence or control over education paths or career paths.  And the Constitution be damned.

Individuals’ desires or states’ desires are not to be taken into account.  The word “accountability” is used as a weapon of coercion.  And the desires of the Collective Government are assumed to best determine what a student studies and what he/she becomes.  “What benefits society?” they ask; they do not ask what benefits the child, or what do the parents want for the child?

The crushing and stifling effect comes from so much more than the Common Core Standards –or even than the Common national testing.  The federal government wants to determine how children will be placed into an almost unalterable path that determines that student’s future based on imposed plans squeezed out of standardized tests early on in life.  They call it Prosperity 2020 in Utah.  They call it Obama’s 2020 Educational Initiative in D.C. They call it Education For All, a part of Agenda 21, at the United Nations.  They all use nice-sounding words but they all slice away at local and individual rights and freedoms over what is to be learned and what is to be eliminated from the learning.

For example, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan makes references to “personalized learning” which sound good.  But what is it, really?  The removal of a student’s choices.  The personalization by the government of that individual’s life path.  It starts with “differentiated diplomas” which call students, to use politically insensitive words, “dumb” “mediocre” and “smart.”  These “differentiated diplomas” will prepare students for differentiated careers– all determined by standardized, high stakes tests and by people who are NOT the student himself/herself.  Nor the parents.  (All “for the good of the collective”.)  I’m not buying it.  Are you?

Career Academies and  “College and Career Readiness*” are the new buzzwords.   The concepts sound good on the surface– to help students get diagnosed with skills and trained for specific career skills as early as possible, to make a direct leap into a career.

But think: what if the student later hates that career and has traded his/her well-rounded, meaningful, whole education for a narrow skill set?  Then where is he/she going to be? Trained to be a plumber, but with desires to be a nurse?  Trained to be a rocket scientist, but with desires to cook?  Trained to pick up trash, but with desires to practice law?  It’s not good.

The educational trend seems to benefit “society” far more than it benefits the individual.  But that’s what socialists are all about.  Communists, too.  The individual never matters; his or her desires are not significant to The Collective.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan explains it this way:

” My goal today is to share an outline of our plan to transform career and technical education, or CTE.  Then, with that as context, I’ll discuss our plans to implement the President’s proposed $1 billion investment in career academies…

…First, a career academy is a secondary school program that is organized as a small learning community or a school within a school to provide a supportive, personalized learning environment.

Second, the academy begins by the 9th grade. 

Third, the academy would need to provide a combined academic and technical curriculum that includes CTE courses for which students may receive academic credit. The academy’s curriculum would be organized around a career theme—like the themes identified by NAF: Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, Health Sciences, or Engineering—and aligned with the State’s college-and career-ready standards*.

Fourth, a career academy provides work-based learning and career exploration activities through partnerships with local employers. 

And, fifth and finally, the academy’s program articulates and reflects the entrance requirements of postsecondary education programs—to ensure that students graduate from high school ready to pursue a degree or credential. 

Now, I’m very interested to hear what you think about our career academies plan, the proposed academy definition, and the CTE Blueprint.”  Full speech here:  http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-national-academy-foundation-next-conference

* By the way, Duncan’s allusion to “the State’s college-and-career-ready standards” does not mean what you think it means. It’s just common core.  “College and Career Readiness” is like a code term.

NO INDIVIDUAL STATE WHO IS UNDER THE COMMON CORE YOKE CAN MAKE CHANGES NOR DEFINE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY DIFFERENTLY FROM ANY OTHER STATE.

So, according to Duncan/Obama, being ready for college and career doesn’t mean being ready for college and career.  Too forthright.

The term means being yoked to a substandard set of educational standards that are the same, same, same and that are non-negotiable and that are NGA/CCSSO copyrighted, with a 15% federally mandated cap on top of that copyright.  (See the definition on the Ed.gov site here: http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions)

Education isn’t Neutral   Leave a comment

What does Obama really mean when he says that he created education reforms in 46 states during his presidency?

Words need context.

The word “education” and the concept of “education reform” as Obama and others use the terms, rest on our false assumption that reforms are positive in all contexts.

Many education reforms are being done under the public radar, without public knowledge, without any vote or citizen agreement, and they actually negatively affect student/citizen privacy –as well as harming certain academic –and also non-academic– outcomes.

We misplace our trust when we buy the idea that “education reforms” never make things worse, or never indoctrinate, or never promote dumbing-down, or  never push unconstitutional or ungodly agendas, or that educational systems are never used to promote nice-sounding surface ideas that ultimately prove harmful.  This misplaced trust will hurt us.  Why don’t more people study and pay attention to what the government is doing to our educational freedoms and educational standards?!

Violations of good education are happening behind the unassailed assumption that “education” always means “good for children”.  But it doesn’t.  We have to study what the people behind the reforms stand for, to see where their trajectories are taking our children and ultimately, this nation. (Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Bill Ayers, Linda Darling-Hammond, Sir Michael Barber, Bill Gates, Joanne Weiss, Michelle Rhee…. the cast of characters is long, colorful and frightening.)

Obama and his cast of educational characters speak about pouring more money into “education” as if that is always beneficial.  Well, that all depends on what they’re buying.  (With our tax dollars and without our consent and without constitutional authority.)

Many assume he’s just talking about buying pencils, salaries and books.  But new reforms do include indoctrination, corporate enrichment and yes, even dumbing down in some cases.

The recent Common Core reforms include DELETING most classic literature at the high school level, DELETING cursive for all ages, DUMBING Algebra I to 9th grade rather than introducing it to 8th graders, ending FERPA’s previously protective parental consent requirements before agencies and business people can access private student data; pushing the assumption that the United Nations are a positive force on earth; pushing the “green” extremist political agenda, and pushing most anything Bill Gates/Microsoft touches.  To name a few.  The data surveillance bothers me the most.  Even though I am a lifelong English teacher and hate the fact that they’re slashing the literature increasingly, as the children work toward graduation.  The closer to graduation they get, the less literature they will be allowed to read and write.  It’s got to be info-texts, they say.

There are some ideas that some parents and teachers might like, and some we definitely don’t, but the fact remains that we never get a chance to weigh in on them via a vote.  That’s what nationalized education means: the elite at the top determine what is good and true for all.  Oh, for the days of local control over education to be back in my state again!

Wearing the shield of “education reform,” guess what the education reformists on the left have wielded?

- a war on student data privacy

- a war on classic literature

- a war on traditional, time-tested math

-a national set of educational standards that is without an amendment process, so nobody can change anything.

-a national set of standards that are under copyright by an unelected group called CCSSO/NGA

-a national set of standards that the Dept. of Education has put a cap on; you can’t teach more than 15% above the Common Core

-a war against transparency;

Parents and teachers are in the dark; very few people know what all the consequences of adopting Common Core really are. And it’s deliberate.  The Common Core is supposed to be “state-led” (because it’s illegal and unconstitutional for the executive branch to supervise or direct curriculum).  So they are trying to make it appear to be so.  They even invite people to help “write” the standards, even though the public license on Common Core says that CCSSO/NGA are the “sole developers” and “no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  The half-truths are empowering the radical transformation and, ultimately, indoctrination of our kids to be government-centric collectivists stripped of the ability to self-determine, or to soar.

May I share the words of a great American?  Ezra Taft Benson (who served as the Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower in the 1950’s-1960’s and later as a Latter-day Saint prophet) said:

“As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members… if [parents] have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others. Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.”   – In Conference Report, Ezra Taft Benson, 1970

President Benson also warned that communism was and is still a great, satanical threat.

How could communism ever become a real threat unless somehow people were taught to like its principles?  How could it ever take root in freedom-loving America unless it were widely promoted as something good, diseminated via an information dissemination system (like government schools?)

One-size-fits-all is the name of the common core/socialist game.  Individuality is marginalized or deleted; all is collective that is considered good.  It’s the redistribution of educational funding and educational sovereignty. Common Core is a huge step toward socialism in America today, accepted because it’s sugar coated with pretty words: “education reform,” “rigorous standards” and “common core.”

I noticed that a political flier for a local Utah representative came in the mailbox yesterday.  It touted as one of the candidate’s bragging points the fact that this candidate/incumbent had “protected public education from extremists.”  I think he was referring to me, and the whole anti-Common Core crowd, thousands of us that will soon be millions, I venture to guess, as the truth trickles out almost completely unaided by mainstream media.

But my point is this: the candidate did not protect the public as he claimed to have done.  He didn’t protect public education from extremists — Arne Duncan, Bill Ayers, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Linda Darling-Hammond, Sir Michael Barber, and the rest got their wicked way.  This local candidate did not understand who the enemy of quality education and educational sovereignty is.  He thought the extremists were those who want us to sticking close to the spirit of freedom and individuality as supported in the U.S. Constitution.  This is why I could not vote for him.  I did a write-in vote.  But he’ll win anyway, because most people do not have time to really care.  And the Common Core’s moment of impact hasn’t happened for them yet.

The Blaze Reports: Common Core Uniform Doesn’t Fit American Students   Leave a comment

The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s TV, radio, magazine and internet site, reported yesterday about Common Core.  It’s a well written, important piece.

Thank you, Glenn and Casey.

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/common-cores-uniform-doesnt-fit-american-students/

Common Core’s Uniform Doesn’t Fit American Students

by Casey Given,  policy analyst covering education and labor issues at the Americans For Prosperity Foundation.

“Throughout the presidential debates, Barack Obama repeated a statement that may sound strange to the average American. Speaking on education, the president twice noted that his administration has been working with 46 states to implement school reform. While he did not explicitly cite the initiative by name in either of the first two debates, Obama was referring to the Common Core State Standards – a national curriculum that 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted over the past two years.

Though only given passing mentions, it’s a small miracle that the president has made any reference to this underreported effort at all. Both candidates and their parties have largely remained silent on Common Core until now. In fact, one recent poll by the D.C.-based nonprofit Achieve shows that 79 percent of Americans know “nothing” or “not much” about Common Core. As a result, millions of parents across the country send their children to school every day without any idea that American education as we know it is drastically changing.”

Full text here: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/common-cores-uniform-doesnt-fit-american-students/

If Obama Gets Elected   Leave a comment

If Obama wins another term as president, you can expect to see the tightening of control over education via Common Core, national tracking of students, and more anti-American ideas being promoted across the country and especially in schools, because of the influence of the Gates Foundation, UNESCO, and others.

Mitt Romney  wants to turn back the trend of socializing, nationalizing education.  If you are able to donate some time to Mitt’s campaign, they need serious amounts of volunteers. There are a few call centers below and you can also make calls from home. Please get involved.

I received this email today and will post the rest for those willing to help Romney get elected.

***********

A Utah friend writes:

“I just talked to a Romney campaign staffer at the Orem call center who said he was very disappointed in the turnout of volunteers for Governor Romney.  In a state where Romney may get 80 percent of the vote, far too many people are apathetic.  They don’t think they can make a difference.  NOT TRUE!! These call centers are targeting voters in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio.  Utah volunteers are desperately needed in a very tight election.”

This election could prove to be a cliff-hanger.  One prognosticator last night suggested that Romney might win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College.  In other words, states like Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio could make all the difference.  And if you imagine that, living in Utah or Idaho or some other safe Romney zone, you can’t have any impact on the races there, you’re absolutely wrong.

Monetary donations, even small ones, can still make a difference.  Unless I’m mistaken, Barack Obama substantially outraised Mitt Romney last month, for the first time in quite a while.  What a pity it will be if, having come this far, we falter at the end and fail by a hair’s breadth.

This is the time for the final push in the race, the final burst of energy that guarantees the victory.  Or the fatal loss of will that turns triumph into failure.

You can also volunteer to make phone calls.  The ground game is everything at this point.  The candidate who gets his voters out will win the vital contested states and take the presidency for the next four years.

Romney Call Centers in Utah, open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you would prefer to call from home, please click on this link to find out how you can set up your phone and computer.  It will, I think, work from anywhere in the country.  So you non-Utahns shouldn’t feel that you’re off the hook!  You’re needed, too!

Orem Office:

Staff Contact, Colton Miles:  colton@utgop.org

801.835.7239 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 801.835.7239 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Address: 1120 S 1350 W

Orem, UT 84058

(It’s just over on the west side of the freeway, not far from the University Parkway exit, more or less opposite UVU.)

Midvale Office:

sensi@utgop.org“>sensi@utgop.org 801.674.4124 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 801.674.4124 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

47 East 7200 South

Midvale, UT 84047

Logan Office:

Amber@utgop.org

435.374.4704 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 435.374.4704 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

1451 North 200 East, Ste. 190-B

Logan, UT 84341

St. George Office:

Gary@utgop.org

435.703.9484 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 435.703.9484 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

134 North 200 East, Ste. 202

St. George, UT 84770

What is SLDS and Why Should I Care?   1 comment

SLDS means: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.

SLDS is a citizen tracking program, and a grant program, that rewards states financially for participating.  It’s also called P-20, which stands for preschool through age 20 (workforce) tracking.  I see citizen tracking as creepy and Orwellian.  What do you see?

The federal website shows, here– http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html — that SLDS was presented as a financial prize to states, a grant, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It sounded good, but in reality, its purpose –besides the uneven redistributing of taxpayers’ money– is to track citizens (students).

The assumption was that everyone everywhere would approve of citizen tracking and would want to be tracked.  A secondary assumption is that the government’s holding detailed, intimate information about its citizens would never be used against anybody wrongly, and that none of this has nothing to do with constitutional rights to privacy.  (For more on that, click here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html )

I highlighted the first element of data to be collected because it speaks about PII, personally identifiable information.  PII can be a name, a social security number, a blood sample, handwriting sample, a fingerprint, or almost anything else.  The fact that the government included “except as permitted by federal/state law” is VERY significant because the federal Department of Education did the dastardly deed of changing federal privacy law, known previously as the protective, family-empowering, FERPA law.  The Department of Education did this without Congressional approval and are now being sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center for doing it.  But as it stands now, FERPA has been altered and won’t be put back to its formerly protective state.  So parental rights over children’s data, and parental consent rules, have been cast aside.  –All in the name of getting lots and lots and lots of data available, whether with malignant or benign intention, especially for federal use.

Here it is, pasted directly from the government site and available in English or Spanish:

en Español

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: $250 million

Grantees: States

Type of Grant: Competitive

Purpose:

The program provides grants to states to design, develop, and implement statewide P-20 longitudinal data systems to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce.

Program Requirements:

Since it started in fiscal year 2005, the program has awarded grants worth $265 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia. The Recovery Act competition requires that the data systems have the capacity to link preschool, K-12, and postsecondary education as well as workforce data. To receive State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, a state must provide an assurance that it will establish a longitudinal data system that includes the 12 elements described in the America COMPETES Act, and any data system developed with Statewide longitudinal data system funds must include at least these 12 elements. The elements are:

  1. An unique identifier for every student that does not permit a student to be individually identified (except as permitted by federal and state law);
  2. The school enrollment history, demographic characteristics, and program participation record of every student;
  3. Information on when a student enrolls, transfers, drops out, or graduates from a school;
  4. Students scores on tests required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
  5. Information on students who are not tested, by grade and subject;
  6. Students scores on tests measuring whether they’re ready for college;
  7. A way to identify teachers and to match teachers to their students;
  8. Information from students’ transcripts, specifically courses taken and grades earned;
  9. Data on students’ success in college, including whether they enrolled in remedial courses;
  10. Data on whether K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college;
  11. A system of auditing data for quality, validity, and reliability; and
  12. The ability to share data from preschool through postsecondary education data systems.

—-

Tonight at 6:05, I’ll be on the Morgan Philpot show as a guest, speaking about this important issue and all its many tentacles, including the E.P.I.C. lawsuit against the Dept. of Education, the statements on data-mashing by Utah’s John Brandt and D.C.’s Joanne Weiss, letters I’ve received from the USOE on the subject of student tracking, and what we can do about it.

Tune in if you live nearby.  KNRS.

Rigorous and Grass-roots? That Ain’t Common Core.   Leave a comment

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20121018/EDIT05/310189942/1021/EDIT

An Opinion Editorial in an Indiana newspaper, the Journal Gazette, written by a candidate for school board, points out a dangerously little-known fact:  while Obama’s touting his  “Education reform in 46 states”  as one of his accomplishments,  people haven’t yet realized Obama is referring to the Common Core…”

Thank you, Journal Gazette and Glenna Jehl.

I would add that another thing almost nobody’s put together yet is that any time that Obama –or any of the elite educrats, including local Utahns– use the term “college- and career-readiness” they are using a code phrase that means COMMON CORE.  It’s defined on the U.S. government’s own online definitions page.  They are deliberately confusing people. They don’t want you to know what they have done.

Obama takes credit for this supposedly grass-roots, state-led program of Common Core.

But it’s anything but grass-roots and state-led.  It was promoted with Bill Gates’ money.  It was further incentivized by Obama’s Dept. of Education money.  It was marketed by nongovernmental groups that we didn’t elect and can’t fire– CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) and NGA (National Governors’ Association) which are just clubs, not governmental agencies or parentally influenced organizations.

CCSSO/NGA then copyrighted the standards.

And then the Obama Administration put a 15% cap on ever changing any of it.  Just read your state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind.  Or read your state’s application for Race to the Top.

Fifteen Percent more.  That’s it.  (No learning too much, now. Slow down, Sonny.  No learning too fast, now.  We can’t have innovation or self-determination or actual excellence or people exceeding the nationalized speed limit on education.  That would not be in the spirit of the new Obama communism at all.)

Where is the liberty in Common Core?!

–Why are good people so opposed to the nationalized takeover of medical care, but so few are shouting about the nationalized takeover of education?  We are talking about our children.  It matters more than anything what our children’s futures will be.  Will their futures offer them lives of liberty or lives of governmental control via the new SLDS and P-20 tracking and control systems built “for education reform”?  Will they be lives of indoctrination, now that the Common Core mandates informational text replace classic literature increasingly by age and grade?

Common Core is absolutely socialism.  It is absolutely communism.  It lacks any vestige of local control– we can’t amend the standards.  We had no voice in writing them.  There is no process for states changing them.  Only the elites may do so.  NGA, CCSSO.

It drives me nuts when I go to my local “meet the candidates” night and nobody on the panel has done any homework at all.  They say ignorant things like “Common Core is just minimum standards.”  Oh really?  Ever heard of the 15% cap?  Ever heard of moving Algebra I backwards, from 8th grade to 9th, so that kids are learning it at least a whole year later than they used to learn it?

Why do people keep using that passed-down, now-cliched word “rigorous standards” in the face of reality?  Rigorous ain’t common core.

Anyone who’s actually studied the standards realizes that although in a few small areas, Common Core is more challenging, that is a drop in the bucket– Common Core is dumbing our students down via fuzzy math, less literature, no cursive, and who knows what kind of science and history they are cooking up?  So far we’ve only seen the math and English.  I can only imagine– I can only imagine how anti-God, anti-American, pro-Green, pro-Sustainable Education this science and math will be.

So, here’s the article that got me on my soapbox again today.  From Indiana; read on:

(Published yesterday, October 18, 2012)

State must reject federal takeover of schools

Glenna L. Jehl

When President Obama touts “education reform in 46 states” as one of his accomplishments, most people haven’t yet realized that Obama is referring to the new Common Core State Standards being implemented nationwide, including in Indiana.

Surprisingly, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett helped wheel this Trojan horse into our midst.

Originally, Common Core was supposed to raise academic standards and make what is taught in each grade level more uniform. Unfortunately, the special interests in Washington, D.C., could not resist a huge power grab. Funding incentives like the Race to the Top grants, which requires the adoption of the Common Core Standards in order to receive the funds, lead to school corporations like FWCS and states scrambling for the additional money and willingly embracing the new requirements.

Unfortunately, they never took time to consider what sort of standards they agreed to adopt; no longer in a Race to the Top and higher standards, we are in a race to mediocrity. We are voluntarily relinquishing Indiana’s superior, acclaimed standards for those that are inferior to our current standards in math and language arts.

Under Common Core, by the end of eighth grade students will be two years behind their international counterparts in math. High school graduates will achieve only a seventh-grade reading level. These are hardly rigorous standards, leaving our students less prepared to compete in the 21st century.

When states are done implementing this new, unproven, copyrighted program which includes curriculum, tests, and teacher training from which they may not deviate, they will have lost every last vestige of local control. Common Core districts must use their curriculum, their assessments and their state tests. Even the SAT may become aligned with Common Core…  homeschoolers and private schools will be affected, especially if they want accreditation or to accept vouchers.

Imagine the power the federal government will wield when it controls the content and perspective that will be taught to every student nationwide K-12. With virtually no public debate, Obama has quietly engineered the federal takeover of the education system nationwide.

Recognizing the dangers of this overhaul of education, Mitt Romney states his opposition to Common Core as follows: “To financially reward states based on accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum is a mistake. … There may be a time when the federal government has an agenda it wants to promote.”

Are we going to place our children’s futures in the hands of Washington bureaucrats?

…we must join the four states that have already rejected it. Our next governor and state legislature must understand that Indiana needs to opt out of Common Core. That is the only way states, local school boards, and parents will retain the ability to choose the curriculum and the standards for the education of the students in their community.

Hoosiers must take a stand now for academic excellence and educational freedom for the sake of our children, before Common Core is fully implemented.

Glenna Jehl is a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Fort Wayne Community Schools board. She wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

Romney on Education   Leave a comment

There was a debate last night between Obama’s education advisor, Jon Schnur, and  Romney’s education advisor, Phil Handy. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/10/_in_a_substantive_one-hour.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29

Education Week covered it.  In brief, what  was said:

“On the issue his campaign has been most silent on — the fate of the waivers the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Arne Duncan have granted so far from NCLB—Handy didn’t outright say Romney would get rid of them. But he broadly hinted at it.”

The waivers are “not about flexibility. They’re very prescriptive. We think they have led to a very unfortunate result: … many of these states are setting different accountability standards for different constituencies of children,” said Handy, a former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education. “I think it’s wrong.” What he’s referring to—different school performance standards for different groups of kids—is becoming a big policy issue in many states, and a messaging problem for the Obama administration.

…Another area that Handy shed light on was Romney’s plan to send Title I and special education dollars directly to parents as vouchers so they can use them at the school of their choice. Handy acknowledged that, since the federal government only pays an average of about 10 percent of a child’s K-12 education, Romney’s voucher plan would have to start small. States would be encouraged to match those dollars, and seven to eight would probably do so right away, he said.

“The federal government’s role should be to get this choice started,” Handy said.

…Handy’s points on school choice illustrated his overarching themes of the night: that the federal role in education should be limited to providing choice and transparent data on the quality of schools. And, it became clear, the role is also to not add to the deficit under a Romney presidency.

Handy reiterated a surprising pledge Romney made in the first presidential debate—that he wouldn’t cut education funding. Handy said the crux of the funding crisis is over entitlement programs such as Social Security. “You can easily hold public education harmless without impacting the creation of more deficits,” he said.

But Romney won’t invest more in education either, Handy said. That includes in areas such as common assessments to match the common core, or in early education. “You just can’t keep adding to the deficit,” Handy said.

Agreed!

Look Behind You   4 comments

The federal government uses lots of different agencies– but increasingly, schools– to track us. It’s citizen surveillance.  But they call it research.

I wrote to the Utah State Office of Education a few months ago to ask a simple yes or no question:  can my child attend public school without being specifically and individually tracked by name, school record, social security number etc.?

No.  The answer was, no.  Your child will always be tracked using personally identifiable information.  But this will never be shared outside the State Office of Education, they assured me.

After studying the NCES website, the federal FERPA website, the lawsuit between E.P.I.C. and the Dept. of Education, the machinations of CCSSO’s John Brandt with the Utah Data Alliance, Open Education specialist Professor David Wiley’s statements about the necessity of gathering data without parental consent, and Dept. of Ed Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss’s statements on federal data-mashing and “helping” states to partner with data, I do not believe the USOE’s assurances.  I wish I could.

Under agencies like “National Center for Education Statistics” and “Institute for Education Sciences” the federal government is asking schools to collect and share hundreds of data points about your school, your teachers, and yes, your child.

There’s a federal “Common Core of Data.”  There’s a National Data Collection Model that asks for so much private information about each student, way, way beyond math and reading scores– it asks for family information, languages spoken, health information, extracurricular programs, social security numbers, bus stop descriptions– you name it.  Right here:  http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary  There is even a private school survey– private, not government.  On the federal data collection website.

If you start to talk about it with people, they’ll pat you on the head and say, “Oh, but FERPA law is here to protect you; it’s a groundless conspiracy theory.”

When they say that, please pat them right back on their own little heads and say, “Federal FERPA regulations were altered by the Department of Education quite recently. Now definitions have been rewritten and parental consent has been shoved aside: it’s an agenda.  Not a theory, an actual, verifiable, factual agenda being pushed under the radar upon Americans who still think they are protected and free.”  http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

If they haven’t walked away from you, talk on.  Say, “Definitions that have been reshaped –loosened–  by the Dept of Ed. without Congressional approval include such details as the term AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE– now it could be literally anyone, anyone who is authorized to view your child’s personal information under federal FERPA regulation.  Even a school volunteer can have access to a child’s personally identifiable data, including biometric, physical data like fingerprints or DNA.  If parents have allowed the school to collect it.  Unless our state FERPA can stand up to the federal FERPA.”

Your listeners will still find it hard to believe that this could be legal.  Then take them to this federal 34 CFR Part 99  FERPA pdf page and type in the search terms “volunteer” or “biometric”:

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf

The point:  unless many of us look at this and talk about it, and then stand up and say, “No way” to the absolute flood of data-sucking agencies all around us, that are aiming to know everything about everyone, via data mashing and data sharing, we will lose our freedoms, we will lose our way of life as we have known it in the United States and elsewhere.

Bureaucracies of mass data-collection and sharing grow slowly but relentlessly.  Will they build a web we can’t break by the time we think it’s time to fight back?  Will we be intimidated by the clever sounding “government-speak” and the researchers’ arrogance?

Or will we take back our identities, our privacy, our freedom?

If you have time, just look at the words they use:

“The Common Core of Data (CCD) is a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/

“Policy Makers – If you are an LEA or SEA policy maker, focus on Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of the User Guide.
“Data Modelers – If you are coming from a background in other data model domains such as banking, healthcare, etc. and want to familiarize yourself with the education data model domain, read Chapter 3: How to use the Data Model. Review Appendix C: Common Attributes. Then go directly to the Education Data Model…”

 

Look behind you.

If you were taking a nice walk in the park and someone said, “Look behind you. There’a a fast moving river of hot lava coming your way,” you could call that person a liar or a mad conspiracy theorist and keep enjoying your walk.

–Or you could just take that one look behind you.  What would it hurt to just turn your head and take a look?  Do you really not want to know?

http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/

This is what I’m asking you to do.

Just look for yourself.

Washington Post: Common Core a “mistake” -in Mitt Romney’s words   Leave a comment

The Washington Post reports:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet  (full text)

Excerpt:

 

“WILLIAMS:     Governor, what do you make of ‘Common Core’?

ROMNEY:    You know,  I think it’s fine for people to lay out what they think core subjects might be  and to suggest a pedagogy and being able to provide that learning to our kids. I  don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common  core on various states.

It’s one thing to put it out as a model and let  people adopt it as they will, but to financially reward states based upon  accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake.  And the reason I say that is that there may be a time when the government has an  agenda that it wants to promote.

And I’m not wild about the federal  government having some kind of agenda that it then compensates states to teach  their kids. I’d rather let education and what is taught state by state be  determined state by state, not by the federal government…”

Romney Takes a Stand Against Common Core   Leave a comment

    Romney Takes Stand Against

                                         National Curriculum Standards

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet  (Full text of Romney interview mentioning opposition to Common Core)

Reposted from American Principles in Action site:  apiasite September 25, 2012

http://www.americanprinciplesinaction.org/blog/preserving-innocence/education/romney-takes-stand-against-national-curriculum-standards/

Supports Local Control of Curricula at Education Nation Summit

Washington, DC – Today, American Principles in Action (APIA) praised Governor Romney’s stated opposition to a national curriculum, commonly known as the Common Core, choosing instead to let states and communities decide public school curricula.

“We applaud Governor Romney’s bold support for states and local communities to decide what’s best for their children, restoring power over education from the hands of the federal government to where it belongs,” said APIA’s Emmett McGroarty. “He is right to warn that the national authorities may have an agenda and should be prevented from pushing it on the states. Unfortunately, just as with Medicare reform, the federal government has resorted to coercing now more than 40 states into adopting the Common Core.

“Congress intended the 2009 Stimulus Bill as a life-line for the states, but President Obama turned it into a weapon through his Race to the Top program. In order to compete for Race to the Top money, states had to quickly sign onto the Common Core and related assessments without having a chance to meaningfully review the Standards and before the assessments were even developed.

“States competed in Race to the Top by demonstrating their commitment to President Obama’s education policy, in effect surrendering to an education monopoly. Their citizens were cut out of the process.

“President Obama has continued to coerce the states by requiring them to sign onto his education policies in order to get relief from No Child Left Behind.

“We urge both candidates to commit themselves to ending the federal government’s political coercion of the states and their citizens, and to ending the Race to the Top program.”

American Principles in Action is a 501 c (4) political advocacy group affiliated with American Principles Project, a 501 c (3) policy organization committed to rededicating the United States to its founding principles.

Who Drives Common Core — the States?   Leave a comment

In a white house press release Obama gave two years ago, we find:

“Today, the Obama Administration announced new efforts to promote college- and career-ready standards…  The President and Secretary Duncan applauded Governors for their efforts to work together in a state-led consortium… to develop and implement common reading and math standards that build toward college- and career-readiness.”  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-calls-new-steps-prepare-america-s-children-success-college-and-care

So, Obama “applauds” the non-governmental organizations (NGA and CCSSO) for the supposedly “state-led” program, while announcing his own Obama Administration’s “efforts to promote college- and career-ready standards” via ESEA.  So who is really behind it?  Obama or the states?

Actually, both.  –But only because the states never had a chance to vote on it.  The whole thing was done using non-governmental groups.  Very sneaky.  Very.

Some of you are thinking: ” I didn’t see the word “common core” in the announcement.”  –So why am I using “Common Core” as a synonymn with “College-and-career ready standards”?

 Because that’s what the White House does.

If  you go to the U.S. Department of Education’s own “Definitions Page” you will find this definition:

 College- and career-ready standards:  Content standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that build towards college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this document) by the time of high school graduation.  A State’s college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education, which must certify that students who meet the standards will not need remedial course work at the postsecondary level.   http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions

Common with a significant number of states?!  There is no other set of common standards that many states share.  It’s only Common Core.

And it’s totally unAmerican because it’s education without representation. We didn’t vote for nor can we repeal the members of the CCSSO/NGA, who hold the common core copyright.

We can’t amend the standards like we can a legitimate American law; they’re under CCSSO/NGA copyright.  And we can’t adjust Common Core to suit us, more than the mandated 15% maximum.  So if we want to teach our high school seniors using 100% classic literature, we may not do it.  The Common Core says they can only have 30% classic literature.  The rest has to be info-text.  Our state can add 15%, bringing it to 45% max.  See how we are bound?  Where is the liberty in that?  Where is the feeling of American innovation and freedom in our educational system?

It is so, so wrong.  

So many misrepresentations continue.  Even our own dear Utah State School Board and Utah State Office of Education and Wasatch School District websites continue to post –as if they were true– “facts” about Common Core.  That aren’t true.   http://www.schools.utah.gov/fsp/College-and-Career-Ready/Meetings/2012-Spriing-Directors/Common-Core-FACTS—Brenda-Hales.aspx

I beg you, if you don’t know much about Common Core yet, to read the following and do the research for yourself.

1.  Look at the dates we adopted Common Core.  Then look at the dates the Common Core was written– we never saw it before we signed up!

2.  Look at the copyright page for NGA/CCSSO on the common standards. It says “no claims to the contrary shall be made” right after it claims to be the sole developer and owner of the standards.  Yet proponents say teachers and states came up with them.

3.  Look at the 15% cap set on innovation in the waiver application for ESEA (No Child Left Behind waiver).

4. Look at the U.S. Constitution. Where does it say that the President has authority to promote Common education?

5. Look at G.E.P.A. law.  (General Educational Provisions Act.)  It specifically excludes the federal government from supervising, directing or ruling over educational systems in any way.  ALL THEY CAN DO IS PAY FOR IT.  States run it.  Period.

6. Look at the online “Cooperative Agreement between the Dept. of Education and SBAC”. It uses mandatory language that forces both testing consortia to synchronize testing.  It uses mandatory language that forces the consortia to share data with the federal government “on an ongoing basis.”  Triangulating educational consortia under the feds’ direction and supervision  is ILLEGAL.  It takes away local control.

7. Look at the official Common Core Validation Committee Members’ reviews of Common Core.  Google Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram.  They refused to call the standards adequate for education.

Fox News: Obama’s biggest plan to socialize America may be his secret: Common Core   4 comments

   According to Stanley Kurtz, whose Fox News editorial is excerpted below, one of Obama’s biggest plans to create socialism in America comes in the form of Common Core education.  His book on the subject is in stores now:  “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.”

Kurtz says that Obama is quietly promoting a dumbed-down national curriculum (called “rigorous”) that is designed to  artificially suppress achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. Kurtz says that although the  right way to help poorly performing students is not to gut standards but to  raise achievement, still Obama is committed to defining performance down.   What a way to equalize college readiness.

Kurtz concludes that Obama’s ultimate goal is to erase the differences  between local school districts with a massive redistribution of suburban  education spending to the cities.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school/print#ixzz25oIO40oT

   By the way, if you also want to hear Stanley Kurtz speaking on the subject on the Mike Huckabee radio program, click here. http://jstsay.in/0006MD

Should the White House control what your kids learn?

   By

Published September 07, 2012

Adapted from “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay  for the Cities” (Sentinel HC August 2012).

What if President Obama’s most ambitious attempt to transform American  society was also his quietest plan? You wouldn’t vote against the president on  account of a program you’d never heard about, of course. That, I’d wager, is why  President Obama has told the American public next-to-nothing about his plans to  undercut the political and financial independence of America’s suburban school  districts.

Obama is quietly busy making an end-run around our constitutional system,  which forbids federal control of what your children learn in school. Step one,  already well under way, is a dumbed-down national curriculum designed to  artificially suppress achievement gaps between urban and suburban students. The  right way to help poorly performing students is not to gut standards but to  raise achievement, yet Obama is committed to defining performance down.   That’s why the president’s ultimate goal is to erase the differences  between local school districts with a massive redistribution of suburban  education spending to the cities.

The 2008 controversy over Obama’s years of education work with that famously  unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers has faded from view. For a  moment, it seemed as though Ayers’ radical education legacy would carry forward  into Obama’s presidency. That’s because Linda Darling-Hammond, Ayers’ favorite  education expert and head of Obama’s education transition team, was on a fast  track to appointment as secretary of education until her leftism alienated even  many Democrats.

  (LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND)

When Arne Duncan, who ostensibly backs demanding standards and tests, became  education secretary instead, it looked as though Obama had tacked center. He  hadn’t, and appearances to the contrary, neither had Darling-Hammond left the  scene.

  (BILL AYERS)

The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama,  Ayers, and Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum  that promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate  outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and  3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban  schools. Achieving these goals… requires the federal government  to usurp local control of K-12 schooling.

  (ARNE DUNCAN)

Obama is half-way there.

How did he do it?  Instead of submitting his controversial education  proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly  marked $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top  education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress with  barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama never had to go  public with his plans.
By coordinating with outside groups not  accountable to the voters, like the deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White  House then orchestrated the creation of a national Common Core of education  standards, with an accompanying curriculum and tests.

Supposedly, these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40  states. In fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top  grants on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced  economically pinched states to surrender control of their school curricula to  the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed to sign on to the  Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a  second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably both illegal and  unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually  nothing about it.
A few conservatives have been fooled by the seemingly  traditionalist call for national “standards.”  Yet most conservative  education experts understand that the new national standards will be low, not  high. With so many pressing economic issues on the table, however, nobody’s  listening. Too bad, because the ultimate outcome of Obama’s education scheme  will actually be economic: a sweeping redistribution of suburban education  funding to the cities.
    Far from having departing the scene, Obama’s  former adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond, is at the center of this plan. She works  with the Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium, selected by the administration  to create the testing system for the new Common Core. Darling-Hammond has gone  out of her way to downplay her role with the Smarter-Balanced Consortium, but  the group’s own publications make it clear that she is effectively running the  show. So, although Darling-Hammond is the top national opponent of standardized  tests, she is now effectively in charge of designing a new K-12 testing system  for much of the nation. The result will be politically correct questions, and  standards that aren’t really standards at all.
That’s only part one of  the plan.  President Obama’s Department of Education has established an  Equity and Excellence Commission, charged with finding “ways to restructure  school finance systems to achieve equity in the distribution of educational  resources and further student achievement and attainment.” Conveniently, the  commission’s recommendations will emerge only during a possible second Obama  term. Darling-Hammond is a member of that commission, and if past experience is  a guide will have outsize influence on its recommendations.
Darling-Hammond has already made her intentions clear. She is pushing a plan to  add common “resource standards” to the new Common Core’s curricular standards.  That is, Darling-Hammond hopes to condition federal education aid on the  equalization of school funding across municipal lines. She has also proposed  allowing students to transfer across school district lines, with transportation  provided at government expense.
    The target here is the suburbs.   Obama and Darling-Hammond are both longtime supporters of the little-known “regional equity” movement, which aims to undercut the political independence of  America’s suburbs so as to redistribute suburban wealth to the cities.   Obama is too sharp politically to advertise this part of his program, yet  he is aggressively pressing it forward.
The right to educate your  children as you see fit has traditionally stood at the very center of the  American vision of self-government and personal liberty…  Agree or disagree, shouldn’t President Obama clearly explain his ambitious  redistributive plans for K-12 education – and America’s suburbs – so that they  can be discussed and debated during this epochal national election?

http://www.foxnews.comhttp://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/07/should-white-house-control-what-your-kids-learn-in-school

Intrusive to the core   1 comment

Intrusive to the core

Article excerpted and reposted from The Boston Herald 

By Charles Chieppo and Jamie Gass | Sunday, September 2, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Op-Ed

…The so-called Common Core State Standards in English and math were almost entirely developed inside the Beltway by a small group of D.C.-based education trade organizations.

Many of the 46 states that adopted the standards did so before they were even complete. In the vast majority of states, educational officials adopted the standards unilaterally; few state legislatures ever even voted on them.

To bolster their decisions, some state education officials relied on comparisons of their existing standards to Common Core, comparisons that were funded by the same Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that has spent more than $100 million to develop and promote the national standards.

This embarrassing spectacle calls into question John Adams’ famous claim that the United States is “[a] government of laws, and not of men.”

At least three federal laws explicitly prohibit the federal government from directing, funding or controlling any state and local standards, curriculum, testing or instructional materials.

Despite these clear legal prohibitions, the Obama administration made adoption of Common Core a criterion for states competing for more than $4 billion in federal grant money. Each state that received a so-called Race to the Top grant had either adopted or promised to adopt Common Core.

Another $362 million in federal grants was doled out to two national consortia that are developing common assessments to “help” states transition to nationalized standards and tests.

In their federal grant applications, the two testing consortia flat-out stated their intent to use the money to create a “model curriculum” and instructional materials “aligned with” Common Core, in direct violation of the law. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan even said that the consortia’s work includes “developing curriculum frameworks” and “instructional modules.”

In short, the U.S. Department of Education has paid others to do what it is forbidden from doing. The tactic should not inoculate the department against curriculum prohibitions imposed by Congress. 

Courageously, Thomas Gosnell, who heads the state chapter of the union Shanker once led, opposed Massachusetts’ 2010 adoption of Common Core. “Our standards . . . are clearly higher than what the federal government is proposing,” he said. “Our students are number one in the nation and the Western world, and here we are being asked to sign onto those [national] standards”…

Charles Chieppo is a senior fellow and Jamie Gass directs the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank.

Article URL:http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1061157524

Teachers and Mothers Against Common Core (Video)   Leave a comment

Alisa, Renee and I speak out about our opposition to Common Core.

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