April 16, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm – LOGAN DISTRICT -
Logan District Office, Board Room 101 West Center Street Logan, UT USA
April 16, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm – WEBER DISTRICT - District Office, Board Room 5320 Adams Avenue Parkway Ogden,UT 84405
Reminder: TOMORROW IS THE DAY.
Parent Led Reform of Colorado is hosting the Stop Common Core rally at Twitter tomorrow. Here’s a tutorial if you don’t yet Twitter.
(The hashtag is #StopCommonCore.)
When Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC said “we” need to “break through” the notion of children belonging with parents, there was a huge public outcry.
No one cried out louder than the indomitable Michelle Malkin, who was interviewed by Sean Hannity soon after (must see: 3:55 http://youtu.be/5patiNN3R8g). Malkin derided the progressive idea of collective ownership: “Hands off my kids! My kids are not your guinea pigs. My kids are not your cash cows. My kids’ minds are not for you to propagandize, and my kids’ futures are not for you to raid in the name of social justice!”
Parent activist Yvonne Gasparino said it this way: “My children, my own flesh and blood, these beautiful little souls that I carried for nine months with nothing but unconditional love from the time the stick read “positive” –are being ripped out of my loving and protective hands virtually and kidnapped by the government for their future use. I will not and cannot let that happen and will fight with every moral fiber of my soul that God has bestowed upon me.”
After a whole year of never receiving an email response from Asst. Superintendent Judy Park, today she wrote back! Wow.
But. The billion dollar question was dodged again. It’s been dodged in emails for over a year. It was dodged twice more at last night’s Common Core (S.A.G.E./A.I.R.) presentation, both during and after the event. But I wrote an email asking it again.
Here it is, and here’s her answer.
My Question: Please direct me to documentation of the claim that the common core standards, upon which this test is built, are legitimate and that they have been empirically tested, rather than being the experimental idea of unelected noneducators?
Ms. Park’s Answer: You have received a great deal of information about the common core from Brenda Hales, Associate Superintendent. I would encourage you to direct your questions about the common core to her.
Another dodge! Another D O D G E!
Utterly, completely unbelievable!
This dodge is like building a house (a new Utah educational system) on quicksand (illegitimate standards) and insisting that everyone to keep admiring the roof (nifty technology) –and telling the homeowner (teacher/taxpayers/parents) who paid for the whole thing and will live in it for life, to quit asking the pesky questions about those sinking wobbly motions in the foundation, directing that homeowner to ask an irrelevant wallpaper hanger why the home was built in quicksand.
There comes a time when you either keep yelling at the t.v./radio/computer screen/newspaper, or you make a move.
Utah, I am asking you to make a move. Call. Write. Tell our Governor, School Board, legislature and U.S.O.E. that we deserve answers to these most basic of all questions that affect our children and grandchildren in dramatic ways, for the rest of their lives. Please act.
This is what I wrote to Assistant Superintendent Judy Park today.
Thank you for taking the time to partially respond to some of my questions.
Please– stop dodging the most important question, for me and for all Utahns.
“First, do no harm” applies to education as well as to medicine. Please show us proof that the USSB/USOE is doing no harm by implementing Common Core; this should be easy. Brenda Hales, the public relations person is not an academic expert; you are. By dodging the question to her it appears that you don’t even know whether Common Core is snake oil –or not.
Don’t teachers, parents and legislators deserve to know that hundreds of millions of dollars and hours and children’s minds all pushing toward Common Core implementation is being spent wisely?! Do we not deserve to see evidence and references backing up the oft-repeated claim that these standards are helpful?
Where is the study showing that long-term, lives are enhanced when high school seniors are deprived of 70% of their classic literature? Where is the study showing that long-term, students who are deprived of the knowledge of how to convert fractions into decimals, are blessed by that fact? Countless examples could be shared.
You serve on the CCSSO, the D.C. group which developed and copyrighted these unproven standards. You have been doing this longer than our State Superintendent and you stand uniquely qualified to answer questions about the academic legitimacy of the standards and about the lack of any empirical evidence to back up the U.S.O.E.’s claims– which have been replicated on every district website in this state– and which are false.
The standards are not serving children honorably. They take away from, rather than raise, Utah’s educational hopes. Less classic literature. Less traditional math. Slowing of the age at which algorithms are introduced. Less narrative writing. Less parental consent. No district-held control over the sharing of student data. And worst of all, the standards and connected reforms and mandates have robbed Utah of educational sovereignty, a constitutional right. We have no voice, no amendment process. For such a trade, the standards must surely be magnificent.
Yet you cannot even point me to the documentation that these standards are more than a blind experiment on our kids, written by noneducators and adopted at grant-point, rather than after thorough and honorable academic vetting in Utah?
This is an absolute outrage.
In the name of integrity, what are you going to do about it?
They really think they (the government) owns the children.
Education reform has redefined itself as the communist takeover of children by the government. You have to see this video to believe it.
This diminishing of parental authority is re-emphasized by the fact that in the common core tests, (the Linda Darling-Hammond- led CSCOPE and Common Core tests) parents cannot view the tests.
Why have our school systems have done this? When will a majority of parents and teachers join this fight for the children and fight to repeal the Common Core?
Please write or call our governor and school board. email@example.com
Tell them that you are opposed to Common Core which makes student data mining –without parental consent– possible. Tell them that you are opposed to the Common Core tests which are not viewable by parents, except for (in Utah) for a panel of 15 governmentally-appointed parents.
Tell them you want local control, especially parental control, back. Now.
Dare to Home School
Education is the continuation of God’s creation of a human life.
This idea comes from author and scholar Dr. Neil Flinders. Think about it: the instant the baby leaves the womb –and even before leaving the womb– he/she is beginning to learn. He gains knowledge from us as parents, from the beginning– language skills, the ability to eat, to feel love, to hear music and to absorb all our “norms”.
Why do so many parents feel pain when they send their five-year-olds to kindergarten– and cry?
They are giving away the child. For most of the day, for the rest of their lives, that child belongs to the school system, not to the parent. It often feels like the wrong thing to be doing. And maybe it is.
When I mention that I’m home schooling my fourth grader, I often get this response: “Oh, I wish I could do that. I don’t dare. I am not ____ enough.” (adjectives vary– organized, smart, brave, educated, confident, etc.)
It is sad that there are parents out there who long to spend more time with their own children, who would be experiencing the academic miracles and family joys that home school parents see, but something holds them back.
So I’m writing today to the parents who are almost ready to home school their children. I encourage you to jump in. Those who want to home school, but don’t do it, usually state either: 1) I don’t know what I would teach, or 2) My child needs peers for social development:
1. I don’t know what I would teach/ I am not educated enough to teach.
There is a misperception that “real” teachers have fairy dust or all-powerful diplomas that make them fundamentally different from you. But every parent, like every child, has got a combination of gifts and weaknesses.
The teaching diploma is Dumbo’s feather. (Remember the story? Dumbo did not really need the feather to fly; it made him think he could fly but he already had that ability without it.)
I know this because I learned next to nothing of actual value in my CSUSB teaching program. The valuable stuff came from mentors and from personal experience.
And, guess what? Even though I am a credentialed teacher and have taught third grade, high school and college for years and years and years, still, when it came time to make the choice whether to home school or not, I froze.
I felt a heavy responsibility to make sure my son received the very best education I could possibly acquire for him. Could I do it without authority figures and lists of rules and tests and bureaucratic ideals to follow? Seriously! I was nervous.
That heavy responsibility is on us whether we choose to home school or not.
The responsibility for what a child learns and becomes is not the government’s or the school system’s. It’s ours as parents, and always has been.
There are so many curricula, programs, textbook series, online ideas and sets of standards that your problem won’t be: “what will I teach?” It will be “what must I leave out” because there is so much you can do.
Just start researching what other successful home school parents do. Then make up your own mind which method sounds the very, very best– to you. You are in charge and you know your child better than anyone on the earth.
So trust your judgment as you would have trusted a favorite principal or mentor in the past.
Studies show that even home schooling parents with low levels of education wind up with children that are better educated than children who attend public schools. See: http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso
I can see why. Home school works more like the brain works. A child studies a topic, thinks about it, gets questions, and goes to find answers for those questions almost immediately. You don’t have to wait for the whole class to get to the topic. Curiosity stays fresh. Students learn more quickly and more specifically to how the mind works. And if a child especially loves art, math, physics or sewing, he/she may advance in that area much more than he or she could in most one-size-fits-all public systems.
If there’s a subject you fear teaching, GET OVER IT. Those oft-hated subjects, of math, history or science are only hard when you have had boring teachers in your past. There’s a spoonful of sugar element most math-haters or history-haters or other subject-haters, have never seen.
When people say “I’m not a math person,” or some similar comment, to me, it’s like saying, “I don’t speak French.” That’s nothing but exposure, baby. You can enjoy any subject with love, patience and determination.
I am teaching traditional Saxon math to my son right now, who went from 4th to 6th grade math ability in five months’ time by homeschooling. I also teach him the same things I taught my remedial college writing classes– parts of speech, diagramming sentences, using commas properly, writing complex sentences, using more interesting and rich vocabulary, and HAVING FUN by writing about interesting things. His writing skills did the same thing that his math skills have done– soared.
He was not a strong writer last autumn. But last week, he volunteered to write and submit a 500 word essay to a local political essay contest on a very hard topic. No kidding. He did it on his own. And it was good.
No matter what else we do on any given day– and it varies widely; some days we’re swimming and diving at the pool; some days we’re picnicking at the park; some days we are a museum or a grandparent’s house or a quilting bee or touring the local university– but we never skip the Saxon math lesson or the essay writing.
Now, essay writing might mean writing a poem, or creating a powerpoint on the computer with sentences under each photo, or writing a letter to Santa or to a grandparent; it might mean writing a fictional story. It might mean writing about the first five presidents of the United States after we’ve studied them in our history lesson. It varies, but we never skip the writing, nor the math. That’s my way. But you’ll have your own.
I make sure to add in the things that Common Core is deleting from public education:
Cursive- every day, my son writes a verse from the scriptures in cursive, and on many days, I have him write his whole essay in cursive. Because it’s beautiful.
Traditional math- as I’ve said before, I do not like the common core “constructivist” math programs and most textbooks are aligning now to common core. I purchase old, pre-common core text books from Saxon (there are other traditional programs, too).
Classic literature – the only place “informational text” is read in my home school is when we are studying subjects other than English, such as history, science, math, geography, and now, journalism. When we choose reading materials, we choose actual literature: Tom Sawyer, The Hobbit, Swedish Fairy Tales, Great Expectations, etc. The vocabulary’s so rich; the imagery and metaphors and good versus evil concepts and life-lessons are no where else in such abundance as they are to be found in classic literature. Kids need it.
2. My child needs to be surrounded by his or her peers for social development.
The second concern parents usually raise is that their child needs socialization and that’s only available in public school. Really?
With sports teams, scouting, church activities, neighborhood friends, cousins, siblings, parents, field trips, and other, outside-our-home, homeschooling events, I never feel that my homeschooler is socially deprived.
In fact, the opposite is true. He now receives more one-on-one teaching time and talking time with me than he did when he attended public school. Even when I’m not teaching, I’m teaching. He’s conversing with an adult much of the day, and that is educational. He’s not just told to be quiet and listen and occasionally to raise his hand. He talks with me all day long. And we go out of our way to make sure he gets peer play time, as well.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, he mentioned that one of his favorite traditions in public school was decorating a box to receive valentines in. So we made creative boxes for each member of our family and displayed them on the piano. We are putting cards and candies in them all month long. And mailing valentines to cousins, missionaries and others, just for fun. There are very few positive public school activities that cannot be recreated in home school. And many useless ones that can be skipped.
Additionally, there are other home school families either in your neighborhood or online that you can connect with.
Last week, four homeschool families in my neighborhood got together for a “snow day.” The children went sledding while the parents had a teachers’ conference. One mother who had only been home schooling for a few weeks was so excited that she brought all her history curriculum and her children’s binders and was showing us what they’re doing. The children love it so much that when they have free reading time, they are still reading their history books.
Home schooling is hard work; yes, but it absolutely works –and it is so much fun.
One of the most wonderful things about home school is that I get to teach my child faith in God, something government schools are forbidden to do. And I do. The teaching of all subjects under the umbrella of “God is real and God is love” makes a huge difference in the approach we take to any subject.
I will close with one fine example. It’s a video I showed my son as part of our science curriculum this week, that features a renowned scientist, Dr. Lewis, a NASA advisor, explaining his beautiful faith in God and how he combines science with faith.
The official Common Core websites make the program sound good. The Department of Education promotes it. The purveyors of Common Core implementation guides make it sound magnificent. Many educators have said they support it.
At the same time, research groups, think tanks, parent groups, university professors and increasingly, more and more teachers, stand against it. So who’s to believe? How can you get to the truth?
Truth is truth, no matter what story the spinners may spin about Common Core. The repetitve use of Common Core’s favorite words, “rigorous” and “benchmarked” and “state-led” and “college ready” cannot alter reality.
But, rather than repeat myself further, and rather than to ask you to read hundreds of articles and reviews others have written, I have a new approach today.
I’m offering you an open book test.
Do the research for yourself. You will most likely find that Common core is a shaky experiment that dilutes good education, invades data privacy, robs states of autonomy, breaks the law (General Educational Provisions Act, and 10th Amendment to the Constitution) and it’s about to break the taxpaying public.
This is like one of those little craft kits you can buy at the county fair. The bulk of the work has been done for you; just put the pieces together and call it your own.
Welcome to A Common Core Open Book Test:
•Is the Common Core Initiative legal?
See: General Education Provisions Act Law (GEPA law): “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” http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232g
See: U.S. Constitution- 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html
• Are the Common Core standards really un-amendable and copyrighted?
- Who are the sole developers of Common Core?
•How serious are the privacy issues involved in Common Core tests?
EPIC lawsuit against Dept of Ed. http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html
Fox News http://youtu.be/wVI78lPCFfs
Reader-friendly explanation: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/christel-swasey-responds-to-brenda-hales/
SLDS (state longitudinal database system) http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/Information/faq.aspx
UTREX grant that meshes data all the way up to feds: http://nces.ed.gov/Programs/SLDS/state.asp?stateabbr=UT (also see John Brandt’s online powerpoint, page 6).
National Data Collection Model database attributes http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary “Assurances” here:
Federal supervision, triangulation of tests (illegal under G.E.P.A. law) http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf
•Are the Common Core math and English standards themselves helping or hurting education for kids?
- Has a budget been created or a cost analysis been done?
•Has Common Core been led by states or by the federal government?
http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/debunking-misconceptions-the-common-core-is-state-led/ (reader friendly)
http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/the-common-core-lie/ (less readable but provides links to prove it was not state led)
See the Race to the Top grant – federal incentivization of Common Core: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.schools.utah.gov%2Farra%2FUses%2FUtah-Race-to-the-Top-Application.aspx&ei=PSQDUaKkLvCWyAGb8YDACw&usg=AFQjCNFk2icoHCsO-TViXtbkFHJQWizg5Q&sig2=4re2ypxeoPF7RuhE00opug&bvm=bv.41524429,d.aWc (page 28 Utah agreed to Common Core in this federal document before public or legislative vetting had taken place)
Exit strategy: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/12/a-national-education-standards-exit-strategy-for-states
— —- —-
Finally, a motives check:
Ask yourself: who are the people standing against the Common Core? Are they gaining financially from it? Well, I am one of the fighters, and I’m not gaining. I receive not a penny, nor ever will, for this work. I deliberately reject offers of ads on this blog, so that readers can –I hope– trust it as a labor of love from a parent and teacher, and not a labor of personal gain. Why spend hundreds of hours writing to legislators, school boards, parents and members of the media to fight against Common Core’s continued implementation?
Next, ask yourself this: why do many of the loudest proponents of Common Core never reference their claims? They claim grandeur for these standards, but nothing is verified, nothing is solid. Also, many proponents happen to be corporations that are making a lot of money to implement texts and tools for the Common Core. (Bill Gates’ Microsoft. The Pearson company’s lobbyists and Pearson company’s CEA Sir Michael Barber. Even the national PTA received $2 million from Gates to promote Common Core.) And lastly, ask yourself this: why is there no transparency or clarity, and why the secretive meetings, of the CCSSO –the developers of the standards; and why is there no amendment process for a principal, parent or teacher who sees a problem with these national standards?
The reason I’m reposting this article is that there are many things happening in schools that parents may not feel comfortable with, but most do not speak up because they don’t know their rights over their own children.
Many schools administer something called the “SHARP” survey. Locally, here in Heber City, it’s done in schools. But you can opt out.
SHARP is an in-your-face survey that asks very detailed, intimate, and intrusive questions, without attaching names to the results. So what could be wrong?
Proponents of “SHARP” or ”Communities That Care” or other survey-based youth data collection instruments claim that the survey is a necessary way to assess whether children are involved in drugs, sex, alcohol, violence, or mental ill health.
Others say that these types of surveys may do more harm than good, by introducing children to the ideas of many deviant behaviors they would otherwise not have known about, and/or should be learning about from their parents in a loving, trusting environment rather than on a bubble sheet in a classroom. Others also say that embedded in the language of the surveys are values that may not match those of the parents. (For example, some surveys I have seen do equate gun ownership with gun violence rather than realizing that many homes have guns for protection, hunting and to demonstrate 2nd Amendment rights. See: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/10-reasons-not-to-adopt-communities-that-care-ctc/ )
Children may not have the courage to tell school staff they would like to opt out, but you can send your school a letter to let your wishes be known at the beginning of the school year. Then your child will not be allowed to take the survey.
With that intro, here is Morgan Olsen’s article on your parental rights, with links to laws you can point to when you go to your school district with concerns.
What are my parental rights?
Published at Utahns Against Common Core website January 24, 2013. | By Morgan Olsen | Reposted here with thanks to Morgan Olsen.
When faced with incorrect school policies and practices, parents can easily feel overwhelmed and powerless. Throughout my Common Core research, I have gathered a few tidbits of law that can help you re-establish your parental rights in the education of your child. Exercise regularly your God-given right to advocate for your child’s best interest, and remind schools and government agencies that your child’s unique needs are better served with a parental representative over a hired one. No amount of social planning, exorbitant spending or teacher training can provide a better representative than an emotionally attached lifelong parent who’s most basic instinct and sacred duty is to lovingly protect, nurture, and guide their child. Regularly claim your God-given right and duty to advocate for your child’s best interest as their primary representative. For as the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it.”
Right to review Curriculum (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)
1232h Protection of pupil rights
(a) Inspection of instructional materials by parents or guardians
All instructional materials, including teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any applicable program shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children.
Limits on Survey, Analysis, Evaluations, or Data Collection (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)
(b) Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations
No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—
(1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
(2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
(3) sex behavior or attitudes;
(4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
(5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
(6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
(7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
(8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.
Here is a brochure to help teach your children to say NO to these types of questions.
United States Code, Title 20 1232c
(c) Surveys or data-gathering activities; regulations
Not later than 240 days after October 20, 1994, the Secretary shall adopt appropriate regulations or procedures, or identify existing regulations or procedures, which protect the rights of privacy of students and their families in connection with any surveys or data-gathering activities conducted, assisted, or authorized by the Secretary or an administrative head of an education agency. Regulations established under this subsection shall include provisions controlling the use, dissemination, and protection of such data. No survey or data-gathering activities shall be conducted by the Secretary, or an administrative head of an education agency under an applicable program, unless such activities are authorized by law.
Activities prohibited without prior written consent (Utah Code Title 53A Section 302)
(1) Policies adopted by a school district under Section 53A-13-301 shall include prohibitions on the administration to a student of any psychological or psychiatric examination, test, or treatment, or any survey, analysis, or evaluation without the prior written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian, in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal information, whether the information is personally identifiable or not, concerning the student’s or any family member’s:
(a) political affiliations or, except as provided under Section 53A-13-101.1 or rules of the State Board of Education, political philosophies;
(b) mental or psychological problems;
(c) sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes;
(d) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
(e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close family relationships;
(f) religious affiliations or beliefs;
(g) legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with lawyers, medical personnel, or ministers; and
(h) income, except as required by law.
(2) Prior written consent under Subsection (1) is required in all grades, kindergarten through grade 12.
Here is a brochure to help teach your children to say NO to these types of questions.
Right of the Parent to raise their child without undue government interference (Utah Code Title 62A Chapter 4a Section 201)
(1) (a) Under both the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, a parent possesses a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children. A fundamentally fair process must be provided to parents if the state moves to challenge or interfere with parental rights. A governmental entity must support any actions or allegations made in opposition to the rights and desires of a parent regarding the parent’s children by sufficient evidence to satisfy a parent’s constitutional entitlement to heightened protection against government interference with the parent’s fundamental rights and liberty interests.
(b) The fundamental liberty interest of a parent concerning the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children is recognized, protected, and does not cease to exist simply because a parent may fail to be a model parent or because the parent’s child is placed in the temporary custody of the state. At all times, a parent retains a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of family life. Prior to an adjudication of unfitness, government action in relation to parents and their children may not exceed the least restrictive means or alternatives available to accomplish a compelling state interest. Until the state proves parental unfitness, the child and the child’s parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of their natural relationship and the state cannot presume that a child and the child’s parents are adversaries.
(c) It is in the best interest and welfare of a child to be raised under the care and supervision of the child’s natural parents. A child’s need for a normal family life in a permanent home, and for positive, nurturing family relationships is usually best met by the child’s natural parents. Additionally, the integrity of the family unit and the right of parents to conceive and raise their children are constitutionally protected. The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent’s child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and Constitution and is a fundamental public policy of this state.
(d) The state recognizes that:
(i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
(ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.
(e) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children.
The Garfield Stand and the Common Core
This article was originally published January 12, 2013 on The Underground Parent at http://undergroundparent.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-garfield-stand-and-common-core-will.html and is in part republished here, with permission from the author.
What is the Garfield Stand? It is what the teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School are doing—they are taking a stand on important issues related to student assessment.
You can read about it in the letter from teachers at Garfield High School and at additional links provided below.
Teachers at another school, Ballard High School, are not just in sympathy with their Garfield colleagues; they are taking the same stand.
…Read the letter from the Garfield teachers.
The Ballard teachers wrote a letter supporting their Garfield colleagues. That letter is copied below.
In a few years how many of the statements below will have a ring of truth if MAP is replaced with SBAC or PARCC assessments [Common Core national tests]?
25 teachers at nearby Ballard High School signed a letter against continuing to use the MAP test,
and in support of our Garfield colleagues
- The MAP test is a resource expensive and cash expensive program in a district with very finite financial resources,
- The MAP test is not used in practice to inform student instruction,
- The MAP test is not connected to our curricula,
- The MAP test has been repurposed by district administration to form part of a teacher’s evaluation, which is contrary to the purposes it was designed for, as stated by its purveyor, making it part of junk science,
- The MAP test has also been repurposed for student placement in courses and programs, for which it was not designed,
- The MAP test was purchased under corrupt crony-ist circumstances (Our former superintendent, while employed by SPS sat on the corporation board of NWEA, the purveyor of the MAP test. This was undisclosed to her employer. The initial MAP test was purchased in a no-bid, non-competitive process)
- The MAP test was and remains unwanted and unneeded and unsolicited by SPS professional classroom educators, those who work directly with students,
- The MAP test is not taken seriously by students, (They don’t need the results for graduation, for applications, for course credit, or any other purpose, so they routinely blow it off.)
- The MAP test’s reported testing errors are greater than students’ expected growth,
- The technology administration of the MAP test has serious flaws district wide which waste students’ time,
We, the undersigned educators from Ballard High School do hereby support statements and actions of our colleagues at Garfield High School surrounding the MAP test. Specifically, the MAP test program throughout Seattle Public Schools ought to be shut down immediately. It has been and continues to be an embarrassing mistake. Continuing it even another day, let alone another month or year or decade, will not turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse.
…It is unfortunate teachers feel the need to take such a stand.
Should they, and other teachers across the country, be making more of the decisions that will directly effect their instructional practices and their students’ education or should those decisions continue to be made by… state departments of education, business and corporate offices, wealthy foundations, and Washington, D.C.?
Links to further reading on the topic:
Seattle Ballard High School teachers have followed suit: No MAP test!
The letter from the teachers at Garfield High School regarding the MAP test
Letter of support for Garfield High School teachers from Diane Ravitch
Garfield High School teachers say “NO!” to high stakes testing
Standardized test backlash: Some Seattle teachers just say ‘no’
Garfield High teachers won’t give required test they call flawed
Garfield High teachers refuse to give standardized test
Garfield High teachers refuse to administer District-mandated reading and math test
Garfield High School teachers boycott MAP assessment test
This article was originally published January 12, 2013 on The Underground Parent at http://undergroundparent.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-garfield-stand-and-common-core-will.html and is republished here with permission from the author.
We’ve been doing homeschool for my fourth grader since October.
It’s so much fun!
Having a two year old next to a fourth grader means that sometimes we’re schooling in the hall, watching the baby take a two hour bath next to the open door. It means that sometimes, we have to send the fourth grader into a quiet room with a locked door because the two year old is tantruming and it’s hard to focus in that environment. It means that I rarely dust and barely get the groceries bought before we’re out of everything. Sometimes the laundry and other to-do lists sit for days. I haven’t perfected my systems. But in the midst of the imperfection, it feels like a kind of perfection.
My priorities are teaching my kids and enjoying our lives, before challenging the dust or laundry or almost anything else.
We learn a ton, have a lot of laughs and a lot of fun.
A few weeks ago, we drove to Camp Floyd, a historic site in Utah, to learn about Utah history in the 1800s.
Another day, we went to the local Recreation center to play basketball.
We go to the library, often.
We went one day to the church quilting project, to make Christmas quilts for jail inmates. My son learned how to tie a quilt.
We are so free.
No set of Common Core standards. No dumb school assemblies. No asking strangers for their permission to spend time with my own child.
We are in charge of our schooling.
Every day, we read scriptures, writes a verse in cursive, and we talk about it. Some days it’s the Book of Mormon. Some days it’s the New Testament. Today we read the story of Daniel and his three friends who were kidnapped by King Nebuchadnezzar from Jerusalem and taken far from home, never to return. (I hadn’t remembered the full story. Did you know that Daniel and his friends were to be killed because they were considered wise men, and the king didn’t believe in his wise men anymore because nobody could tell him both what he’d dreamed and interpret the dream? So Daniel and his friends prayed and God revealed the king’s dream and also its interpretation to Daniel– a great, great miracle. It saved Daniel’s life, but more importantly, it taught the king that there is a God who does give power to human beings on conditions of faithfulness to Him.
We have been studying geography a lot (he now knows where the countries of Central and South America are, where the counties of Utah are, and is beginning on the Caribbean Islands.) There are fun and free online games for Geography students.
We have been studying history. He now knows all about the founding of our nation– the first five presidents in detail– and about early North and South American explorers– de Soto, Hudson, Erikson, Columbus, Magellan, Lewis & Clark, etc., and now we’re reading about 14th century Europe.
We read about the Bubonic plague, the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Vikings. I plan to make a giant timeline going all around his bedroom, where he can draw things he’s learned about through history.
Some days I make him diagram sentences, with verb, subject, preposition, direct object, adverbs, adjectives, articles, etc.
Some days I have him correct sentence errors– commas, capitalization, apostrophes, etc.
Some days he does an art project. Some days he takes great photos for his little photography portfolio.
Some days he does a science experiment or looks at things under his microscope and writes about them.
Some days I teach him how to spell a very difficult word and I test him on it later in the day.
Some days we read Swedish books and do Swedish vocabulary or Swedish grammar sheets that I write myself.
One day, we spent the whole day studying volcanoes. We watched some great YouTube clips about volcanoes. I liked the one from Bill Nye the Science Guy. We also read about them in books. We found them in science and in literature. And they were in our text, “What Your Fourth Grader Needs To Know.”
I let curiosity guide us. I don’t keep a tight leash on our curriculum, with two strict exceptions: every day, a chapter of Saxon math and every day, he has to write an essay.
His essays can be poems, journal entries, fiction stories, reports about what he’s been learning, letters to Santa or to a great aunt… he just has to write every day, about a page (a little less, or a lot more than a page, every day).
All the other subjects are covered, but not each day, and not for any set amount of time. Our curiosity determines what we study, with those two exceptions I noted.
Today, as usual, we did a chapter of Saxon math. I usually sit with him for the first half, and then set him to answer the 30 questions that are after each lesson. I usually put dots on a handful of the questions meaning “skip these” if I know he knows the review problems very, very well, so he can fly through. I am trying to keep it interesting and invigorating, not dreadfully heavy, so he’ll love to learn and love math. He’s going to be in the sixth grade book very soon.
Today we read in our Usborn science book (very colorful and thick book which I love) all about the periodic table (we just scanned it) and we talked about why there are groups in one row and periods in another row, and how cool the elements are and how interesting it is that these metals and nonmetals and semi-metals are in everything around us, even in our foods and in our bodies, and how they make jewels and everything on earth. We already knew in detail about the Halogens, but we’ll read about the elements and the rocks they are found in, next week.
We read a few more chapters in “The Hobbit” by Tolkien, today. He can’t get enough. I have to drag him away to do his writing or to eat lunch. When he finishes the book, I’ll take him to see the movie but he must promise to look away during the war scenes. He is only 9 and it’s a PG-13 movie which will certainly be more violent than I want to see, let alone allow a 9 year old to see. But we both love the story. It’s full of new vocabulary words for him (it’s way above a fourth grade reading level) and it enlivens his imagination. He reads it silently sometimes, and we read it together aloud, some times.
This week, we visited his grandfather, a retired Pan American Airlines captain, to have a lesson on how airplanes fly. Grandpa/Morfar also taught my son his math out of the Saxon math book, and taught him how to tie ropes (scouting) and next week, we’re going with Grandpa to a field trip to the swimming pool to learn how to dive, since Grandpa/Morfar used to teach swimming lessons years ago.
He’s also doing a project that his stepfather created for him. They bought supplies to do an experiment. My son has to do the experiment and then, using the receipt from Wal-Mart of the supply list, he has to figure out how much each “kit” costs and how much each part of the kit costs (100 paper clips for $1.37 for example) and then he gets to assess the materials (research and development).
He just finished writing a story. I guided the story by saying it had to be in cursive and it had to include two new vocabulary words: “aileron” and “frond” –but other than that, anything goes. He did a great job. He wrote a vivid adventure that involved an emergency landing of an airplane into a jungle that had mosquitoes the size of your head.
And during recess, he decided to create his own musical instrument. He used a rubber band, a toilet paper tube, a piece of paper, a screw, a paper clip, some tape and a pipe cleaner. It really works, too.
He is getting more and more creative; also wiser. He recognized and pointed out to me an analogy from “The Hobbit” that he saw which reminded him of common core education. Common Core was a goblin bent on making certain useful –but only useful and never beautiful– tools. I guess he was listening when I was ranting about Common Core architect David Coleman and his removal of narrative writing and classic literature from the common core, and I said that literature is for soaring, for beauty and joy, and not just for basic employability.
He read to me:
“... armed goblins were standing round him carrying the axes and bent swords that they use. Now goblins are cruel, wicked and bad-hearted. They make no beautiful things, but they can make many clever ones.”
- p. 62, The Hobbit.
What more can I say?
I’m reposting this article from the Home School Legal Defense Association: http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/2012/201212170.asp
It’s important for homeschooling families to realize that Common Core is a movement that is transforming education for every one who ever wants to go to a college or university. It’s deleting freedom and innovation for everyone, not just public school attendees.
December 17, 2012
Common Core State Standards Initiative: Too Close to a National Curriculum
William A. Estrada, Esq. Director of Federal Relations
has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>
In 2010, the National Governors Association published their “Common Core State Standards” (CCSS). These were meant as voluntary math and English guidelines which individual states could adopt.
HSLDA and numerous other organizations grew concerned about this push to standardize what public school students are taught. HSLDA wrote two articles outlining our concerns, one in March of 2010, and one in June of 2010. We explained that states were being enticed by the federal government—through the Race to the Top program—to align their state curriculum with the CCSS, resulting in de facto national standards. We were concerned that this would lead to a national curriculum and national test, and that the pressure would grow for homeschool and private school students to be taught using this national curriculum.
During President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union speech, the president stated, “We’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards.” How were the states convinced to adopt the CCSS? The simple answer—federal dollars. President Obama added adopting the CCSS as a criterion for states to gain points in the Race to the Top education federal grant program, regardless of whether the state already had comparable or superior educational standards. States with the highest points are more likely to win the competitive Race to the Top federal grants.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the CCSS since 2010. Only Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have not.
Are the Common Core State Standards a Good Idea for Public Schools?
Recently, there has been a growing controversy over whether the CCSS are even beneficial. Many states have spent years adopting their own state standards, only to throw them away in favor of the CCSS. Some commentators have said that the CCSS will weaken English learning and reduce analytical thinking. Others point to a weakening of math teaching. Still others point out that the CCSS will cost billions of dollars to implement—which could be deal-breaker for states struggling to implement the standards.
The CCSS by themselves are not necessarily controversial. They’re similar in certain respects to other state curriculum content standards for public schools. However, HSLDA believes that children—whether homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled—do best when parents are fully engaged. And parents are most engaged when they know that they are in charge of their child’s education. Top-down, centralized education policy does not encourage parents to be engaged. The CCSS removes education standards from the purview of state and local control to being controlled by unaccountable education policy experts sitting in a board room far removed from the parents, students, and teachers who are most critical to a child’s educational success.
Will the CCSS Affect Homeschools?
The CCSS specifically do not apply to private or homeschools, unless they receive government dollars (online charter school programs have no such protection). However, HSLDA has serious concerns with the rush to adopt the CCSS. HSLDA has fought national education standards for the past two decades. Why? National standards lead to national curriculum and national tests, and subsequent pressure on homeschool students to be taught from the same curricula.
The College Board—the entity that created the PSAT and SAT—has already indicated that its signature college entrance exam will be aligned with the CCSS. And many homeschoolers worry that colleges and universities may look askance at homeschool graduates who apply for admission if their highschool transcripts are not aligned with the CCSS.
HSLDA believes that a one-size-fits-all approach to education crowds out other educational options, including the freedom of parents to choose homeschools and private schools. A common curriculum and tests based off common standards could be very harmful to homeschoolers if their college of choice refuses to accept a student’s high school transcript if it is not based on the CCSS. Homeschoolers could also have trouble on the SAT if the test is fundamentally altered to reflect only one specific curriculum. And our greatest worry is that if the CCSS is fully adopted by all states, policy makers down the road will attempt to change state legislation to require all students—including homeschool and private school students—to be taught and tested according to the CCSS. Common Core State Standards spreading
The National Governors Association first focused the CCSS on the general subject areas of math and English. However, there is now movement to create CCSS in numerous other subject areas. The National Governors Association is also urging states to align early education programs for young children.
This is also encouraged by the federal government’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, a program which causes grave concerns to HSLDA.
Due to laws prohibiting the creation of national tests, curriculum, and teacher certification, governors and state legislatures are the only policy makers who can actually decide whether or not to adopt the CCSS. While the federal government has encouraged the states to adopt the CCSS through federal incentives, the states are completely free to reject the CCSS.
- To find out whether your state has adopted the Common Core State Standards, you can visit this website’s useful map. (Please note that this is the website for the common core state standards initiative.)
- Contact your state legislators, including the governor, to discuss this issue with them. Ask them about their position on the issue. Find your governor’s current information here.
- If you have a governor’s election coming up in your state, we encourage you to raise this issue with the candidates. Even if a state has already adopted the national education standards, a new governor will be faced with the costs of implementing these new standards and new accountability to the federal government.
- Numerous states that have already adopted the CCSS are considering rejecting the CCSS. Now is the time to help raise awareness of this issue and educate yourself about the CCSS.
- Because this affects all parents, and will not currently affect homeschool freedom, it is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler.
| Other Resources
Math and Science Common Core State Standards
Eagle Forum: “Obama Core is Another Power Grab”
Indiana Superintendent: “Obama Administration Nationalized Common Core Standards Common Core Math Standards Fail to Add Up”
Eagle Forum: “Common Core Standards Aren’t Cheap”
Eagle Forum: “Common Core Standards Dumbing Down the SAT”
“Common Core Supporter: Maybe Opposition Not Paranoia”
Keeping Kids Safe is Bill Wardell’s radio show. He invited Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and I on his show today to discuss data privacy issues, Common Core national education, and what most parents do not know about Common Core.
In his presentation to the United Nations last year, Sweden’s Jonas Himmelstrand did some mythbusting about the “joys” of Swedish socialism.
Here’s the short version: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_un_new_york_handouts.pdf
Here are the long versions: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_haro_un_paper.pdf
Jonas Himmelstrand, Swedish education-freedom author, who was a guest on the Morgan Philpot radio show today, has recommended this article, wherein Dr. Gordon Neufelt explains why, rather than following the Swedish socialist model of preschool for the very young, children are better served when they start attending school later.
Nurturing children: Why “early learning” doesn’t help
Children should start attending school later, not earlier, Canadian development psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld reveals. “Early learning” programs for young children have no benefits for kids, he adds. So why are governments running down the opposite track?
August 30, 2012 | by Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
“I want to make sure that my son learns how to get along with others,” one parent will say. Another will add, “My daughter is shy. I want her to be with other children, to help her come out of her shell.” A third might enthusiastically report that her child loves all her friends at daycare: “She can’t wait to go and spend time with them!”
These are just some of the things parents say when it comes to the benefits they see in the social settings that pre-schools, daycares and all-day kindergarten provide. Parents are rightly concerned about whether their children get along well with others.
However, is it true that early interaction with peers improves socialization for young children? Canadian developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld says this is not the case, particularly in sending young children into “social” environments before they are ready. 
The word socialization can mean different things to different people.
With regards to small children, Dr. Neufeld clarifies one thing that socialization is not: “Probably the greatest myth that has evolved is this idea that socializing with one’s equals leads to socialization.”
Developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner also clarifies what socialization is not: “It should be clear that being socialized is not necessarily the same as being civilized. Nazi youth were also products of a socialization process.” 
Socialization in childrearing means rendering children fit for society so that children can grow and mature into becoming contributing adults, who can respectfully interact with others in community, be it at work or home, with colleagues, family and friends.
Successful socialization is of particular interest where reports of bullying hit the media with some regularity. 
For Dr. Neufeld and his colleagues at The Neufeld Institute, socialization is more complex than simply being able to get along well with peers.  Socialization involves being able to get along with others while at the same time being true to oneself.
Getting there from here
Dr. Neufeld describes a teacher who is unable to express her views for fear of causing conflict. Picture a staff meeting, where this teacher chooses to stay silent rather than disagree. This may create the appearance that she is “really nice,” and able to get along well with others—something she may well tell her students to do as well. The reality is she may be unable to hold on to her own identity in face of conflict.
Constantly agreeing and being nice may, in fact, be immaturity in disguise. “You have to be separate enough so you can be with your equals without losing your distinctiveness,” says Dr. Neufeld.
He adds that someone who always “gets along” may not be able to handle diplomacy without a loss of integrity. If this form of mature self-expression can be hard for adults, how much more difficult is it for children?
“Premature socialization,” says Dr. Neufeld, “was always considered by developmentalists to be the greatest sin in raising children ….[w]hen you put children together prematurely before they can hold on to themselves, then they become like [the others] and it crushes the individuality rather than hones it.” 
A is for “attachment”
One of the issues with large numbers of little people in group care settings is the issue of peer orientation. This means having small children attach to their peers, rather than to adults.
The concept of attachment, developed primarily by psychologist John Bowlby, denotes the instinct that causes adults to care for children and children to receive that care. Successful early attachment is necessary for adult emotional development. In Bowlby’s words, attachment is the tendency “of human beings to make strong affectional bonds to particular others.” 
As humans, we are highly sociable creatures. But we identify some relationships as being higher priority, and are very particular about who takes that position.  It is through these connections that we develop a sense of self. 
And importantly, our high priority attachment figures (aka the people we see the most of and really love) are intended to be enduring. These are not people who should disappear from our lives, neither are strong attachments something small children should “grow out of.” 
This is one reason why daycare employees can never imitate the potent power of the parent: A job is a job, and employees change cities or jobs with some regularity.
Helen Ward is the president of a non-partisan, grassroots group called Kids First Parents Association. She highlights how attachment and socialization work together. “In order for children to grow up into the mature adults we desire them to be, they have to spend time with adults they are attached to, not their own likewise immature peers.” She goes on: “This means that if we take the attachment figure away—through death, illness, distractions, daycare, or any disruption in attachment relationships—and replace it with peer attachment – puff – the kid will be a ‘lord of the flies’ type because the seemingly ‘socialized’ behaviour is simply copying, it is not ‘inside’ yet. It is developing, but can just as well ‘undevelop.’” 
If parents aren’t aware of this, they may interpret negative developments as positive. The three-year-old who can’t wait to be with his friends in daycare may in fact be on his way to becoming peer rather than parent attached, because being attached makes us want to be with those we are attached to.
The problem is that the more children are peer attached, the less attached they are to adults—and this can result in children becoming very hostile to being parented or taught.
When small children spend too much time with their peers, they will imitate the features of those they see around them. Dr. Neufeld speaks of a “flatlining” of culture as a result. “We have a children’s culture of today. In Europe, there is a crisis, which is that youth are not integrating into mainstream society and people believe it is happening in North America as well.”
The question might also be whether they are integrating into a newly mainstream culture that is not altogether mature. “Children have become fit for a society that does not reproduce itself and does not contribute to the larger society as a whole,” says Dr. Neufeld. 
Diversity—creating it, respecting it and allowing it to flourish—is one of today’s most popular buzzwords, something to which we pay lip service. However, the early placement of children with as-of-yet undeveloped personalities in group daycare for long hours, when they aren’t able to “hold on to” their own special, unique personalities creates sameness, not individuality.
This is, in many instances, one of the reasons parents might choose to delay entry to school. In fact, for much of Canada’s history, children did not attend so-called “early learning programs;” school started at age six.
Ironically, some who advocate for homeschooling do so in order for proper socialization to occur. In Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization, author Richard G. Medlin highlights how healthy socialization does happen for homeschoolers, writing “home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with—and feel close to—all sorts of people.” 
Another researcher, Larry Edward Shyers, compared homeschooled children with those in traditional schooling for his PhD thesis at University of Florida. He found that with regards to self-esteem, there was no difference. 
The problem with children socializing at school, Ward says, is that children can be fickle in their friendships. “Kid’s ‘friends’ are not really ‘friends’ in any meaningful sense of the word. They are not mature people who can handle another’s pain or difference of opinion. Peers want you to be the same as them,” says Ward.
The result is less individual expression and less personal growth, she concludes.
Crushing the spirit of childhood
Back in 1988, child psychologist David Elkind wrote The Hurried Child, saying, “we are going through one of those periods in history, such as the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, when children are the unwilling victims of societal upheaval and change….Today’s child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress.” 
Elkind worried that children are increasingly being treated like mini adults. In childhood as a replica of adulthood, daycares and pre-schools put children under academic pressure. Child sports teams have pro uniforms and poor peewee players are sidelined. Children’s clothes have an adult look about them. If this was Elkind’s problem some twenty years ago, the situation today is not much changed.
More evidence that the smallest of children are being subjected to adult standards is the Early Development Instrument (EDI).  Under the auspices of improving child outcomes, the EDI asks teachers to answer a host of entirely subjective questions about a child’s proficiency physically, academically and emotionally and then chronicles how and where children are “behind.”
Activists use this flawed research to lobby for more early learning programs for younger ages. In Ontario, for example, a special advisor to Premier McGuinty desires to create schools as hubs, where children can be dropped off all day, possibly all year, to attain greater “school readiness.” 
When Francois Legault, of the Coalition for Quebec’s Future recently proposed that secondary school should follow work schedules, running from 9 am to 5 pm, some found it provocative.  The reality is that many grade schoolers in before and after-school care already experience adult working days, and the same could be said of a toddler in daycare. Children’s lives are scheduled down to a T, with little free time to just be kids.
Why the anti-child direction?
The reasons for this are varied. However, a big one is the current trend in public policy which creates pressure for all parents to have full time jobs. As a result, labour force attachment trumps parent-child attachment. Canada’s below-replacement birthrate means we are constantly searching for more employees. Having both parents work full-time is entirely reliant on putting their children in some form of standardized care, hence the reation of subsidized daycares. 
This has little to do with child development. The problem is that once centre-based care is preferentially funded and the cost heavily tax-subsidized, it creates an incentive for parents to use it. At that point, parents no longer truly have a real choice. They can’t assess the unique needs of their own children because their lives have been set up around two parents at full time jobs.
When asked what are the gains from early learning for small children, Dr. Neufeld simply replies: “I don’t think there is anything to be gained except parental emancipation. And certainly not parental fulfillment. That’s a totally different issue.” 
What to do?
Dr. Neufeld emphasizes that who parents are to their children matters more than what they do. 
This research is not intended to panic parents whose young children are in all-day care. However, it is wise to understand why your children are there. Some parents put their children in care for the express purpose of socializing them; this is not a researched reason to do so.
For parents whose children must be in care, it would be wise to confirm that the “early learning” is limited exclusively to playing in an environment of adult attachment.  Sometimes it is parents themselves who put pressure on teachers to provide “educational content” to younger and younger ages. When the “report cards” come back and show poor grades, this creates further anxiety in parents who now believe their children are behind.
Parents should eschew the creation of any kind of one-size-fits-all system. This is the sort of system that governments try to create—to “help” each and every family. By definition, these environments are less personal and more distant from parents. Even the local primary school may not, in fact, be the closest thing to the home environment for small children, if for example, a neighbour next door wants to take in additional children on top of her own, and that neighbour is known to the parents and the child.
For far too long, this form of high quality care for kids has been labelled “unregulated,” by those who strive to create school-based daycares with unionized employees. Facing a lack of criticism in the press, “unregulated” has come to be known as “dangerous.” But Helen Ward points out that all parents are “unregulated,” and this alone is not cause for concern. Parents need to inspect all care from top to bottom—whether government-regulated or not.
There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.
For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.” 
- This article is based on an interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld on May 18, 2012. Dr. Neufeld is a developmental psychologist and the co-author of the 2004 national bestseller Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1970). Two worlds of childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, p. 2.
- For greater understanding of how to stem the bullying tide, see Simon, L. (2012, July 18). Empathy: An antidote to bullying. Ottawa: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. Retrieved from http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/empathy-antidote-bullying
- The Neufeld Institute can be found online here http://www.gordonneufeld.com/
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
- Green, M. and Scholes, M. (eds.) (2004). Attachment and human survival. London: Karnac, p. 7.
- Ibid, p. 8.
- Ibid, p. 37.
- Ibid, p. 8.
- Personal communication with Helen Ward, August 21, 2012.
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
- Medlin, R. G. (2000). The home education movement in context, practice, and theory. Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 75, No. 1/2, pp. 107-123.
- Bunday, K.M. (2006). Socialization: A great reason not to go to school. Retrieved from http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html
- Elkind, D. (1988). The Hurried Child. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc, pp. xiv, 3.
- The EDI questionnaire can be viewed online at http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/media/uploads/publications/edi_bc-yukon_2012.pdf
- Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario. Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865
- Quebec’s Francois Legault wants schools open from 9 to 5. (2012, August 9). The Canadian Press. Retrieved from http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Quebecs+Francois+Legault+wants+kids+stay+school+until/7063972/story.html
- For more on concept of schools as community hubs, see Pascal, C. (2009, June). With our best future in mind. Implementing early learning in Ontario.Report to the Premier, Government of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/en/initiatives/early_learning/ONT06_018865
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
- Denis Friske, D. (2012, January 16). Moments of connection with our children. The Neufeld Institute blog. Retrieved from http://www.neufeldinstitute.com/blog/2012/01/moments-of-connection-with-our-children/
- Laucius, J. (2012, February 4). All work and no play is not good for the developing brain, says psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Ottawa Citizen, p. J3. (Helen Ward also points out that “child led” or “free play” can in fact mean even less interaction for children with adults, as staff will simply provide toys and ensure that no child is physically hurt.)
- Personal communication with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, May 18, 2012.
Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
I sent this letter today, because today, in the Utah Legislative Education Committee meeting, they are planning to vote on ”high-quality preschool.” Hmm. Does government-provided love turn out better than the parental kind? My research led me to sign the petition of support for reclaiming educational freedom in Sweden, here. http://www.rohus.org/eng_petition.html
Dear Senator Osmond,
Yesterday I saw the attached 6-minute video about Swedish families fleeing Sweden. Swedish government has taken on the role of “real parent,” mandating government schools and forbidding home school under any circumstance, since 2010.
So what? Why am sending you this link?
Something else in the video caught my attention: the Swedish government wants children as young as 12 months old in day care.
Senator, the idea of paying for all-day preschool here in Utah is a step toward the very same socialism that is destroying Sweden, the country of my mother’s birth. What begins as a good intention shifts into a family-damaging government mandate. It starts off as “all children deserve” and soon becomes “all children must.” There goes freedom. There goes parental authority over the child, given to the state. As the end of the video shows, Swedish mental health and the quality of education on the whole is dropping dramatically, despite so much money being spent on socialized education.
I am asking you not to support the redistribution of wealth in this or any other manner. It will have the effect of taking children from their mothers. Government does not have that right.
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Here are a few more thoughts on why it’s wrong to take taxpayers’ money to pay for government preschools. (This has happened in Sweden but it’s right now–today– the topic of the Utah legislative education committee’s discussion.)
1. It’s a socialist idea. It will have the same future consequences of other socialist agendas– collective, unmanageable costs/debts, family authority put into submission to big government interventions, and the growth of bureaucracy/taxation without long-term compensating results to show for it.
2. Even if it starts off only for poor or disadvantaged children, it is unlikely to remain so. The bar of “economically disadvantaged” historically keeps moving until, in the name of equality, it’s free for everyone. Similarly, part-time will quickly shift to full-time, and voluntary to mandatory. Socialism and its branches aim to serve all with perfect equality.
3. We waste tax money on programs that don’t work. The solution might be to get rid of so much bureaucracy rather than adding more layers of it. Utah could give both the responsibilities and the tax money back to the people it came from, rather than playing Kings and Peasants with the money and the mandates.
4. Regardless of troubling statistics about dropouts and achievement gaps, it’s a false assumption that more government supervision and more money gambled on new theories are the best solution. ( And what right does the state government have to push this? –This is not a rhetorical question.)
5. High-quality preschools and government do not go together. The government should get out of the business of preschools, period. It is not appropriate for a U.S. state, that believes in free enterprise and individual responsibility, to meddle with that free enterprise and create socialism just like Sweden’s, or other countries’, by putting itself between taxpayers and private/public preschools.
6. The state is literally going to tempt the middle class to feign poverty or other at-risk problems to get “free” daycare. The state is also going to tempt mothers to drop children in the preschool to to to work because, as everybody knows, being a stay at home mom is the hardest job on earth. And ”voluntary” preschool is a meaningless concept when government creates a dependent people by “helping” way too much and discouraging self-reliance and free enterprise.
When a parent is working full-time because of free preschool, how will he/she “visit” the child and how meaningful will that “visitation” be? This is really backwards. The parent visits her
child? Who is then the main caregiver of that tiny soul? A state caregiver that sees the child as a paycheck?! What are we actually in effect promoting or denying? Think, think!
7. Even if the state contracts with private providers, those providers are, in effect, government agents when the government mandates what will be taught and by whom and for whom; their innovations and self-determination are meaningless when they are governmentally contracted (to common core and other government-mandated programs.)
The whole concept of early intervention is opposed to parental authority over the child. The state intervenes. The state is so terrified of seeing a single tragic neglect case that it is willing to take away the responsibility and liberty of all the people. It’s not right.
Ezra Taft Benson said asked “Are we part of the problem or are we part of the solution?” I ask us that same question.
Ezra Taft Benson called socialism “a philosophy incompatible with man’s liberty... Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty… Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything… We have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism… If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved…
James Madison opposed the proposal to put Congress in the role of promoting the general welfare according to its whims in these words:
“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasure; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for [and it was an issue then], it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. (Madison)…Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism… compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s socialists—who call themselves egalitarians—are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right…
“The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this “equality” is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system…
“Edmund Burke, the great British political philosopher, warned of the threat of economic equality. He said,
A perfect equality will indeed be produced—that is to say, equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of the petitioners, a woeful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; and they depress high and low together beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.
“Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? …We stand for independence, thrift, and abolition of the dole.… Every individual who accepts [OR LEGISLATES] an unearned government gratuity is just as morally culpable as the individual who takes a handout from taxpayers’ money to pay his heat, electricity, or rent. There is no difference in principle between them. You did not come… to become [OR TO LEGISLATE FOR] a welfare recipient. You came here to be a light to the world, a light to society—to save society and to help to save this nation, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days, to ameliorate man’s social conditions. You are not here to be [OR TO PROMOTE] a parasite or freeloader. The price you pay for “something for nothing” may be more than you can afford. Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.”
Benson’s full speech here: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85
I thought this article was so important that I’m posting the entire thing. Thank you, Alex Newman. http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/11641-congress-introduces-constitutional-amendment-for-parental-rights
Congress Introduces Constitutional Amendment for Parental Rights
- by Alex Newman
As the global battle over parental rights heats up, Republicans in Congress responded on Tuesday by introducing a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrining the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Activists and lawmakers say the move is needed to permanently and explicitly guarantee what has long been recognized as a fundamental freedom.
Known as the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA), if approved, the measure would also protect the rights of Americans against any international treaties purporting to infringe on them. Additionally, the PRA would ensure that the right of parents to choose how to educate their children — homeschooling, private school, or religious instruction, for example — would be protected nationwide.
“We must protect the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” explained Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the lead sponsor of the measure in the Senate. “Unfortunately, parental rights are under attack, and a safeguard like this amendment is necessary.”
One of the most controversial global measures cited by supporters of the constitutional amendment is known as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The treaty, which has never been ratified by the U.S. Senate, remains extraordinarily unpopular among liberty-minded Americans.
Opponents of the global child-rearing regime, however, warn that the UN and its U.S. government allies have not given up on ratification despite loud warnings by critics of the danger it represents to parental rights. And without an explicit constitutional guarantee enshrining the unalienable rights of parents, PRA advocates warn that lawmakers and courts could wage a UN-backed war on parental liberties — even if the treaty was never ratified.
“Neither the federal government nor international law should micromanage how parents are able to raise their children,” Sen. DeMint added in a statement explaining why the PRA is needed. “Parents are best equipped to decide how their children are raised and educated, not bureaucrats from Washington and the United Nations.”
The measure, introduced on June 5, already has more than 10 co-sponsors in the Senate. The House version of the PRA was introduced by lead sponsor Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee to which the bill will be assigned.
“In my three decades of public service, I have consistently focused on protecting the right of parents to make decisions for their children,” Rep. Franks said in a statement. “Put simply, there are really only two options when it comes to who will determine the substance of a child’s education: it will be either a bureaucrat who doesn’t know the child’s name, or a parent who would pour out their last drop of blood for the child.”
The House version has already garnered more than 33 co-sponsors and is expected to gain many more in the coming weeks and months, according to supporters. And with Rep. Franks’ crucial subcommittee chairmanship, the Congressman and PRA backers hope to finally succeed in the effort to enshrine the rights of parents as part of the Supreme Law of the Land — a massive campaign that has been building steam since the popular measure was first introduced in 2008.
“I intend to continue that fight in my role as Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, doing everything in my power to help advance the vital Parental Rights Amendment through Congress,” Franks added. “Nothing is more important to America’s future than making sure that the education of the hearts and minds of our children is securely in the purview of the parents who love and understand them most.”
The PRA is being pushed by a grassroots organization known as ParentalRights.org, led by legendary constitutional attorney Michael Farris. And the effort has already attracted overwhelming support from a broad array of activists and influential organizations across the political spectrum.
Among the allies backing the amendment: the Justice Foundation, the Home School Legal Defense Association, Americans for Tax Reform, the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Eagle Forum, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Gun Owners of America, National Black Home Educators, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Liberty Institute, the Traditional Values Coalition, and many more.
In the House and Senate, the effort has widespread support, too. “Just about every member of Congress agrees with the legal principle that parents have the fundamental right to make decisions for the upbringing of their children,” explained Parentalrights.org President Farris. “The PRA had 141 cosponsors in the House during the last session of Congress, but we expect to see even more support this time around.”
Some critics of the measure argue that the 9th Amendment to the Constitution already protects parental rights, claiming that because the protections already exist, the PRA might not be needed. Others note that the 10th amendment makes family law a state or individual issue and that it could be unwise to “federalize” parental rights — especially considering the federal government’s dismal track record of obeying the Constitution and respecting individual liberty.
“If the Constitution has not specifically granted a power to the federal government, then that power is reserved to the States and to the people,” noted attorney Deborah Stevenson, the executive director of National Home Education Legal Defense, an organization that opposes the PRA because it believes the amendment could actually further erode parental rights by giving Washington, D.C. jurisdiction over the matter.
“The federal government, right now, has absolutely no Constitutional authority to tell you, the parent, what to do about anything involving your children,” she added. “If the newly proposed Constitutional amendment is adopted, however, the federal government will have the power to tell you, the parents, whatever it chooses to tell you about anything involving your children.”
PRA supporters counter those objections by insisting that it would be better to specifically recognize parental rights before they are eroded further by government. Also, according to some backers of the amendment, giving federal courts solid jurisdiction to protect parents from state-level abuses would be a positive development.
“The Supreme Court has accurately said that parental rights are ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by [the] Court,’ yet those rights now lack sufficient legal protection under the Constitution,” Farris continued in a statement. “Thanks to concerned citizens and engaged leaders in Congress, we look forward to correcting that problem through the adoption of this amendment.”
The full proposed amendment reads: “SECTION 1. The liberty of parents to direct the up-bringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right; SECTION 2. Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest, as applied to the person, is of the highest order and not otherwise served; SECTION 3. This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life; SECTION 4. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.”
If approved by two thirds of both houses of Congress, the PRA would be sent to state governments — at least five of which have already adopted resolutions calling for the amendment. President Obama would have no say in the matter, supporters point out. Upon ratification by three fourths of the states, the rights of parents would officially be enshrined in the American Constitution. And that, PRA supporters say, is desperately needed.
Parents Under Siege in Global Battle Against State Control of Children
Beware UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child
Homeschooling and Socialism?
Vatican Tells UN to Respect Parental Rights and Homeschooling
Michael Farris: Constitutional Champion, Home School Defender