Did you know that even if you are lazy, sick or out of town and won’t attend your local Caucus meeting –It’s THURSDAY FOR UTAH’S GOP– still, you can vote and you can even still RUN for an office!? Just pre-file to vote or to run, here: http://www.utgop.org(If you don’t attend that night, you will need to print out a ballot the night before the Caucus, or the day of, and have your neighbor bring it for you, along with a photocopy of your drivers’ license or other I.D.)The fact that there are so many unopposed county delegate, state delegate, and local school board seats open in Utah County, Wasatch County –and probably in every county– utterly unopposed– is completely sad.We serve in our homes and in our churches and we justify that service as being enough. It is wonderful, but it is not enough. Not in 2014. Our country is falling apart because in each locality, the best people are too shy or too busy or too embarrassed to run and to serve in public offices. We just bake more and more cookies. They are delicious, but I am pretty sure that they do not save our nation as quickly as running for and serving in public offices can.A friend who lives in Utah County and who chooses to be anonymous, wrote this: “For every person who thinks they can’t run, I’m here to beg you to do it anyway… Facebook it. The biggest, best, and most effective way for anyone to impact education, even with the centralization that we have, would be to ‘en masse’ get different school board members in, locally. We have seen the legislature will never act without backing from the local boards. The State Board has no motivation (and the reality is it is too far away from the people to be accountable with the amount of power it possesses) to change. But even if no one wins. Even if the people reject the message of local control, it does move the needle. It shows that every person needs to be involved and responsible. At the very least, local school board elections provide a ready-made platform for issues (debate, newspapers, direct mail pieces, websites). It allows the rest of the people to hear a different perspective other than who loves the kids most. It allows for an opportunity to speak truth to power, and, if successful, actually change the direction of this state, more than legislation or replacing state school board members. The rightful power over education lies in the local school boards truly representing the parents of their communities. Until the people actually want the power back, it will continue to be centralized, concentrated and taken away from parents and local communities. This is the line in the sand.“This is, as Gandalf says, where “You shall not pass.” This is the opportunity to speak the truth that PARENTS must be in charge of their kids’ education. They we can’t abdicate this responsibility to the ‘experts’. People don’t believe it anymore. They think their kids must get the education the experts demand. They may feel uncomfortable with some things and not knowing what’s going on, but we have been conditioned to believe that it isn’t our responsibility.”There is no single issue that is more important in the next 4 days, than finding, preferably in all 41 districts, people to run. There should be no seat that doesn’t have opposition. I apologize again, because when I asked and cajoled about this 6 months ago, I didn’t follow up. I didn’t feel that it was my responsibility. But I realize that we are all in the same boat: we don’t believe it’s our job. We hope someone will step up to the plate.”Once upon a time, in this country, public service was seen the way our culture and our religion value religious callings. You didn’t say no, and you felt it should be shared. Somehow, we think that running for office is something other people should do; that it takes a particular mindset or temperament; that it shouldn’t be a sacrifice. It is service. It’s supposed to be a sacrifice! To quote Thomas Paine, “it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” We who choose to live in liberty must bear the pains of supporting it.”There are 11 school board seats up in Utah County alone. Of those 11, 2 in Provo don’t even have a candidate yet. All but 2, are currently unopposed. With all due respect, I can’t believe there are only 3 people in Utah County that feel the need to stand up for something other than the status quo. We, the people, don’t deserve local control because we don’t show by our actions that we really want it.“We have greater potential right now, in the next 96 hours, than we’ve had in the last 2 years, of returning control of education back to the people. If you know anyone in one of these areas, call them and ask them to run. Don’t take no for an answer.”
Amen to my friend’s words.
Here are words from another wise soul:
“God intended men to be free… No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood – human blood – will win it back.” – Ezra T. Benson – October 26, 1979 )
Running for political office is not a show of vanity and ambition –or shouldn’t be– but it’s a willingness to help bear the burden to uphold our freedoms with simple, good decision making. There are small, easy, local positions that take very little time. There are larger positions, too, for which you do not need to have an advanced degree or experience. You should have a love of liberty, of constitutional local control, and a sense of wisdom and morality. That’s it.
Run, baby, run.
Archive for the ‘school board’ Tag
In four minutes, Arkansas mother Karen Lamoreaux flattens Common Core at this state school board meeting.
East Newton School District in Missouri needs a standing ovation. The resolution posted below has passed, according to the Missouri Education Watchdog.
The school board officially recognizes that Common Core is: “designed to manipulate states and facilitate unconstitutional federal overreach to standardize and control the education of our children for the purposes of workforce planning.” Well put.
Here’s the whole resolution:
This RESOLUTION was made and adopted by the Board of Education of the School District of East Newton, R- 6, on the date set forth after the signature of each of the board members set forth below.
1. CCSSI was never approved by Congress, but was embedded in the “four assurances” that the U.S. Department of Education required of governors to apply for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds and Race to the Top grants financed by the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
2. CCSSI was never evaluated by Missouri State Legislators; the people’s representatives were bypassed.
3. CCSSI was presented as an enticement for “Race to the Top” funds and the waiver of “No Child Left Behind.” Because “No Child Left Behind” saddled school districts with the unrealistic requirement that 100% of students be proficient in reading and math by 2014, a waiver was a must to avoid loss of accreditation.
4. CCSSI are copyrighted to non-government trade organizations. We have concerns regarding access to additional information and the cost of such information.
5. Individual school districts are committed to paying unknown costs associated with implementing Common Core assessment plans, and purchase of materials, of which tax payers and their elected representatives never had any input. This would imply taxation without representation.
6. There is an apparent conflict of interest by our Governor who sat on the Board of Directors of the National Governors Association in 2010, which holds the copyright to the CCSSI English and math standards when the standards were developed. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Achieve Inc. which holds the copyright to the Next Generation Science Standards.
7. CCSSI, which is an integral component of a U.S. Department of Education plan to collect a large amount of data collection on students as well as teachers, could lead to unauthorized sale or sharing of personal data to commercial sources. Although, it has not presented a problem to date, MO has no formal restrictions on DESE from populating data systems designed according to the National Data Model of over 400 data points including non-education related information such as religion, voting history, biometric data, etc.
8. The Department of Education Organizational Act of 1979, the General Education Provision Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind of 2001 each prohibits the U.S. Department of Education from involvement in developing, supervising, or controlling instructional materials or curriculum (Federal Law 20 USC 1232a-Sec. 1232a. and The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Pub.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 US.C. ch. 70), CCSSI and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessment tests coming in 2014 were funded, incentivized, and will be controlled under the memorandum of agreement with the Federal Department of Education. This seems to be an overreach of the Federal Government into the state’s educational system.
9. There is no evidence that DESE complied with Missouri State Statute 160.526 2. prior to administration of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium pilot tests. The statute states,
The state board of education shall, by contract enlist the assistance of such national experts, as approved by the commission established pursuant to section 160.510, to receive reports, advice and counsel on a regular basis pertaining to the validity and reliability of the statewide assessment system. The reports from such experts shall be received by the commission, which shall make a final determination concerning the reliability and validity of the statewide assessment system. Within six months prior to implementation of
the statewide assessment system, the commissioner of education shall inform the president pro tempore of the senate and the speaker of the house about the procedures to implement the assessment system, including a report related to the reliability and validity of the assessment instruments, and the general assembly may, within the next sixty legislative days, veto such implementation by concurrent resolution adopted by majority vote of both the senate and the house of representatives.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE EAST NEWTON R6 SCHOOL DISTRICT
1. Recognizes the CCSS for what it is – a component of the four assurances that are designed to manipulate states and facilitate unconstitutional federal overreach to standardize and control the education of our children for the purposes of workforce planning, agreed to by Governor Nixon outside of due process while on the Board of Directors of the National Governors Association,
2. Recognizes that, as per Missouri Revised Statute 160.514 of the Missouri Outstanding School Act, curriculum frameworks adopted by the state board of education may be used by school districts, and we have great concerns regarding the adoption of the Missouri Core Standards/Common Core State Standards curricular framework for the East Newton School District,
3. Recognizes that, as per Missouri Revised Statute 160.514 of the same Act, the state board of education shall develop a statewide assessment system that provides maximum flexibility for local school districts to determine the degree to which students in the public schools of the state are proficient in the knowledge, skills, and competencies adopted by such board, and we exercise our right to insist on that flexibility. We have great concerns in participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessments,
4. Rejects the collection of student assessment data outside of the limits specified in Missouri Revised Statute 160.518; and rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state,
5. Insists that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shall adopt academic standards and a statewide assessment system as required by Missouri Revised Statute 160.526 of the same Act, that is, as approved by the legislature,
6. Insists that any amending of Missouri’s Learning standards must be done through a transparent public rulemaking process that allows Missouri’s people ample time and opportunity to review proposed changes and provide feedback. Specifically, the DESE shall ensure that any amendment to the Learning Results be posted for public review and comment for at least 60 days. Any comments received during this notice period shall be made public prior to final adoption of any changes.
7. Calls on the Governor and the Missouri State Board of Education to re-evaluate Missouri’s participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and asks the Missouri State Legislature to discontinue funding programs in association with Common Core State Standards Initiative/Missouri’s Core and any other alliance that promotes standards and assessments aligned to them until such re-evaluation can be completed.
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be delivered to the Governor and the State Legislature for executive and legislative action.
This resolution was adopted by the Board of Education School District of East Newton, R-6.
22808 East Highway 86
Granby, Missouri 64844
Governor Bentley of Alabama
Is relatively little federal funding controlling Alabama education?
By John Hill, reposted from Tuscaloosa News.com–
When Alabama’s State Board of Education voted 7-2 to adopt Common Core State Standards two years ago, it joined 45 states and three U.S. territories. The Common Core, created by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, standardized education curricula among the states with the aim of better preparing students for college and the modern workforce.
One year later, the board reconvened to consider rescinding its earlier decision. Even though Gov. Robert Bentley joined the opposition on the grounds that he believed the standards were tantamount to a federal takeover of public education, the board voted 6-3 to follow the Common Core.
This issue reared its head again in August when the Alabama State Department of Education began work to seek a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to end required Adequate Yearly Progress reporting. The average yearly progress requirement under No Child Left Behind requires that states make measurable progress toward 100 percent proficiency in reading and math or face a possible reduction in federal education funds.
Alabama and other states applying for the No Child Left Behind waiver must declare whether they have already adopted or are planning to adopt the Common Core standards. If Alabama joins the 33 states that have already received this waiver, Alabama would be exempt from average yearly progress reporting but would effectively be required to adopt the Common Core Standards. To make matters more serious, the U.S. Department of Education has signaled that future funding for low-income schools may eventually be linked to the adoption of the Common Core.
But Alabama has already adopted the Common Core Standards, so what’s the big deal? Although the Common Core has been promoted as a voluntary program, the Obama administration essentially linked participation in Common Core to billions of dollars in grants offered through the Race to the Top Fund, which was part of the 2009 stimulus.
In short, the waiver has the potential to prevent Alabama from modifying its own educational standards in the future.
The federal government stands to gain tremendous sway in Alabama’s education through the implementation of a common national education standard, and many Alabamians may be shocked to find out what a sweetheart deal Uncle Sam is getting for such power. Even though the federal government has authorized funding for key portions of local school district budgets since it passed the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965, the amount of money given to states is not as large as some believe. According to the State Department of Education, about one in every six dollars of the $7.3 billion spent on Alabama’s K-12 education in the 2010-2011 school year came from the federal government. Yet for this relatively small percentage of assistance, the federal government already has a heavy hand in the educational standards for Alabama’s children.
This possible takeover of public education curricula raises serious legal questions. According to three different federal acts — the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act and the aforementioned Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965 as amended by the No Child Left Behind — federal departments and agencies are generally banned from “directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional materials.”
Even if incorporating the Common Core standards and getting an average yearly progress waiver substantially benefited public education in Alabama, these benefits may come at the cost of Alabama making its own educational decisions in the future. Alabama’s request for a No Child Left Behind waiver should contain language explicitly stating that it is not seeking a waiver from established protections against the federal government controlling state education. As Gov. Bentley has said, “We want our standards to be extremely strong. They just don’t need to be tied to a federal core.”
John Hill is the senior policy analyst at the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, non-profit research and education organization.
I am happy that James Judd is the new director of human resources at Wasatch School District because he is an open-minded man. He took over two hours yesterday, to listen and to discuss the possibility of writing a more parent-friendly, “fed-wary” FERPA policy, and he also discussed the Common Core math sequence with me and four of my mom/teacher friends.
The sad news: he explained why my daughter lwas taught nothing in her 9th grade Common Core math this year.
There is “a bubble” of repetition, he said, for 6th graders and 9th graders. This is because Algebra I used to be taught to 8th graders before Common Core came, and now it’s taught to 9th graders. Yes, you read that right. (See the mathematician’s review that explains this in detail –pg 14 and 26-28) http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf
The same repeater “bubble” thing happens for the 6th grade kids, with their 6th grade Common Core math. So Mr. Judd freedly admitted that for these groups of kids, Common Core just repeats a year of math. That’s the implementation process of Common Core. It makes me wonder how long it will take before parents start screaming. Why did we never get to vote whether or not we’d do Common Core? Why are we all forced to dumb our kids down? And when is the truth going to be publicized by the USOE or the USSB or the Dept. of Education or the CCSSO or the National Governor’s Association?
I wish the State School Board would have been more honest with us. I wish instead of sending out fliers claiming increased rigor and higher standards, http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/DOCS/coreStandardsPamphlet.aspx
—they would have admitted that for many kids, Common Core math is going to be a step down. Equality doesn’t always mean a step up.
I’m going to write to the local and state school boards about this. Board@schools.utah.gov
Here’s the email for the Utah state school board again: Board@schools.utah.gov
Dear Citizens of Heber Valley, Please direct comments about FERPA and the importance of family privacy protection to the Wasatch School Board and District Officials at: “JAMES JUDD” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “VICCI GAPPMAYER” <email@example.com>, “TERRY SHOEMAKER” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “ANN HORNER” <email@example.com>, “DEBBIE JONES” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “WILMA COWLEY” <email@example.com>, “BLAIK BAIRD” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com.
Here’s the public comment I submitted today:
Dear Wasatch School District,
Very few citizens will contact you during this 30-day period of public comment on the new, short, FERPA policy. Why? Last month, the board received many, many letters, but apparently, Vicci Gappmayer led the board to ignore us all and to do the exact opposite of what people had asked the board to do, which was to strengthen parental authority over children’s personally identifiable data.
Ms. Gappmayer said publically that she felt offended by the flier that citizens, including me, helped to put out, and she called it sensational and misleading. It was not sensational or misleading. It was entirely truthful and accurate and was based on parental care for children’s privacy.
The district could have avoided a flier even needing to be published if it had not refused the request, unreasonably, to simply send out a districtwide email or newsletter or robocall, informing the public of the public comment opportunity.
Ms. Gappmayer’s new, dramatic rewrite of the district FERPA policy deleted all mention of parental consent or of personally identifiable information and can be seen as a deliberate attack on those parents and citizens who sent out the flier. This is unfortunate.
Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings, this district deserves a meaningful FERPA policy. The new district policy is so vague and short that it amounts to no meaningful policy nor protection.
The board should not let go of its right to have a meaningful district policy. The district should have a strong, meaningful policy that offers protection beyond minimal requirements.
Please understand the importance of having a strong district policy. Being “obedient to law” is not as simple as it may appear. Our local role is not as simple as being obedient, as a child is obedient to parents, because in this case, the parents (state FERPA v. federal FERPA) are fighting, and one of the parents (federal) is schizophrenic about whether FERPA will loosen or strengthen federal access to personally identifiable data.
Having a state school board and a local school board provides checks and balances on the federal Dept. of Education dictating all policy.
The fact that the executive branch did not run their FERPA changes by Congress for approval, this January, sheds doubt on the legality of the federal FERPA regulations that this district is so eager to obey. The fact that Larry Shumway said not to change your FERPA to avoid getting sued, should have been a consideration. The Wasatch board disobeyed the State Superintendent in writing this new, short FERPA.
We collectively have allowed the feds to become almost an educational dictatorship. So we are truly in a complex time. But that doesn’t mean we have to treat the Dept. of Education as if they really hold the right that they’ve assumed, to dictate every step that we, as a school district, make. We need to be smarter than that.
Having a vague, short, unprotective policy can have terrible repercussions for this community. Think of what could happen if we didn’t have a strong and meaningful FERPA policy. If the Department of Education were to change FERPA regulations again, without congressional approval, again, as they did in January– and this time, they wrote, “Regardless of parental consent, all children will have their fingerprints, photographs and blood samples sent to a D.C. database and have their hands microchipped, to ensure accountability and efficient access for educational testing,” this district’s new, short, policy would enforce it. No parent would be asked for permission.
I do not agree with the lawyer who said that each of the FERPA policies we have looked at in the past few months, were just fine. That lawyer does not care about our children like we do. He is here as a paid employee to give legal advice, but his heart is not in it, as mine is and as (I hope) yours are. He was wrong when he said any of the policies are fine. Maybe legally they were all fine, but morally they were not. There were different levels of parental involvement and consent. There were different levels of federal ease of access to local data and to personally identifiable data. He was looking only on the surface. I am more concerned than he was, and so I am asking you to rewrite this FERPA policy to reflect that care.
This district should take a stand and determine for itself what its standards will be as far as it can discern and assert its right to do so.
Please add this sentence to the policy: Wasatch District will never release personally identifiable information to any organization outside the Wasatch District without signed parental consent except in an emergency.