Archive for the ‘socialism’ Tag

THE STORY KILLERS by Dr. Terrence Moore – Book Review   1 comment

storykillers book

Michelle Malkin has called The Storykillers  “a stopcommoncore must-read.”

It is a must-read.  It’s interesting and important.  It’s packed full of understanding about the Common Core English standards, which are ruining the love of learning as they distort what it means to be educated.

The book pits logic and common sense against the theories, deceptions and absurdities of the Common Core.  It cuts through the Common Core’s wordiness and plainly states this truth:  that Common Core is stunting and killing both the classic literature stories themselves and The Great American Story of liberty and self-government, stories that our children and our country cannot do without.

In  The Story Killers: a Common Sense Case Against Common Core, Dr. Terrence Moore tells us that the restoration of legitimate, time-tested classic literature –the best that has been thought and said and done and discovered“– can solve  America’s educational decline.  The faulty theories of Common Core can not.

If you don’t read book, please remember Dr. Moore’s most important point:  We Must Fight For Our Stories– which Common Core is stealing

The great stories are not disposable!  Who persuaded us that they were?  Losing them means losing, piece by piece, what it means –or meant– to be us.  No amount of supposed career prep info-texts can pretend to make up for that.

Good readers, regardless of what they did after they grew up, developed the love of reading/learning by reading stories.  Young and old need stories to process life.  Great learners fall in love with learning not because of manuals, articles, and  informational texts but because of fascinating stories.  Classic works of literature are being neglected, shortened, misinterpreted and replaced, under Common Core.  And THE Great American Story– the story of freedom –  is being undermined along with the other classics that Common Core neglects.  The book explains exactly how this is happening, using the standards themselves as its centerpiece.

We must fight for our stories.

applebook - Copy

Dr. Moore’s book asks questions like this one:  Why does the new Common Core edition of the  American literature textbook, The American Experience, by Pearson/Prentice Hall 2012, contain sections on government forms,  and an EPA report?  Is this the new and “more rigorous” literature that will prepare our children for college?  Or is it an attempt to “keep the nation’s children from reading stories, particularly traditional stories that run counter to the political ideology” of the authors of  Common Core?

Dr. Moore points out that a widespread, fraudulent adoption of Common Core brought us the fraudulent reading (and math) theories upon which Common Core Standards rest. Common Core was never pilot tested as it should have been, before virtually the whole country adopted it.

You know how long it takes for a new drug to get on the market before it receives approval from the FDA,” he writes,  “Yet here is the educational medicine, so to speak, that all the nation’s children will be taking every day, seven hours a day– and no clinical trials have been done.”

Dr. Moore points out, too, that “most of the money that funded the original writing of the standards came from the deep pockets of Bill Gates. Perhaps related to this fact, the Common Core will have students working far more with computers… the people behind the Common Core also have a hand in running the tests and stand to gain financially…. the other people who stand to make out like bandits are the textbook publishers. If that’s not enough to get one wondering, it turns out that the actual writing of the standards was done in complete secrecy.

(Shocking! Terrible! And true.  Yet how many people know these facts in the face of so many ceaseless Common Core marketing lies being put out by the likes of Exxon, Harvard, Jeb Bush, the National Governors’ Association and even the National PTA, all of whom were paid by Bill Gates to say what they say about Common Core.  Don’t listen to them!  They are financially bound to say what they say.  Listen to people like Dr. Moore, who do not accept money from the Gates club.)

In his book, Dr. Moore talks a lot about what is NOT in the English standards as well as what’s there.

The traditional aims of education– to pursue truth, to find true happiness, to be good, to love the beautiful, to know the great stories of our American tradition– are not the designs of Common Core, he says.  The Common Core is a program that kills stories in order to direct people to “be preoccupied with only  the functional aspects of human existence and to have almost no interest in the higher aims of life.”

plato

Dr. Moore reminds us that controlling stories (or the lack of stories) is the same thing as controlling people:   “Plato pointed out in his Republic a book never read in today’s high schools, nor usually even in college– whoever writes the stories shapesor controls– the minds of the people in any given regime.”

The book’s title describes the killing of two important types of stories:

The great stories are, first, the works of literature that have long been considered great by any standard of literary judgment and, second, what we might call the Great American Story of people longing to be free and happy under their own self-government. The Common Core will kill these stories by a deadly combination of neglect, amputation, misinterpretation…”

Then,

On the ruins of the old canon of literary and historical classics will be erected a new canon of post-modern literature and progressive political doctrine. Simultaneous to this change, fewer and fewer works of literature will be read on the whole. Great literature will be replaced with ‘information’ masquerading as essential ‘workforce training’.”

Moore explains that the proponents of Common Core hold up “the illusion of reform” while continuing to “gut the school curriculum” and to remove its humanity.  He points to page five of the introduction to the Common Core where  this chart appears for English readings:

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

So our little children under Common Core aligned school books won’t get more than 50% of their reading from stories.  And our high school seniors won’t get more than 30% of their reading from stories.  The bulky 70% of what they read must be informational text:  not poetry, not plays, not novels, not the books that move our souls.  In English class.

Thus literature is on the wane in public schools,” Dr. Moore writes, and traditional literature classes are being eroded, despite the fact that the Common Core proponents aim to deceive us and make the “public believe that they are requiring more rigor in reading.”

Dr. Moore calls us to fight for our children’s access to the great stories.

There has never been a great people without great stories. And the great stories of great peoples often dwell on the subject of greatness. They dwell on the subject of plain goodness as well: the goodness that is to be found in love, marriage, duty, the creation of noble and beautiful things. It is patently obvious that they authors of the Common Core are uncomfortable with these great stories of the great and the good.  They are plainly uncomfortable with great literature. And they are even more uncomfortable with what might be called the Great American Story.”

Read much of what the so-called education reformers are speaking about lately, and you’ll see it:  they call for sameness, common-ness, for the forced redistribution of teachers and funds, and above all, for equality of results.  Not greatness.  Not the ability for a single student or school to soar above the rest.  No exceptionalism allowed.  (Anyone ever read Harrison Bergeron?)

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Obama advisor Linda Darling-Hammond, the testing companies, the Common Core copyright holding groups– the reformers seem to avoid the concepts of goodness and greatness in favor of a twisted version of “social justice” equality, which is, frankly, theft, along with being as foolish as the reasoning behind the society of Harrison Bergeron, which is in no way truly fair, or truly helpful.

“…They fully expect us to shrug with thoughtless indifference.  Do not be fooled.  The fate of our stories is the fate of the nation,” writes Dr. Moore.

book and kite

Dr. Moore does the unthinkable:  he subjects the Common Core Standards to actual critical thinking (which they claim to promote).

Since everyone loves the expression ‘critical thinking’ these days, let us subject these standards to a little critical thinking.

He questions the  Common Core Initiative’s obsession with technology and testing.

bored by screen

Computers are a lot more like televisions than anyone is willing to admit… it is true that art teachers can now much more easily show their classes great paintings and sculptures by using the internet.  It is likewise true that history teachers can employ actual speeches of Churchill or Reagan using videos found on the web. Ninety percent of the time, though, that is not how the computer is being used… The arch-testers of the Common Core champion the use of the technological elixir that cures all illnesses and heals all wounds without even pausing to warn us of the potential side effects… we are not invited to consider how much technology is compromising the old literacy. Least of all are we supposed to realize that the remedy for our growing twenty-first-century illiteracy is traditional, nineteenth-century education.”

He asks us to re-examine the assumption that because technology has changed so much, schooling should also change so much.  “Does schooling belong in that class of things that does not get ‘updated’ every week…  human institutions and relations for which we must be initiated into certain permanent ways of thinking, lest we be cast adrift on a sea of moral, cultural, and political uncertainty?”

He points out that education should not be confused with job training and that “going to college” is not the same thing as gaining knowledge; and that the authors of Common Core are “lumping college readiness and career readiness together” without stopping to explain what either means nor how either will be affected by the lumping.

He points out that while the standards claim to wield the power to prepare children for “the twenty-first-century global economy,” that claim is based on nothing.  It’s just a claim.  And we have had economies to worry about since the beginning of time, none of which would have succeeded by taking away stories and classics, the very core that made people in the not too distant past far more literate than we are today.

He opposes this “pedestrian preoccupation with what will happen when children turn nineteen” because it “undermines the powers of imagination and of observation,” powers which are too important to ignore.  Think about it:  imagination makes children read and helps them to love books.  No little child is motivated to read because he/she is concerned about college and career, years from now.  The child reads because the story is interesting.  Period.

Dr. Moore also points out that the history of successful literacy shows a very different path from the one Common Core is leading America to follow.

Historically, what created the highest literacy rates?  Dr. Moore points out that it was high church attendance, combined with emphasis on the Bible, and schooling with an emphasis on traditional learning!  (And the Bible is composed mostly of stories and lyrical language, not of “rigorous informational texts.”)

Dr. Moore points out that Colonial Massachusetts and 18th-century Scotland had nearly universal literacy.  Newspapers in the 18th century were written at a far higher level than the journalism of today (which is written at the sixth-grade level.)

Yet the authors of Common Core insist that students should read far more recently written, informational texts, such as newspaper articles… Ergo, the literacy for the twenty-first-century global economy will be built upon the cracking foundation of our present semi-literacy. Was there not once a famous story-teller who said something about not building a house upon sand?”

He asks us to remember that the careful reading of stories enables us to “learn about good taste and manners. We learn all the the individual virtues and vices… human emotions… Through this vicarious activity, we are compelled to examine ourselves and thereby attain what used to be called self-government… What is a better study of ambition leading to ruin than Macbeth?  Wat is a better study of indecision and imprudence than Hamlet? What is a better example of adolescent love and passion in their raw state than Romeo and Juliet?  What is a better model of command than Henry V?… We hang onto these stories… that teach us who we are and who we ought to be. The study of human character through great literature, then, teaches us how to live.”

In the book’s last chapter, Moore explains that what is permanently valuable to students does not change very much.  He writes that a genuine common core would have included a group of magnificent books that each truly educated person would have read, at the very least.  Under THE Common Core, however, mostly informational, unproven texts and text excerpts are listed –and there is no set core of classic books.  He writes,  “Had the Common Core English Standards held up just a few great books, college professors could finally know what their incoming students had actually read.  Heck, even advertisers and comedians could know what jokes they could tell about literary characters”  Moore says that “the Holy Grail of school reform” is the set of “great books of our tradition.”

He recommends that students would read –PRIOR to high school–  titles such as The Tempest, Animal Farm, A Christmas Carol, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Then Dr. Moore lists a classical high school curriculum (which he says has been working in the schools in which he has helped to implement it):

Homer’s Iliad  (The whole thing, not a drive-by excerpt); the WHOLE of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Macbeth; the WHOLE U.S. Constitution; Le Morte D’Arthur, Pride and Prejudice, Plutarch’s Lives; Moby Dick; Huckleberry Finn, 1984; A Tale of Two Cities; Crime and Punishment; The Scarlet Letter, The Mayflower Compact; Uncle Tom’s Cabin The Prince; Confessions of Augustine; poetry by Frost, Longfellow, Dickinson, Poe, Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare; biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, speeches by Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan; and so on and so on.

Despite everything that is being taken away from the American English curriculum because of Common Core, despite the damage that is being done to children’s love of learning by removing the thing that makes people love to read and become great readers– stories– despite all else he exposes about the Common Core, Dr. Moore’s bottom line remains this one:

Anyone who thinks I have travelled too far afield or have jumped to conclusions about the true aims of the Common Core should read one further phrase found on the opening page of the English standards.  That phrase is more alarming and more revelaing than all the jargon about a new literacy and college and career readiness. ‘The Standards are intended to be a living work: as new and better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised accordingly.’ …The authors of the Core are  forecasting that their program will change over the next ten, twenty, forty years… but the same people will be in charge. What will be the new and better evidence that emerges?  Who will get to decide what constitutes better evidence? Who will do the revising?”

I have only scratched the surface of this important book here.  I hope you will buy copies for your friends, your school board, your legislator, your governor, and especially for your favorite English teacher.  This book is a powerful tool in the fight to  reclaim legitimate K-12 and college education in this country.

Link to book:   The Story Killers: a Common Sense Case Against Common Core

Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Dr. Stotsky Exposes Marc Tucker   3 comments

pinocchio

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, one of the famous Common Core validation committee members who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of Common Core, is alarmed that N.H. legislators are being sold a false line by Mark Tucker about Common Core. She points out, among other things, that the Gates Foundation has “given millions to help Marc Tucker promote his own ideas on education in recent years” as it has given millions to promote Common Core nationwide. But there are more than financial incentives for Tucker, the CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), a Center for American Progress (CAP) leader, and the infamous Dear Hillary letter author.

Tucker’s life’s work hangs on Common Core. He’s made it his mission to end local control, as a progressive socialist who openly fights Constitutional, representative America. The plot of his 1992 “Dear Hillary letter” falls apart without Common standards for control of data and control of education and workforce. He can’t let it fail.

Tucker’s infamous 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton showed Tucker’s (and Clinton’s) twisted agreement that a “new” system of government should micromanage every citizen’s life, cradle to grave, using schooling as the core for the centralized control. Creepy as can be.

Fast forward to May 2013 and still, you see Tucker’s creepy goals outlined in his report from the “Center for American Progress” in which Tucker stated that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.” He also dared write: “I propose to greatly strengthen the role of the state education agencies in education governance, at the expense of local control … [G]overnance roles of the local districts, as well as the federal government, would be significantly decreased. Independent citizen governing boards would be eliminated.”

tucker

Equally stunning is Tucker’s 2013 NCEE report called “What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?” where he admitted that his goal for education reform is NOT to raise, but to lower standards.

His report reads:

“Mastery of Algebra II is widely thought to be a prerequisite for success in college and careers. Our research shows that that is not so… Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers… the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”

(Why don’t our state school boards share these reports with us? Why do they lead us to believe that “college and career ready standards” mean better than we had before?)

The same NCEE report goes on to say that the traditional high school English class, with its emphasis on classic literature and personal, narrative writing, is useless. The report implies that Common Core will save students from the near-worthless classics with its emphasis on technical subjects and social studies via the dominance of informational text in the Common Core classroom:

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

In labeling classic literature and personal writing irrelevant, the NCEE underscores the Common Core/NCEE mentality: that only job prep matters, only the collective economy, not the liberty and potential of an individual.

With that introduction to Tucker’s motivations for promoting Common Core, here are highlights from Dr. Stotsky’s article on Tucker’s recent fibs in support of the Common Core agenda. (Read the whole thing at Pioneer Institute’s website.)

stotsky

Dr. Stotsky makes many important points, including the following:

1 “In October, members of the New Hampshire legislature heard Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, tell them more fibs than Pinocchio ever dreamed up. How many legislators will prove to be gullible Geppettos is another matter.”

2 “…all six of the “math experts” who “validated” Common Core’s mathematics standards are in an education school and/or spend their time on teacher education… [Dr. James Milgram, who refused to sign off on the legitimacy of the Common Core math standards], who has a doctorate in mathematics, was clearly the only mathematician on the Validation Committee. Tucker doesn’t know a mathematician from a mathematics educator.”

3 “It is true that Professor William McCallum, a consultant to Achieve, Inc., a mathematics professor at Arizona State University, and a lead writer of Common Core’s mathematics standards, asked the heads of many national mathematics and science societies for endorsements, and he received them. However, there is no evidence that any of their members ever read Common Core’s high school mathematics standards.”

4 “Nor is there evidence that any of their members disagree with Milgram’s judgment that there are no precalculus standards in Common Core or with Professor Jason Zimba’s acknowledgment that Common Core does not prepare high school students for STEM. If members of these organizations do endorse high school mathematics standards that intentionally do not prepare high school students for STEM, they should speak up…”

5 “Mitchell Chester, current Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, did not commission any leading education research organizations to compare the Massachusetts standards with Common Core’s …Achieve, Inc., Fordham, and the MBAE all received funding from the Gates Foundation… It is also well-known that a Race to the Top grant for $250,000,000 was promised to Massachusetts if it adopted Common Core’s standards.”

6 “Tucker plays fast and loose with the facts, and in the future New Hampshire legislators and educators should make sure a fact-checker is on the premises for a debriefing after he speaks.”

Thank you, Dr. Stotsky.

Read the rest here.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience.

America, do we you want that sterile, big-government factory vision of workforce-focus to control the nation’s children? How has it worked out for European socialist countries and the communist nations?

Why listen to Tucker and go with his (Common Core’s) flow? Why destroy the vision of our founders, where each caring parent and locality governed the child’s education?

Local control and freedom have made us the greatest nation in the world. Others flock to our universities! Others envy our technological and medical advancement!

Freedom works. Don’t throw it away, foolishly following schemers such as Marc Tucker, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan –no matter how fancy the titles of their organizations sound.

We’re at a critical intersection of our country’s history. Our children’s futures and our country’s future depends on us seeing what these schemers are attempting to pull; depends on us standing up and simply saying, “No.”

Translating Obama’s Four Pillars of Education Reform: JaKell Sullivan   3 comments

Yesterday’s excellent editorial in the Deseret News by JaKell Sullivan translates the four innocent-sounding pillars of Obama’s education reforms into plain English.

The article points out: (The electronic links are mine)

“The US Department of Education’s website details the four federal education reforms that 46 states are almost done implementing:

1 Adopt College-and-Career Ready standards and high-quality, valid and reliable assessments for all students.
2 Develop and use pre-K through post-secondary and career data systems.
3 Increase teacher effectiveness and ensure equitable distribution of qualified teachers.
4 Turn around the lowest-performing schools.

These reforms sound somewhat innocuous until one starts reading… original source documents. The translation of the reforms appears to be:

1. Adopt 2-year college and job-ready national standards to ensure that college diplomas are “equitable” and more attainable to the masses through a Common Core that is not internationally benchmarked.

Use federally-required Computer Adaptive Tests that will not be accessible to local teachers or administrators — or parents at a set point after they are given. Meanwhile, federal reformers are remaking America’s entire testing system by aligning all K-12 testing — including the GED, SAT and ACT — to Common Core so that subjective questions can assess real world knowledge as the means for social change. This overhaul is being orchestrated by the new head of the College Board, David Coleman, who is considered the architect of Common Core.

2. Develop interoperable data systems to track students from “cradle to career.”

The federal executive branch revised regulations within FERPA —privacy law — so that data tracking could occur without Congressional approval and so student identifiable data can be shared with stakeholders without parental consent. According to the Data Quality Campaign, student data should be linked with health, social services and criminal justice data systems.

3. Tie teacher pay to student test scores on Common Core tests and redistribute “highly effective” teachers by federal mandate.

The federal government’s idea of “highly effective” teachers means people who complete 5 weeks of training through Teach for America, or teachers who are accredited in programs dedicated to equit, diversity and social justice — not student achievement.)

4. Create new school grading systems to enforce the federal government’s equity measures on schools.

This explains why West High and other outstanding schools recently received failing grades. They are “underperforming” in equity measures. The system is not set up to evaluate the student achievement that local parents value, but rather the equity measures that social justice reformers demand.

The article also points out that since governors were directed by the White House to spend the stimulus funds quickly, the directive “has allowed the federal government to remake K-12 education in three years time without public knowledge, without using our representative form of government and without vetting the ongoing costs to states.”

Read the whole article here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865589745/Education-reforms-Obamacare-destabilize-state-budgets.html

————————————

THANK YOU, JAKELL SULLIVAN.

My, What Big Data Teeth you have, Grandmother: An Open Letter to Utah Legislators   7 comments

Dear Utah Legislator,

I’m writing to you as a mother to ask you to put a stop to the use of Utah’s school systems as snooping agents on our children.

Corporate and federal partnerships and Utah state data systems and interstate partnerships now watch and track our children without anyone having asked for parental consent to do so.

Some Utah leaders are working hard to fortify privacy rights, I know. But many powerful organizations, departments and corporations are working hard to ignore, dismiss, or stop any efforts to defend student privacy– all with great intentions but absolutely without authority.

The result is a data collecting and sharing network that represents loss of parental authority and loss of individual privacy.

In recent years, Utah built and is now using a federally structured and paid-for ($9.6 M) State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) from which no parent is permitted to opt their child out.

This lack of liberty should be a red flag.

But few Utahns know that their child is being tracked and very few know that they can’t opt out of that tracking.

Fewer still know that there’s a Utah Data Alliance (UDA) that links K-12 data, collected by schools, with higher ed., with the State workforce and other agencies.

Utah’s UDA has agreed to use the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) State Core Model –which means all of our data will be interoperable and sharable across state lines. The PESC’s State Core Model aligns different states’ SLDS data systems so that they all match.

I am not saying that Utah agencies are sharing private data yet; I am saying that there’s nothing strong preventing them from doing so and that school systems are moving in the direction of more and more data commonality and disaggregation of student data. (see point 4 at that link.)

Countless entities have lined up with a “Data Quality Campaign” to make sure all their data points and technologies match, so that student information can be pooled.

Federal FERPA laws, previously protective of student data, have now been grossly loosened, and federal agencies including the NCES and the Department of Education, as well as White House events such as “Datapalooza” and White House Chiefs such as Joanne Weiss, are encouraging us to pool data, while (weakly) noting that student privacy is, of course, important. Yet proper protections are missing.

The Department of Education does a two-faced dance, asking for “robust data” and altering FERPA on the one hand, and insisting that they don’t even collect student data when speaking to the press. The U.S. Department of Education’s intentions are, however, revealed in the student-level data-sharing mandate in its cooperative testing agreements and in the contrast between what Secretary Arne Duncan says and does.

The PESC model was developed by the unelected, private trade group, CCSSO, as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) funded by the Gates Foundation. (CCSSO is the same private group that developed and copyrighted Common Core standards). The PESC Model, in its own definition, “includes early childhood, elementary and secondary, post-secondary, and workforce elements, known as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states.”

PESC states that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”

I find this alarming. You might find it hard to believe that Utah is lined up with it.

So here is the evidence:

The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA Data Grant: “The UDA will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and other XML schemas.”

Here is the PESC State Core Model abstract.

“1.0 Abstract

The State Core Model is a common technical reference model for states implementing state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). It was developed by CCSSO as part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) adoption work with funding from the Gates Foundation…The State Core Model will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting (EDEN/EDFacts)…
The Model [can replace] 625 distinct Federal reporting types with record-level data collections.

… The Model is designed to address unique, complex P20 SLDS relationships, business rules, and entity factoring… It addresses student-teacher link, common assessment data model, and comes pre-loaded with Common Core learning standards.

The State Core Model consists of three principle artifacts… All three artifacts can be downloaded and used without charge or attribution from [the EIMAC group site].”

Data Baby

And, what is EIMAC? In case you hadn’t heard of EIMAC: it’s the branch of the CCSSO that “advocates on behalf of states to reduce data collection burden and improve the overall quality of the data collected at the national level.” Yes, they said that out loud. They collect data at the national level without authority nor any representation.

But, but– (we say) –Aren’t we protected by GEPA law and by the Constitution from any sort of “accountability” to federal agencies in educational matters or privacy matters including “unreasonable searches”?

Not if our legislators don’t defend these rights.

According to the PESC document, on page 5, we are drowning in “federal accountability”. There are at least 625 federal reports mentioned at PESC. A few include: http://www.pesc.org/library/docs/Common%20Data%20Standards/State%20Core%20Model%2011-17.pdf

EDEN – EDFacts 79 file types
CRDC – Civil Rights Data Collection 2 parts
SFSF – State Fiscal Stabilization Fund 33 indicators, 3 descriptors
MSRI – Migrant Student Records Exchange Initiative
CSPR – Consolidated State Performance Reports 191 Indicators
OSEP – Office of Special Education Programs 34 indicators
IPEDS – Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
CCD – Common Core Data (fiscal) Financial data collected in survey format
SDFSCA – Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Data are collected in CSPR
M-V – McKinney-Vento Collected through CSPR.
Perkins – Perkins Act
RTTT – Race to the Top N/A
TIF – Teacher Incentive Fund 6 Sections
N or D Annual Report of Neglected and Delinquent (N or D) Children Collected through CSPR”

—————–

To clarify: the document that signed us up for PESC is the Utah application for the ARRA grant for a SLDS database. (This document resulted in Utah receiving $9.6 million from the federal government, none of which was used for actual education, but only to build the student database (SLDS).)

That SLDS grant application talks about authorizing de-identification of data for research and it says that individuals will be authorized to access personal student information in the various Utah agencies that belong to UDA.

Who are these individuals? How many of them are there? Why does the UDA trust them with information that parents weren’t even told was being gathered on our children?

NON-COGNITIVE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DATA, TOO.

Starting at page 87, we read how non-cognitive behaviors that have nothing to do with academics, will be collected and studied by school systems.

These include “social comfort and integration, academic conscientiousness, resiliency, etc.” to be evaluated through the psychometric census known as the “Student Strengths Inventory. (SSI)”

The SSI inventory –your child’s psychological information– will be integrated into the system (SLDS) and there are plans to do this for earlier grades, but for now it’s for 11th and 12th graders. Demographic information is captured while administering the test and SSI data will be given to whomever it is assumed needs to see it. (This is not a parental decision but a state decision.)

INTEGRATING STUDENT PSYCHOMETRIC CENSUS DATA INTO THE SLDS SYSTEM:

The SLDS grant also promises to integrate our psychological data into the SLDS (that database which the feds paid for/pushed on us.)

“Utah’s Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance programs have substantial Student Education Occupation Plan, (SEOP) data, but they are not well integrated with other student data. With the introduction of UtahFutures and the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) and its focus on noncognitive data, combining such data with other longitudinal student level data to the USOE Data
Warehouse
the UDA. Both the USOE (K-12) and the Postsecondary Outcomes and Data Needs
sub-sections will address these needs.”

(My, what big data collection teeth you have, Grandmother!The better to integrate you with, my dear.)

Next, on page 87 of the same grant, Utah’s application for the ARRA money, it says:

“… psychosocial or noncognitive factors… include, but are not limited to educational commitment, academic engagement and conscientiousness, social comfort and social integration, academic self-efficacy, resiliency… Until recently, institutions had to rely on standardized cognitive measures to identify student needs.
… We propose to census test all current student in grades 11 and 12 and then test students in grade 11 in subsequent years using the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) – a measure of noncognitive attitudes and behaviors.”

So the Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) is a “psychometric census” to be taken by every 11th and 12th grade student in Utah. That’s how they’re gathering the psychological data.

But that’s not the only way psychological data is being taken in Utah schools. “Behavioral indicators” are also required to be collected by the Common Core tests, those math and English A.I.R. or SAGE tests, as Utah House Bill 15, aka the Common Core Computer Adaptive Testing Bill, demands.

What can we do?

markey images

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Markey has taken action. He articulated his concerns on this subject in a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan. Other legislators around the nation are writing bills to take protective action for student privacy.

I hope all Utah legislators read Senator Markey’s letter, peruse the PESC and ARRA (SLDS) grant documents, look into the SSI surveys, study the machinations of Secretary Arne Duncan,and then take action to put an end to the unreined and ever-growing network of entities which collude for profit and for other, various control-related reasons, to dismiss the vital right of student privacy.

This would mean ending the “partnerships” by Utah with: the CCSSO, the Data Quality Campaign, the PESC State Model, the SLDS interoperability framework, the National Data Collection Model, the CEDS program of EIMAC; it would mean creating proper protections inside the Utah Data Alliance, and most of all, it would mean establishing permission from parents prior to any student SLDS surveillance.

Thank you.

Christel Swasey
Utah Mother

Utah Legislator Sparks Debate on US Education: To Reform or Restore?   7 comments

This week, a Utah legislator posted his views about education reform on his Facebook wall. The following post was compiled from that wall, by a Utah mother, Alyson Williams.

(Names have been replaced with generic titles.)

Thank you, Alyson.

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U.S. Education: to Reform or Restore?

Guest post by Utah Mother Alyson Williams

While we wish that these kinds of exchanges were happening in our state halls rather than just social media platforms, this exchange between a parent, a teacher, and a legislator as excerpted from the Utah legislator’s Facebook wall introduces an important question: should we be expanding and advancing centralized education reform or be seeking to restore ideals that have been lost? Do we know our own history well enough to discern the difference?

Parent: [Teacher], you seem to be talking just about the [Common Core] standards while [parent activist] has raised a warning about a bigger issue. Every state that adopted the standards did so in conjunction with a number of other reforms, the combination of which shift governance of education in significant ways. I hope this overview helps clarify that: http://prezi.com/icbma_8t5snu/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

I appreciate [Representative] taking the time to attend a presentation I did on this subject in [City.]

Teacher: I did watch your presentation. I commend you for your activism and I understand your viewpoint. I have done my own extensive research. I even interviewed people from the Gates Foundation. I just don’t agree with your view point. Best wishes.

Parent: [Teacher], one way of demonstrating that we understand one another’s viewpoint is to restate it in our own words as I have attempted above. Apparently my understanding of your viewpoint being based on the standards alone is not complete. Would you be willing to share your research? What did you learn in speaking to the Gates Foundation? The goal of the reforms has been clearly stated as making kids “college and career ready,” or as the Governor explains it, “education for the workforce demands of the marketplace.” The reforms ensure a more coordinated and central role for state and federal government in this workforce oriented goal. Am I correctly understanding that you support that outcome?

Teacher: Yes that is correct and I think it is reasonable to believe that no matter what I share, you and I will still be of the same opinion still:) I have only replied to a few of [Representative’s] points as he is my representative and someone I have a great deal of respect for. You and I also know we could spend hours exchanging research-hours of which I do not have. I have a family, a full time teaching job and a personal life. I wish you well on your own path.

Parent: I can certainly identify with how busy you are [Teacher.] Thank you for confirming your viewpoint. I think it will be helpful to those following this thread to see more clearly both sides. As you say, I simply have a different viewpoint and value the way that education in our country was, for a long time, unique. For much of our history the purpose of American education was to nurture the development of self-governing citizens, with work being incidental to that development. Government-coordinated education for the workforce is an imported philosophy. Our Founding Fathers and other great thinkers were who they were because they studied the great works, not work itself. This nation has uniquely thrived according to the principle that a broadly educated and free people pursuing their own dreams works better than centrally planned education for efficiently trained workers.

Representative: … this is a good discussion. As a taxpayer, I don’t want my dollars going to public schools unless those schools are focusing on getting kids ready for jobs and the work force. Most of our country’s founders were not products of a public education system and they had different goals for their own classical education, and leisure time to pursue those goals (philosophy, government, law). I want the schools in my world to do everything they can to train the students to be ready to get a job in the modern workplace, and to expose them to those career and job skills now. Most of the skills that need to be taught in K-12 public schools to prepare students for the work force are essentially just literacy and numeracy, and those can and will continue to be taught by studying classical works (as my own kids are doing to the hilt now under Utah’s Common Core standards, based on my own personal experience reading The Scarlet Letter and other works together with them this year). But if we don’t make sure that these foundational language and math classes are aligned to the workplace and producing the skills needed in the work force, then I think we are wasting precious taxpayer dollars. By using terms such as “centrally planned economy,” many critics of Common Core make it sound like our U.S. Chamber of Commerce, by endorsing Common Core, is advocating moving our country to socialism. But of course that is not the case. Private businesses recognize that a large reason for the success and ascendancy of the United States on the world stage in the past century has been careful government planning and regulation (roads and transportation infrastructure, banking systems, stock market regulation, etc.). Central government planning is not inconsistent with free-market capitalism — in fact, I would argue it is essential for its endurance, if the U.S. wants to continue to be the leader on the world stage. For me, it is all about finding the right balance between government management and individual liberty. I think the minimal educational guidelines being implemented as Utah’s Common Core strike that proper balance and do not in any way endanger an individual’s liberties to pursue in this great country whatever she or he wishes to in life — in fact, the standards are an aid to help individuals more fully exercise and realize those individual freedoms of self-expression. Thanks for weighing in.

Parent: [Representative], I hope you, and the parents reading that last entry can recognize the false dichotomy implicit in your opening assertion. Current education reform is not about whether students should be well educated and prepared for professional success or not. The conflict is about whether that desirable goal is best achieved under local governance or if we should disregard the wisdom of history (and current federal statute) and allow for greater federal or otherwise centralized control. “Education for the workforce demands of the marketplace” does not just mean that we want our kids to be able to get a good job. It means policy, funding, programs etc. are prioritized for assessing and predicting what skills will be most useful to the workforce by the time our kids reach the workforce, and who has those skills – predictions that are notoriously inaccurate. Instead of fitting education to the aptitudes and interests of the individual, giving each his best shot, this system attempts to guide the individual to the education deemed best for the “greater common good.” The emphasis on the child as an investment of the collective, not an agent unto himself, is a principle of socialism and this, not the shortsighted endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is what liberty-minded people are criticizing. You mention your objective of finding a balance between government management and individual liberty. The bedrock principle for conservatives in identifying this balance is to only assign to the higher level of government what cannot be accomplished by a more local level. Thomas Jefferson explained it this way, “… the way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself.” You specifically praise the federal role in transportation infrastructure. That is a good example of something that might best be accomplished through the cooperation of states working through Congress (the body we elect to make these kinds of collective decisions, as opposed to that one club for Governors who’ve taken this role upon themselves recently.) This happens to be President Obama’s favorite example as well. [Ironically, he used it often when promoting the Stimulus which proved the catalyst for advancing these education reforms.] If I had a dollar for every speech in which he mentions “roads and bridges” (and how they’re crumbling, necessitating more spending) while touting the benevolence of an increasingly powerful and indebted federal government! It is clear that you like the standards which are under the jurisdiction of the State School Board. The rest, and the bulk of the reforms, are under the jurisdiction of the State Legislature. As an elected representative in that body I hope you’ll continue to familiarize yourself with the impact of those policies as well. Thank YOU for weighing in. It is so important to constituents to understand the positions of their representatives.

Parent again: As long winded as that was, I forgot to respond to one point you made. The founding fathers were indeed, for the most part, more fortunate in their opportunities for education because of their wealth and privilege. One notable exception is of course Benjamin Franklin, the youngest son of a mixed family that included something like 16 total siblings and step siblings. (There’s a fantastic study of a self-taught, self-made man.) What many of these men seemed to understand about the sustainability of their newly-formed Republic was that in order to have a self-governing people education had to become more than training for a trade like the privately arranged apprenticeships of the day – that the domains such as history, philosophy and law previously accessible only to the elite must be accessible to all. Our abandonment of this ideal in favor of skills rewarded in the workforce, especially over the past half-century, has resulted in our current situation where key protections of liberty established by the Constitution are systematically eroded and erased while too many sit idly by in apathy or ignorance. Meanwhile we continue to saddle the upcoming generations with the servitude of an outrageously unsustainable debt all the while professing to have their future financial success and the desire for a robust economy at heart. (We never did get a cost analysis on these reforms.)

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I want to add two things to what Alyson compiled.

1. “Combination of education with industrial production” is a direct goal, point #10, of the Communist Manifesto.. The push to align workforce with education goes directly against free agency and toward central planning. Do American legislators realize they’re enabling socialism/communism when they support “finding the right balance between government management and individual liberty?” You can’t balance the human tendency toward controlling others very easily; hence, the limitations outlined to keep the government very, very small and the people’s power big. The individual should have full control over his/her life.

2. In a book called “Free Agency: A Divine Gift,” a Utahn, David O. McKay, who was also a former teacher, wrote: “Let us, by exercising our privileges under the Constitution… Preserve our right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience, preserve the right to work when and where we choose. . . Feel free to plan and to reap without the handicap of bureaucratic interference, Devote our time, means, and life if necessary, to hold inviolate those laws which will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience.”

The wonder of individual, unfettered freedom and the absurd lie (that society needs central planners) is debunked in a great short film called “I, Pencil.” Worth watching.

Video: Heber City Hosts Alyson Williams and Jakell Sullivan on the Damages of Education Reforms   1 comment

Alyson Williams, the remarkable Utah researcher-mom who wrote the very popular and much reblogged essay “Children For Sale,” came to Heber City to speak about education reforms and how they hurt America. Here is that video.

Jakell Sullivan, another remarkable Utah researcher-mom, also gave an excellent talk and powerpoint presentation about resource redistribution that is taking place under new education reforms. Here is that video.

Thank you, Alyson and Jakell!

The German Government Versus the Wunderlich Family   1 comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Attorney General Holder,

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


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

Read the rest here.

Please Pray for the Defeat of Common Core   26 comments

A long list of powerful groups endorse Common Core, despite all evidence that Common Core is academically and constitutionally illegitimate: the U.S. Army endorsed it; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University, the national P.T.A., Exxon, Chevron, Jeb Bush’s Foundation, the Bill Gates-Pearson partnership, the National Governors’ Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, etc. etc…

Yet parents and others who are fighting Common Core are STILL making a huge dent in the monster– so much so that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has had to appeal to national news editors, asking them to help him end the Stop Common Core rebellion. That says something.

Now, additional storm clouds are gathering, in the form of millions of new marketing dollars and in the form of government’s tax-funded propaganda campaigns and political videos being created by proponents of Common Core in many states, aiming to quash the uprising of parents and others fighting Common Core. Here in Utah, the state office of education tells its teachers in professional development conferences that only the misinformed “common core crazies” see dangers to Common Core.

We know cannot come up with multimillions to compete with Bill Gates; and we cannot compete with the marketing resources (tax money) of the Utah State Office of Education nor the U.S. Department of Education used to promote Common Core.

But we have the documented truth on our side.

Doesn’t truth trump everything?

It would seem we’re outnumbered.

But: as you talk to people all across this nation who are fighting Common Core, you realize something: Common Core fighters are people of faith– people of various faiths. I do not think this is a coincidence. People who value God’s truth and prize liberty, easily detect lies and the loss of liberties.

This is why I have hope.

When people of faith petition God for help, if the petition is good and the timing is approved, He helps. It’s proven; it’s documented throughout all Scripture.

We remember that God made an ocean of water stop so that the children of Israel could walk through on dry ground. We remember that the walls of Jericho fell down when the people of God marched around Jericho and made a loud noise, in faith. We remember that the colonists in America were saved from the massive destruction planned by the French fleets that outnumbered them in 1746, when they fasted and prayed and God sent storms to upset the fleets. We remember the many prayers of our founding fathers.

He conditions His interventions on faith and our acting on that faith.

So pray.

Please, if you are a prayer, actually petition God. Pray that many, many more people will feel compelled to seek out and learn the whole truth about this initiative and its roots, which so affect children and the quality of our future society and its freedoms; pray that many people will rise and exercise their citizenship and use their voices, so that Common Core and its tangled web of unwanted controls will be defeated by the facts and by the truth, so that time-tested education and local control of it will be restored.

Thank you.

Video: What We Shared at Beck’s Man in the Moon Event   7 comments


Here’s a video from the conference at Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon event in Salt Lake City this weekend. Thanks to FreedomWorks for introducing and filming this presentation.

In this video, Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis, Christie Hooley and I speak.

In this one, Wyoming teacher Christie Hooley speaks again.

Concerned Women For America: Informational Conference Call June 27   2 comments

I received this email announcing an informational conference call. Joy Pullman, Sandra Stotsky and Richard Innes will be the guest speakers.

Many of us have watched the video that the Concerned Women’s group produced together with the American Principles Project, about Common Core. (If not, click here.)

Here is the CWA invitation:

CWA Hosts Nation-Wide “Facts about Common Core Conference Call”

Calling all parents and grandparents! There is a power grab unfolding within your local school system. And it’s time you know the truth.

Over the past three years, the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been quietly working to seize control of the American education system without any input by the states. As a part of President Barak Obama’s stimulus package, Race to the Top grant money was earmarked for education initiatives in the states. Tied to this money is the progressive Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSS) and the results could be devastating to parent’s rights and our respective states’ education system.

It is imperative that you understand the CCSS initiative and how it will affect your child’s classroom.

Please join CWA’s nation-wide “Facts Common Core Conference Call” on June 27 at 8:30 p.m. EDT, as CWA’s Executive Director, Kenda Bartlett, moderates the discussion on exactly what is the CCSS, the program’s origins and the steps you can take to educate yourself and others on the Common Core.

Expert guests will include:
•Joy Pullmann, Heartland Institute

•Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Common Core Validation Committee Member
•Richard Innes, Bluegrass Institute

Please don’t miss this unique opportunity.

Call (760) 569-7676 , and enter the participant access code 303989 to join the conference call.

Most states adopting CCSS did so to be eligible to compete for federal funding. To have a chance at that money, recession-racked states agreed to adopt the CC standards and the aligned national tests sight unseen. Only five states did not sign on to the CCSS; so unless you live in Alaska, Nebraska, Minnesota, Texas, or Virginia, this will affect your school system.

So please, learn everything you need to know about Common Core on CWA’s “Facts about Common Core Conference Call”.

Sincerely,

Penny Nance
Chief Executive Officer and President

Not Misinformed: We Know What It Is And We Reject It   3 comments

If we remain bound to the Common Core stranglehold, it will be because a low-information citizenry passively buys the unsubstantiated claims of the proponents of Common Core without doing their own homework on this crucial subject.

Our state school board refuses to let go of its praise-common-core talking points. And it continues to call those of us who care about local control and high, legitimate education standards, “misinformed” even though they won’t return emails letting us know what specifically we seem to be so misinformed about.

Today I read this blog post by Tami Pyfer of the USSB on Utah Policy. http://utahpolicy.com/view/full_story/22848521/article-We-Do-Deserve-Better?instance=newsletter_featured_articles_policy

Here’s what I think as I read her post:

Yes, we deserve better.

We deserve fact-checked information from our state school board. State school board members are in a position of trust and should be held to higher standards. Misinformation being spouted by elected board members is cause for concern.

The Common Core agenda has been presented as being so rigorous, so consensually adopted (which is was not) and so academically legitimate that it is beyond debate. The fact is that the Common Core is a liability, rather than an asset, both in terms of liberty and local control, and in terms of academic strength.

It concerns me, bothers me, and keeps me up at night, that as a credentialed Utah teacher, I am not allowed to meet with my own state school board members, face to face, to get real answers to my concerns about Common Core. I have gone out of my way to try to communicate, to find out what exactly is “erroneous” (their words) about my concerns, but my emails are not being responded to.

There are simple questions.

“Where is the evidence to support the claim that Common Core improves education?”
“Where are the long term studies showing that the reduction of literary study improves college readiness?”
“Where is the amendment process for Utah’s math and English standards under the copyrighted Common Core?”
“How can I opt out of the SLDS tracking system?”
“Where is the legal –constitutional– authority for people outside our state to set our local standards and to create and monitor our tests?”
“Why is Utah allowing Obama to redesign our schools without putting up a fight?”
“Why is there a culture in education today that demands everyone agree or pretend to agree; where is freedom of expression and freedom of speech in all of the Common Core agenda, when teachers and principals fear to dissent or lose their jobs?”
“Where is the evidence that slowing the age at which students learn math algorithms, improves college readiness?”
“Where is the line-item cost analysis of taxpayers’ money being spent on Common Core technologies, teacher trainings and texts?

– There are many, many more questions that need answers. Yes, State School Board, we do deserve better. When will you condescend to actually speak with those who elected you to serve us?

When will you listen? Did you not notice that the Utah State Delegates disapprove Common Core? They voted and they passed the anti-common core resolution. Utah doesn’t want Common Core. Why is the board still defending it?

We are not misinformed. We know what it is we reject it.

When will your board stand up to the federal Dept. of Ed. and its tsunami of assault on liberties, rather than fighting us, the locals who desire nothing more than liberty and high quality education?

What’s Wrong With Social Justice? Rabbi Lapin Explains   10 comments

I’ve never seen a better episode on the Blaze than that April 2013 episode with Rabbi Daniel Lapin. They spoke about collectivism. Some call it Socialism. Others, Consensus or Social Justice. It’s all the same: it’s top-down redistribution, by force.

The collectivism movement has its heartbeat inside education reform. It aims to lure us away from individual worth, individual wealth, individual rights, liberty or having an independent voice, all in the name of consensus, social justice, and collectivism.

In Utah, we have a problem with being too trusting. So many honest people fall into the trap of believing that others must think and behave honestly, too. And they fall into the trap of believing that collectivism or social justice have something to do with compassion.

Jesus warned his followers of this trap.

“I send you forth as as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)

Because the serpents are out there. We have to be smarter than we have been. We have to identify and outsmart the serpents –or we and our children will live without liberty under the collectivist banner of equality. It’s that simple. Right now, it’s called social justice. Proponents of social justice make it sound like compassion, steering clear from the pesky concepts of “individuality” or “freedom” or “local control” that the Founding Fathers bled for.

The U.S. Secretary of Ed., Arne Duncan, says, “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.” – Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009 speech. At an IES research conference, again Duncan said: “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.” – IES research conference, 2009

Social Justice and wealth redistribution are concepts that come up over and over again in Department of Education reports and speeches. They are pervasively being taught in our schools and in teacher colleges.

The current U.S. Equity and Excellence Commission recently served up a report called “For Each And Every Child.” Read it. It aims to redistribute education and wealth. You will actually find these phrases: “allocate resources to level the playing field across states,” “address disparities,” “advancing national equity and excellence goals using a combination of incentives and enforcement,” and “Historically, our approach to local control has often made it difficult to achieve funding adequacy and educational equity.”

It’s down with local control; up with forced redistribution.

Parents must arm their schoolgoing children with truth so that they can be wise as serpents, harmless as doves.

I saw a very wise dove two months ago on t.v. He is Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and the day I heard him speak, he was a guest on the Glenn Beck t.v. show.

The t.v. conversation went like this:

Rabbi Daniel Lapin: Collectivism is, as it’s usually defined, as any kind of political, or social or economic philosophy that stresses our interdependence with one another. You and I agree with that. We couldn’t live without each other. We know that; we understand that.

Glenn Beck: Yeah, no man is an island.

Rabbi Lapin: We get it. That’s not what collectivism really is. What collectivism really is, is a formalized, deliberate structure…deliberate attempt to create a moral matrix to legitimize taking things from one group of people and giving it to another. That’s what collectivism is all about. It’s essentially finding a framework of virtue about stealing.He goes on to say that the “manure” that fertilizes the idea of collectivism is materialism, “the fundamental conviction that nothing that isn’t material matters in the world.”

Glenn Beck: Define materialism. Because in my own head I was thinking it was about having all this great stuff. But you’re talking about that there is no spiritual part of the world, that it is only the material make-up.

Rabbi Lapin: Well… Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, speaker of the California State Assembly… defined materialism.… What he said is, “If I cannot eat it, wear it, drive it, or make love to it, I’m not interested in it.” That’s a pretty good definition of materialism. If I can’t actually see it, touch it, make use of it, exploit it, benefit from it in some way, it doesn’t exist. In other words, there is no such thing as love. There’s no such thing as loyalty. There is no such thing as awe. There’s no such thing as staring at the heavens in wonder or biting into an apple and just wanting to thank somebody for giving that to you. None of that is true, because it’s all just firing of neurons in your cortex and your spinal column. There’s no mystery in life; it is all thoroughly basic and scientific.

…If materialism and collectivism encourages competition about being a bigger victim, what does this [making money] philosophy engender? Competition to provide service. How beautiful is that! It’s figuring out, to recognize that you will succeed best at making money if you are obsessively preoccupied with supplying the needs of your fellow human beings.
Which is better? Making wealth for your use by providing service to others, or requiring wealth from service providers to provide goods and services to someone who did not earn it? Clearly, the answer is making wealth through service is more moral.
But what about those who can’t provide for themselves? The best answer is for those whose love makes them feel responsible for the weaker members of society to provide for them willingly. And where those closest can’t do enough, then the caring larger public of service providers will offer help. I’m more willing to trust that goodness to a people whose goal is to find ways to serve than I am to trust a people who look for ways to take wealth from service providers.

———

The t.v. conversation went on as Rabbi Lapin explained why collectivism is materialism, which sees everything in tangible, ownable terms, and sees nothing in spiritual terms –there’s no love, loyalty, eternity, or other intangibles; collectivism sees a plant or a cow no differently than a human being; it also sees the death of a plant or a cow no differently than the death of a human being. This is why the collectivists want so badly to indoctrinate all people into earth-worship rather than God-worship; because by persuading humans that we are no more important on earth than a plant or a cow, we may more easily give up our rights, our property, our money and our liberty –to the collective, which is of course, controlled and operated by a very few.

Collectivism v. Making Money

Rabbi Lapin provided a powerful chart. It clearly explained how service/capitalism differs from theft/collectivism. Collectivism/Materialism has as its highest virtue, equality; collectivism stimulates envy, creates competition for victimhood, creates an ambition community organized for politics, and results in static poverty. On the other side, the chart explained that Making Money has as its highest virtue, freedom; that captitalism creates competition for service, that it stimulates success and achievement, that it creates ambition for respectability and riches; and that its result is dynamic growth.

It’s pretty simple. But few people know it.

Please make sure your own children understand it.

Our children are now navigating textbooks that preach the opposite of what the Rabbi (and our founding fathers) have said. Increasingly, textbooks teach that the United Nations (collectivism) are more impressive than the United States (individualism/liberty); that local control is overrated, and that environmental concerns outweigh the concerns of the U.S. Constitution. At least my daughter’s Pearson A.P. Geography textbook did. There was a great emphasis on the United Nations and Sustainability and a de-emphasis on actually learning where countries, rivers and mountains are, in that book. It’s just geography, right? No. Everything is changing.

Obama’s Common Core Tax Hike   2 comments

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

Yes, really.

See this Huffington Post article about the new ConnectED Initiative.

A national Common Core tax hike.

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

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

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

Voluntarily?

Orange County Register Editorial: Classroom No Place for Central Planning   3 comments

The Orange County Register published a smart editorial this week.   It makes the point that most of the opponents of Common Core agree with: this is not about whether the standards are being lowered for some states and raised for others, or any other academic argument.  This is about avoiding getting sucked into the central planning vortex.  Below is  a good chunk of that editorial.  Read the rest at this link:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/education-510818-common-core.html

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

May 31, 2013

 Classroom no place for central planning

Common Core not right path for raising performance of American students.

We’re hopeful that the recent spate of scandals out of Washington will cause more Americans to think twice before ceding more authority to government. If there’s any good to be derived from the revelations of misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department, it’s an increased recognition that the state can’t be blindly trusted to discharge its fiduciary duties to its citizens.

There is perhaps no issue where this insight is as valuable as education. Government involvement in our children’s schools represents a tremendous concession of sovereignty. By allowing the state to set the parameters of what children learn in their formative years, we grant government sweeping influence to form their character and shape their understanding of the world. This is a natural byproduct of widespread public education. We can, however, keep it from getting worse.

 

The first step is to resist Common Core, a set of nationwide K-12 curricular standards developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Thus far, 45 states, including California, have signed on to Common Core.

…The problem… is the centralization of power that Common Core introduces. Defenders of the program will note that states are not mandated to adopt Common Core – which is true only in the most technical of senses. The Department of Education has already made adoption of the program a factor for receiving grants from the Race to the Top program, as well as a condition of receiving waivers from No Child Left Behind. It’s a virtual certainty that the amount of federal money tied to Common Core will only increase. What Washington can’t get through coercion, it can usually achieve through bribery.

We’ve long insisted that one of the keys to meaningful education reform is decentralizing power. As often as possible, decision-making should devolve to parents, teachers, and state and local authorities. When it comes to shaping America’s next generation of citizens, one size cannot fit all. Education ought to be our children’s first introduction to the marketplace of ideas, not to a government monopoly.

We applaud the impulse to raise the quality of the nation’s schools – but such efforts should be undertaken freely and subject to competition in the marketplace. Central planning is always inefficient and dangerous. We find it doubly so with education.

Source Documents for Common Core   11 comments

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

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

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

 

DOCUMENTS:

The Race to the Top Grant Application

The No Child Left Behind Waiver

The State Longitudinal Database System Grant

The lawsuit against the Department of Education

The copyright on Common Core held by CCSSO/NGA

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

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

The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education

The speeches of President Obama on education

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

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

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

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

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

The Common Core English and Math standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marc Tucker at it again: “The United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.”   4 comments

There aren’t many people of whom you can correctly say that this person is a conspirator against the America we all know and cherish.  But Marc Tucker fits into that category, indisputably.

(Evidence:  His 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton, which was archived in the Congressional Record, showed his twisted vision of a new form of government that would micromanage every step of the citizens’ lives, using schooling as the facade for the control.  Read it here.)

Marc Tucker’s been arguing his point in academic circles for a long time.  He got a recent beating-up by the brilliant Professor Yong Zhao for his controllist ideas.  But he doesn’t give up.

Marc Tucker has long been ambitious to break down all that represents freedom in education.

BUT NOW:

The Center for American Progress (which “progresses” America away from the Constitution) published this recent report in which Tucker asserts, among other things, that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.”

Here’s a little taste of what his report proposes:

If Americans are  going to decide which level of government we want to run our education systems,  the only realistic choice is the state. No one wants a national education system  run by the federal government, and the districts cannot play that  role.              

                                                                                          [Mr. Tucker-- why not?  Why wouldn't districts play that role?  --Silly man.]

…Each state needs to consolidate in its state department of  education the policymaking and implementation authority that now resides in a  welter of state-level commissions, agencies, and other independent  bodies.  And the United States will have to largely  abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control. If the goal is  to greatly increase the capacity and authority of the state education agencies,  much of the new authority will have to come at the expense of local  control.

….I  propose to greatly strengthen the role of the state education agencies in  education governance, at the expense of “local control,” and of the federal  government. In this plan, school funding would be the responsibility of the  state, not the locality, and the distribution of state funds for schools would  have nothing to do with the distribution of local property wealth. Thus the  governance roles of the local districts, as well as the federal government,  would be significantly decreased. Independent citizen governing boards would be  eliminated. The line of political accountability would run to mayors and  governors through their appointees. At the state level, the governance of the  schools, higher education, early child- hood education and youth services would  all be closely coordinated through the governance system. Though the role of the  federal government would be curtailed, there are some very important national  functions that must be served in a modern education system. I propose that a new  National Governing Council on Education be established, composed of  representatives of the states and of the federal government, to create the  appropriate bodies to oversee these functions…”

Did Tucker really think that WE THE PEOPLE were going to roll over and give in to his constitution-slaughtering dream to end local control and to permit governmental tyranny over education?

Really?

I believe that WE THE PEOPLE will stand up for our children.

Tucker’s 1992 socializing-America letter to Hillary may have partially come to pass.  But he will not win this one.  Because this time, we are awake.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #6 – Linda Darling-Hammond   25 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

 Linda Darling-Hammond

Countdown # 6

This is the fourth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.

  For number 7 ,  number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Don’t be fooled by her sweet-baby face.  Linda Darling-Hammond stands for one thing:  forced national redistribution of wealth.

Yes, really.

And does Darling-Hammond wear  powerful hats!   A pillar of the Common Core movement, she’s been helping run closed-door meetings of the standards since before they were created, as a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Advisory Group since 2006.  She also leads (or plays key advisory roles) in all top educational bureaucracies, both governmental and corporate, including The Obama Administration, the National Governors’ Association, the  Common Core testing consortiaCSCOPE, WestEd, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Educational Research Association, the National Academy of Education and many more.  She is a hero to communist reformer Bill Ayers. Why?  And what is she likely saying behind the closed doors?

Try this on for an explanation:  it’s a speech she gave last summer at a UNESCO conference in Paris.

In the speech, Darling-Hammond says that “we allow this extraordinary inequality” in America which may cause us to “innovate our way to failure.”  She shows a chart entitled “The Anatomy of Inequality” (see minutes 15:06- 16:00) that explains that taking away money from the areas of richer kids’ schools is a good idea (she mentions rich schools having too many swimming pools).

In her book, “A Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future,” she further explains why pushing for equity (communism) will solve the problems of education.  The book illustrates poverty’s effect on education (tell us something we didn’t know) and she comes to the false conclusion that a governmentally forced attempt at financial equity (redistribution) can create better education.  She doesn’t mention how this is to happen without harming individual liberty and without punishing the kids in financially stable schools.

Her ideas are being absolutely shoved down the throats of state school boards and legislators nationally.

And she is dead set on Common Core being the means to these ends.  Always has been.  She knew that others on the Common Core validation committee refused to sign off that the standards were legitimate; she was aware that common core would be an experiment on millions, implemented without any empirical data supporting its superiority claims. She not only supported this baseless decision making and the copyrighting and implementation of the common standards –but she’s now helping to write the common tests!

She provides professional development for CSCOPE teachers. (CSCOPE is the extremely controversial, secretive curriculum that parents cannot access, which now used in Texas schools.)

Darling-Hammond and her ideas are mentioned 52 times in the EEC report  For Each and Every Child, a “strategy for equity report” that she co-wrote.  In the words of Congressman Honda, another EEC member, it’s a “bold new vision on the federal role in education”  that wants to see “transformations in school funding.”

What does it mean that Darling-Hammond headed Obama’s  education policy team and is a member of Obama’s Equity and Excellence Commission (EEC)? What is she aiming to do for him?

Take a look at the EEC’s Opportunity to Learn Campaign.  Included in the “opportunity” is also the cessation of any semblance of liberty.  Dropping out is not an option; you can’t get suspended or expelled from school no matter how hard you try.  The EEC calls this “positive discipline.”  Also included in the “Opportunity to Learn Campaign” are “wraparound supports” such as extended learning time which might sound good until you realize that we’re moving away from a family-centered to a school-centered way of life that pushes parents to the periphery of children’s lives.

To translate:  Linda Darling-Hammond pushes for communism in the name of social justice, for a prison-like view of schooling in the name of extended opportunity, and for an increased federal role in education in the name of fairness.  She gets away with it because she comes across as sweetly compassionate.

But she scares me.   And people who listen to her scare me too.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #7 – Sir Michael Barber, CEA Pearson   19 comments

Sir Michael Barber:   Pearson CEA 

Countdown # 7

This is the fourth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Sir Michael Barber of England,  Chief Education Advisor at Pearson and Common Core promoter extraordinare, is also a global education standards promoter.

Did you catch that?  Global standards.  Barber wants every child in every country learning the same thing at the same time.  Barber talks about “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and he directs education policy makers to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”

Talk about scary. So, freedom advocates (including me) are regularly labeled “misinformed” by state school boards and governors.  We  jump up and down, shouting at the top of our lungs that Common Core creates irreversible damage to traditional education and to local autonomy.  But our leaders assure us –I even heard the legislative lawyer advise our Senate Education Committee say that “We can get out of Common Core anytime we like.”

But you see, Sir Michael Barber, CEA of the world’s largest educational sales company, is openly selling “irreversible reform.”  

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents.” Otherwise, he says, people might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.”

Barber is praised and even quoted by  the U.S. Secretary of Education.  And Barber’s famous book, Deliverology 101, is dedicated “specifically for leaders of American Education reform.”  (Yes, the reformers who listen to those who are on this “Scariest People” list.)

At a recent British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade“.  http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA  He likes the word “revolution” and he uses it a lot.  Just check out his twitter  stream.

Meanwhile, another British management guru, the president of Vanguard, John Seddon, says Barber is wrong.  Check out Seddon’s speech entitled “Why Deliverology Made Things Worse in the UK.”  Seddon says, “I don’t go around the world bashing Deliverology, but I think I should.”   Why?

Seddon says that Barber’s “deliverology” imposes arbitrary targets that damage morale.  He explains that Deliverology works because it’s merciless.  Deliverology, says Seddon, is “a top-down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”  http://youtu.be/2sIFvpRilSc

Barber uses his Deliverology method to push global education reform because, in Barber’s view, education reform is a “global phenomenon,” no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries.  Education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers,” he said at the August summit on education.

But as we all know, under the U.S. Constitution, education is to be state-led, not a federal and especially not an internationally-determined, issue.

http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA

Sir Michael Barber has not been dubbed “a control freak’s control freak” for nothing.  Barber promotes global data collection and “whole system revolution” .  See the chart during his summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, and pinpointed as:

Systemic innovation + Sameness of standards + Structure + Human capital

(Whenever anyone uses the term “human capital” I run screaming from the room.   It sounds like somebody owns the humans.  It sounds like slavery.  But add Barber’s passion for Mcstandardization and top-down structuring of systems and what do you envision?   Not self-determination.  Not freedom.  Not local control.)

“We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda,” he says.  At minute 6:05 (above) he specifies that “every child” means every “global citizen.”  –What’s wrong with being a global citizen, you ask?  Well, for starters, when you give yourself to the globe rather than to your nation, you lose your constitutional and property rights as they are swallowed up in a global governance system.

Absurdly, this British Pearson sales advisor, Barber, praises Common Core in American interviews. He says, “Can I congratulate the CFR for getting into this issue? I think it’s great to see education as an issue of national security…”

Then there’s the BBC interview. http://youtu.be/vTYMFzOv0wQ

In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines what he sees as benefits of “private and public partnership (PPP).”  (In a nutshell, why I’m against PPPs: voters have no voice; unelected business people make government policy but business people have no voter consituency, thus no accountability. But PPPs are what globalists promote.  See: http://www.un.org/partnerships/unfip_partner.html )

Pearson “invests,” says Barber, by purchasing cheap schools in developing countries in partnership with governments. Pearson works hand in hand with both nongovernmental agencies (NGA and CCSSO) and with governmental agencies (U.S. Department of Education) to promote global education and Common Core. Because he sees global control of education and U.S. Common Core as one and the same.

Evidence? Look at 6:05 on http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA  –the August Summit speech.

Barber says that every country should have exactly the same definition of what it “means to be good at maths”.  At 4:00 he says that “citizens of the world” including every single child, “all 9 billion people who will be alive in 2050″ must know E(K+T+L) –which stands for (Knowledge + Thinking + Leadership) multiplied by the “ethical underpinnings” of environmentalism.

Barber explains that the “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn.

Ethics, to Barber is all about global collectivism.  So is he a communist?  He certainly doesn’t use the word.  But he does talk about the need for America to remove its gun rights, to remove diversity to replace it with standardization, to install top-down control of systems, and to promote thinking as citizens of the world rather than as citizens of nations.  You do that math.

It wouldn’t be so bad if he was a loony bin off in a cabin.  But this man directs curriculum production for the largest curriculum producer on earth.  His company, Pearson, is everywhere.  Pearson textbooks and technologies are in virtually every school and university in America. Pearson does teacher professional development.  Pearson runs EnVision math.  Pearson does early childhood education assessment.  Pearson pushes millions to implement Common Core.

http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11Uz

Common Core is very big business for Pearson.  In fact, Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc.,  a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101.” And Achieve also helped write the Common Core.  Achieve says the company joined “with NGA and CCSSO on the [Common Core] Initiative, and a number of Achieve staff and consultants served on the [Common Core] writing and review teams.”  It’s BIG  business.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO on Common Core as a gold mine:

“‘It’s a really big deal,’ says Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson’s K-12 division, Pearson School, ‘The Common Core standards are affecting literally every part of the business we’re involved in.'”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303674004577434430304060586.html

When the BBC interviewer accused Sir Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ sovereign educational systems, Barber said, in defense, “I worked for government. I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”  Of course he does.  It’s all about Public Private Partnerships, the collusion of business and government under the guise of improving education.

Advising governments from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education is Barber/Pearson’s specialty, according to the UK Guardian:
“… he has set up a US Education Delivery Unit (albeit as a private sector rather than government venture), co-authored books that claim to identify what makes national education systems successful, and taken the joint chairmanship of a taskforce in Pakistan to establish “national standards” in basic subjects. Now he’s becoming chief education adviser to Pearson, owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times and also, in its own description, “the world’s leading learning company”, with interests in 70 countries…”

If Pearson were siphoning off American taxpayers’ money to sell books and technologies that would teach American to value America and to learn traditional math and other good things, I would not be writing this article; this is not a criticism of corporate greed.

It is a criticism of the American school boards, teachers and taxpayers who allow ourselves to blindly purchase countless Pearson technologies and teacher trainings when that organization and its curricular content is led by Sir Michael Barber, advocate of globally standardized education, of irreversible reforms, of global data collection, and of the dismissal of individual voices of representation through the promotion of public private partnerships.

 

Because Stalking is Creepy –Especially When the Government Does It   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin’s true to her word. She said her New Year’s Resolution would be to expose the truth about Common Core, and she’s well on her way. Her fourth installment in the series “Rotten to the Core” is out.

In “The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Data Base” Malkin brings up the fact that while millions of Americans worry about government drones spying on citizens from the skies, millions are unaware that Washington is already spying on us using a web of recent “education reforms” known as the Common Core Initiative.

Malkin shares a link to the National Data Collection Model which asks states to report intimate details of an individual’s life, including bus stop times, parental names, nicknames, languages spoken, and more.

Reading her article made me think of last year’s “child privacy no more” revelation.

Last year, when I first learned these student data tracking facts, I contacted my state school board to ask if there was an opt-out privilege.  Could my public school attending child NOT be intimately tracked by the state’s SLDS data collection system?  The answer came back, eventually.  They said NO.  They blamed it on the technology: the technology doesn’t allow us to opt certain children out.

Agencies mashing data = citizen surveillance but under the nice concept of "sharing".

The idea of “data driven decision making” has become a passion to many educrats, corporate icons  and government leaders (Think Obama, Duncan, Joanne Weiss,  –or Utah’s  own John Brandt, David Wiley, and Judy Park).

“Data Driven” is a  concept used as justification  for behavior that in the end amounts to corporate/government stalking of children –without any parental consent.

I’m not using the word “stalking” facetiously. Does the governmental obsession with personal data collection differ from stalking?

Individual stalkers have their reasoning for doing what they do, that makes sense to them, just as gleaning student data without parental consent  that makes sense in Utah’s education leaders’ own heads, too.

I can think of only one answer to the question of how these differ:  an individual stalker tends to stalk just one person at a time and rarely “inspires” millions to help stalk.

So what do we do? Let’s look at our options. We can:

1. Dismiss facts and call student stalking by government a silly conspiracy theory –even though there’s nothing secret about it– as many do.

or–

2. Wake up, stand up and tell our state leaders that we and our children have had enough.

J.R. Wilson: Parents Need to Know About Student Data Privacy

Our Governor’s To-Do list:

1. Read the Constitution closely and think about what freedom looks like, in comparison to what Utah leaders promote;

2. Shut down Utah’s SLDS, P-20, and Prosperity 2020 systems;

3. Fire John Brandt, Judy Park, the Utah Data Alliance staff, and everyone who works as if “1984” was an instruction manual for school improvement;

4. Stop accepting money and directives from the Dept. of Ed.;

5. Cancel membership with the National Governors’ Association;

6.  Get rid of the trojan horse of Common Core which serves the tracking goals of the federal and corporate elite;

7. Insist that only parents of school-aged children, people who honor freedom, not socialism –and know the difference– serve on any school board;

8.  End cradle to grave tracking in the state.

Facebook: Governor Herbert Versus Parents on Education and Workforce Alignment   1 comment

Here’s a facebook thread from today that I think is significant.

Governor Gary R. Herbert wrote:

Preparing to testify before Congressional Committee on education and workforce alignment in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. Talking to Rod Decker about how Utah continues to impress the nation. Tomorrow I will tout Utah’s goal to attain post-secondary degrees or certificates for 66% of Utah’s working age population by 2020.

Like · · Share · 2 hours ago

15 people like this..

Alisa Olsen Ellis wrote:
I wish it were true that UT was leading out but in actuality we’re just following the crowd. We may be louder but we’re just going along with Obama’s 2020 goal. Look around every state has a 2020 plan. Even many other countries have a 2020 plan. UT’s was originally named Vision 2020 along with most other states but then we changed it to Prosperity 2020. Google Vision 2020 and you’ll see we’re just a follower. I wish you luck though….

Jason Christensen wrote:
Yes, please explain where exactly the 20 million is coming from and where the feds are to get the 20 million from? Or the near 1 billion cost to move the prison? Or your sell out on Obama’s/UN’s Common core? Or why you just will not have a back bone to enforce the US Constitution against the feds?

2 hours ago · Like · 3..

Christel Lane Swasey:
I wish that our state actually stood for Constitutional principles as it thinks it does. Whether it’s agreeing to obey federal gun control initatives above the 2nd Amendment, or agreeing to Obama’s 2020 plan (and calling it Utah’s) or whether it’s adopting the Common Core takeover of education and giving up our local control, I do not see Utah taking the lead in sustaining and defending the sacred Constitution.

26 minutes ago · Like · 5..

Anissa Wardell:
And we are giving personally identifiable information to the state without knowing how the state (office of education) is collecting and storing this information and giving it to other state programs who are tracking our children. Let’s be real honest here, Governor. We are not in that great of a position, and parents are just beginning to wake up to the fact that our own state school board has sold us out and you are siding with state employees on this issue as well as large corporations who stand to make a great deal of money with our children’s information not to mention with all the new curriculum that we will be having our money spent on! Utahns have entrusted people to protect our children and you are our very last line of defense and even you won’t stand up for them! Be a real Republican and stand up for constitutional principles….

10 minutes ago · Like · 1..

Alisa Olsen Ellis:
I couldn’t have said it better. I keep hearing reports from across the State that Common Core is one of the main topics brought up at town halls and yet we’re still doing nothing about it! The people with money and power want it and the parents DO NOT! What are we going to do about it? The career push is sickening. Do we seriously care about appearing as the “best managed state” so much that we’re willing to match education to the workforce and create a managed economy? Cradle to Career reform doesn’t match the values of this state…

Anissa Wardell:

What is happening is we are being turned into a socialist state…grooming our children for trades rather than letting them choose when they have a better idea of what really interests them. I changed my mind from 6th grade (which is where I hear they are beginning this garbage) through graduation at least 4 times! I want smart kids, I don’t want pre-programmed workers! The Utah State School Board/local school districts/the state of Utah are now in the business of data tracking and no guarantee as to the safety of this information has ever been given to parents. Maybe its time to get with LifeLock and suggest some products that the state can purchase for our children to guarantee their personal info is safe (at the expense of the state, not the children/parents)! Listen to the parents, Governor, not your business buddies!”

Lessons Learned from Sweden: Mireja Institute Calls Early Childhood Education Anti-Family   3 comments

  In light of Utah’s senator Aaron Osmond’s new early education bill in Utah, and similar U.S. errors happening nationwide, I think it’s appropriate to study the Mireja Institute website, with its many articles documenting the errors and lessons learned from Swedish  researchers who study problems of anti-family governmental policies, including early separation of children from parents.

Thank you to Jonas Himmelstrand of the Mireja Institute.

http://www.mireja.org/Resources/himmelstrand_lisbon_statement.pdf

The following article addresses how early childhood education hurts families.

Are the Swedish State family policies delivering?

by Jonas Himmelstrand
Member of the Haro national board, Sweden, http://www.haro.se.

 Lisbon May 25-27, 2010
in the Focus group of the Existential field: State Family Policies

Contact information:
Jonas Himmelstrand
Box 1837
SE-751 48 UPPSALA, Sweden
E-mail: jonas.himmelstrand@mac.com
Phone: +46 18 10 14 50
3 (18)

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Professor Kimmo Jokinen from Finland ended his presentation this morning by saying that Sweden is regarded as the perfected welfare State with the best State family policies. This is indeed the picture that Sweden enjoys worldwide.

I will challenge that picture with statistical information and with observations from my professional and personal experiences in Sweden. My conclusion will be that the Swedish model should be researched carefully by people from outside Sweden if anyone is truly to know what the model actually delivers.

Most of you are familiar with the Swedish model. Our daycare is subsidised up to 90% by the State. A place in daycare is guaranteed within three months for any requesting parent of a child between ages 1 and 5. Sometimes the demand for daycare expands so
quickly there is no time to build new buildings. Instead we now have daycare centres on buses, which are promoted to the public with the idea that it is good for children to travel around and see new environments.

Sweden has a definite trend of de-familiarisation. This is openly stated as being a good thing, because parents are not deemed able to train and foster the development of their children on their own. State intervention is deemed necessary from one year of age on.
This has been a very clear message, voiced continuously by our State institutions, and it is now a part of Swedish culture.

This message also takes the form of encouragement to go to work directly after a mother’s 16-month parental leave. When a mother takes her soon to be one year-old baby for a medical check-up she will typically be asked: ”How do you feel now about going back
to work soon, because you are going back to work aren’t you?” When the child is 18  months of age many nurses will say: ”You really need to go back to work now, because your child needs to be in daycare and you need to work.”

Now deeply rooted in the culture in Sweden is the notion that State professional care is needed for a child to develop properly and that family care is not enough. At the foundation of this argument you typically find notions of gender equality, in Sweden only
seen as women working in paid employment equally as much as men.

Let me provide some background information to help you understand how I came from a focus on management consultancy and training to concerns about State family policies and child development. I have been a self-employed management consultant
for nearly 30 years. About ten years ago I was struck by the increasing frequency and intensity that people in Sweden were getting burnt-out in their jobs. In nearly every work place where I intervened, I would hear the story of an enthusiastic co-worker
who had ”hit the wall” as it is expressed in Sweden. At the same period in time a large political debate was in process on the subject of sick-leave. Sweden had the highest sick-leave in all of Europe in the years around 2002, and still ranks among the highest.

The facts seemed incongruous. Sweden being materially rich and having admired social policies should not be having these problems. Also at the time I was leading study days for faculty in the public schools, and teachers kept coming and saying to me: ”The  psychological health of our pupils has deteriorated alarmingly in the last 20 years. We don’t know what to do any more. How do we manage this in our classrooms? What is happening in our society?”

At the same time as the high sick-leave rates were being debated there were young mothers in my training groups who had just come back to work with a one year old child now in daycare. Again and again they were saying: ”I felt so bad leaving my child to daycare, only one year old, and so small and tender.” The hidden, unexpressed question seemed to be: ”Can this really be the right thing to do?” As an management consultant I asked myself how productive these women could be when they were feeling so much guilt and stress inside. Such guilt is one more added factor of stress and increases the likelihood of succumbing to a stress related infection or disease and going on sickleave.

I saw other signals of societal change. Among other sorts of workshops, I give training on presentation technique. This training can be quite stressful, especially when we use a video camera. Over the years I noticed changes in how participants behaved. I began
my workshops of this kind in the mid-eighties. Participants were mainly 25 to 30 years old, born in the sixties, and they were becoming managers. In the early days, participants did not really have a problem with the training. They thought my courses were a
bit tough because the expectation to become inspiring presenters stretched them and it was a challenging experience to be filmed. But almost all of them were basically okay with the situation. By the end of the nineties I was receiving trainees from a later generation born in the seventies. The training process became more difficult. On nearly every course there was a participant or two with serious self-esteem issues. These were still highly educated people, often with a masters degree in business administration
or similar. Every now and then, it began to happen that a participant would leave the course early, because the experience had become too stressful for them. This had never happened in the eighties.

I began asking myself, ”Am I starting to get a generation with greater difficulties to handle this typical personal growth stress? Why could this be happening? What is it in our life that sets our threshold for handling stress? When does it happen?”
These experiences and others and the questions they provoked drove me to try and understand what was happening and to write my book about it. My investigation led back to our youngest age and earliest experiences in life. I have three children of my
own who have been at home most of the time, and during this investigation, my experience with them has been a form of personal reference. If my book had an English title it would be “Following your heart – in the social utopia of Sweden.”

A shorter version of the book in English may become available in the future. To finish my personal introduction, in addition to my consultancy and being on the Haro national board, I also run a small think-tank, The Mireja Institute, and I am the president of the Swedish Association for Home Education known – Rohus.

Let us now turn to Swedish statistics. First let’s look at the well-known Swedish statistics that has made Swedish social policies famous.

• Sweden has the lowest infant mortality in the world. In Sweden we take care of pregnancy relatively well and pregnant mothers will easily find support in our public medical system. There are only three deaths among a thousand children before the age
of five. No country has a lower number than this.
• Swedish people enjoy a long life expectancy. A Swedish man’s life is on average 79 years, and a women’s is 83 years. Still, Japanese women live even longer with an 86 year life expectancy.
• Sweden has a relatively high birth rate in the European context with 1.7 children per woman of child rearing age, although I hear that Finland is now surpassing Sweden. Many other European countries have a much lower birth rate. But 1.7 is a quantity
measure. Based on what I will share later in this presentation it makes sense to also add a quality measure. Are we actually producing a next generation which has the psychological maturity, and the ability to handle stress, that life in a future knowledge society
will require? I will let that be an open question for now.
• Sweden has a low level of child poverty: 13%. It is not as low as one may expect, but it is still lower than the European average.
• Sweden has a very high spending on education. We have among the highest expenditures per child, if not the highest, whether in daycare or in school. But we are not getting the learning results from that spending that we should be getting.
• Sweden has a strong culture of equality and gender equality. The Nordic countries have hardly ever had any class system, so there is a strong tradition of equality. Also gender equality has a very strong position in our public debate since about 30 years
back.
• Perhaps someone can contradict me, but Swedes say that we have the best parental leave in the world. We have 13 months at 80% of our salary up to a certain level, with an additional 90 days at a lower level. Perhaps this makes people believe that Sweden is
the best country for families. What most people outside of Sweden don’t understand, however, is that after these 16 months the door closes. Finland has a general home care allowance. Other countries have lower taxes or tax benefits making home care financially
possible. During the last two years in Sweden there has been an allowance which is not national and only discretionary for every municipality. The allowance is small by Swedish standards, about 300 euros per month, with no pension benefits. Only one
third of all Swedish municipalities currently offer this home care allowance. This voluntary allowance is not fully supported by Parliament. If there is a shift in Government in this year’s coming elections, the home care allowance will probably be taken away
completely. Other than this there are no tax benefits of any kind for parents not wanting to use the public daycare system.
The Swedish system is designed for the dual earner household. This is the expressed policy of our Government and is supported by both sides of the political spectrum.

Our current Government calls it the ”work policy” and signifies that everybody should be engaged in full-time paid employment after parental leave. Most parties also argue that parental leave should ideally be split in half between the mother and the father,
and some parties want to make such an equal split a requirement. Now let us take a look at the neutral statistics.

The neutral statistics

• Close to 90% of all children between 18 months and 5 year old are in daycare, often for 6 to 10 hours a day. There are even cases of 11 hours per day. Depending on your values, this can either make you happy, because it shows that Sweden has managed to
implement a system of daycare for nearly every child. But it can also make you sad. A couple of weeks ago I was at a family conference with child psychologists and family counsellors in Canada. They were in tears about these facts.
• Daycare group sizes for the under-3s are never below 10 children, except perhaps in some transitory phases. In the eighties the group size for small children was regulated to 10 children or fewer. But since the responsibility for daycare was moved to the
Ministry of Education there are no longer any national regulations on either group size or child-to-staff ratios. According to regulations, quality has to be good, but it is up to every municipality to decide what ”good quality” means. The consequence is typically that the finances of the municipality determine daycare group sizes and child-to-staff ratios. A common group size for the under-3s is 14 children, but there are groups of up to 17 small children. Such groups often have three staff, of which one may be part-time. When one of the staff is on sick-leave, which is common among day-care staff and pre-school teachers, there is often no replacement for financial reasons. There are even situations where there is only one staff for 17 small children below three years of age. Three Swedish experts recently wrote a book collecting all these statistics. Their conclusion is that Swedish daycare is no longer of the quality required for a healthy development in children. They say there are many children at risk because our daycare is no
longer of sufficient quality. It should be added that these three experts all hold a positive general view on daycare.
• The average daycare child-to-staff ratio for all ages is 5:1. This is pretty good for older children. But Swedish daycare regulations lack awareness that the under-3s demand much more adult attachment – and thereby higher staff-to-child ratios – than
older children. Awareness of this fact is more profound in other countries, for example in England and the US. In the US there are recommendations of child-to-staff ratios of 3:1 or 4:1 for smaller children in group sizes of six or eight children. Some states in
the US have implemented these recommendations. In England there are regulations of similar child-to-staff ratios for small children.
Sweden has no regulations on child-to-staff ratios, and ratios of 7:1 and even 10:1 do exist in Swedish daycare.
• The cost of the Swedish daycare system, according to a recent study by the Swedish Parliament research department, is 􀂪 15000 per child per year, of which more than 90% is paid by the State. When you consider the group sizes and child-to-staff ratios
mentioned above, you realise that bringing Swedish daycare to high quality for under- 3s would probably bring the price tag close to 􀂪 25000 per child per year. Of course, the question then is at what price is it more profitable to pay the parents to take care
of their own children rather than put the children in daycare and send both parents to work. The price of high quality daycare for the under 3s could provide a fairly generous home care allowance.
• Our present centre-right government is presenting a new school law expected to be passed by Parliament in June. The new school law further strengthens the ideas that the State fosters child development better than parents and that daycare is a form of
school. The new school law will severely restrict home education, which has become a growing and very successful educational trend in the Western world. Home education is already highly restricted in Sweden compared to most other countries in Europe.
Also pupils will be severely restricted from obtaining time off from school during winter to join their family for a long family trip, thus lessening the opportunities for families to have common family experiences. The penalties for breaking the school law will
be fines. The new law also makes prison a possibility. One member of Parliament has raised the concern that making daycare a form of school, could be a first step to making daycare compulsory in Sweden.
This brings us to the more uncomfortable statistics.

The uncomfortable statistics

• During the last 30 years Sweden has seen a severe decline in the psychological health among our youth. Mild psychological disorders such as re occurring headaches, stomach aches, worries and anxiety have tripled from about 9% to 30% since the eighties
for girls, and slightly less for boys. Several studies by Government institutions confirm these statistics. However, no plausible official explanation has been given.
During the years 1986-2002 the psychological health for 15 year old’s in Sweden declined faster than in ten other comparable countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Wales, Spain and Scotland.
• Sweden has very high rates of sick-leave, especially among women, and particularly among women over 50 years of age, statistics which are at the top in Europe. Psychosocial explanations dominate. Few women today actually work until 65 years of age.
Many take early retirement of some form as soon as age 55. This is, of course, the first generation of women who have had to combine motherhood with full-time work, excepting for parental leave. These data are shown in a study published in the Swedish
medical journal, Läkartidningen in 2005.
• Educational outcomes in Swedish schools are plummeting. Twenty-five years ago  Swedish children were among the best in the world in reading, writing and mathematics. Today, we just about make it to average, and in mathematics we are below average.
• Swedish schools have severe discipline problems. According to our present Minister of Education, Jan Björklund, Swedish schools have among the highest truancy, the greatest classroom disorder, the most damage to property and the most offensive language
of all comparable nations. Björklund has been criticised for exaggerating, but official reports confirm that these problems in Swedish schools are significant. Also, one who visits Swedish schools for professional reasons can bear witness to the situation.
• The parental skills of Swedish parents are deteriorating. Britta Johansson was one of several researchers in a EU-sponsored study of Swedish schools and daycare. One thousand five hundred teachers and daycare staff were interviewed. Britta Johansson
wrote an article about the results in one of Sweden’s national morning papers, Svenska Dagbladet. The interviewed educators voiced deep concern about the lack of parental skills in the parents of their pupils. The survey results showed that even healthy, intelligent
and reasonable Swedish parents have difficulties in being parents today. According to Britta Johansson they lack knowledge about children’s needs and they cannot set limits. She writes (my translation): The public offer of full day child care seems to make many parents lose the grip on their own responsibility. They trust that their children are better fostered by the pre-school and school and that the experts on their children are found there. Britta Johansson also says that pre-school and school cannot fill the gaps caused by lack of parental time with their children and trust in parents role in rearing their children.
• Sweden has a highly segregated labour market, with men mostly working in the private sector with reasonable salaries, and women mostly working in the public sector at low salaries. Many women never made their own choice to work, rather they were more
or less pushed into the labour market when the tax benefits for families with home mothers were abolished in 1971. Even forty years afterward, today’s polls regularly show that a majority of Swedes would prefer the financial possibility for parents to be
at home with their children for the first four years.

Possible causes based on current knowledge

I will now offer an attempt to explain the possible causes of these statistics using some available theoretical models.
• Today we know from child psychology and neuroscience that early separation of infants from parents can create chronically low thresholds for stress in some children. This can lower the threshold for anxiety for the rest of the child’s life. Early separation
would be expected to lead to a less resilient future generation. Medical technology today can actually measure stress levels in the saliva easily and clearly, making stress research easy to perform, also in small children.
• We also know today that early exposure to large groups of peers leads to peer-orientation, which has detrimental results on psychological maturation, learning, and the transference of culture between generations. Canadian psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld
has explored in detail the causal connections of the sorts of phenomena we have been discussing. His work is reported in his book Hold on to your kids – why parents need to matter more than peers.
How does peer-orientation happen? Consider a typical day in the life of a ten year old in a Stockholm suburb. The child is left by his parents at 7.00 in the morning at  the school for before-school-child-care. When school begins the child is already tired
and hungry. After a long day in school there is after-school-child-care while the child waits for the tired parents to return at perhaps 5.00 or 6.00 in the late afternoon. In the evening the child may be having another activity outside home, which most ambitious
Swedish parents believe is good for their children. Where does the child find emotional security? One needs someone for comfort and closeness. The parents are inaccessible for too long. In the best case scenario there will be a caring adult in school. But for
most children it will be a peer or a gang which offers emotional support during school hours. This is the genesis of peer orientation. It fills the lack of meaningful relationships with trusted adults interested in the development of the child. The problem with peer
orientation is that peers, especially during the teens, do not have the maturity themselves to handle the difficult feelings about differences, conflicts, failure, rejection and deceit. The limited maturity of peer-orientation results in conformism, gangs, bullying,
aggression, and sometimes violence. Also as youngsters attach themselves to peers, they are in the process emotionally detaching themselves from the adult world, including their parents.
• The culturally endorsed separation of infants in Sweden causes stress in parents, manifested in many as sick-leave. According to a meta-study by Dean Ornish, M.D, high-quality, close relationships are the strongest health factor, superior to and more
important than all other health factors combined. In Sweden we don’t have much time for close relationships in families. The high frequency of stress related disease can be seen as a consequence. According to research by Sir Michael Marmot too little control over one’s personal life situation is another risk factor to health. Through its family policies Sweden has given
the State a controlling position in the bedroom of every Swedish family – a clear risk factor to health.
• High levels of State intervention in family life reduce parents’ sense of responsibility for their children. Swedish Governmental agencies have been very successful in promoting the idea of daycare as more than a convenience and as the best child care solution
for everyone. Unfortunately, unintended drawbacks and consequences have not been anticipated. When parents loose their sense of responsibility, they do not develop in younger years the strong relationships with their children which are essential for them to provide guidance to them especially through adolescence.

Effects on democracy

The three experts on daycare referred to previously also raise a sensitive subject about our democracy. They report that discussing this whole issue is very difficult in Sweden because it brings up feelings of guilt in parents. The Swedish people have had the
daycare solution largely forced upon them both culturally and financially after parental leave. They seldom made their own considered choice because of lack of options. They saw no choice but to accept the situation and suppress their feelings, and they don’t want to be reminded of this. Similarly, the media seldom discuss this topic. One might compare the Swedish situation to a dysfunctional family where everyone may know that daddy drinks to much, but no one admits it. They cover it up because talking about it is too uncomfortable. In Sweden most people know in their hearts that our family policies are seldom in our children’s best interest, but no one talks about it. It is simply too painful.

I confess that it would be nearly impossible in Sweden to have a presentation like this one, except for certain specialised groups. These matters are not supposed to be talked about. It makes parents uncomfortable to awaken the thought that they may not have
made the choice they wanted, so they get defensive. Staff at daycare centres do not tell parents of the hardships their child may have suffered during the day because they do not want to disturb the parents feelings. Instead they say that the day was wonderful
even it is was not, and even if the child had to face some painful situations. There are many witnesses of this behaviour. The three experts write extensively about it. I have seen it myself. I get told completely different stories whether I go to daycare in the role
of a parent or in the role of a consultant.

This means that we have created a family policy that is difficult, or not at all possible to discuss through normal democratic processes. This is in itself is a serious democratic problem. A democratic country should never implement policies that cannot be discussed through democratic means.

The concluding hypothesis

My concluding hypothesis is that Swedish State family policies are not emotionally sustainable, and thus not sustainable in either health, psychological maturation or learning.

Quality of parenthood is very strongly a matter of intergenerational inheritance, and we are already seeing definite problems in the Swedish parental generation today. Many of them have never had a close relationship with their mother or father in the way that
their grandparents had. Swedish State family policies may not even be democratically sustainable as there are definite difficulties in even discussing these policies.

The consequences of Swedish family policies should therefore be investigated through thorough, comprehensive, and comparative procedures conducted by research institutions outside Sweden before any other nations attempt to copy the Swedish State family
policies.

—Jonas Himmelstrand, May 2010

Sources

”Att följa sitt hjärta – i jantelagens Sverige”, by Jonas Himmelstrand. ISBN 978-91- 975836-1-9. Swedish. (Swedish book title: ”Following your heart – in the social utopia of Sweden”.)
English link: http://www.thehappycompany.eu/follow_heart.html ”Ungdomar, stress och psykisk ohälsa”, SOU 2006:77.
(Swedish Government publication on ”Youth, stress and psykological ill health”.)
Swedish link: http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/6293/a/67472
”Vem orkar ända till 65? Inte kvinnorna – mer än hälften avslutar arbetslivet i förtid”, by Kristina Orth-Gomér et al. Läkartidningen nr 34, 2005, volym 102. (Swedish medical journal, presentation of research on middle-aged womens sick leave and early retirement.)
Swedish Link: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17054366 ”TIMSS 2007: Försämrade skolresultat i matematik för svenska elever”, Skolverket, pressmeddelande december 2008. (Swedish Government Education Agency on plummeting
results in maths and science in Swedish schools.) Swedish link: http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/2006/a/14303
”Att våga sätta gränser”, by Britta Johansson, SvD 070126. (Swedish researcher on Swedish middle-class parents difficulties in their parenting role.) Swedish link: http://www.svd.se/opinion/brannpunkt/artikel_195247.svd ”Why Love Matters – How affection shapes a baby’s brain”, by Sue Gerhardt. Brunner-Routledge 2004. ISBN 1-58391-817-5. English link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1583918175
Read more: http://www.stratletter.com/brev.lasso?id=324557917262356
”Förskola för de allra minsta – på gott och ont”, by Magnus Kihlbom, Birgitta Lidholt and Gunilla Niss. Carlssons förlag 2009. ISBN 978-91-7331-267-7. (Three leading Swedish daycare experts about the severely decreasing quality in Swedish daycare.) Swedish link: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/pressroom/carlssonbokforlag/ pressrelease/view/dagens-foerskola-paa-gott-och-ont-349038
”Are There Long-Term Effects of Early Child Care?” by NICHD Early Child Care
Research Network. Child Development vol. 78 Issue 2 Page 681-701, Mars/April-07.
English link: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/117957245/abstract?CRETR Y=1&SRETRY=0
”Stress in Daycare”, by Sir Richard Bowlby. Social Baby.com.
English link: http://socialbaby.blogspot.com/2007/04/richard-bowlby-stress-in-daycare.
html
”Hold on to your kids – why parents need to matter more than peers”, by Dr. Gordon Neufeld. ISBN 0-375-50821-X.
English link: http://www.gordonneufeld.com/book.php
Read more: http://www.stratletter.com/mna.lasso?id=371631139072144 ”Love and Survival – How good relationships can bring you health and well-being”, by Dr. Dean Ornish. Vermilion 2001. ISBN 0-09-185704-X.  English link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/009185704X
”Status Syndrome – How your social standing directly affects your health”, by Michael Marmot. Bloomsbury Publishing 2005. ISBN 0747574081. English link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0747574081 Read more: http://www.stratletter.com/mna.lasso?id=272422439552148
”Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization”, by professor Richard G. Medlin.
Peabody Journal of Education, 75 (1&2 ), 107-123. 2000. English link: http://www.
informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a785831043~db=all
”Full daycare – national standards för under 8s daycare and childminding.” (England)
English link: http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode=publications&ProductId=DfES+0651+2003&
”National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home
Child Care Programs.” (USA) English link: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/ccquality-ind02/#Staff1

Links

• Haro – Swedish organisation for freedom of choice, equality and parenthood,

http://www.haro.se

• Jonas Himmelstands speech on the future role of family; at a seminar in the Swedish
Parliament December 8, 2008. http://www.stratletter.com/dec10speech.html
• Mireja – The Mireja Institute, welfare and development through family,

http://www.mireja.org

• Rohus – The Swedish Association for Home Education, http://www.rohus.nu
• Articles in English by Jonas Himmelstrand, http://www.mireja.org/articles.html

Common Core Florida: Orwellian Lessons   3 comments

Common Core Florida: Orwellian Lessons (CLICK)

In this article, “Common Core Florida: Orwellian Lessons” the “Dissident Professor,” Mary Grabar, enlightens again.  I learned…

Did you know that the rejected superintendent of Indiana, Tony Bennett, had been flown to Florida to become that state’s new superintendent?  Why on earth did they want him?  What is Florida thinking? He was rejected by Indianans for refusing to dump Common Core.  The new Indiana superintendent gets it– that a lot more than educational standards are at stake.

Did you know that the Florida School Board had been lead to believe that there is “no opposition” to the Common Core in Florida?  By the Pinellas County school board?  No opposition.  Not even a statistical possibility.  I happen to know lots of Floridians personally.  I went to school there. I know not all Floridians are drinking that Common Core kool-aid.

Did you know that in some model lesson plans of the Common Core, the great lessons of Orwell in Animal Farm, that teach readers the evils and deceptions of communism, are reduced to being called fables?  For high school students.

Florida school boards are about to hear from a lot of concerned parents and teachers.

I bet.

 

Documentary Movie on Anti-American Education   6 comments

I just finished watching a documentary called “Agenda: Grinding America Down,” which you can access here: https://vimeo.com/52009124

I learned a lot.

At 52 minutes, it discusses why the hard left has tried so hard to take over education, turning children into willing tools and dependents upon the socialist state rather than individuals with self-reliance, intellect and moral character. The left pushes “social justice” in schools (meaning, we must steal from the rich, to redistribute to the poor) and teaches “relative truth” rather than truth. At 58:15 the film discusses the education unions and cites the National Education Association platform as being openly anti-parent. At 1:00 it discusses an NEA resolution to take children from parents as close to birth as possible. It discusses the new “pledge to the world” that is replacing the “pledge to the US flag” that is being chanted in an increasing number of schools.

Without using schools as a vehicle of socialist propaganda, these socialist/communist revolutionaries would never have been able to change the thinking of the majority of Americans from traditional, Constitutional Americanism to socialism (which they have successfully done, as evidenced by the latest Obama election.)

    If there is any doubt where Arne Duncan, Sec. of the Dept. of Education, is pushing our American education system (using Common Core as a vehicle) please compare his speeches– here–

http://find.ed.gov/search?client=default_frontend&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=default_frontend&q=arne+duncan+speech&sa.x=0&sa.y=0

–to the constitution of Communist Party USA.

Here’s the link: http://www.cpusa.org/cpusa-constitution/

Unbelievable, yes.

Yet there it is, in writing.

Heartland Institute: Why Are Tax-Funded Common Core Meetings Closed To the Public?   Leave a comment

This article was posted today by Heartland Institute:  http://news.heartland.org/print/133949

Tax-Sponsored Common Core Meetings Closed to Public

January 3, 2013

Though 46 states will spend an estimated $5 to $12 billion [2] to implement a new set of national education standards called the Common Core, public officials are arranging these standards in hundreds of closed-door meetings.

 

Meetings between members of the Council of Chief State School Officers to write and discuss these standards and corresponding tests are closed to the public, though taxpayers pay for state officials to attend these meetings and to be CCSSO members.

 

“[T]he Council of Chief State School Officers holds over one hundred meetings per year,” its meeting webpage states [3]. “CCSSO meetings are closed to the public and attendance is by invitation only unless otherwise denoted” (emphasis original).

 

CCSSO and the National Governor’s Association are two nonprofits that coordinated state involvement and adoption of the Core. It outlines what states will expect K-12 children to know in math and English/language arts in each grade. Nearly all states adopted them in 2010 within five months of their release, and plan to fully implement them, along with matching tests currently in development, by 2014-2015.

 

“What was behind those policies, what was considered, the different elements that went into them, the ideas that went into them—it’s a black box,” said Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, a public transparency watchdog. “The public do have the right to know the laws that are going to affect them and their families, especially when they’re paying for them.”

 

Millions From States State membership in each related CCSSO committee costs $16,000 each year, and states can and do participate in several committees. Lead state Indiana, for example, participates in the math and social studies committees, where 23 and 10 states, respectively, are members, said Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker. On its latest financial statement, the CCSSO reported $2,187,626 in revenue from membership dues for all activities in 2011.

 

Multiply just one membership fee by 46 participating states for a minimum of $736,000 in tax dollars the CCSSO receives each year for an initiative reshaping nearly every textbook, replacing nearly all state tests, overhauling teacher training nationwide, providing the basis to measure teachers, and creating nationwide data repositories for student grades, behavior, attendance, and more.

 

Despite this monumental impact and tax sponsorship, CCSSO activities are largely hidden to taxpayers because it is a nongovernmental nonprofit. This means its meetings and paperwork are not subject to open records laws that let the public find what their money is funding.

 

Frustrated Parents Indiana resident Heather Crossin, whose children attend schools implementing the Core, attempted to attend an October 2012 CCSSO meeting in her Indianapolis hometown. Crossin called Michele Parks, a CCSSO meeting planner, to see if she could attend. No, Parks said. Crossin asked to see a list of people on the Social Studies standards writing team: “I was told that was not available for public release,” Crossin said.

 

Ten weeks entailing dozens of emails and phone calls to at least six CCSSO spokesmen and personnel for access to the Indianapolis meeting or any others at last yielded an email to School Reform News from spokeswoman Kate Dando in December: “our meetings/sessions at our meetings are open to press really on a case by case basis,” she wrote.

 

Some reporters have attended some CCSSO meetings, usually on background, she said, which means they cannot directly quote what they hear. Why?

 

“It’s going to be reported that X state said this about their progress,” Carrie Heath Phillips, CCSSO’s Common Core director, told SRN. “When they have those conversations, we keep that protected, but it depends on the meeting and topic.”

 

Federal Tax Sponsorship CCSSO receives tax money from more than state dues. It receives millions from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Approximately 13% and 33% of the Council’s revenue and 25% and 34% of accounts receivable were provided by U.S. Department of Education grants or contracts for fiscal years 2011 and 2010, respectively,” the nonprofit’s 2010-2011 financial statement reads.

 

Applying the 2011 percentage to that year’s revenues yields an estimated $3,450,930 in CCSSO revenue from the federal government, just in that year. In 2011, $558,000 came from the 2009 stimulus bill for CCSSO’s involvement with one of two networks creating new tests to fit the standards.

 

In 2010, the U.S. DOE granted those two networks $330 million in stimulus funds. This action, more than any other, led conservative supporters of the Common Core to complain of federal interference in education, a constitutionally protected state function.

 

‘Outsourcing a Core State Function’ CCSSO and NGA are member organizations where states pay dues to belong, like the left-vilified American Legislative Exchange Council, said Emmett McGroarty, director of the American Principles Project’s child rights initiative.

 

NGA would not release member dues information to APP, he said. CCSSO did give basic information about membership costs, but not about what specific states paid them.

 

States have historically created education standards in public meetings, with related documents also a matter of public record, Allison noted.

 

“The state is outsourcing a core state function to an outside organization that is then outsourcing to other organizations, and you can’t have the parental and legislator input you normally should,” Allison said. “Education is the future and I do think people have the right to know who is writing the curriculum.”

 

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News

Is Socialism Wrong?   1 comment

It is becoming increasingly evident that education in America is becoming more and more a form of socialism, with the government held as the supreme authority over children and what they will be taught, rather than local educational leaders and parents making those decisions. Under this increasingly socialistic system of Common Core, education is determined by a small group of people with a large concentration of power, while the majority have no meaningful voice or vote.

For this reason, I am sharing the following study of the concept of socialism, especially for my latter-day saint friends, with highlights reposted from: http://www.latterdayconservative.com/about/

 

Socialism is wrong.

Brian M.,  author of   www.LatterdayConservative.com, has written that it’s not just anyone’s opinion to believe  that socialism is wrong, but that  latter-day prophets, starting with Joseph Smith, have taught that socialism is  wrong, and have clearly defined it.

The author writes, “socialistic  laws and policies within the government are in violation of the Constitution.  The prophets have also made many statements against communism, which shares  many of the same ideas as socialism.”

He adds:

Joseph Smith

“I  attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through,  I made a few remarks… I said I did not believe the doctrine.” (History of the  Church 6:33)

Heber J. Grant

“We  again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against  our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same  political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other  parts of the world are at work amongst us in America…

“…  Communism and all other similar isms bear no relationship whatever to the  United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always  devises of the gospel plan… Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and  lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They  will prove snares to their feet.” (Grant and McKay 273, 343)

David O. McKay

“Church  members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the  matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to  honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own  freedoms. They are free to participate in non-church meetings that are held to  warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that  will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the  Constitution of the United States.” (”Statement Concerning the Position of the  Church on Communism” 477)

First Presidency 1941 ( Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David  O. McKay )

“We believe  that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from  that underlying spirit common to Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array  class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which  would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution…

“As  we see it, there is no way in which we can, to use your own words, “preserve  and perpetuate our freedom—freedom to govern ourselves, freedom of speech, and  freedom to worship God according to our own light,” except we shall turn away  from our present course and resume the normal course along which this great  country traveled to its present high eminence of prosperity, of culture, of  universal education, and of the peace and contentment which we enjoyed prior to  the inauguration of the “New Deal”. (1932-3)

“These  things are not matters of partisan politics with us. We care nothing as Church  leaders about partisan politics as such, nor about the dominance of one party  or the other. We grant to every man the right to vote as he wishes, and we  would not control his vote even if we could. But we do reserve to ourselves the  right to tell our people what we think is right regarding politics as affecting  the fundamentals of our government system, to warn them of the dangers that lie  under the present course, and to try to persuade them that their peace, their  happiness, and their security do not lie along the path of the present trends  of government.

“Truly,  we do not believe that—again to quote your own words—we can “preserve and  perpetuate our freedom—freedom to govern ourselves, freedom of speech, and  freedom to worship God according to our own light” unless we turn squarely  about and return to the old-time virtues, and re-enthrone our liberties and  free institutions.” (A Letter to the Treasury from the LDS First Presidency in  1941 )

Ezra Taft Benson

“No  true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist  principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of  this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto  that very purpose [D&C 101:80].” (”A Four-Fold Hope” 11)

“President  McKay has said a lot about our tragic trends towards socialism and communism  and the responsibilities liberty-loving people have in defending and preserving  our Constitution. (See Conference Report, Apr 1963, pp. 112-13.) Have we read  these words from God’s mouthpiece and pondered on them?” (”Be Not Deceived”  1064; compare GFC 340)

“Let  us not be deceived in the sifting days ahead. Let us rally together on  principle behind the prophet as guided by the promptings of the Spirit. We  should continue to speak out for freedom and against socialism and communism.  We should continue to come to the aid of patriots, programs, and organizations  that are trying to save our Constitution through every legal and moral means  possible.” (”Be Not Deceived” 1065; compare GFC 342)

“We  must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We  have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us  than what we ourselves are. In the final analysis, people generally get the  kind of government they deserve. To live a higher law means we will not seek to  receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember  that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It  means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the Source of our liberty.” (CHB  28-31)

“I  fear for the future when I realize that for some thirty years our once-free  institutions, political, economic, educational and social, have been drifting  into the hands of those who favor the Welfare State, and who would “centralize  all power in the hands of the political apparatus in Washington. This  enhancement of political power at the expense of individual rights, so often  disguised as ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘civil rights,’ is ’socialism,’ no  matter what name tag it bears…

“I fear for the future when I see an affluent but complacent  citizenry paying little or no attention to these and many other socialistic trends  in America.

“Dr. V. Orval Watts, noted political economist, has described this  socialist system which I fear-and I have but suggested a very few evidences.  Here are his words: ‘Socialism… is the theory and practice of coercive  collectivism. It is the evil fruit of greed for other men’s possessions and  greed for control over other men’s labor.’” (Elder Ezra Taft Benson December 10 1963. A Race Against Time.)

“We  have moved a long way – and are now moving further and more rapidly down the  soul-destroying road of socialism. The evidence is clear – shockingly clear for  all to see…

“Now we should all be opposed to Socialistic-Communism, for it is  our mortal and spiritual enemy – the greatest evil in the world today. But the  reason many liberals don’t want the American people to form study groups to  really understand and than fight Socialistic-Communism is that once the  American people get the facts they will begin to realize that much of what  these liberals advocate is actually helping the enemy.

“The liberals hope you’ll believe them when they tell you how  anti-Communist they are. But they become alarmed if you really inform yourself  on the subject of Socialistic-Communism. For after you inform yourself you  might begin to study the liberal voting record. And this study would show you  how much the liberals are giving aid and comfort to the enemy and how much the  liberals are actually leading America towards Socialism itself.

“For Communism is just another form of socialism, as is fascism.  So now you can see the picture. These liberals want you to know how much they  are doing for you – with your tax money of course. But they don’t want you to  realize that the path they are pursuing is socialistic, and that socialism is  the same as communism in its ultimate effect on our liberties. When you point  this out they want to shut you up – they accuse you of maligning them, of  casting aspersions, of being political. No matter whether they label their  bottle as liberalism, progressivism, or social reform – I know the contents of  the bottle is poison to this Republic and I’m going to call it poison.” (Ezra Taft  Benson. Stand Up For Freedom. Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966.  Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea)

Howard W. Hunter

“You  were given a  great message by Elder Marion G. Romney which was inspiring and profound. He  compared socialism with the United Order.  I encourage you to study carefully that message. He gave much of the basic  theory, the principles, the similarities and the differences between these two  basically conflicting systems. As I accept his premises, logic, and  conclusions, with your permission, at this time, I would like to use his  message as a springboard for my own. The basic principle in his message is the  same principle in mine, as already discussed – the principle of the Law of the  Harvest – As a Man Sows, So Shall He Reap.

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

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

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

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

I would also recommend that everyone  read the talk by Elder Marion G. Romney entitled “Is Socialism the United  Order?” This talk was recommended by Elder Hunter, and as mentioned by Elder  Romney, he was asked by “the Brethren” to give this talk in General Conference  Priesthood meeting of April, 1966. Here are some excerpts from that talk:

“Thus  in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United  Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of  it… Socialism  is political, both in theory and practice. It is thus exposed to, and riddled  by, the corruption that plagues and finally destroys all political governments  that undertake to abridge man’s agency.

“…No,  brethren, socialism is not the United Order. However, notwithstanding my  abhorrence of it, I am persuaded that socialism is the wave of the present and  of the foreseeable future. It has already taken over or is contending for  control in most nations.

“We  here in the United States, in converting our government into a social welfare  state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism. Specifically, we have to an  alarming degree adopted the use of the power of the state in the control and  distribution of the fruits of industry. We are on notice according to the words  of the President, that we are going much further, for he is quoted as saying: ‘We’re  going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it  from the ‘haves’ and give it to the ‘have nots.’” (1964 Congressional Record,  p. 6142, Remarks of the President to a Group of Leaders of Organizations of  Senior Citizens in the Fish Room, March 24, 1964.)

“Socialism  takes: United Order gives.

“That  is the spirit of socialism: We’re going to take. The spirit of the United Order  is: We’re going to give.

Even the scriptures warn us against socialism:

“Wo  unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite,  and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying  hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will  not labor with your own hands!” (D&C 56:17)

“They  shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat:  for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long  enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isaiah 65:22)

What greater condemnation of Socialism  could there be than from God himself? A witness from the Old Testament, and one  from the current dispensation through Joseph Smith, as well as many other  warnings through His prophets and apostles throughout the years.

I recognize that some people, with  good intentions, have been deceived into thinking that socialism is good. I  think what needs to be realized and understood by those who feel that socialism  is in line with the Gospel and teachings of Christ is that the problem is not  regarding whether or not we should help each other, we do have a responsibility  to help those in need, the problem is in others using force and violating our  agency to accomplish it. The ends do not justify the means. Socialism violates  man’s agency. We must be free to give unto others of our own choosing.

Socialism and other false “isms” which  take away our agency are part of an ongoing battle; the war that started in  heaven continues on earth today.

Further recommended reading from Brian M. :

————-

Thank you, Brian M.

Mireja: Psych. Illness Linked to Government-Controlled Education and Interrupted Family Attachment   Leave a comment

http://www.mireja.org/about_mireja.html

Reblogged from Mireja Institute:

In Sweden, many families lack the power to make their own decisions about their close relationships, especially when children arrive.

Symptoms are visible in the national statistics: High levels of stress-related sick leave, ambitious but insecure parents, increasing psychological ill heath among youth, plummeting learning results and more disorder in schools.

The governmental impediments are often well-intentioned: The everyone-to-work policy, gender equality, high subsidised day care, pre- and after-school care and school. But rather than create more welfare, these are in effect often hindrances to the close relationships which are so important to human health, learning and development.

The Mireja Institute seeks to educate people on this important subject.

Mireja Institute is politically and religiously unaffiliated and is neither based on any specific ideology, apart from democracy and human rights. The purpose of The Mireja Institute is to present the knowledge available today about health, learning and personal growth through attachment and relationships, to the political level.

This knowledge is lacking today in the political debate in many countries, Sweden being no exception. When this knowledge is publicly known family policies in most political camps will look different, even though the solutions may vary.

The goal is to make available the knowledge about the potential in close relationships to build welfare, development and democracy.

Jonas Himmelstrand

Founder of The Mireja Institute

Mireja founder Jonas Himmelstrand has been a consultant in business for nearly 30 years focusing on leadership, education and personal development.

Meeting a great number of Swedes in business life during many years raised some concerns about how well the Swedish people were actually doing in the world’s best well-fare system. Jonas spent five years working on a book to explain the phenomena. The problems seemed to boil down to a social system not acknowledging the key importance of family and close relationships to health, personal growth and self-fulfilment.  He currently lives in exile outside of Sweden, due to Sweden’s anti-homeschooling laws.

With The Mireja Institute Jonas spreads knowledge on the subjects of family attachment and educational liberty.  Mireja sends out a free newsletter with research videos and links.

Mireja Newsletter:

This is a newsletter from the think tank Mireja.

The mailing list is expanded and professionalized. You can sign up for the list on the web, and anytime unsubscribe – all with IT automation – see links below. You are receiving this mailing for the first time can learn more about me and think tank Mireja on www.mireja.se/om_mireja.html .
It has been thin with “clips” in the last year. The forced relocation to Åland in Swedish education policy reasons, plus the global homeschooling conference in Berlin took all my time this year. Now with safer living conditions in exile and some good news there are many reasons to revive this mailing list.
Knowledge Channel to broadcast a full study day with Dr. Gordon Neufeld on TV!

The world’s foremost experts on children and young people’s development is the Canadian psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld.

His book “Dare to Take Place in Your Child’s Life” has been translated into 14 languages ​​and is based on a synthesis of classical developmental psychology, attachment theory and contemporary neuroscience. Dr. Neufeld has been to Sweden several times and given study days for school staff and lectures for parents. One key message is that parents and families are far more important for children’s development than we now recognize in the West and especially in Sweden.

Dr. Neufeld’s study day in Sweden in November, “Why doesn’t Charlie listen to his teacher?” Filmed by Knowledge Channel and will be broadcast in its entirety – just over five hours – as follows:

Monday, December 17, at. 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., parts 1 and 2. Tuesday, December 18, at. 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Part 3 and 4. Then, all components of the replay: Friday, December 21, at. 12:00 to 17:15, Part 1-4

After the program was broadcast on television for the first time, they will be available online at www.urplay.se and www.ur.se . To find them, search for “Gordon Neufeld” or the name of the series, “Why doesn’t Charlie listen to his teacher?”  (“Varför lyssnar inte Kalle på sin lärare?”)

Do not miss this opportunity to listen to the entire field day with Dr. Gordon Neufeld absolutely free!

Think tank Mireja’s Swedish website is now fully updated with all the year’s events, including exile, and also with ten links from the historic homeschooling conference in Berlin a few weeks ago.

Welcome back to this mailing list!
Sincerely

Jonas Himmelstrand

Think tank Mireja , Box 1454, SE-114 79 Stockholm, Sweden Phone: +46 8-20 01 14 www.mireja.se * kontakt@mireja.se

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Alisa Ellis: On the Global Education Agenda   1 comment

At a recent conference of “Agency Based Education,” Alisa Ellis spoke about the goals of the U.S. Department of Education as they align with the United Nations’ “Universal Education” goals.  This informative video explains how the nice-sounding plans of the United Nations actually harm us.  They take away parental rights over children and take away teachers’ and school boards’ rights about what will be taught in local schools.

 

The George Soros – American Institutes for Research Connection   1 comment

The Open Society Institute is a main client for the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

See it on the AIR Clients page.  http://www.air.org/about/?fa=viewContent&content_id=351

Socialist George Soros is the Open Society Institute’s  financier.
http://cnsnews.com/blog/dan-gainor/soros-spends-400-million-open-society-education-social-action-colleges-and
The Utah State School Board just spent $39 million to buy the AIR’s version of Common Core tests.
Are the Utah State School Board and Superintendent blind to these political relationships?   Or do they simply agree with them?
I suppose they agree with these philosophies.
The socialists in Utah’s educational leadership do not realize that their actions define them as socialists.

Education Leaders v. Religious Leaders   5 comments

Education Leaders v. Religious Leaders

By Susie Schnell and Oak Norton

http://www.saveasd.com/prominent-educators-vs-religious-leaders/

“And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.” -Mosiah 23:14

Dewey, Goodlad, McKay, Benson

Education Leaders: Goodlad, Dewey, Bloom, etc.                 v.        Religious Leaders:  Benson, Packer, McKay, Lewis, etc.

Public   education has served as a check on the power of parents, and this is   another powerful reason for maintaining it.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 165“[schools] should liberate   students from the ways of thinking imposed by religions and other traditions   of thought.”    -John Goodlad, “Education and Community,” in Democracy, Education, and the Schools, Roger   Stone, pg. 92. “There   is a spirit working among the Saints to educate their own offspring. If our   children will be all we will have for a foundation of glory in eternity, how   needful that they be properly trained… There   are wolves among us in sheep’s clothing ready to lead astray our little ones…   Wolves do not devour old sheep when there are any young ones. I have herded   sheep long enough to know that. Look after your children.” – Elder John W. Taylor, (Collected Discourses 2:138.)“There   are three dangers that threaten the   church from within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact   that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see   them, they are flattery of prominent   men in the world, false   educational ideas, and sexual impurity.”-President Joseph F. Smith (Gospel Doctrine p. 312-313.)
“Most youth   still hold the same values of their parents… if we do not alter this pattern,   if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.” – John Goodlad, Schooling for the Future, Issue #9, 1971 “Many activities link the values of one generation to   the next, but perhaps the most central of these activities is parents teaching children in the home.   This is especially true when we consider the teaching of values, moral and ethical standards, and faith.” -Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2010 LDS General Conference
Parents do not   own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education   fully.” – John Goodlad   / Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 164 “[We should] reassert the primary right and   responsibility of parents for the total education of their children, including social values, religious   convictions, and political concepts. Schools should be reminded that their   primary field of competence is academic, not social adjustment, or world   citizenship, or sex education. Parents should stand firm on this and not be   intimidated by ‘professional educators.’ After all, it’s their children and   their money.” -Ezra Taft Benson (An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 231)
Education is a   task for both parents and state. The state, parents, and children all have interests that must be protected.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, 2001, pg. 164 “While   other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to ‘train   up a child in the way he [or she] should go’ (Proverbs 22:6), ultimately this   responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the   care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children. ” -Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2010 LDS General Conference
“The curriculum of the future will be what one might   call the humanistic curriculum.” – John Goodlad   / Directions of Curriculum Change, The NEA Journal, March 1966“Education is thus a most powerful ally of   Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What   can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and   teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day   program of humanistic teaching?” -Charles   Potter, co-signer with John Dewey of the Humanist Manifesto, “Humanism: a New   Religion”, pg. 128(Humanism   is the denial of God and elevation of man. It is the “Korihor” doctrine if   you are LDS.) “Humanism is a threat to the work of the   Lord. One   of the greatest threats to the work of the Lord today comes from false   educational ideas. There is a growing tendency of teachers within and without   the church to make academic interpretations of gospel teachings – to read, as   a prophet leader has said, ‘by the lamp of their own conceit.’ Unfortunately,   much in the sciences, the arts, politics and the entertainment field, as has   been well said by an eminent scholar, ‘all dominated by this humanistic approach which ignores God and   his word as revealed through the prophets.’ This kind of worldly system   apparently hopes to draw men away from God by making man the ‘measure of all   things’ as some worldly philosophers have said.” -Harold   B. Lee, Conference Report 10/68 p. 59.“There is promise, given under inspiration from the Almighty, set forth in these beautiful words: “God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.” (D&C 121:26.) The humanists who criticize us, the so-called intellectuals who demean us, speak only from ignorance of this manifestation… They have not heard it because they have not sought after it and prepared themselves to be worthy of it. … Do not be trapped by the sophistry of the world which for the most part is negative and which seldom, if ever, bears good fruit. … Rather, “look to God and live.” (Alma 37:47.)” -Gordon B. Hinckley,  10/83 GC, Be Not Deceived“We   are very particular to forbid anyone from preaching Catholicism, or   Protestantism, or Mormonism, or Judaism, in a public school classroom, but   for some reason we are very patient with those who teach the negative   expression of religion. In the separation of church and state we   ought to demand more protection from the agnostic, from the atheist, from the   communist, from the skeptic, from the humanist and the pragmatist, than we   have yet been given… I   submit that the atheist has no more right to teach the fundamentals of his   sect in the public school than does the theist. Any system in the schools or   in society that protects the destruction of faith and forbids, in turn, the   defense of it must ultimately destroy the moral fiber of the people.” -Elder   Boyd K. Packer, What Every Freshman Should Know, September 1973 Ensign
Enlightened   social engineering is required to face situations that demand global   action now.” – John Goodlad / Schooling for a Global Age, pg. xiii “If they embark on this course the difference   between the old and the new education will be an important one. Where the old initiated, the new merely   ‘conditions’. The old dealt with its pupils as grown birds deal with young   birds when they teach them to fly; the new deals with them more as the   poultry-keeper deals with young birds- making them thus or thus for purposes   of which the birds know nothing. In a word, the old was a kind of   propagation-men transmitting manhood to men; the new is merely propaganda.” -C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man, Pg. 22
“…educators   must resist the quest for certainty. If there were certainty there would   be no scientific advancement. So it is   with morals and patriotism.” – John Goodlad / Education for Everyone: Agenda for   Education in a Democracy, Woods Learning Center, pg. 6“…a student attains ‘higher order thinking’   when he no longer believes in right or wrong. A large part of what we   call good teaching is a teacher´s ability to obtain affective objectives by   challenging the student’s fixed beliefs. …a large part of what we call teaching is that the teacher should be   able to use education to reorganize a child’s thoughts, attitudes, and   feelings.” -Benjamin   Bloom, psychologist and educational theorist, “Major Categories in the   Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,” pg. 185 Unfortunately, other educators deny   the existence of God or deem God irrelevant to the human condition. Persons who accept this view deny the existence   of moral absolutes. They maintain that right and wrong are relative   concepts, and morality is merely a matter of personal choice or expediency.” -Elder   Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, October 1992, pg. 60“God uses scripture to unmask erroneous   thinking, false traditions, and sin with its devastating effects. He is a   tender parent who would spare us needless suffering and grief and at the same   time help us realize our divine potential. The scriptures, for example, discredit an ancient philosophy that has   come back into vogue in our day—the philosophy of Korihor that there are no   absolute moral standards, that “every man prosper[s] according to his   genius, and that every man conquer[s] according to his strength; and   whatsoever a man [does is] no crime” and “that when a man [is] dead, that   [is] the end thereof” (Alma 30:17–18)” -Elder   D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010 LDS General Conference
I walked out   of jail and into my first teaching position—and from that day until this   I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a   project intimately connected with social justice.” -Bill Ayers at the World Education Forum in Caracas,   Venezuela in front of Pres. Hugo Chavez“It is my expectation that Teacher Education for   Democracy and Social Justice will   become a rich resource for continuing this multi-layered conversation-from   democratic belief to democratic action-that is the hallmark of educational   renewal.” -John Goodlad’s forward to “Teacher Education for Democracy and Social   Justice,” Nicholas Michelli and David Lee Keiser “In a   complete reversal from a century ago, many today would dispute with Alma   about the seriousness of immorality. Others would argue that it’s all   relative or that God’s love is permissive. If there is a God, they say, He   excuses all sins and misdeeds because of His love for us—there is no need for   repentance. Or at most, a simple confession will do. They have imagined a Jesus who wants people to work for social   justice but who makes no demands upon their personal life and behavior.” -Elder   D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010 LDS General Conference“I wonder how much we offend Satan if the proclamation   of our faith is limited only to the great humanitarian work this church does   throughout the world, marvelous as these activities are. When we preach the gospel of social justice, no doubt the devil is   not troubled.” -President James E. Faust, Liahona, November 1995, pg.   3
“…the state we   should strive for is better described in Deweyan terms as a social democracy.” – John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, 2001, pg. 153 I feel to warn you that one of the chief   means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our   educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is   advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes   of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close   to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose the   deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes and others.   There are much worse things today that can happen to a child than not getting   a full education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our   children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at   subversion and amorality.” -Ezra   Taft Benson (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 307.)
“I do not see how any honest educational reformer   in western countries can deny that the greatest practical obstacle in the way   of introducing into schools that connection with social life which he regards   as desirable is the great part played by personal competition and desire for   private profit in our economic life. This fact almost makes it necessary that   in important respects school activities should be protected from social   contacts and connections, instead of being organized to create them. The Russian educational situation is   enough to convert one to the idea that only in a society based upon the   cooperative principle can the ideals of educational reformers be adequately   carried into operation.” – John Dewey, Impressions of Soviet Russia   and the Revolutionary World, pg. 86“I believe that the school is primarily a social   institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form   of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be   most effective in bringing the child to share   in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social   ends. I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not   a preparation for future living.” -John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, January 1897 When you speak of peace, the Communists   mean the cessation of all opposition to Communism, the acceptance of a   Communist world. Then, and only then, can there be peace. This alone is   what peace means in Communist language. Once this is understood the utter   falsity and hypocrisy of Communist references to peace becomes at once   obvious. I have mentioned these things   simply to emphasize one dominant force which has as its ultimate achievement   and victory-the destruction of capitalism, the destruction of the free agency   of man which God has given him, and that destruction may be brought about-as   advocated by Marx himself-in a brutal way. What is the other force? It is   just the opposite. Jesus said to the man who came and asked him which is the   greatest law, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou   serve, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as   thyself.’ When Marx was asked one time what was his object, he answered, ‘To   dethrone God.’ -David   O. McKay, Two Contending Forces, BYU Speech, May 18, 1960
Every child in America entering school at   the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances   to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents,   toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this   nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these   sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.” -Dr.   Chester M. Pierce, Harvard Professor of Education and Psychiatry, in an   address to the Childhood International Education Seminar in 1973 “From the   5th grade through the 4th year of college, our young people are being   indoctrinated with a Marxist philosophy and I am fearful of the harvest. The younger generation is further to the   left than most adults realize. The old concepts of our Founding Fathers are   scoffed and jeered at by young moderns whose goals appear to be the   destruction of integrity and virtue, and the glorification of pleasure,   thrills, and self-indulgence.” -Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg. 321
Education should aim at destroying free   will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout   the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school   masters would have wished …” -Bertrand   Russell, quoting Gottlieb Fichte the head of psychology that influenced Hegel   and others. “Wherefore,   because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him…I caused that he should be cast down;” -Moses 4:3“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will,   and bring to pass much righteousness;” -Doctrine & Covenants 58:27“We must protect this American base from   the brainwashing, increasingly administered to our youth in many educational   institutions across the land, by some misinformed instructors and some wolves   in sheep’s clothing. Their false indoctrination, often perpetrated behind the   front of so-called academic freedom, is leaving behind many faithless   students, socialist-oriented, who are easy subjects for state tyranny.” -Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1962

The Battle Over the American Classroom   2 comments

There is a battle going on for control of American classrooms.

It’s a battle about which many students, teachers and State School Board Members are still blissfully unaware.

It’s a battle between the rights of each individual and each locality, versus the collective, as defined by the United Nations and, now, even by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

It’s a battle for what gets planted in the mind of the child.

It’s a battle for constitutional, local control (of students’ standards, tests, and curriculum) versus worldwide control (with education to be determined by federal and global cooperatives without any significant local representation.)

It’s also a battle between teaching the traditional academics: reading, writing, math, science and history, versus teaching the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which envisions a new “education” –that many are calling indoctrination.

The new “education” marginalizes academics.

It calls itself “World Class Education” but it is only a communistic sameness of learning across all countries.  It prioritizes “sustainable development,” “Social Justice” (redistribution of global wealth), the “collective good,” “going green” and “global citizenship” far above teaching academics.

And it presents “climate change” as if it were a real and settled science.

     The Department of Education, sadly, has betrayed us, lining up with the United Nations in this battle.  Link: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

Today,  the battle for the rights over a child’s life and learning has hit the news in a new form, under the title of  a United Nations treaty for the Disabled.   But it’s the same fight.  It’s a fight for our children.  http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-oppose-vote-un-disability-treaty-223300511.html

In the U.N. Disability treaty, the word “disability” is fuzzily defined.  Not really defined.  It uses an “evolving” definition.  Slippery!  Does “disabled’ mean a child with a mental handicap, including dyslexia or another common academic struggle?  Does it mean someone with a missing finger? A missing leg? A missing tooth?  And why should the government be the one to determine what is in such a child’s best interests, over the parents’ feelings?  This is a slippery slope of giving another sacred, hard-won American freedom, of parental rights over the child, utterly away.

This United Nations treaty poses as a helpful move, to ensure rights for the disabled, but what it really does is make the government, and not the parents, decision makers about what is in the best interest of a child, including whether home schooling is legal.

That provision, in the words of Rick Santorum, is “a direct assault on us and our family.”

Some also say that the treaty calls for people with disabilities to have “access to the same sexual and reproductive health programs as others” which means it might be linked to abortion.

So often, what starts off as an apparently  kindly socialistic “access to” a thing, soon becomes compulsory.

Former Utah Supreme Court Justice Dallin H. Oaks ruled that:

“Family autonomy helps to assure the diversity characteristic of a free society.  There is no surer way to preserve pluralism than to allow parents maximum latitude in rearing their own children.  Much of the rich variety in American culture has been transmitted from generation to generation by determined parents who were acting against the best interest of their children, as defined by official dogma.  Conversely, there is no surer way to threaten pluralism than to terminate the rights of parents who contradict officially approved values imposed by reformers empowered to determine what is in the ‘best interest’ of someone else’s child.”

—Dallin Oaks’ point is so vital.  Parents’ idea of what is in the best interest of their children does NOT necessarily match the “official dogma” of governments. 

No education reformers –U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, President Obama, Pearson CEA Sir Michael Barber, Bill Ayers, UNESCO– have the right to determine what is in the best interest of someone else’s child.  Period.

Arne Duncan’s 2010 speech exposes the U.S. Dept. of Education’s stance: that education should be the same everywhere, globally, and that competition and innovation is of the past.  Listen to this communist speak.  He is our U.S. Secretary of Education.  He is in charge of American K-12 children.  He even quotes Sir Michael Barber as if that’s a good thing.

“It is an absolute honor to address UNESCO. During the last 65 years, UNESCO has done so much to advance the cause of education and gender equity…   The promise of universal education was then a lonely beacon—a light to guide the way to peace and the rebuilding of nations across the globe. Today, the world… faces a crisis of a different sort, the global economic crisis. And education is still the beacon lighting the path forward—perhaps more so today than ever before.

Education is still the key to eliminating gender inequities, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet… education is the new currency…

… the Obama administration has an ambitious and unified theory of action that propels our agenda. The challenge of transforming education in America cannot be met by quick-fix solutions or isolated reforms. It can only be accomplished with a clear, coherent, and coordinated vision of reform.

Second, while America must improve its stagnant educational and economic performance, President Obama and I reject the protectionist Cold War-era assumption that improving economic competitiveness is somehow a zero-sum game, with one nation’s gain being another country’s loss.

I want to make the case to you today that enhancing educational attainment and economic viability, both at home and abroad, is really more of a win-win game; it is an opportunity to grow the economic pie, instead of carve it up.

As President Obama said in his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year, “Any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.”

There is so much that the United States has to learn from nations with high-performing education systems… I am convinced that the U.S. education system now has an unprecedented opportunity to get dramatically better. Nothing—nothing—is more important in the long-run to American prosperity than boosting the skills and attainment of the nation’s students… Closing the achievement gap and closing the opportunity gap is the civil rights issue of our generation. One quarter of U.S. high school students drop out or fail to graduate on time. Almost one million students leave our schools for the streets each year. That is economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable.

One of the more unusual and sobering press conferences I participated in last year was the release of a report by a group of top retired generals and admirals. Here was the stunning conclusion of their report: 75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 to 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school…   education is taking on more and more importance around the globe. In the last decade, international competition in higher education and the job market has grown dramatically…

Yet there is also a paradox at the heart of America’s efforts to bolster international competitiveness.

To succeed in the global economy, the United States, just like other nations, will have to become both more economically competitive and more collaborative.

In the information age, more international competition has spawned more international collaboration. Today, education is a global public good unconstrained by national boundaries.

… economic interdependence brings new global challenges and educational demands…. America alone cannot combat terrorism or curb climate change. To succeed, we must collaborate with other countries.

These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations—not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community. A just and socially responsible society must also be anchored in civic engagement for the public good.

…Yet even as the United States works to strengthen its educational system, it is important to remember that advancing educational attainment and achievement everywhere brings benefits not just to the U.S. but around the globe. In the knowledge economy, education is the new game-changer driving economic growth.

Education, as Nelson Mandela says, “is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

From Indonesia to Pakistan to Kenya, education has immeasurable power to promote growth and stability. It is absolutely imperative that the United States seize the opportunity to help Haiti build a stronger school system from the ruins of its old, broken one—just as America coalesced to build a fast-improving, vibrant school system in New Orleans after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

…Educating girls and integrating them into the labor force is especially critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. It is hard to imagine a better world without a global commitment to providing better education for women and youth—including the 72 million children who do not attend primary school today.

And don’t forget that a better-educated world would be a safer world, too… My department has been pleased to partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development to help ensure that our best domestic practices are shared world-wide.

The United States provides over a billion dollars annually to partner countries working on educational reform.

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO, to promote qualitative improvements and system-strengthening…

Ultimately, education is the great equalizer. It is the one force that can consistently overcome differences in background, culture, and privilege…

Now, it is true that not all will share equally in the benefits of the knowledge economy. College-educated workers will benefit the most. That makes President Obama’s 2020 goal, the goal of once again having the highest proportion of college graduates, all the more central to building U.S. competitiveness.

… President Obama, a progressive president… wants to improve teacher evaluation…The President and I both recognize that improving educational outcomes for students is hard work with no easy answers. And transformational reform especially takes time in the United States…

The North Star guiding the alignment of our cradle-to-career education agenda is President Obama’s goal that, by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That goal can only be achieved by creating a strong cradle-to-career continuum that starts with early childhood learning and extends all the way to college and careers.

In the U.S., early learning has come into its own. It is now recognized as the first and most critical stage in human development. We have a special opportunity today to build a bigger and better coordinated system of early care and education that prepares children for success in school and life—in place of a system with uneven quality and access.

…Tragically, low-income and minority students do not have equitable access to effective teachers in the United States. Too often, the children who need the most help get the least. Too often, we perpetuate poverty and social failure—and that has got to stop.

…The United States cannot substantially boost graduation rates and promise a world-class education to every child without ending the cycle of failure in the lowest-performing five percent of our schools. Year after year, and in some cases for decades, these schools cheated children out of the opportunity for an excellent education. As adults, as educators, as leaders, America passively observed this educational failure with a complacency that is deeply disturbing.

Fewer than 2,000 high schools in the United States—a manageable number—produce half of all its dropouts. These “dropout factories” produce almost 75 percent—three-fourths—of our dropouts from the minority community, our African-American and Latino boys and girls.

…Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.

Before the 1960s, almost all policymaking and education funding was a state and local responsibility. In the mid-1960s, the federal role expanded to include enforcing civil rights laws to ensure that poor, minority, and disabled students, as well as English language learners, had access to a high-quality education.

As the federal role in education grew, so did the bureaucracy. All too often, the U.S. Department of Education operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation. The department typically focused on ensuring that formula funds reached their intended recipients in the proper fashion. It focused on inputs—not educational outcomes or equity.

The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities. While the vast majority of department funding is still formula funding, the Recovery Act created additional competitive funding like the high-visibility $4.35 billion Race to the Top program and the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund, which we call i3.

I’ve said that America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform. And this is very much a revolution driven by leaders in statehouses, state school superintendents, local lawmakers, district leaders, union heads, school boards, parents, principals, and teachers.

To cite just one example, the department’s Race to the Top Program challenged states to craft concrete, comprehensive plans for reforming their education systems. The response was nothing less than extraordinary. Forty-six states submitted applications—and the competition drove a national conversation about education reform. Thirty-two states changed specific laws that posed barriers to innovation. And even states that did not win awards now have a state roadmap for reform hammered out. [UTAH]

The i3 program also had a phenomenal response. The $650 million i3 fund offered support to school districts, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education to scale-up promising practices.

…I said earlier that the United States now has a unique opportunity to transform our education system in ways that will resonate for decades to come. Last year and this year, the federal government provided unprecedented funds to support education and reform.

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

But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted [state-crafted] Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common… standards… That is an absolute game-changer …

The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards. In September, I announced the results of the department’s $350 million Race to the Top assessment completion to design this next generation of assessments.

Two state consortiums, which together cover 44 states and the District of Columbia, won awards. These new assessments will have much in common with the first-rate assessments now used in many high-performing countries outside the U.S. When these new assessments are in use in the 2014-15 school year, millions of U.S. schoolchildren, parents, and teachers will know, for the first time, if students truly are on-track for colleges and careers.

For the first time, many teachers will have the assessments they have longed for…

    Sir Michael Barber’s book, Instruction to Deliver, reminds us that the unglamorous work of reform matters enormously…

…we are committed to establishing a different relationship with the 50 states—one more focused on providing tailored support to improve student outcomes.

… America has a great deal to learn from the educational practices of other countries…

…I welcome this international dialogue, which is only beginning. In December, in Washington, I will join the OECD Secretary General for the global announcement of the 2009 PISA results. In March, we will be sponsoring an International Summit on the Teaching Profession

Thinking of the future as a contest among nations vying for larger pieces of a finite economic pie is a recipe for protectionism and global strife. Expanding educational attainment everywhere is the best way to grow the pie for all…”   – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 2010 speech

Full text:

http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

Teacher Susan Wilcox – Part II: It Feels Like Communism   1 comment

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingCommon Core: It Feels Like Communism

By Utah Teacher Susan Wilcox

It doesn’t feel like the happy neighborhood schools we used to have. Principals are trained to put off parents and just stand firm on what the districts dictate. Parents have become afraid to speak, too, because they are singled out.

I came clean with a few parents at parent teacher conference and tried hard to express my discontent in a friendly way, not making the district look too harsh, but they are.

They ask teachers out of formality to make it look like they respect us, then go ahead with their own agenda.

I am glad to share – I had a lot of emotional, upset moments in the publics schools over this and held SO MUCH INSIDE. Everyone is afraid – it feels like communism, really.

Parents need to be reading and speaking up. They need to be going to EACH school board in hoards, and protesting this but there has been NO discussion amongst parents at all, no voting, as you said in the website, and we have just been told as teachers what to teach and how to teach it. That is not what any of us want for our public schools! I can only speak from experience, but at least you know you are getting one teacher’s story.

Susan Wilcox

Are People Afraid of Educational Freedom?   Leave a comment

"Like" LDS Liberty's *page* to continue receiving quotes from Prophets and Apostles as they get released.Some people are afraid of freedom. Not me.

Some people who’ve spent time in jail return to jail deliberately, having found it was scarier to be free than to be a prisoner.  They preferred guaranteed “safety” over the possibilities (and responsibilities) of freedom.

And people with that attitude seems to be growing.

If Obama got more votes than Romney (and it wasn’t a fraudulent, rigged election) then a lot of voters want a nanny government that is “safe” like prison, that is a sort of provider as it is also a slavemaster.  This system enriches the few elites, wastes money on bureaucracies, and sometimes, but barely, pays for the poor.  It’s communism.

Do unemployed people (those who could work, but don’t) really prefer a tiny government check and food stamps to self respect, self control and freedom?

But more to the point:

Are we afraid of educational freedom?

Do we prefer pre-packaged, nationally written tests and standards to writing our own?  Do we so fear failing that we don’t want to have the liberty to innovate and soar or fail on our own?  Do we believe that other people –federal officials, for example–  know best?  If so, why?

Common Core is based on a lie; the lie is that the only way to address the problems we have nationally in education is to put the collective nation in charge of each locality’s choices: what to teach and to test.

That collective notion is not the way to effectively fix the education problems; the right way is to give localities back their own freedom to innovate, to seek out the best and to determine and use what actually works.  Give them back their tax money, their self respect, their self-determination, and their freedom.  Let them look to the best of the best, like the pre-Common Core educational system of Massachusetts, which was second to none– but never to force any system, no matter how good it may be, on states the way the Dept. of Education has coerced states to adopt Common Core with the dangling carrot of grant money (Race To The Top).

The federal government is too big to be adequately aware of local needs.  The Constitution writers set up our nation to make sure that pretty much everything was up to the states– except things like the military, which needed to be federalized for obvious reasons.

Unconstitutional moves –like Common Core– hurt our country.   Look at nationalized health care, a horrible idea, a sick waste of money, a sure way to make sure wait lines are long and service slackens as it has in the European countries.  Ask a Swede.  Ask a Czech.  (I have!)

Similarly, in education, nationalized school systems are a horrible idea, a sure way to make sure innovation stops, mass indoctrination has full sway, teachers’ skills are repressed and boxed in, and students are herded and tracked and branded like cattle rather than taught as individuals.

Some of us are fast.  Some of us are slow.  Common Core is a shackle that tries to make everybody the same.  And that ain’t fun and it ain’t freedom:  not for students, not for teachers, not for textbook writers.

Please, join the fight to reclaim our educational freedom.  Help repeal Common Core.

Will Common Core Rescue or Worsen American Illiteracy Rates?   Leave a comment

     The New American magazine ran an article this week entitled “How to Eradicate Illiteracy in America,” by Sam Blumenfeld.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/13752-how-to-eradicate-illiteracy-in-america

Blumenfeld writes that according to the National Center for Education Statistics 2003 report,  43 percent of American adults are virtually illiterate.  But nobody seems to have noticed.

Blumenfeld writes that “The socialist curriculum is so deeply entrenched in the education system, that there is no possibility that the illiteracy-producing machine can be stopped. Such reform efforts as Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education can’t even begin to address the issue of illiteracy. They espouse the thinking of all previous establishment reformers: set standards and spend more money.”

Blumenfeld blames John Dewey for much of the illiteracy in America today.

“Today many children not only can’t read the Bible, they can’t read a newspaper. They can’t read, period. How did this situation come about? It all started in 1898 when socialist John Dewey proclaimed that the traditional primary school subjects that emphasized literacy, spelling, and arithmetic for the development of independent thinking, must be replaced by a new curriculum that emphasized socialization and group think.

Blumenfeld calls Dewey’s sales pitch baloney.  Dewey had written: “It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years.  The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activities at this time. “

Blumenfeld explains, “The illiterate student doesn’t make rapid progress later. He becomes stuck in his illiteracy.”

Blumenfeld concludes that the only way to eradicate illiteracy is to go directly to the people affected by the programs that create illiteracy.

“This means creating a massive campaign for universal literacy that can only be successfully undertaken by conservative leaders who sincerely believe in the cause. They must want to help those who have been academically damaged and handicapped by the schools. And they must embark on a program to teach these people to read.”

Why So Many Indoctrinate Kids About “Going Green”   Leave a comment

I have been watching these videos today because my son is sick and has been napping. I’m glad I took the time. I have learned even more about the Sustainable Development movement that I did not know before. Highly recommended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second, the academy begins by the 9th grade. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education isn’t Neutral   Leave a comment

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

Words need context.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- a war on student data privacy

- a war on classic literature

- a war on traditional, time-tested math

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

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

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

-a war against transparency;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does Educational Freedom Really Matter? An Interview With Jonas Himmelstrand   Leave a comment

Jonas Himmelstrand Interview – March 4th 2012 -… by WellBoyFilmsIreland

Socialism sounds so great on the surface, but it leads to less and less freedom.  This interview of Swedish Homeschooler Jonas Himmelstrand by WellBoyFilms in Ireland explains how the good intentions of the Swedish Government went too far, and is pushing families out of the country. Here are some highlights:

Jonas Himmelstrand Interview – March 4th 2012 -… by WellBoyFilmsIreland

Himmelstrand said:

“In Sweden, everyone has a personal number that you’re given at birth and that registers where you live, so the local authorities will just simply look at  the list of how many children are seven years of age– this year they should be in school– and if that number is not registered in any school, then they will start and will track you down….they basically know everything about everybody. Unless you are living at a secret address…    

They are very hard on truancy… from the standpoint of the authorities, homeschool is just another truancy… Basically, there’s no support in parliament for homeschooling at the moment…. Swedish media tends to want to support certain government policies and they think that the school obligation, general equality, day care are such good things that everybody should support, they just don’t write about it… many Swedish families are dissatisfied in Sweden… so, it’s a sensitive subject and somehow, Swedish media don’t have that courage to be open in expressing about it… 

Unfortunately, it’s going to have to get worse before it gets better. It think it’s going to have to become more public what a form of oppression and harrassment and humiliation Swedish government is now doing to homeschooling… and of course, eventually we will win because Homeschooling is a great educational alternative.

It’s a bit uncomfortable for Sweden to say that education was made illegal in Germany in 1938 and it was made illegal in Sweden in 2011.  That’s uncomfortable…” –Jonas Himmelstrand

Look Behind You   4 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Look behind you.

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

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

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

This is what I’m asking you to do.

Just look for yourself.

Common Core Costs Require Large Class Sizes, According To the NGA   1 comment

Common Core has a “how-to” implementation manual.

In this manual, on page 25, the manual discourages governors from reducing class sizes, in order to “maximize resources and share costs” for Common Core implementation.

It says: “… policies that limit class sizes in all grades hinder district efforts to achieve cost savings” and “Class size reduction policies are costly...” http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/1110CCSSIIMPLEMENTATIONGUIDE.PDF  (p. 25)

This manual is published by the National Governor’s Association (NGA).

The NGA, in partnership with the Council of Chief State State School Officers (CCSSO), are the “sole developers” and copyright holders of the standards.

Quote:

“Copyright Notice:  NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license .

How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk   1 comment

    A new white paper, “How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk,” by Emory University English Professor Mark Bauerlein and University of Arkansas Professor Sandra Stotsky, was released this month by Pioneer Institute.  http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120917_CommonCoreELAStandards.pdf

What are the highlights of this 44-page white paper?

Diminishing of  Literature:

College readiness will decrease under Common Core, say the paper’s authors, because secondary English curriculum in Common Core prioritizes informational reading and reduces the study of literary traditions.

“A literature-heavy English curriculum, properly constructed, yields college-readiness in reading better than an information-heavy English curriculum.  And we know of no research showing otherwise.”

The authors explain that Common Core provides no evidence to support its promise that more informational reading in the English class will make students ready for college-level coursework.

“We know of no research… to support that faith. Rather, the history of college readiness in the 20th century suggests that problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward. Until that time, a literature-heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed.”

Do Students Need More Than Reading Lessons in High School?

The paper also says that Common Core “yokes the English curriculum to a test of general reading ability” and transforms English classrooms into reading comprehension classes, even at the high school level.  Although Common Core does not specify that only English teachers will teach informational text, the authors feel that English teachers will bear the brunt of this mandate.

“It is hard to imagine that low reading scores in a school district will force grade 11 government/history and science teachers to devote more time to reading instruction. Instead, it is more likely that English teachers will be expected to diminish the number of their literary selections and align readings with test proportions.”

Politicized texts:

The authors bring up another point:  the stress on more informational reading in the English class will not only lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking, but will also raise political red flags: “Informational texts are often assigned today not for their complexity and promotion of college readiness in reading, but for their topical and/or political nature. Clear examples can be found in a volume published in 2011 by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to show teachers how to implement Common Core’s standards…”

Artificial college readiness a camouflage for lowering academic challenge

The authors also speculate that perhaps “the case for more informational texts and increasing complexity (but not necessarily text difficulty) is a camouflage for lowering academic challenge so that more high school students will appear college-ready upon (or perhaps before) graduation.”

Conclusion

The authors recommend that because Common Core’s stress on informational reading is “misplaced” –and because it reflects standards built with “the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects,” standards that were “not developed nor approved by English teachers and Humanities scholars, nor were they research-based or internationally benchmarked,” –because of this, the professors recommend that those states who have adopted Common Core should 1) emphasize the literary-historical content that already exists in the standards and 2) should add an additional literature-based standard to address Common Core’s lack of literary content.  These actions, they say, are fully supported by Common Core.

“Far from contradicting Common Core, these actions follow its injunction that, apart from ‘certain critical content for all students, including…American literature and Shakespeare… the remaining crucial decisions about what should be taught are left to state and local determination.'”

http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120917_CommonCoreELAStandards.pdf  (full text)

Who Drives Common Core — the States?   Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

 Because that’s what the White House does.

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

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

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

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

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

It is so, so wrong.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Need for Parental Empowerment in Education: From Renee Braddy   8 comments

The comments and stories below were written by Renee Braddy (dark hair, the mom the middle of the three moms photo above)

   “Last year I was at my daughter’s elementary school when I overheard a conversation between a family and the principal.  This family’s kindergarten son had qualified for all-day kindergarten.  And, let me say that qualifying for this so called service of all-day kindergarten is a JOKE!!!  I cannot emphasize that enough.  I watched and listened carefully as my daughter was administered the same test.  I was actually asked by the teacher administering the test to wait in the hall while the test was given.  As a former teacher who is greatly opposed to parents being left in the dark and as an involved and curious parent, I requested that I be allowed to just sit in the corner.  Pathetic!

This boy was from a family that I’m assuming spoke English as their second language.  I heard the father translating questions from the mother to the principal.  The first question was, “what time will he have lunch?”

The next question was, “how long does his lunch last?”

The last question that I heard was the father asking, “Can his mother come and get him from school to bring him home to have lunch with her?”

It broke my heart.  Here were parents who wanted to have their child home and yet felt obligated to have him in school all-day based on a very poor assessment.  I could tell that they sincerely wanted to do what was best for him.

   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “don’t do it!  You DON’T HAVE TO SEND HIM TO SCHOOL ALL DAY!  You are his parents and YOU can offer him SO MUCH MORE.”

The hardest part for me was the end of the conversation when the principal answered the question about whether or not this boy’s mother would be allowed to have her son come home for lunch each day.  The principal seemed perplexed and stammered for a minute and then said, “well, ummmm, you are the first person that has EVER asked me that.”  He then thought for a bit longer and said, “I think we could probably arrange for that to happen.”

I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me?  Why do parents have to ask for permission to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child?  Do we even understand that we have choices and that we are not obligated to send our children to all-day kindergarten or to school at all?”

   Have we really come this far in society that we don’t understand that we are the parents and we as such God has given us stewardship over our children?

2.      I have a nephew that didn’t speak a word until after his fourth birthday.  He would have easily qualified for government funded preschool.  Fortunately, he was the fifth child and his parents had gained experience and wisdom.  His mother kept him home with her and taught him and worked with him and when he began to finally speak, he spoke in full sentences and is now in 4thgrade and  at the top of his class.

I have a friend who does very well financially and her daughter qualified for government funded preschool at the age of two because she didn’t speak.  I said to her,“are you kidding me, wouldn’t that be every 2 year old?”

She said, “I know, I just figured that if they were offering the service, I would take advantage of it, then I wouldn’t have to get a babysitter while I go to the gym.”

Unfortunately, this is the mentality of far too many parents.  We have come to not only accept these so-called services, but many actually expect them.

I am sure you are hearing from very qualified well-intentioned individuals who are so-called experts in educating children.  I know because many of them were my professors and colleagues when I taught school.  I was shocked when I saw Dr. Nancy Livingston, whom was one of my BYU professors at BYU testifying to the importance of the state board adopting preschool standards.

Although, I have respect for these individuals, I do not think they have a deep appreciation for freedom and liberty.  When I went to talk to my former principal in Provo about concerns that I have with Common Core, she asked me what I was really concerned about.  I told her that I believe we are heading down a path towards socialism.

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “like Canada and Australia”.  She wasn’t concerned.

I then said, “I am worried that if we can nationalize education and make all the standards common, what’s keeping us from mandating equal funding to education?”

She said, “I would love that, wouldn’t that be great!”

I asked her, “Where will the money come from?”

She said, “I don’t know, but wouldn’t that be great, I would just love to have the resources that other states have.”

I was blown away and had to excuse myself as I knew we were too philosophically unaligned to have any further meaningful discussion on the matter.

In my opinion, we need to give the responsibility of being a parent back to the parents.  I believe that this would be the best service and gift that we could give to children.

I would love to talk to you further about this.  Again, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I DO NOT believe the statement, “those that start behind, stay behind.”  THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!

Children are not machines or robots, they are individuals and their needs vary.  We cannot put them into these so-called High Quality Preschools with a ratio of 1:10 or 1:20 and expect to solve society’s problems.”

-   –   –   –   –   –   –   –  -

Thank you, Renee.

What’s So Wrong About Socialism?   Leave a comment

What is so wrong about socialism, and why is it so bad that it’s being pushed and prodded into American education and all aspects of America by both sides of the political aisle?

The question is so eloquently answered from a man who knows what he is talking about– Ezra Taft Benson: (Excerpt from Benson’s 1977 speech, “A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion.”)

http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

“…Isaiah foresaw the time when a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth among men (see Isaiah 29:14). Isaiah also predicted that there would be those that “seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they [shall] say, Who seeth us?” (Isaiah 29:15)…

“Yes, Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble figures in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of communism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Today, if we are alert, we can see further fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies…

“Through the instigation of Marx and Engels, a most successful counterfeit to the united order was introduced into the world. The declaration of principles found in their Manifesto to the World advocated the overthrow of capitalism and free enterprise, the abolition of private property, the elimination of the family as a social unit, the abolition of all classes, the overthrow of all governments, and the establishment of communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society. All this was to be accomplished by revolution.

“On July 3, 1936, the First Presidency published this warning to Church members. I quote it in part; I hope you will get a copy of the full statement for your files. In part, the statement reads:

. . . Communism is not a political party, nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government. . . .

Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.

To our Church members we say, Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto. Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action. . . .

Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. . . .

Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.

We call upon all Church members completely to eschew [and shun] Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

Signed, President Heber J. Grant J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay The First Presidency

“…I have been on both sides of the Iron Curtain several times. I have talked to these godless leaders face to face. I say to you with all the sincerity of my soul that since 1933 this godless counterfeit to the gospel has made tremendous progress towards its objective of world domination, for over one-third of the human family are now under totalitarian subjugation.

“Today we are in a battle for the bodies and souls of men. It is a battle between two opposite systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and anti-Christ. The struggle today is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the conventional wisdom, so called, is that we have got to learn to live with communism, to give up our ideas about national sovereignty. You hear that repeated today. Tell that to the millions—yes, the scores of millions—who have met death or imprisonment under the tyranny of communism. Learn to live with communism? Such would be the death knell of freedom and all we hold dear.

The gospel of Jesus Christ can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. As members of his Church, we have a major responsibility to do all in our power to see that freedom is preserved and safeguarded. I pray that God will bless you to see communism for what it really is: the greatest system of human slavery that the world has ever known. May you not be deceived into believing that the communists have moderated their goal toward world domination…

“…Socialism—a Philosophy Incompatible with Man’s Liberty

“Another notable counterfeit system to the Lord’s plan is collectivized socialism. Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and Engels. Communism in practice is socialism. Its purpose is world socialism, which the communists seek to achieve by revolution, and which the socialists seek to achieve by evolution. Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty. As was said so well by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “The two are as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon our liberties.”

“Why is socialism incompatible with man’s liberty? Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything. When individuals begin to exert their God-given rights, the state has to suppress that freedom. So belief in God must be suppressed, and with that gone freedom of conscience and religion must also go. Those are the first of our liberties mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

“There are some among us who would confuse the united order with socialism. That is a serious misunderstanding. It is significant to me that the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism in his day, made this official entry in the Church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church6:33).

“Socialism Disguised under Welfare State Measures

“As citizens of this noble land, we have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism. If you question that statement, consider the recent testimonial from the Nobel prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman. He indicated that government spending in the United States at all levels amounts to over forty percent of today’s total national income. 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…

“…[W]e have significantly departed from the principles established by the founders of our country. 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. [quoted in Donald L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles, and National Survival,p. 342]

“That statement, given as a warning, has proved prophetic. Today Congress is doing what Madison warned about. 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. These payments are made in the form of social security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps, to name a few. Today the cost of such programs has been going in the hole at the rate of 12 billion dollars a year; and, with increased benefits and greater numbers of recipients, even though the tax base has been increased we will have larger deficits in the future.

“Today the party now in power is advocating and has support, apparently in both major parties, for a comprehensive national health insurance program—a euphemism for socialized medicine. Our major danger is that we are currently (and have been for forty years) transferring responsibility from the individual, local, and state governments to the federal government—precisely the same course that led to the economic collapse in Great Britain and New York City. We cannot long pursue the present trend without its bringing us to national insolvency.

“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 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 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 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.”

Read full speech here:  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

   Ezra Taft Benson

Families Flee Sweden for Educational Freedom: Swedish Government Trumps Parental Authority   Leave a comment

  http://youtu.be/p2YAD49NQ54  This six-minute video from CBN news features Swedish families who have fled Sweden for educational freedom.  They go to Finland or other countries.

It’s not just a tragic news story; this offers us a preview into what life will be like in an increasing number of countries when “progressive” socialized politics create nationalized education systems that see the government as the Real Parent.

It sounds so nice to say that every child has the “right” to an education; but does it sound nice to say that every child is forced into state education, and that with that force, parents have no say?  Is government in charge of children, over parents?

Det där var inte trevliga nyheter!

Must See.   http://youtu.be/p2YAD49NQ54

Marc Tucker vs. Marion Brady: Common Core Mediocre, Lockstep Education vs. Innovation and Time-Tested Pedagogy   Leave a comment

The 9th problem with the Common Core standards

-by Marion Brady

From The Washington Post.  Full text: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-9th-problem-with-the-common-core-standards/2012/09/16/723d240e-0071-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet

It’s an incredibly important argument between a smart, veteran eduator, Marion Brady, versus an extremist left-wing educrat, Marc Tucker (whose socialized-U.S -education plot with Hilary Clinton has been known and Congressionally recorded for decades.)  http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/anti-liberty-plot-for-american-education-full-text-of-the-letter-from-marc-tucker-to-hillary-clinton-2/

Marion Brady’s main point, against Tucker and his Common Core:

  • Common Core centralizes control of education
  • micromanages classrooms (by non-educators)
  • blocks all innovation that’s not tied to the core
  • relies on destructive, simplistic tests that fail to take account of the fundamental nature of knowledge and of human complexity.

- And you can read Marc Tucker’s side of the argument here:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2012/09/8_problems_with_the_common_core_state_standards_i_dont_think_so.html

My first thought, upon seeing Marc Tucker’s name as author, in print, was, “What!? Marc Tucker can still get published? After his (and Hilary Clinton’s) socialist plot to take over education was made public, published as part of the Congressional records?! Help!”  –But read on.

Marc Tucker:

v. Marion Brady:

 )

From Brady:

“…Marc Tucker, long-time major player in the current test-based education reform effort, in an Education Week “Top Performers” blog, took me to task with a piece called  “8 Problems With the Common Core State Standards? I Don’t Think So.”

My Washington Post piece was a little over 1,000 words. Mr. Tucker’s response was twice that. If I were to respond point by point to his objections to my eight criticisms of the standards— which I’d really like to do — it would almost certainly double that word count. Few readers would stick with me for 4,000 words, even if editors were willing to publish them.

I’ll stand by my criticisms, but try to move the dialogue along by adding a ninth. I’d have included it before, but couldn’t squeeze it into a paragraph.

Mr. Tucker buys the conventional wisdom, that the subjects that make up the core — math, science, language arts, and social studies — “cover” the important stuff that kids need to know, from which it follows that anything that nails down more precisely what actually gets covered is a good thing. Ergo: the Common Core Standards.

He says, “…the core academic disciplines (the core subjects in the school curriculum) provide the conceptual underpinning for deep understanding of virtually everything we want our students to know.”

Most people agree, including most teachers, especially younger ones. That’s what they’ve been taught, and experience hasn’t yet caused them to question orthodoxy.

I disagree, not about the standards providing conceptual underpinning for the core subjects (which I’ve never questioned). I take issue with the contention that the standards provide “deep understanding of virtually everything we want students to know…”

I’m not alone. Buckminster Fuller, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfred North Whitehead, Felix Frankfurter, Harlan Cleveland, Neil Postman… and dozens of other nationally and internationally known and respected people are on my side of the issue.

But we have a problem. The idea we’re trying to get across isn’t part of the current education reform dialogue. That means that in a few hundred words, I have to try to introduce a new (and very abstract) idea, explain why it’s of fundamental importance but at odds with the standards, and offer an alternative.

Here’s that idea, as articulated by Peter M. Senge, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his book, “The Fifth Discipline,” he says:

From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world. This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay a hidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole.

That “larger whole” is reality. We want kids to make better sense of it. To that end, we send them off to study school subjects that explain various parts of it. We don’t, however, show them how those parts fit together, relate, interact, elaborate, and reinforce each other. When the bell rings, off they go to study a different subject that, as far as they can tell, is little or not at all related to the one they just left.

As this brief slideshow illustrates, this is a first-order problem, and the Common Core Standards ignore it. Locking the core subjects in place tells the world that America thinks a curriculum patched together in 1892 by 10 college administrators, a curriculum that reflects the industrial policy of the era, a curriculum that fails to acknowledge the fundamental, integrated nature of reality, is the best way to organize knowledge.

It’s not. Systems theory as it developed during World War II is far better. Period. It doesn’t replace the core subjects (which I’ve never advocated), just makes them working parts of a single, simpler, more efficient “master” mental organizer.

This is absolutely central to learning. Knowledge grows as we connect bits of it — as we discover relationships between, say, street width and sense of community, between birth order and certain personality traits, between capital investment decisions and political stability.

Compartmentalizing knowledge gets directly in the way of the basic process that makes kids (and the rest of us) smarter.

That systems thinking integrates knowledge isn’t an original idea. I’m just passing it along and offering a way to operationalize it.

A little story: Years ago I realized that what educators like John Goodlad, Neil Postman, Alfred North Whitehead, Ernest Boyer and others were saying in books, articles, and speeches wasn’t making any difference in what was actually happening in classrooms. Knowing it isn’t always easy to translate theory into practice, I wrote a course of study for adolescents that showed how systems theory could help them see the connected nature of all knowledge and the minute-by-minute way they were experiencing it.

I chose to write for middle schoolers because they hadn’t yet been thoroughly programmed by traditional instruction to compartmentalize what they knew, and because an earlier project I’d undertaken for Prentice-Hall, Inc. had led to friendships with several middle school principals around the country.

I contacted them. Would they be willing to pilot my course of study and give me feedback so I could refine it?

Nobody turned me down. Everything was in place for the fall of the year, then No Child Left Behind became law, and that was the end of that. I got letters and phone calls from the principals apologizing for having to back out of their commitment. It was clear to them that raising test scores, not improving kids’ ability to make better sense of experience, was now the name of the education game.

And so it remains. Over the years, with my brother’s help, I’ve continued to play with the course of study, thinking some rebel school system somewhere might pilot and help improve it, but the money and power behind the “standards and accountability” juggernaut probably make it unstoppable. The standards have been swallowed by just about everybody, and as soon as they’ve been digested, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Educational Testing Service, and other manufacturers of standardized tests will be ready with contracts in hand for computerized tests in numbers sufficient to crash web servers.

The tests, of course, will build in a failure rate set by some faceless decision-maker — an easily operated spigot for meeting stockholder expectations. Open it — boost the failure rate — and up go sales of tests, test prep tools, instructional materials. And, of course, profits.

Even if I’m wrong about the eight other problems with the Common Core Standards (and I’m not), I don’t see any wiggle room on this one. If I’m right, the current reform effort’s centralizing of control of education, its micromanaging of classrooms by non-educators, its blocking of all innovation not tied to the core, and its reliance on destructive, simplistic tests that fail to take account of the fundamental nature of knowledge, and of human complexity and variability, will, in Senge’s words, exact an “enormous price.”

That price will be the inability of our children and our children’s children to cope with a future shaping up to be more challenging than anything humans have thus far faced.”

Thank you, Marion Brady.

The War Against Freedom is Found in the Details   Leave a comment

The war against freedom is sometimes hard to identify.  You have to look past the shiny rhetoric and see who is controlling whom and what means are being used to justify that taking of control.

Local control matters.  It REALLY matters.

If you believe in scripture, which I do…

     There was once a war in heaven.  In heaven!

One side fought for God’s glory and for liberty, while the other fought for the devil’s desire for personal glory at the expense of freedom.  The devil, who had been an esteemed child of God before, now fought God’s will and lost the war in heaven. He was banished forever.

The devil was not alone. A third of the hosts of heaven had fought on the devil’s side, and they fell with him.

They continue their war against freedom, now, on earth.

       And there was awar in heaven: bMichael and his cangels fought against the dragon; and the ddragon fought and his angels… And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in aheaven.  And the great dragon was acast out, that old serpent, called the bDevil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time… And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he apersecuted the woman which brought forth the man child….  And the adragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make bwar with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  — Rev. 12: 7-17

What did the devil want?

“[Satan] came before me, [Heavenly Father] saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will dredeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely eI will do it; wherefore fgive me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved aSon, which was my Beloved and bChosen from the beginning, said unto me—cFather, thy dwill be done, and the eglory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that aSatan brebelled against me, and sought to destroy the cagency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power” – Moses 4

Satan’s idea, to abandon free agency, was not a correct principle then and it’s still wrong now.  Without free agency, nobody would ever be able to progress, to prove loyalty, or grow voluntarily to become more like God.  God knew we needed that opportunity to choose. God’s will was that we would all have the opportunity to become like Him.  –On conditions of free will.

What happened in that war?

Lucifer rebelled against the  Only Begotten Son,      D&C 76:25–26

He sought to take the glory of the Father and to destroy the agency of man, Moses 4:1–4 (Isa. 14:12–15; Abr. 3:27–28).

Those of us who fought on God’s side, kept the first estate, came to earth, and received bodies.   Abr. 3:26“As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: ‘Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare’ or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1965.)

“The scriptures make clear that there was a great war in heaven, a struggle over the principle of freedom the right of choice. In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right—there’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom? Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying ‘Look, don’t get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1966.)

“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during ‘the war in heaven.’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Secret Combinations, Conference Report, October 1961.)

So, the war continues on the earth today.

Those who are opposed to liberty cannot openly admit it; that would scare the vast majority of people into action against them.  They want us to stay asleep.  So those who are opposed to liberty must use gentle words, stealth, deception, code words and appealing rhetoric to fool us.

I have been studying this.

Socialism is creeping into the land of liberty, and with socialism comes an end to freedom.  Many ancient and modern prophets have warned us about this.  We cannot afford to ignore their warnings.

   “[The war in heaven], so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion….His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured, Ensign, June 2007.)

  “Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of a regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship.” (David O. McKay, April 1950.)

“To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages. . . . So fundamental in man’s eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war.” (David O. McKay, Conference Repot, 1942.)

       The concept of agency was and is vital important to God.  It runs like a gold thread through scripture:

Doctrine and Covenants 93:31

Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

Moses 7:32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency

Doctrine and Covenants 29:31-39  …Adam, your father, whom I created… I gave unto him that he should be an aagent unto himself… And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the adevil—for, behold, the bdevil was before Adam, for he crebelled against me, saying, Give me thine dhonor, which is my epower; and also a fthird part of the ghosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their hagency; And they were thrust down, and thus came the adevil and his bangels; And, behold, there is a place aprepared for them from the beginning, which place is bhell. And it must needs be that the adevil should btempt the children of men, or they could not be cagents unto themselves; for if they never should have dbitter they could not know the sweet—   D&C 29

Doctrine and Covenants 58:28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.

Doctrine and Covenants 104:17  For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

The word liberty runs throughout scripture:

2 Corinthians 3:17  …Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Galatians 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

   Ezra Taft Benson also taught about the religious importance of private enterprise:

“The industrial achievements of the U. S. are the result of an economic system which is the antithesis of socialism. Our economic system is called ‘capitalism’ or ‘private enterprise’ and is based on private property rights, the profit motive and competition.

“Both communism and socialism seek to destroy our economic system and replace it with socialism; and their success, whether through evolution by socialism or through revolution by communism or a combination, will destroy not only our economic system, but our liberty, including the ‘civil’ aspects as well . . .

“. . . The ‘common ground’ of socialism and communism is a factor to which the American people should be alerted. Without a clear understanding that communism is socialism, the total threat and menace of the cold war can never be comprehended and fought to victory.”

    When socialism is understood, we will realize that many of the programs advocated, and some of those already adopted in the United States, fall clearly within the category of socialism. What is socialism? It is simply governmental ownership and management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods.

We must never forget that nations may sow the seeds of their own destruction while enjoying unprecedented prosperity.

The socialistic-communist conspiracy to weaken the United States involves attacks on many fronts. To weaken the American free-enterprise economy which outproduced both its enemies and allies during World War II is a high priority target of the communist leaders. Their press and other propaganda media are therefore constantly selling the principles of centralized or federal control of farms, railroads, electric power, schools, steel, maritime shipping, and many other aspects of the economy—but always in the name of public welfare.

This carries out the strategy laid down by the communist masters. John Strachey, a top official in the Labor Socialist party of Great Britain, in his book entitled The Theory and Practice of Socialism said:

   “It is impossible to establish communism as the immediate successor to capitalism. It is accordingly proposed to establish socialism as something which we can put in the place of our present decaying capitalism. Hence, communists work for the establishment of socialism as a necessary transition stage on the road to communism.”

The paramount issue today is liberty against creeping socialism. It is in this spirit that President McKay stated:

“Communism is antagonistic to the American way of life. Its avowed purpose is to destroy belief in God and free enterprise . . . The fostering of full economic freedom lies at the base of our liberties. Only in perpetuating economic freedom can our social, political, and religious liberties be preserved.” (Excerpt from Inaugural address for Dr. Henry A. Dixon, President of USU, delivered by President McKay at the USU fieldhouse, Logan, Utah, Monday, March 18, 1954.)

Again President McKay warned, citing the words of W. C. Mullendore, president of Southern California Edison Company:

“During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism and made strange alliances through which we have become involved in almost continuous hot and cold wars over the whole of the earth. In this retreat from freedom the voices of protesting citizens have been drowned by raucous shouts of intolerance and abuse from those who led the retreat and their millions of gullible youth, who are marching merrily to their doom, carrying banners on which are emblazoned such intriguing and misapplied labels as social justice equality, reform patriotism social welfare” (Gospel Ideals, p. 273).

   It is significant that 118 years ago this month the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism, made this official entry in church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33).

No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

What can priesthood holders do? There are many things we can do to meet the challenge of the adversary in our day.

First, we should become informed about communism, about socialism, and about Americanism. What better way can one become informed than by first studying the inspired words of the prophets and using that as a foundation; against which to test all other material. This is in keeping with the Prophet Joseph Smith’s motto, “When the Lord commands, do it.” (Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 170.)

…We should know enough about American free enterprise to be able to defend it. We should know what makes it possible for six percent of humanity—living under our free economy—to produce about one-half of the earth’s developed wealth each year.

We should know why paternalism, collectivism, or unnecessary federal supervision will hold our standard of living down and reduce productivity just as it has in every country where it has been tried. We should also know why the communist leaders consider socialism the highroad to communism.

Second, we should accept the command of the Lord and treat socialistic communism as the tool of Satan. We should follow the counsel of the President of the Church and resist the influence and policies of the   socialist-communist conspiracy wherever they are found—in the schools, in the churches, in governments, in unions, in businesses, in agriculture.

Third, we should help those who have been deceived or who are misinformed to find the truth. Unless each person who knows the truth will “stand up and speak up” it is difficult for the deceived or confused citizen to find his way back.

Fourth, we should not make the mistake of calling people “communist” just because they happen to be helping the communist cause. Thousands of patriotic Americans, including a few Latter-day Saints, have helped the communists without realizing it. Others have knowingly helped without joining the party. The remedy is to avoid name-calling, but point out clearly and persuasively how they are helping the communists…”  –Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1961

- – – – -

Common Core seems to me to be a socialist program by all the information I have pasted above.  All Common Core participants have to do the same testing, the same teaching and learning, regardless of state sovereignty under the Constitution.  Common Core does not look at individuals’ needs or abilities or desires to innovate.  Individual states cannot change it.  The federal government runs it and has put a 15% cap on changing it. The federal government has partnered with NGA and CCSSO, the groups that have copyrighted the educational program.  It limits math instruction, reduces classic literature instruction, and ends cursive instruction. It was heavily promoted and paid for by Bill Gates, one of the richest men on earth, who is also closely involved with another socialist organization, the United Nations.  It is being held under the radar so that nobody protests; today, most parents and even most teachers do not understand what Common Core is.

  We should get out before it’s too late, before we are too invested financially and educationally, to turn around.

Let Freedom Ring.

Christian Science Monitor: Massachusetts’ Education Since Common Core Began   Leave a comment

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2012/0905/Is-top-ranked-Massachusetts-messing-with-education-success

This article is worth reading in full.  Posted here is just an excerpted version:

Is top-ranked Massachusetts messing with education success?

Massachusetts public schools produce students who are top in the nation in reading and math. Here’s what the state did to get there, and here’s why its shift to the new Common Core standards worries some experts.

     By   , Staff writer / September 5, 2012

Heidi Stevens recalls the day that got her thinking about uprooting her family from California to move to Massachusetts. Frolicking with her boys at a playground in 1998, she wished some teenagers a happy Independence Day.
She was met with blank stares. “You know, the Fourth of July,” she offered. Then they smiled and nodded, and she prodded a bit: “Do you know who we got our independence from?” One guessed France, another Mexico, and the last one said the Indians. “They were not kidding,” Ms. Stevens says.

She enrolled her older son in first grade that year but wasn’t happy with the emphasis on “creative spelling” and art projects. So she traveled to Massachusetts and visited public schools in Northampton, a town that boasts five colleges and universities within a short radius.

“We knew Massachusetts was a fabulous state for public education,” she says…

They haven’t been disappointed living in a state that by many measures sets the gold standard for public education in the United States.

In national reading and math tests, the state’s fourth- and eighth-graders have scored the best since 2005. Compared with the national average, greater shares of students here graduate from high school and score high on college-level Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The state even compares respectably with some of the top-performing countries…

But now Massachusetts, like 45 other states and the District of Columbia, is revising its curriculum as part of a collaboration called the Common Core State Standards – a new chapter in education reform premised on the idea that to compete globally, the benchmarks for reading and math in all states need to reflect a richer set of skills to equip students for 21st-century demands.

Massachusetts could be a good test case for whether the Common Core approach lives up to that lofty rhetoric. President Obama has pushed for it through federal funding incentives, though critics say he has strong-armed states into de facto national standards, chipping away at state control.

For some education observers, Massachusetts has broken the axiom “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and is in danger of watering down a key element of its success.

Others say just the opposite – that the new common standards are at least as strong as Massachusetts’ previous ones and could catapult more states to heights that the Bay State has already achieved…

The emphasis on high-stakes testing led some teachers and parents to protest, worried that it would nudge borderline students into dropping out – a debate that later resonated nationally because of the testing regimen established by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

“There was tremendous pushback, bills filed every year to do away with it, but we stuck with it,” Mr. Driscoll says.

After the new system took hold, significant learning gains among Massachusetts students were reflected in both state and national tests.

The MCAS “made us feel as if Massachusetts had higher standards of learning than other states because that test is harder than other, average tests,” Stevens says.

One big reason people came to accept the reforms: The state boosted education funding by more than 10 percent for each of the first six years – targeting the money largely to schools and districts with the highest needs. To date, the 1993 law has channeled $34.5 billion in extra state funding to school districts.

Strategies to boost achievement in Boston – the state’s largest district – have included double blocks of time for reading and math instruction, as well as efforts “to get the best teachers teaching the kids that needed the most support,” says Thomas Payzant, Boston’s superintendent from 1995 to 2006.

In the 2010-11 school year, 97 percent of Massachusetts teachers were licensed specifically in the area they taught, and all teachers are required to earn a master’s degree during their career, says Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Moreover, a statewide testing system for teacher applicants has helped bring up the quality of education.

Another factor: The state reform law set up a rigorous approval process for charter schools, many of which boast strong academic achievement….

Many parents in the state have high education levels and good incomes, making it easier to support their children’s education. In addition, Mr. Toner says, school districts are relatively small, allowing for teachers to know the community better; any student can enroll in an AP course; and all students are encouraged to take college-entrance exams such as the SAT.

With high-stakes testing, some students do have to drill basic skills rather than enjoy a well-rounded curriculum as they approach 12th grade, Toner says, but “you’d have to admit that by having a graduation requirement … it got kids’ and families’ attention and you could see the proficiency numbers on the exams [going] up.”

…[Texas] adopted new math standards this year after a democratic process – starting with a draft based in part on standards from high-performing states, including Massachusetts, says Todd Webster, chief deputy commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. Texas is sticking with those standards rather than adopting the Common Core.

But Massachusetts’ future doesn’t look as rosy to observers such as Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative-leaning group in Boston.

“Massachusetts made historic gains … but in the last four or five years, a lot of those policy gains have been rolled back,” he says. “There are other states that are nipping at our heels … [and] Massachusetts has kind of plateaued.”

Particularly problematic, he says, is the state’s decision to jump on the Common Core bandwagon. Massachusetts’ standards were a model, he says, and the Common Core standards are of lower quality. For instance, standards for English-language arts used to be based largely on classic literature and poetry, which have a rich vocabulary, but the Common Core emphasizes more informational text, Mr. Gass says. To him it’s part of a “trendy fad” focusing on workforce-development goals and “softer” 21st-century skills.

Commissioner Chester defends the state’s decision to adopt the Common Core, saying it “advanced what we already had on the table.”

Collaboration is increasing among states as more leaders look at the bigger picture of the global economy, Chester says: “When [there are] 50 different sets of standards [and testing] … you’re not necessarily giving children and parents honest and accurate information about how they measure up in a world where state boundaries are less and less relevant to your economic opportunities.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should the White House control what your kids learn?

   By

Published September 07, 2012

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

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

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

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

  (LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND)

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

  (BILL AYERS)

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

  (ARNE DUNCAN)

Obama is half-way there.

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

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

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

GOP Platform Might Address Elimination of Common Core Federal Standards – VOTE ONLINE.   2 comments

http://www.gopplatform2012.com/education/eliminate-common-core-collective-education

If many people “second” the idea of eliminating Common Core, the Republican party leaders may choose to add this request as part of the national Republical platform.  That’s why I input my input.  Hope many choose to agree.  The quality of education and the future amendability of our local standards depends on getting out of Common Core.  I pasted it from the GOP page as well as it would paste, here.

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COMMON CORE IS NOT ACADEMICALLY SOUND

It is a fact that the only math professor on the official Common Core Validation Committee, Dr. James Milgram, flatly refused to sign off on the standards as being valid.  The math standards lack a coherent sequence and do the opposite of what they claim to do (make USA students more internationally competitive).

The Asian Tigers have Alg. I in 8th grade.  Common Core has it in 9th.

By junior high, Common Core places students one to two years behind what they should be.

In the English department, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who also served on the Common Core Validation Committee, also refused to sign off on the standards being adequate.  They are not legitimate college prep because they slash narrative writing and classic, time-tested story reading to make room for info-texts.  This is almost like book burning in its refusal to make generous room for literature in American classrooms. Under mandate. Dr. Kirst of Stanford University said his concern was that the standards call 4 year, 2 year, and vocational school preparation the same thing.  Is college prep to be dumbed down? Yes, absolutely. That is how we will make all our students common.  This Harrison Bergeron-esque attempt to make all students equal and common is absurd.

EDUCATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION:

Local educational decision-making capacity is severely reduced by Common Core. Common Core is education without representation: the federal government incentivized its adoption by states but the public did not vote on the initiative, did not know what it was until after state school boards and governors implemented it, and has no means to amend the standards, as they are under NGA/CCSSO copyright.  (Source:   http://www.corestandards.org/terms-of-use )

There is no means provided for voters to recall Common Core standards-setting administrators.  And the Dept. of Ed put a 15% cap on how much states can add. We can do better.

More Info:
http://youtu.be/XTbMLjk-qRc

A 2012 Reading of Orwell’s 1984   Leave a comment

I borrowed 1984 and read it cover to cover this week.

It’s a well-written, totally alarming book.  A screamingly important book.

It’s a powerful warning against socialism. It’s also a graphic, atheistic, violent book that doesn’t offer any ray of hope.  So don’t read it if you haven’t.  I’ll give you the summary.

Then I’ll share the quotes that remind me of Common Core education, and quotes that point to the new data collection by our state and federal government using our schools.

Summary:

Winston Smith lives in a society that has “progressed” past individual privacy and freedom.  His job is to rewrite history regardless of what is actually true.  There are no laws in this world; there is only the will of “Big Brother,” the all-knowing, all-powerful government.

In this world, “Big Brother” screens transmit and receive information in every room and alley, everywhere, 24/7. Screens cannot be shut off.  Even unhappy facial expressions on someone’s face are cause for the “Thought Police” to come and delete an individual in the night.  Children are encouraged to view public hangings and violent films, and to turn in their parents to “Big Brother” for unorthodox statements or actions parents might commit.

Winston commits the crimes of writing in a diary, of having a love affair, and of seeking to join a group of freedom fighters that he is not sure really exists. For these crimes, he is captured and tortured, rather than killed; the aim of “Big Brother” is not just to kill but rather to convert deviants like Winston. After severe, months-long torture and brainwashing, Big Brother succeeds in the conversion of Winston Smith. The last sentence of the novel is:  “He loved Big Brother.”

Excerpts:

Excerpts that remind me of Common Core:

“Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious and even intelligent within narrow limits…” p. 158

“Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like ‘Freedom is Slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished?” -p. 47

“The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.” p. 159

“Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year…the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought. In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten… Every year fewer and fewer words and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.” p. 46

“Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” p. 220

Excerpts that remind me of the alteration of FERPA laws federally to take away parental consent over student data, and of the new free Common Core preschool system:

“Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen.” p. 220

“Nothing was illegal since there were no longer any laws.” -p. 9
“There will be no loyalty except loyalty to the party… there will be no wives and no friends… there will be no art, no literature, no science… if you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever” p. 220

“The only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism…concentration of property in far fewer hands… the new owners were a group rather than… individuals… Everything– had been taken away from them and since these things were no longer private property, it followed that they must be public property… economic inequality has been made permanent.” p. 170

Excerpts that remind me of data privacy invasion, such as our new, federally granted, “State Longitudinal Database System” and “P-20″ implemented by Utah:

“The Party is concerned…how to discover against his will, what another human being in thinking” -p. 159

“The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard… How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. You had to live– did live, from habit that became instinct– in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard…every movement scrutinized” pp. 6-7.

Excerpts that remind me of the USOE and the State School Board’s turning a deaf ear to teachers and parents who oppose Common Core:

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” – p. 69

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient…” pp. 176-177.

“Researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming and their failure to show results is not important.” -p. 163

“His heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies.” p. 16

Excerpts that remind me of people who are not standing up and fighting against Common Core:

“They were like the ant, which can see small objects but not large ones.” -p. 79

“The Proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies.” – p.60

As I read and copied down these excerpts, I thought about the untruths and the trend toward collectivism that has become so popular among educators in D.C. –and I thought about the lies that have been promoted by proponents of Common Core, about its implementation without a vote, about its purposes, its history, its amendability, and its data-gathering on students without parental knowledge or consent.  What do you think? 

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