Cutting Ties With Common Core is a Win-Win for Utah   Leave a comment

I am still learning about Common Core and its financial, political and educational complications. But I won’t let what I don’t know stop me from asking questions about what I do know.

The burden of proof is on the Utah State Office of Education, which has not proved its claims (creating college readiness, allowing local control, ensuring high and honorable standards, being free of federal intrusions, no privacy loss for kids) with legally binding documents we can have faith in. 

Sorry, pretty words about college readiness are not enough. Show me some facts.

What I see in the legally binding documents I’ve studied, and that others like me have studied, leads us to believe cutting ties to the Common Core Initiative is a win-win for all Utahns.

1. Taxpayers win when we cut ties to Common Core.  Utah can escape the expensive mandates of the SBAC and can demand genuine congressional relief from both NCLB and Common Core.  Utah does not have to accept a NCLB waiver nor the Common Core fetters.   See what Florida Senator Marco Rubio had to say.

Here is Senator Rubio’s letter to the federal Dept. of Education on the subject:  http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=8aab326e-4051-4545-9ae2-76ca29434eb8

Here’s an “Exit Strategy” report for governors like Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and (hopefully) Governor Herbert of Utah, who want to escape Common Core. From the Heritage Foundation:

http://www.themoralliberal.com/2012/02/11/a-national-education-standards-exit-strategy-for-states/

Also from Heritage:

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/09/district-nclb-waivers-an-unsettling-pact-with-washington/

If you don’t think Common Core costs Utah money, read how California is struggling to raise taxes now to pay for expensive Common Core implementations.  http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/california-wants-a-tax-hike-to-pay-for-common-core/

And read the cost analysis done by the Pioneer Institute on the outrageous costs to states of implementing Common Core.  This is money we’ll have to come up with, on top of our educational needs that we’ve always had, before Common Core hit. http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120222_CCSSICost.pdf

We got zero money for the Race to the Top application.  That’s a blessing because we don’t have to give it back when we sever ties with Common Core.

Utah also got no money from the SBAC’s Race to the Top application, but we are still bound by the terms of that grant so long as we stay in the SBAC, because the SBAC did get money to make the test. Utah belongs to the SBAC now.  We need to cut ties with SBAC for that reason as well as for the reason that they can boss us around as a consortium and, when push comes to shove, Washington State gets to tell Utah what to teach Utah kids.  WA is the fiscal agent and lead state in the consortium. That’s just plain silly, giving WA power over Utah.

Where is the law that says:  In order for states to receive educational funding (our own tax dollars returned to us) we must obey federal mandates over education?  This is absurd.  The Executive Branch has no authority over educational decision making although it is trying illegally to use intimidation tactics to do so.  This must be stopped by you and me and Senator Rubio and others like him, including our local school board and state leaders.

2.  Teachers win when we cut ties to Common Core.  The teachers who dislike Common Core are mostly afraid to say so out loud because they fear losing their jobs or being seen as “not team players.” But the teachers who love Common Core are very vocal about it.  They even say things like, “Don’t take this program away from us, now that Utah’s finally gotten higher standards.”  Well, good news, folks!  Anything you like about Common Core is in the public domain and you can use it.  Anything you don’t like, we can delete from Utah’s standards.  Utah can genuinely raise standards across the bar, setting the assertions aside that CCSS standards are experimental or still too low, http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100520_emperors_new_clothes.pdf  and

http://educatingourselves.blogs.deseretnews.com/2012/04/23/making-standards-and-sausages/

–and we can retain our rights of freedom and flexibility in Utah school districts to determine what local standards should be.

3.  Parents win when we cut ties to Common Core.  Parents, upset about the privacy laws being overturned by school boards all over Utah to make way for Common Core’s intrusive data-collecting goals, can reclaim their rights to determine who gets to study their kids’ psychological, physical, and academic characteristics.

And parents worry about the fact that the federal CCSS standards can be changed at any time (but not by locals) to include any horrific standard unapproved by Utahns. These parents will be happy when we cut ties to Common Core and the SBAC tests, because Utah will reclaim its right to set its own educational standards according to local values and high, flexible academic aspirations.

 

We must take a stand.   No one else will do it for Heber or for any other Utah town; our governor is indecisive so far, and our State School Board is totally pro-common core– led by Larry Shumway, who sits on three Common Core boards outside of his job as Utah State Superintendent of Schools.  We each, locally, must say no to each one of these federal intrusions.

Many people realize that the very existence of the federal Dept. of Education is constitutionally illegal and a constitutional president should and would disband this entity.

It’s funny; I wrote a letter to the U.S. Dept of Ed. recently and they responded with a form letter that quotes the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, as a reason for not replying.  It is so ironic.

The feds know they have no Constitutional right to say or do anything about state education, and they hide behind that fact when they don’t want to answer difficult questions about the Common Core Initiative, which they promoted, and which they control on the testing and data collection end.

They send people like me to the NGA or CCSSO to get questions answered, even though we know the NGA and the CCSSO are Common Core promotional agencies,  funded by the federal Dept of Education.

The Dept. of Education has paid others to do what it is not legally permitted to do.  It’s a scam; all of Common Core is a scam to try to persuade us to allow the federal arm to take over our state educational system.  We are too smart for that.  Stand up and say, “We see this for what it is and you can’t boss us around.”  We need to call their bluff.  The Emperor (of Common Core) Is Wearing No Clothes.  There is nothing in it for Utah.

Without Common Core, we can still have high standards and be the masters of them.  We can be free.  We lose no money, we lose no power to raise standards, we lose no freedoms, we don’t have to do the expensive mandates of the SBAC and Common Core;  it’s a win-win for us to cut ties with CC and SBAC.

I wish people would realize that it’s not just about standards; it’s about who got to set them, who has authority to amend them, and who ends up paying for their huge implementation costs.  It’s about freedom and self-determination.

 

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