Judy Park Introduces Common Core SAGE Tests to Wasatch School District   18 comments

Here’s an update for everyone here in the Heber Valley who didn’t attend tonight’s Wasatch School District presentation.  It was given by State Assistant Superintendent Judy Park  on the new Common Core SAGE (American Institues for Research) tests.

If you live in Utah, please check the schedule and make sure you and everyone on your block attends when Judy Park comes to your home town.  Also, find out what your parental rights are under state and federal law.  Parental rights conflict with the parent-unfriendly testing system. This is the schedule again:  http://www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/Adaptive-Assessment-System/RegionalMeetingSchedule.aspx   Please check the schedule.

I am still so angry that I can’t type straight–  I’m so outraged at the lack of accountability and the unwillingness to give straight answers and well-researched answers.  Ms. Park was “so thrilled” and “so excited,” she said, about the technological advances.  And apparently very annoyed by anyone’s questions (about A.I.R.’s controversial website and parental rights issues.)
The speaker will try to smother you with her pasted on smile and her long powerpoint presentation.  You have to reaaaalllly push to get any questions out.  And even then, most will remain unanswered.
It was an awful experience to be there.
Judy Park, the officer of federal accountability (yes, really, that’s one of  her titles) is also a writer for and a member of the CCSSO, the same D.C. group that developed and copyrighted the Common Core (without academic integrity, without empirical evidence, and on Bill Gates’ dime.)
Park refuses to use the word “common core” in public, and uses “Utah Core” at all times.  This deliberately misleads the listeners.  Because the tests are 100% common core aligned and are written to the common core national standards.  And she knows it.  But won’t say it.  Ever.
I realized tonight, early on, that I (we) had to be bold.  So each time she came to point that I did not understand or felt uncomfortable with, I raised my hand and, at the same time, not waiting for her to acknowledge me, I said, “I have a question about that,” so that she didn’t have a chance to ignore me.  Several others did the same thing.
If we hadn’t been that pushy, she would have done her two hour presentation without any questioning.  And boy, are there questions that need answers!!!
My first question was if she could provide us with a reference for that fact she had stated that common core tests were written for and by Utahns.  I simply asked her that we wouldn’t just have to take her word for it.   She just asked me to check the USOE website or email her later.  (I have emailed her many times and she never, never responds.)
My next question was whether we should be discussing the tests when we haven’t even seen evidence legitimizing the standards on which the tests are built.  I asked if she would provide us with some references for the claims that the standards are improving, rather than damaging, education (considering that they diminish literature and narrative writing, and deprive kids of traditional math skills.)  She pasted on her big smile and said she’d explain it to me in person, after the meeting.(So I asked her again, after the meeting. But then suddenly, she had no such evidence. She didn’t even say she would research it. It’s like she KNOWS they are building a huge building without a foundation on top of a sandbar. She just kept smiling and saying, “I can see that you are very passionate about this,” after the meeting when I repeated my request to see some empirical evidence, a shred of an academic study showing that these standards were more than some noneducator’s idea of an experiment (David Coleman.) She simply had nothing. So she turned away from me in absolute rudeness as if I had ceased to exist, and she started talking to a principal who stood nearby.)

My friend raised her hand and asked whether parents could see the test questions. (Remember, it’s in Utah law that parents HAVE to be able to see all curriculum and tests on request.)  The truthful answer to this question is no.  But Judy Park talked around and around and around the question, saying that there are thousands of questions. Not answering my friend yes or no.  Then she mentioned that there is a 15 member parent panel required by legislation.

(After the meeting I asked her if I might be on that panel because I don’t mind reading thousands of questions and she said yes, to email her about it later. Which I will. But I somehow doubt she’ll pick me or recommend me to the governor, who appoints the panel.)


Two others raised their hands at separte times and asked how much the assessments/technology will cost and she gave an incomplete and confusing answer.
Another friend raised her hand and asked how they are protecting student data privacy.  Again, Judy Park gave a partial, misleading answer, saying that only parents, students and educators will have access to personal information.  Anyone who was in last summer’s senate education committee hearing heard John Brandt testify that the Utah Data Alliance allows 12-20 people access to the data collected by all six agencies of the Utah Data Alliance, and it’s personally identifiable student information.  So it is all in one leakable, hackable collection.  Judy Park didn’t know this?  If she did, she didn’t say it when my friend asked the question.After the meeting, I mentioned this to Judy Park as well. She brushed it off, saying that John Brandt is no longer working there, and now it’s Mr. Winkler. I never got a chance to ask her how the parental-consent destroying federal FERPA alterations are being addressed in her head. Maybe one of you could ask her at other district meetings. My guess is that she has not studied it at all. She seems so totally unconcerned, so utterly bought in to this whole common core movement. She often used words like “thrilled” and “so excited about” during her speech –repeatedly!

She mentioned that the AIR tests are being used by many states including Hawaii and Oregon for their “federal accountability”.  She used that term.So after the meeting I brought up the fact that there’s something called the Constitution and the General Educational Provisions Act that forbid the federal government from telling states what to do. She had no idea what I was talking about. None. She had never heard of G.E.P.A. law. FYI, here it is: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“

She said that the accomodations that are usually reserved for special ed kids are now available for everyone.  There were tons. One of them was speech to text dictation.  It occurred to me that we might not know if we have illiterate kids graduating from our system if we allow everyone to use text-to-speech rather than requiring reading.  So I asked her about it and she assured me that that could never happen.  Not sure how.
She showed us sample math and English questions from the SAGE/Common Core test.  The technology was nice and several teachers and principals were gushing about it, oblivious to anything but the cool factor.  But I had to raise my hand again, saying that this selection of Sherlock Holmes seemed great, but with the addition of so much info-text and the deletion of so much classic literature, there was a huge chance that the students would be reading texts that I would not approve of, such as extreme environmental/sustainability informational text or text about LGTB2 (lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual, and two-spirited –whatever that means– )  since the AIR website is focused so much on LGTB2 issues.
She assured me that there are three groups that vet all the questions.  Who are the groups, I asked: anyone in Utah? Anyone in this room?  How can I get on that panel?  She never answered that question either other than to say that she trusts that there will be no bias of any kind, that the groups are so sensitive that they get rid of all cultural and other biases.  She really seems to believe that there is such a thing as value-free writing.  But she cannot seem to give a straight answer as to WHO the three vetting groups are, other than to repeat that they are Utahns.  Which I still have no documentation for and do not believe since AIR’s site says they use a “pool” of groups for input.
Another parent raised her hand and asked what happens if I want to opt my child out.  Judy Park said, “You can opt out but if too many people opt out it will make the data unmeaningful.”
I lost track of the number of times she dodged my questions by asking me to email her about it later.  So finally, I said that I have emailed her countless times and never once has she ever emailed me back.  She was embarrassed by that, but it’s the truth and she didn’t deny it.  And she still didn’t answer my most important questions.
To sum up:   1) The educators in the room seemed super excited about the technology of these tests and didn’t seem to mind, or see, worrisome issues.  2) Parents in the room seemed horrified by Common Core and did not get their questions answered satisfactorily.  3) Judy Park appeared to be very uneducated about state constitutional rights, about the American process of governed individuals having actual representation; she seemed to feel that the federal government has a legitimate right to supervise Utah and hold Utah “accountable.” She doesn’t know what the Utah Data Alliance or the SLDS does, and is unconcerned with the most pressing question I repeatedly asked her to face:   where is some empirical evidence that Common Core tests are based upon legitimate educational standards?   This is the question I hope hundreds of thousands of Utahns ask her and keep asking her.
We wouldn’t build a home without a cost analysis, an earthquake analysis, careful attention to what makes homes last in bad weather and what makes a solid, sturdy, beautiful home.  So why have we built a new educational system and shredded all vestiges of the old one, without ever asking any questions about whether this home is built of oak or granite or green cheese?  It is the height of irresponsibility.  Yet Judy Park stood with a pasted on smile, one hand on the microphone, one hand on her hip, nodding her head and saying, “You sure seem to have a lot of passion about this,” rather than having the integrity to say, “There is no empirical evidence; it’s an experiment on our kids,”  or “I hadn’t thought to ask; let me research that for you,” or giving any sort of confidence-inspiring answer.  Why?  Because there is none.  That’s why.
Judy Park, who leads all of our schools and by extension, all of our children, is either naiive and clueless or extremely dishonest.  I think she has trusted the wolves (Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond) for so long that now she in all sincerity doesn’t know what she’s really defending.
The worst part for me was when some of our local district people stood up and thanked Judy Park for this wonderful new Common Core testing system and said, “Christel, you need to listen.”  Sigh.  Has anyone listened and studied and pondered and agonized over this more than me?  Really?  I need to listen more?
After the meeting I also reminded Judy Park that I’d tried to make an appointment to visit with her in person but that the request had been denied.  She simply said I should talk to Brenda Hales.
Where is the accountability of our state leaders to teachers, parents, and taxpayers?  Sadly, we can’t vote this woman out of office.  All we can do is know our parental rights and repeatedly, firmly ask Mrs. Park and her team to answer questions with actual references and evidence rather than relying on empty claims and a mile-wide, stiff and pasted-on smile.

Posted April 8, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

18 responses to “Judy Park Introduces Common Core SAGE Tests to Wasatch School District

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  1. Christel- if you would take the time to come into a school and see how the testing is used you would not be so afraid! Only kids who need screen readers use them- it has to be in in IEP or ELL 504 accomoddations. Is it fair to make a refugee from Cambodia take a test with out some guided reading? Proficiency comes from taking the test with built in accomdations for those students. If they don’t pass the test you know they are not proficient but all kids must be given the same opportunity to take the test to their fullest capactiy. Not every one gets speech dictation- that is ludicrous and you are making a far leap you really know nothing about. All professional fields in some form or another use CAT testing. Physicial Therapists use to asses how their clients are progressing. It is amazing technology and will elevate our level of of ability to determine where students are. “When Performance is mesurements- preformance improves- when prerformance is measurement and immediate feedback is given performance escalates!” Thomas S. Monson

    • Marion, the test itself and its impressive technology is a the shiny roof of a new building. My point is that the building is built on quicksand. The standards themselves lack legitimacy. They are an experiment written by noneducator David Coleman and unelected boards (NGA/CCSSO) who have removed Utah’s educational sovereignty, an issue that far outweighs in importance the shiny-ness of the new roof. The Common Core initiative is wrong on so many levels. Even President Monson would never agree to measuring children without parental consent which is exactly what’s happening here with the federal removal of privacy measures in FERPA (see the EPIC lawsuit) and with Utah’s new testing system which tracks every child without ever asking a parent if he/she wanted this.

    • Friends, if you would take the time to look into the reasons that the Department of Education is in the middle of a huge law suit, if you would read how your parental rights are being steamrolled and the schools/governments are literally deparenting you by refusing to ask your permission before taking and sharing student data, and by refusing to allow you to read the thousands of test questions, including behavior indicator and values questions, students will be made to answer in your absence, you would see that this issue is so much bigger than shiny new technology.

  2. Christel, you described well the same approach that was used in a Common Core meeting I attended last year in Heber City — great smiles on the faces of the state board members and other administrators, a tone of condescension while these people spoke in circles giving no concrete evidence to back their statements. They are blowing smoke because they can do no more than that.

    I don’t know who “marion anderson” is, but if she is one of our educators, her reply above speaks volumes about where Common Core will put our children scholastically, at least in spelling skills.

  3. State Superintendents must’ve been put through the same Common Core Propaganda Training – because Ms. Parks behaves EXACTLY like AZ State Superintendent John Huppenthal (R). Unfortunately, I ignorantly voted for him BEFORE I knew he was a RINO/Sheep in wolf’s clothing.

    He showed up at a Townhall in Phoenix to discuss Common Core for AZ and consumed the first hour giving us his life-story and resume. It’s a good strategy to ‘friendly up’ to your audience, kill as much time as possible, & avoid any confrontational or questioning from concerned citizens.

    When several attendees expressed concerns about Common Core’s attachment to Agenda21, Mr. Huppenthal says “someone tell me in 3 quick bullet points what Agenda 21 is!” He really thinks his constituents are stupid, apparently. He’s running for State Superintendent again, but won’t get my vote this time!

  4. Wow. Thanks for sharing, Chris.

  5. Christel, you are awesome. Thank you for your persistence and all the info you are providing. It is a shame we have educators like marion anderson, but fortunately there are many great educators who recognize the horror of common core and the national data base. Kudos to you for all you do.

  6. Thanks for this info Christel. I will be attending my districts meeting next week. I never would have known about it except for this post. The above info will give me an idea of questions to ask. Please share any other questions that a concerned parent can ask Mrs. Park. Thanks

  7. It is time for new testing in Utah. The CRT tests we have been utilizing for years so little in academic growth, especially for advanced students. I, for one, welcome new assessment that will more accurately rate the performance of individual students.

  8. Pingback: Parents Demand Real Answers at Alpine District Meeting on Common Core A.I.R. Tests | COMMON CORE

  9. I saw your on Glenn Beck a few weeks ago. Thank you for your insight and courage. I attended the SAGE meeting at the Alpine District on April 11th. I went to a “training meeting” I thought but was pleasantly suprised that parents were there. I am the Test Coordinator for Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs. John Jesse’s powerpoint presentation was very confusing, of course. I joined the Utahnsagainstcommoncore and FreedomWorks. I strongly feel that we need to be more involved. I encourage parents to join PTA/PTSA, get on SCC (School Community Council) and voice your opinion. Our freedoms are in jepardy. Again, thank you Christel for letting us all know about Common Core.

  10. Pingback: USOE/Davis School District Meeting Today on Common Core – Please Come if You Can | COMMON CORE

  11. Pingback: UT Associate Superintendent Park Responds to Open Letter on Student Data Privacy | COMMON CORE

  12. Pingback: Opt-Out of Common Core Aligned Smarter Balanced Assessments Due to “Massive Violation of Ethical Standards” | Florence Carlton Advocates for Better Education

  13. There is a video about a student who took the tests and said based on his experience they try to make the math section confusing and in different colors. It wasn’t practical and he was told he had to have headphones on the whole time. While wearing the headphones he heard different frequency of sounds in the back ground. And had headaches afterwords and stomach pain. Sounds like they are trying to brainwash kids and discourage them from learning. Common Core seems very wrong to me and parents should have a say in their child’s education.

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