Archive for December 2014

Louisiana Senator’s Bill to Free States From Common Core   8 comments



The Daily Signal reported yesterday that Louisiana Senator David Vitter has filed a bill that would help ease the way for any state to opt out of Common Core.

Breitbart News reported that Vitters used to be a Common Core supporter, but is now opposed.

Vitter’s new bill intends to enable states to more easily exit the national Common Core standards, which so many parents and educators now oppose, by voiding requirements attached to issued waivers from federal law. The Daily Signal reports: “States likely could retain their waivers from the law, called No Child Left Behind, even if they chose to pull out of Common Core.”

Breitbart News reported that Vitters explained why he changed his stance on Common Core:  “After listening to literally thousands of parents, teachers, and others…I don’t believe that we can achieve that Louisiana control, buy-in, and success I’m committed to if we stay in Common Core…

“First, Common Core is controlled by national groups and interests outside Louisiana… many Louisianans legitimately fear that it will become a federal government takeover of education under President Obama and his far-left allies.

“Second, Common Core is causing deep frustration and worse in many classrooms and homes, and not because of greater rigor… “It’s preventing lots of involved parents and teachers — our most important education leaders — from being effective and helping kids learn.”

Vitter added that a third reason for his change of heart is his view that “an entrenched few in public education are trying very hard to manipulate the Common Core controversy to greatly weaken or reverse accountability measures.”

Senator Vitters proposed that his home state:

  • Exit the Common Core PARRC testing consortium immediately and adopt a rigorous interim test that is not aligned with Common Core.

  • Have the Governor, Legislature, and BESE convene a blue-ribbon panel of Louisiana parents, teachers, experts from higher education, and business leaders to develop an updated system of rigorous Louisiana standards and testing outside of Common Core/PARCC.

  • Require that this new system be developed, debated, and adopted in a fully inclusive, transparent, and democratic way.

  • Implement it in a careful, methodical manner, unlike the roll-out of Common Core.

Thank you, Senator Vitter.


Videos: Texas Parents Fix the Problem: Standing For Truth in Textbooks   1 comment

Technically, Texas is not in Common Core.  The state rejected the Common Core Initiative while most other states took the bait back in 2010. But Texas has not escaped. (see minute 12:40 to 13:25 on the linked clip.) National, Common Core standards-aligned books and software has taken over most of the United States educational sales market.

Texas parents are fighting back. They formed “The Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition” (TTT) a textbook study coalition and studied the books their children were reading.

Then they spoke.


Lt. Col. Roy White, one of the members of TTT, has written and spoken about the big difference that TTT, the parent group, has made in restoring truth to textbooks used in Texas. White reported that the Texas State School Board did contact publishers about these errors,  following parental testimonies (below) and publishers have agreed to make the requested changes.

White’s bullet point summary of textbook errors found by parents includes:


  • Publishers attempted to push the softer definition of “jihad” as the “struggle to become a better person.”  TTT pointed to original Islamic sources, the Quran, Hadiths, and Mohammad’s biography describing jihad as a mandatory offensive war (including violence) to be waged by Muslims against all non-Muslims until all persons are followers of Allah.  Attempts by publishers to re-define the term is “spin” and not based upon original Islamic sources.


  • “Conditions in Cuba are painted as highly beneficial for young people from a healthcare and education standpoint.”  Misleading information and half-truths is how TTT characterized this description of life in Cuba with details of other reports and sources providing facts justifying TTT’s position.  


  • “It’s easy to get depressed about Climate Change.” Telling a child what emotions to have on a topic is “agenda building.” Only one side of the issue was told. TTT urged both sides be presented on climate change, but publishers chose to pull the book as the solution.


  • Many publishers routinely referred to the U. S. form of government as a “democracy.”  The word “democracy” is not found in the Constitution nor in any of the 50 state Constitutions.  Our form of government is a constitutional republic.  The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is to the Republic for which it stands, not to the democracy for which it stands.


  • Publishers claimed in several instances that Muslims were the original inhabitants of the area known as Israel. TTT pointed out that Jews inhabited this area hundreds of years before Islam existed.


  • Multiple publishers left out the terms “Islamic jihadist” and “Muslim terrorists” even when the attackers used these terms in describing themselves.  No mention was made that the Barbary pirates were Muslims and the 911 hijackers were Islamic jihadists.  The word “Islamic” was absent when describing the terrorists in the 1983 Lebanon Marine Barrack attacks. If the terrorists/jihadists refer to themselves using these terms, then why won’t publishers use those same terms?


  • Gorbachav had more to do with the Berlin Wall falling than President Ronald Reagan according to one publisher; the deficiencies of Communism were downplayed while Western democracies were marginalized; TTT was able to get re-writes on these and many other distorted areas.



These parents’ testimonies must be heard.


Lt Col (ret) Roy White, TTT Chairman counters CAIR’s argument Islam was spread equally by missionary work, trade, and military conquest; answers SBOEs questions and discusses TTT

Karin Gililliand discusses “constitutional republic” versus democracy errors


Dr Amy Jo Baker, TTT’s Director of Curriculum, highlights the false narrative publishers use to describe “jihad”



Barbara Wilson discusses biases found in Great Depression discussions

Barbara Lamontague; false narrative about Gen Douglas MacArthur, praise for Communism


Emily McBurney exposes adult “e-mentor” program in online 6th grade textbook + more

Is Idaho’s Battle Over– Or Just Starting?   2 comments

In November 2013,  and again in June 2014,  Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna rejected offers to participate in moderated, formal debates concerning the pros and cons of Common Core.  He did participate in one panel debate, to a packed house.   But Luna’s unwillingness to participate in further open debate is remarkable because, beginning in 2011, Luna was president, top dog at the organization that co-created and co-copyrighted the Common Core:  Council of Chief State School Officers.  Nobody should have felt more vested.  This article, a response to a recent Idaho Statesman interview  with Luna, comes by request.  Thank you, Stephanie Zimmerman.


Is Idaho’s Common Core Battle Over– Or Just Starting?


By Stephanie Zimmerman, Idaho mom/writer at Idahoans For Local Education


In the Nov. 30th Statesman interview granted by Tom Luna, I was not surprised to read Luna’s responses to the following questions:

Is the battle over Idaho Core Standards over?  “It is definitely over in the education arena. And my experience has been so far that it is primarily over with the vast majority of parents, but it is not over politically.”

How big were the Idaho Legislature education committee hearings on Common Core standards?  “I think it was an eye-opener to a lot of legislators and even people around the state who tuned in and listened because I think you heard a lot of the concerns that were raised – that were then shown to be not true: whether it’s the data we collect, who developed the standards, who has control of the standards. I have yet to have one person who says they oppose the standards tell me which standard it is that they oppose … If we do nothing else in education over the next three or four years, but continue to teach every kid to these higher standards, then measure students with this better assessment, then that is going to have more impact on improving student achievement than anything that we can do.”

Where to begin…
Common Core is just now (in the past three months) being fully implemented in Idaho’s schools.  How can Mr. Luna possibly say the battle is over –when it hasn’t even had a chance to begin??  Nowhere in the country was Common Core fully, fairly or publicly vetted or debated in legislatures, with parents, or with educators before it was quietly imposed upon us.  Most educators and parents are still learning the full implications of the Common Core .   More and more teachers are stepping forward with their concerns about the way children are being treated. Meg Norris, Kathleen Jasper, David Cox, Savannah Kucerak Mercedes Schneider  and Kris Nielson  are just a few who have made waves nationally by speaking out against Common Core.  Polls show  that the more parents know about it the less they like it.
four pillars of ed takeover
As more parents, educators, and legislators take even just a few minutes to educate themselves by reading source documents (instead of simply believing the talking points we’ve all heard) about the data being collected, who developed the standards, and who has control of the standards, an ever-increasing number of Idahoans will become concerned about the loss of our local control over our kids’ education.
Common Core is about far more than simply singling out which standard we do or don’t like.  It’s the reform package as a whole that’s the problem; the standards, assessments, data collection, tiered licensure (yes, that’s Common Core, too), and the star ratings system (which make our schools sound like a motel chain).
I wouldn’t care if these are the best standards in the world; I still wouldn’t want them in Idaho because of the federal strings and mandates that come with them.
Tom Luna is a man who was essentially defeated by Common Core.  His extreme political unpopularity began with his 2011 push to pass Students Come First, a set of educational reforms for Idaho that weren’t even his or his department’s original idea but that came straight out of the national Common Core playbook , and that only got worse as more and more people realized the role this former president of the CCSSO played in selling out our children’s future.
So, this particular battle may be over for Mr. Luna – we all know he’s moved on to bigger, better things.  But for those of us in the trenches, we know this is far from over.  We will continue to fight for local control of our children’s education.
Unfortunately for Tom Luna, his legacy will ultimately end up as the man who sold Idaho’s children’s birthright for a mess of pottage.
Stephanie Zimmerman, author of this post, stands second from the right in the photo below. 
Mom meme

How to Turn Great Literature into Informational Text   2 comments

Sharing Diane Ravitch’s:  How to Turn Great Literature into Informational Text.  Funny, yet useful!



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