At this year’s Agency Based Education (ABE) conference, one speaker, Jakell Sullivan, presented the following remarkable research. Please watch and share.
Oak Norton, founder of ABE, shared this insight in his introduction to Jakell’s video:
“In the Old Testament we read of a curious story where “Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” (1 Chron. 21:1). David’s temptation caused him to look upon his people as human capital and as a result he brought a severe curse upon Israel. As a result, God took away a portion of David’s “capacity” to build or make war by offering him one of three curses. David chose the shortest curse, pestilence, which brought upon his kingdom a three day plague and killed 70,000 men.
Statewide longitudinal database systems and digital badging are the designated “numbering” systems used by the education system in America today. When Secretary Arne Duncan and others speak about human capital, they are literally engaging in an effort to control and direct the economic future of our nation. Instead of independent thinkers, we have “common” education standards nationwide, with national assessment, tracking, and a host of other programs to bring all children into a standardization to fit them to the economic desires of those in power.
In this presentation, JaKell Sullivan enlightens and exposes what is happening in the White House and departments of education across the nation and how they are dramatically overstepping their bounds. Please watch and share this presentation, and become a member of Agency Based Education today to help support our mission.”
(You might want to tweet it to @OrrinHatch or other D.C. senators who are about to vote about ESEA/ESSA. Ask them to vote no because the bill hurts Jakell’s cause, the cause of freedom and putting family and individuals first as it entrenches standardization, gives the feds veto power over anything a state wants to do, enriches ed corporations rather than children, accepts as normal the ongoing, unconstitutional federal encroachment into education, and cements the power of student-data mining.)
Thank you to all who have been reading. I still have a lot of compiling to do and your feedback is still coming in. I’ve promised to publish and share it when it is done, but this timeline for the House vote is just not possible even with all of our combined sacrifices. We have more time before the Senate vote and I will keep working on it. Here is what I summed up in a rushed letter to our representatives today:
Over the past day and a half, 50 local parents and a number of our friends from other state have pulled themselves away from all our daily responsibilities to divide up and read every page of this monstrosity of a bill, ESSA, that will be voted on today. There isn’t a person alive who can read and fairly understand that much legal language with all the cross-references in such a short period of time and we are very upset about it. This represents the worst of the corruption we’ve come to expect from Congress and are especially disappointed that it is coming at the hands of a conservative leadership and a newly appointed Speaker of the House who spoke so eloquently against this very thing just weeks ago. This is not what self-government looks like.
As a justification for the outrageous timeline, I’ve been reminded that the language in this bill has been available for months in the form of the House and Senate versions that went into the conference, except that it is missing some of the very amendments that were used as justification of your vote back then. I think this is like saying that I saw the recipe book, so I should be happy to eat whatever ends up or doesn’t end up on my plate in some unrecognizable blob.
A yes vote also can’t be justified with arguments about the urgency to incrementally improve the status quo. No Child Left Behind has sat, technically expired since 2007. Why the rush now, less than a year before we have a chance to elect a more conservative President? I know it is because there are many things in this bill that don’t match up with the marketing being used to sell it, and that it cannot stand up to scrutiny.
I have been compiling the notes and concerns of all the parents who have been reading sections of the bill, and the feedback is still coming in. In spite of all this effort, we are out of time, so allow me to summarize just a few of the concerns here.
First, we are being told that this bill gives the Secretary of Education “unprecedented” restrictions and yet every version of ESEA has contained the restriction against the very things specified in this version. Here’s just one example:
“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State and local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.”
Am I to believe that just because this specifically uses the title of Secretary, instead of “officer or employee of the Federal Government” that this is unprecedented? The truth is, the restrictions have always been there, but have not been enforced. This bill repeats a few of these same kinds of historically unenforced restrictions using new language, but then goes on with pages and pages of allowing the Secretary great discretion to use funding to approve or deny State programs to his satisfaction. The power of the purse, is just that, powerful. That is why it was vested in Congress and not in the Executive branch.
Most of the parents who’ve worked together this week met each other in our activism to oppose Common Core. We’ve been told that this bill pushes back against Common Core. But that claim is also misleading. Starting on page 7, line 18 of the current version for example, we see the termination of “certain” waivers. This section is very specific and blocks or phases out very specific programs for which all the damage has already been done. But, it’s worse than that. Who needs grant competitions to motivate reform when you can put the same reforms you were trying to incentivize into the law itself?
For example, one of the reasons parents oppose Common Core and its linked reforms is because it accelerates the transformation of public education into a workforce planning pipeline complete with government managed data profiles. This bill codifies that, and it extends this pipeline down to toddlers in preschool.
Historically, the purpose of American education was to nurture the development of self-governing citizens, with work being incidental to that development. 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 free market with good people works better than attempts at planned markets with efficiently trained workers. The latter is a socialist concept.
This bill includes one of the latest profiteering scams for well-connected cronies as well, called a social impact bond, in the Pay for Success Initiative on page 797. I did a lot of research on this a few years ago when they were trying to get a new state funded preschool program started in Utah using this. The legislators liked it because of the promise that they would only pay for results, but the specific terms were defined privately, outside the legislation (a benefit to public private partnerships to those who profit from them) as impossible to fail and then be paid the cost of the program, plus interest. It misdiagnosed a problem (equivocation of socioeconomic status with special ed services) created a new government entitlement to supposedly fix it, expanded the collection of data and subjected tiny kids to more assessments in order to justify “results.” It was basically a way to grease the passage of and divert funding to a program that may not exist in the first place if it had to be justified and paid for up front. Buy now, pay later. Goldman seems to have discovered that legislatively guaranteed percentage returns on the backs of the taxpayer are more reliable than the stock market. http://www.nytimes.com/…/d…/did-goldman-make-the-grade.html…
We’ve been told that this bill returns authority to the states over teacher accountability, but it requires that States set accountability with certain characteristics, like teacher pay tied to assessments. This is not a true shift of control but a shift of enforcement and masks the Federal government’s continuing and expanding role. I’ve read the talking points being handed out to the teachers from their unions and believe they are, once again, being misled on how this will affect their careers.
The truth is as parents we want to support our children’s teachers. We hated the Common Core assessments (I was one of the 15 parents on the Utah parent panel that got to see the actual assessment items) and we worked to get a new law passed in Utah to protect the teachers and schools from the State level impact when we exercised our parental right to refuse these poorly designed tests. We could not affect the federal requirements in the same way and we do want to see that addressed. This bill, however fails as an effective remedy. It does mention on page 76 that these state laws on opting out will be honored, but the bill still requires a 95% participation rate with consequences for Title 1 funding. This puts the teachers in an impossible position between honoring the parent’s stewardship and the pressure to test the kids for accountability and funding purposes. In other words, the bill says that USED honors parents’ and states’ rights, then enables them to hold the teacher and school funding hostage to get the conformity they need.
We are concerned about the school based health centers and services, especially the vague language that provides funding for and grants access to our children in school to “community health centers” and “non-profit health care agencies.” We’re concerned about language encouraging all kinds of assessments that go beyond academic measures. The vague language seems to grant access to groups like Planned Parenthood or mental health assessments and interventions without parental consent or the same ethical restrictions enforced for private medical practice: http://insider.foxnews.com/…/11-year-old-girls-can-get-iuds… and http://truthinamericaneducation.com/…/a-mental-health-prof…/
We are concerned about all the data being collected by government about our kids, data collection practices that are expanded and encouraged in this bill. It’s not very reassuring to read about how student privacy will be protected under a section heading “Sense of Congress” (page 859), which I learned after looking it up, means it’s like a nonbinding resolution or suggestion. In light of the recent information security review of the Department of Education, in which Representative Chaffetz participated, it is knowingly irresponsible in this environment to fund, encourage, or expand student data collection practices:
I think Representative Chaffetz can understand from his own experience why parents might not be thrilled with the idea of state or federal government amassing life-long data profiles of all the successes and failures, aptitudes and weaknesses of the academic, health, socioeconomic and subjective behavioral assessments of our children. http://www.washingtontimes.com/…/jason-chaffetzs-file-lea…/…
We can’t see these profiles or verify their accuracy. We can’t limit their use or the information being shared with a seemingly endless list of stakeholders, and we can’t opt out. When did this become a government of the data, by the data and for the data?
There’s so much more I would like to say if I had the time. (Can you imagine how fun it is to miss sleep and appointments to try to make sense of something that will impact your child’s life so seriously and while digging through hundreds of pages come across stuff like a posthumous pardon of a wronged boxer (page 914)? What a joke! I literally laughed at that through tears of frustration.
The bottom line is this is not an improvement over the last terrible version of the bill. One mom summed it like this, “incredible federal overreach; hands-on, in the classroom micromanagement; hazy definitions of terms; blatantly contradictory policies; and lots of ambiguities. It is the perfect recipe for a complete removal of local (teacher/parent) control.”
Please vote NO.
Utahns Against Common Core
The Every Student Succeeds Act
(ESEA or No Child Left Behind Reauthorization)
To read and expose the inevitable underbelly of the latest 1061-page fed-ed bill in the time between yesterday, when the bill slimed its way out of the dark, until tomorrow, when the bill is set up for its Congressional vote (without debate, without reading) is, of course, an impossible task. We have done impossible tasks before, but I have never read 1,061 pages and analyzed it, overnight.
I’m going to post as much as I have energy for tonight. In the morning, I’ll add what my smarty pants reader friends have found, as well. So come back and scroll down. 🙂 If you are reading the bill, please make comments and point out page numbers below. (FYI I am comparing this bill to its predecessors and you can do the same if you like.)
For those just catching up, know this: the secret committee released the over 1,000 pages long bill to the rest of Congress Monday, Nov. 30th, for Congress to make its reasoned vote TWO DAYS LATER but then they changed the bill–again– and re-released it today, Dec. 1st. So technically, your reps had one day to read, digest, and debate.
Only Senator Lee has stood up to this procedural injustice. Only he is a clear “NO” vote, that I know of. Other Utahns: Senator Hatch, Representative Chaffetz and Representative Love, for example, are reading the bill today before they commit to a yes or a no vote this week, say their staffers.
This lack of commitment is something that I cannot understand.
Why wouldn’t Congressmen’s default vote be a “no,” based on the fact that the process has veered far from honest and proper procedural protocol? Why not fight for the right to take a reasonable approach to actually study and debate the bill openly?
Congress is on the verge of passing this bill dishonorably while the only ones very excited about the bill (besides the Secretary of Education) are the bling-bling bipartisan lobbyists working for gold-rushing tech companies wishing to drain tax dollars into their pockets. These tech companies and ed sales corporations advise or partner up with the feds, saying smooth sounding stuff that poses as education — but education, the word itself, has been hijacked.
Corporate-partnered fed ed, served by this bill, is a top-down, one-sized, freedom-constricting, teacher-controlling, student data-stalking Frankenstein. I don’t care if it’s left or right wing spawned. It is wrong.
It is not education.
Any Representative or Senator who votes to pass this nation-binding law in such blind circumstances better prepare. There will be political careers lost– that will trace their demise back to this moment. This is the moment, Congress.
Hold Congress accountable. Call and tweet. Call 202-224-3121 to tell Congress: vote no. We, the people, are watching this vote.
Now, to business of this bill.
I’ll post the page number or section, the direct quote from the bill, and why it’s a concern. (There is no way this will be thoroughly done in so little time. Not a chance. But it will give you the gist of the bill. And you will understand why pushers have gotten into the habit of putting out lying talking points –“reduce the federal footprint”; “restore power to states”– to get the darn bills passed.)
“EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT OF 2015” aka ESEA link here)
My friend Karen Bracken, a patriot warrior mom, wrote, “Even the title concerns me. How do you ensure that Every Student Will Succeed? The only way you can do that is by dumbing-down education to the point in which even a cat could graduate.” Does that make you laugh or cry?
If you read the title and the table of contents, you will see the micromanagement right away. But let’s start with section 1003. It deals with money and how states will be micromanaged if they want to see any of it. The bill calls it “School Improvement.” I’ve renamed it “How States Can Beg for A Piece of Their Own Tax Dollars Back“.
Here, the feds dictate (page 24) what percentage of funds the state will use and for what purpose. (7 percent for this, not less than 95 percent for that, 3 percent for this… on and on through page 32).
The feds dictate that the states then must turn around and inflict fed-like micromanagement on localities; they must be “monitoring and evaluating the use of funds by local education agencies” (page 26) and must give out monies to localities only if they “demonstrate the strongest commitment to using funds…[as feds see fit] and states must “align other Federal, State and local resources“.
(There’s that word “align” that we have read ten billion times in the past four years as we read official documents implementing Common Core and Common Data Standards. The word pops up again on page 33: “coursework that is aligned with the challenging State academic standards“. They’ve now dropped references to Common Core State Standards as well as any reference to College and Career Ready Standards. But the word “aligned” they have not dropped. It’s in the document 72 times, and, notably, the word “standards” is in the document 269 times and “challenging state academic standards” is repeated 24 times; just not “Common Core” labeled anymore. To me, “align” in ed reform now means to superglue to a global sameness; it means forget about scholastic creativity or imagination; it means forget about originality or home-grown ideas and powers. It means that you are not represented; you are assimilated. But I am off on a tangent.)
Pages 34 and 35 repeat the mantra that funds must be prioritized to low-achievers. (First of all, how dare you tell a state how to prioritize its funds? Secondly, how are the feds so sure that mid and high achievers won’t mind losing funding for their misdeed of having achieved? Are mid or high achievers’ needs not all that important, anyway?) Harrison Bergeron comes to mind; this is the Handicapper General at work.
Page 36 promises “a sufficient number of options to provide a meaningful choice for parents” which is a lie, of course; think about it. Federal laws and conditional monies mean using federally approved standards and tests and CURRICULUM in every school receiving federal funds. This is far from meaningful and it represents an extremely narrowed and controlled set of choices. Meaningful does not happen in an atmosphere of standardized everything, just as wonderous meals do not bloom in the kitchens of McDonald’s.
Page 37 dictates that American tax dollars may only “provide instruction and content that is secular“. This is old news. But it is not old news that federal funds are increasingly being offered to private schools. Does this mean that the feds are softening and will share taxpayers’ dollars with those who choose to attend private religious schools? No. It means that private schools are being coerced to secularize their core curricula and services so that they may receive federal money.
Page 38 is Section 1111: STATE PLANS.
We’ll rename this one “Mother May I?” (Thanks, Wendy Hart.)
States say: “Mother, May I adopt these standards?” Secretary of Education or his appointees say “no”. Rinse and repeat until states eventually ask to adopt what the Secretary has already settled upon. Here’s how it works:
Page 38: “…State educational agency shall file will the Secretary a plan” which must meet, among other things, “Secretarial Approval” (page 39 line 23) and must be approved by a review team appointed by the federal Secretary of Education. (page 39-40) That team (page 42) will have the authority to disapprove a state plan. The state may revise its plan, appeal for a hearing (page 43) but ultimately, the process will “promote effective implementation of the challenging State academic standards [aka Common Core]” (page 43).
If ANYONE tries to tell you that this bill gives power to the States, point to these pages. With such huge veto-wielding power, and review team appointing power, the Secretary becomes king over anything any state wants to do. This is not good. You can stop here. That’s enough ammo. VOTE NO.
I have to point out some sickening hypocrisy on page 44. The review team must provide “objective feedback to the States” with “respect for State and local judgments with the goal of supporting State and local-led innovation“. If your goal is to support State innovation, why not return to the Constitution which gives exactly ZERO authority to the feds in anything relating to education, tests, standards, or teachers!?
More hypocrisy on the same page: “Neither the Secretary nor the political appointees of the Department may attempt to participate in or influence the peer review process”.
On page 45: “If a state makes significant changes to its plan at any time, such as the adoption of new challenging State academic standards or new academic assessments or changes to its accountability system… such information shall be submitted to the Secretary…”
Same page: “If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section, the Secretary may withhold funds…” MICROMANAGEMENT HEAVEN.
A bit of a toothless joke on page 47: “The State, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that public comments were taken into account”.
Page 47 also gives us this sobering mouthful: “Each state, in the plan it files… shall provide an assurance that the State has adopted challenging academic content standards and aligned academic achievement standards (referred to in this Act as ‘challenging State academic standards’), which achievement standards shall include not less than 3 levels of achievement…” If you have studied how children are assessed, tracked and predestined to relegated top, middle, or bottom schools and careers in nations shackled by communism and socialism, this will make you very unhappy.
Page 48 says the state MUST align its standards to colleges and to tech-ed schools.
Page 49 says that only a small percentage of special education students– those with “the most significant cognitive disabilities” may be excused, and may use alternate standards, and only then if those alternate standards are “aligned with the challenging State academic content standards”. On page 50 it adds that that severely disabled person must be “on track to pursue postsecondary education or employment” whether they want to or not. The feds are not kind to special education students. And they won’t let states determine these matters anymore. Sadly, we already knew all of this was coming.
Page 51 offers us another blistering contradiction: “The Secretary shall not have the authority to mandate, direct, control, coerce, or exercise any direction or supervision over any of the challenging State academic standards…” Tell me how that works with page 45. He can withhold funds and disapprove plans if the state files a plan that he doesn’t like for a slew of reasons that could include using curriculum, tests or standards that aren’t aligned to his vision of fed ed and he can mandate that the state has to use the exact same standards in every one of its schools (page 52 line 21) — but he in no way supervises the State’s standards?
Page 52 deals with “Academic Assessments”. Feds dictate to states that the tests shall be the same in every school in the state (line 23) and that they will be “administered to all public elementary and secondary school students in the State” (page 53). Does this end –or aim to end– the parental right to opt out of testing? (See page 76 below)
Page 53 is an admission. The bill says that the tests may not be used to “publically disclose personally identifiable information”. They can’t disclose it publicly, but they can sure store it indefinitely.
Subtly, page 53 forces Common Educational Data Standards because the feds dictate that state tests must be: “consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical testing standards”.
Next, the dictators tell states when and how much to test children:
page 54: in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (every year) for math and language arts
in grades 9, 10, 11, 12 (at least once)
in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 for science (at least three times in those years)
On page 55, the dictators bring down the hammer: “the participation in such assessments of all students”. ALL.
On page 58 we see the racism and other -isms of the Department of Education: States are told that they must disaggregate test data by ethnicity, race, economics, disability, English proficiency, gender, and migrant status.
On page 59 we see the toxic term “universal design for learning“. Tests are to be developed using IMS Global education standards. This means not just state or national, but global sameness and tracking. Is that a good idea or a bad one? Is that something that we ought to have Congress think about for more than one day prior to a vote?
On page 61 the feds are dictating to states that no more than one percent of students may be considered so disabled that they may take alternate-standards-based tests. “The total number of students assessed… using alternate assessments does not exceed 1 percent of the total number of all students in the State”. Later, on page 65, the bill says that there is no cap; but that schools must submit information “justifying the need to exceed such a cap”. It also notes that the State shall provide “oversight” of any school required to submit justifying information. In other words, States must show that they are monitoring schools’ decision making.
How would the federal government ever know whether a state happened to have fewer, or a greater number of students who needed and deserved something other than what the highest achieving students can and should do? On what basis does it dictate one percent? What if my child is severely disabled and is forced to take the common tests and to be taught to common standards inappropriate for him or her, because of the high number of students with disabilties? How does that bless my child?
On page 62 they’re dictating “universal design for learning” again; this time, for severely disabled special education testing.
Page 66 is literally jaw-dropping to me. It says that if the state “provides evidence which is satisfactory to the Secretary that neither the State Educational Agency nor any other State government official… has sufficient authority under State law to adopt challenging State academic standards and academic assessments aligned with such standards [aka Common Core standards and tests] which will be applicable to all students enrolled in the State’s public elementary schools and secondary schools, then the State educational agency may meet the requirements…” by aligning unofficially anyway, by meeting “all of the criteria…and any regulations… that the Secretary may publish”. (page 67) If your state law doesn’t allow for one size fits all, then adopt and implement policies that ensure that you are aligned anyway, or lose funding. Talk about kicking Constitutional rights in the teeth. This is dictatorship.
On page 69, states are told to dictate to schools again. They must filter tests through the filter of “already been approved” (line 18) or they must “conduct a review of the assessment to determine if such assessment meets or exceeds the technical criteria” that has to be “established” (line 9) by the state. This sounds to me like more herding of everybody into IMS Global’s universal design for learning.
On page 73, it almost sounds good until you finish the sentence. It begins, “a State retains the right to develop and administer computer adaptive assessments, provided that….” and then we lose all the rights again, because they have to be aligned, aligned, aligned.
On page 76, it says that States can still decide whether or not to allow parents to opt out of testing but limits that concept to one paragraph: “nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting State” law. So, in the rest of the over-1000-page bill, something might. This is not making me feel better.
How many dictatorial mandates, contradictions, hypocrises, manipulations and usurpations of local control have I related in this first tiny section of this bill?
Now, it is 1:30 a.m. I have to go to sleep.
There are 985 pages that I (and probably my congressional reps) are leaving unread.
–In a few short hours, Congress votes anyway. Watch it here.
In case there were not enough fires to put out for those who value academic freedom and local control of education, this week there’s another situation for Utah patriots to address that’s as important to me as the huge ESEA debacle.
This week, the Utah State School Board will vote to pass or not to pass (but by all indications, they will pass) a disaster akin to the day they adopted the Common Core and the day they accepted the student stalking database known as State Longitudinal Database System. It’s called an update to Utah’s Science Standards, but it’s truly the same as the Next Generation Science Standards (which are the common core for science because NGSS standards, like Common Core, are federally approved, federal-test aligned, and are controlled by a little elite group far away who will centrally manage its “truth” without representation from us.) And some “expert” Utahns think they’re dandy.
You are invited to the public meeting. Here are details: http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx
Sadly, the Utah State Office of Education created a stifling, manipulative “public comment” survey which many called into question (and asked for an audit) — but that survey’s results have not even been given to the Board, according to one board member. That survey’s problems (and the attitude of USOE in general) included these:
- Nowhere did the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the fact that these standards are IDENTICAL to the NGSS common, national standards.
- Nowhere did the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the fact that these standards are exactly ALIGNED with federally-approved standardized testing. (This is probably why USOE pushed these narrowed standards so hard; federal cash follows federally-aligned standards for embedded CEDStags.)
- Nowhere did the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to narrowing the science survey to only 6th through 8th grades.
- Nowhere did the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the politically slanted nature of a new, extreme interest in environmentalism, materialism, and “climate change”; the survey pretends that the science standards are only about science.
- Nowhere did the survey allow space for true freedom of expression.
If you truly want input, you will have to contact the Board members one by one. (The USOE, too.)
Vince Newmeyer, who has been valiantly opposing Utah’s move toward NGSS, has composed a letter to the board, one that he hoped could serve as a template for others’ letters. Here it is.
October 2015 Science Draft
Letter to the Utah State Board of Education
Dear State School Board Member,
Please reject the “SEEd” standards proposed in October 2015. These standards are obsessively focused on environmental and socialissues 1 and neglect many aspects of important science. These standards also do not explore evolution in light of the latest data available but continue promoting some evolution theories that have been discredited years ago.2 Furthermore, USOE has finally admitted that these standards are based3 on the Next Generation Science Standards, the science complement to the Common Core State Standards 4. In fact, there is only one NGSS standard not represented in this October draft 5. Our April “SEEd” draft of standards was a word-for-word 6copy of the NGSS contrary to the USOE’s repeated but false assertions 7. USOE officials have also made multiple public statements8 thatUtah would not adopt national standards beyond Common Core, yet that is essentially what they are doing.
A report that was presented at the conclusion of the 90 day public review of the April 2015 draft. Though a number of aspects were reported on by the USOE, one part of the public input was conspicuously missing. Emails from the public were not reported on by USOE.9The fact that emails were received was mentioned but no measure was given as to the overall public sentiment. Now at the conclusion of the October draft we see no report at all made available to the public that indicates what the results were on the 30 day public review of the October draft. Where is the USOE accountability to the public in this process?
It is argued by some, even some professors of our Utah campuses, that there is a consensus in science; that Global Warming 10 is primarily man caused and Darwinian Evolution (the concept that you, a fish, and a turnip are all distant cousins, separated only by time and chance chemical reactions) are essentially scientific fact11. As such they claim that man caused Global Warming and Darwinian evolution should be taught in our public schools without considering scientific evidence that speaks against such notions.12 It is alleged that true scientist don’t doubt Darwin but such assertions are not supported by the data.13 Science, they say, is reserved for that which is demonstrated 14 and not for teaching beliefs, yet we find that Utah university and public school science classrooms and are filled with the teachings of belief. These proposed standards invite much more, the turning of the science classroom into a mechanism to manipulate future societal thoughts and behaviors.15
None-the-less, here in Utah we like to think that our Utah science teachers and professors only teach actual science. Unfounded myths or beliefs about, for example, our origins, are reserved for places of faith. But even now, such is not the case.16 Also, studies have shown overwhelming support that “teachers and students should have the academic freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution as a scientific theory.” According to polls, 80% of likely voters are in support of such education.17
Furthermore, even with the recent “clarifications” added to the October “SEEd” draft18, the clarity is no where near the clarity of the existing standards19. This is abundantly clear to those who have taken the time to read the proposed draft and then compare it to the current standards. Yes, modeling, etc. are useful learning tools and good teachers already to do that, and other teachers can be taught about such skills.
Another point: the slight20 positive adjustments that have been made to these standards from the Utah April 2015 word-for-word copy of the NGSS performance standards, will be essentially lost as school districts and teachers select textbooks, sample lesson plans, etc, from the array of “NGSS compatible materials” bringing our classroom education right in line with the materialistic perspective of the NGSS.
You sit on the Board of Education to represent us, the Parents of Utah, and not the elitist educational thinking that is politically popular today.
Again, please reject these standards.
Concerned Citizens of Utah
Visit http://www.sciencefreedom.org/articles.html for access to resources and research that will help one understand the details and issues related to these proposed standards.
The survey conducted by the USOE on the October 2015 draft, did not give one an opportunity to express an overall thumbs down to reject the whole of the proposal. What they are saying is that you are going to get this NGSS based set of standards regardless of if you like it or not, although they will allow you to provide input for possible minor modifications.
Action Item: To show our discontent we should now make comments to Board members and the State Superintendent as input to these people should be available as the vote on the standards will not be held until the 5th of December (see below for contact info)
The entire Utah State Board of Education Members may be reached via
Individual Board Member and Contact info is here
You can find your specific school board representative
Brad C. Smith
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200
Curriculum & Instruction
Phone: (801) 538-7698
State Science Specialist
Phone: (801) 538-7808
Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), Elementary Math (K-6)
Phone: (801) 538-7766
3This admission from USOE was found on page 7 of the front material given to board members to introduce the October draft of the science standards. This is also documented in the footnote on the introductory page of each of the grade levels on the October draft of the standards. See http://www.sciencefreedom.org
11Example: Professor Tolman in the Science Standards Parent Review Committee stated that “Evolution theory is just as solidly supported by data as gravitational theory or relativity theory.” email in authors position.
15Not only is the unquestioned faith of materialism taught in our public schools, but with these proposed standards, based on the NGSS, there is a wide adoption of politicized content in environmentalism in addition to the evolutionary doctrine. The best examples is NGSS itself. One instance is: http://nextgenscience.org/ms-ess3-5-earth-and-human-activity . Though some will claim that a radical environmentalist temperament has been removed, really it still exist. More to the point, though there has been some minor relief in this area, the FULL NGSS will again be enthroned in our science classrooms as district curriculum specialist and teachers adopt or incorporate sample lesson plans and support material that are NGSS compliant.
Vince Newmeyer suggests viewing the following videos to further understand the NGSS – Utah Science alteration situation.
- “Do Human Embryos Have Gills and Does it Matter?”
2. News Report on Global Warming Not Being True Science
3. Utah Board Minutes on Science Standards Adoption
4. Public Comment Meeting on the Utah Adopting NGSS-Aligned Standards (2015)