With my stomach in knots at two sickening bills that are poised to be slammed through today, I will go (hopefully alongside very many other moms and dads and teachers like me, along with our children) to make the drive, find the impossible parking, and attend the hearings today at 4:00 at the House Building in our State Capitol building.
POWELL – THE SPONSOR OF THE COMMON CORE-
BASED, FORCED YEARLONG TESTING BILL
We’ll hear legislative discussion and, if we’re lucky, will hear strong citizen testimony, on both HB 164 (that’s the “Let’s force SAGE/Common Core yearlong assessment on all kids without parental consent” bill) –now a very slightly altered version of what got voted down a few days ago, which has been unfortunately resurrected by the desperate Representatives Powell/Milner, likely egged on by equally desperate Governor Herbert and his USOE.
See lines 82-85: “providing that scores on the tests and assessments… may [not] be considered in determining:
84 (i) a student’s academic grade for the appropriate course; or
85 (ii) whether a student may advance to the next grade level.”
By taking out “not” they have made it so that kids opting out of common core year-round tests may not pass the class or the grade, if this passes. That breaks many other laws that place parents as primary authority, schools as supporting authority, in a child’s education. How can parents truly have a say if the law says otherwise? Even more importantly, a yes vote on this bill is a yes vote for the common core itself, since it assumes that the tests based on those standards are valid. VOTE NO.
KING – SPONSOR OF HB264, THE ALIGNING UTAH WITH
COMMON SEX STANDARDS BILL
We’ll hear discussion on HB 264, the bill that alters Utah’s current sex education program, which is, or was, reasonably, actually about the medically correct facts about reproduction, sexually transmitted diseases, and the fact that abstinence and fidelity are great tools to avoid trouble — but now, under HB 264, is to be replaced by the “common core” national standards for sex ed, which are code named “comprehensive sexuality education,” all about altering “values, beliefs and attitudes” about sex and gender identity, with no moral judgment of any kind allowed to be taught, and no such thing as deviant or perverted behaviors to be mentioned; such seem not to exist, under the common national sex standards, separately from healthy and moral sexual behavior.
As Wendy Hart, Alpine School Board member, pointed out: “We will be told [HB 264] is about knowledge. Here’s some evidence. CDC ranks Utah 47th for STDs compared to all of the other 50 states. According to the Guttmacher Institute Utah is rated 45th for teen pregnancy and 49th for teen abortions. States such as California and New York that teach comprehensive sex education are ranked in the top 10 states for all these teenage sexual activities. So, should Utah continue with its successful abstinence-based education program resulting in Utah students ranking an average of 47th out of all 50 states for teenage sexual activity or should we change to a failed comprehensive sex education program that has produced teen sexual activity rates in the top 10 of all states?”
With permission, I am posting the open email and letter now, from Dr. Gary Thompson, an African-American doctor of clinical psychology (who is also currently a candidate for District 10 in the battle for State School Board seats).
This letter was sent yesterday to the legislators, who will vote on HB164 today.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org,”V. Lowry Snow” <email@example.com>,LaVar Christensen <firstname.lastname@example.org>,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,Francis Gibson <email@example.com>,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com
Subject: Memo To House/Press Release RE: Objection to HR 164-2
February 21, 2016
Re: Objection to HB 164-2
Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, Inc.
Dr. Gary T. Thompson
Utah State House of Representatives House Education Committee
Dear House Education Committee:
I am writing in regards to HB 164-2 on behalf of my five African-American children, as well as the hundreds of mothers who have graced the halls of the pediatric clinical/education child psychology clinic that I co-founded with my wife. This Bill will require all public school children in the State of Utah to take the SAGE assessment test, eliminate the option of parents to opt their children out of taking the test, and will mandate the usage of SAGE as a primary determinate for advancement in early elementary school grades, as well as graduation from Utah public high schools. The passage of this Bill will have far-reaching negative academic, psychological, ethical, economic, and legal consequences that will haunt our State for generations.
I have devoted my life to the research, study and ethical clinical usage of emotional, cognitive and academic achievement tests to assist parents, schools, and courts with making life-altering decisions for children. During my Doctoral Internship and Residency, I gained a intimate working knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the incredible technology and psychometric qualities embedded in the algorithms of the computer adaptive tests that are now the foundational basis of the SAGE test at issue of this Bill.
The psychometric algorithms imbedded inside the SAGE test are remarkable, cutting edge, and unlike anything our generation has seen or experienced in our lifetime. As a local clinical community scientist, I have spent many hours enthusiastically reading peer reviewed studies from my colleagues over the past 8 years in anticipation of utilizing computer adaptive assessment of this nature for children in my community, as well as my own children.
I am a strong advocate for the ethical and prudent usage and inclusion of technology in efforts to assist ground level teachers with serving the academic needs of children in educational settings. The next 4 years will see innovations in this area that will be awe inspiring, as well as ground breaking in nature.
Despite my scientific enthusiasm and support for the inclusion and integration of psychometric tools, such as the SAGE test, in the academic lives of my children, and the children of my neighbors in my community, I beg you both as father, and a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, to never let this Bill see the light of day. My strong objection is not based on personal politics, and obviously has no basis in a “fear of technology”.
This Bill must not pass for one reason, and one reason only: It is still in its developmental/experimental phase, and has yet to be validated independently for its intended purpose. Without a shadow of a doubt, the corporation that the Utah State Office of Education chose as the vendor for the SAGE test (American Institute of Research), has launched the most expansive, massive, unethical experimentation on public school children ever witnessed in the history of Utah. Clinical psychology is replete with tragic, historical examples of the dire consequences associated with experimentation without the informed, written consent of its human participants. To pass a law which takes away the right of parents of protect their psychologically vulnerable children from the adverse, and well documented effects of high stakes, experimental assessment of any nature, is irresponsible, unethical, and dangerous.
One needs to look no further than the State of Florida to see the chaos, harm and damage associated with the AIR produced Common Core test currently being utilized for purposes of grade advancement, and teacher evaluations. In closing, on behalf of the parents of African American, Latino, Divergent Learning, Special Education, Gifted, Anxious, Depressed, Suicidal, ADHD, Autistic, and emotionally vulnerable children in the State of Utah, I respectfully request that the House not only allow parents to opt out of the SAGE test, but encourage them to withdraw their children when they witness excessive signs of distress associated with experimental, high stakes testing. In addition, I ask that no high stakes, experimental test produced by a corporate vendor, validated or not, ever be given the “respect” of being tied to grade advancement or high school graduation.
Using our kids as experimental laboratory rats, without the informed written consent of parents, to achieve “career and college readiness” is unethical by any professional standard, and is a direct affront to our God given and Constitutionally protected right as parents to protect, raise and nurture our children without invasive governmental interventions. Please vote “NO” on HB 164-2. “Parents are, and must always be, the resident experts of their own children.”
Gary Thompson, Psy.D.
Retired Father of Five Divergent Learning Children
2016 Candidate-Utah State Board of Education-District 10
Early Life – 10757 So. Riverfront Parkway Ste. #275 South Jordan, UT 84095
If you can’t be at the capitol at 4:00 today, please text, email, and call the House Ed committee members:
Rep. Brad Last firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Lowry Snow email@example.com 435-703-3688
Rep. LaVar Christensen firstname.lastname@example.org 801-808-5105
Rep. Kim Coleman email@example.com 801-865-8970
Rep. Bruce Cutler firstname.lastname@example.org 801-556-4600
Rep. Steve Eliason email@example.com 801-673-4748
Rep. Justin Fawson firstname.lastname@example.org 801-781-0016
Rep. Francis Gibson email@example.com
Rep. Eric Hutchings firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. David Lifferth email@example.com 801-358-9124
Rep. Daniel McCay firstname.lastname@example.org 801-810-4110
Rep. Michael Noel email@example.com 435-616-5603
Thanks for your support of children’s innocence, parental authority, and children’s future liberty.