Ed. Note: … State delegates have received no less than five communications in the past week from Governor Herbert related to Common Core … Just today we received a robocall from the Lt. Governor, in which he states Governor Herbert has “fought against federal control of education including Common Core”…
What follows below is a rebuttal by Alyson Williams about the letter delegates received from Governor Herbert.
Don’t miss the other UACC article exposing the history of how involved Governor Herbert has been in promoting Common Core.
In a letter to State delegates dated April 7, 2016, Governor Herbert listed seven points, concluding with a personal note, to clarify his position on Common Core in Utah. A fact check against other sources follows each excerpted point below:
1) I have called for the elimination of the federal Department of Education.
TRUE (but don’t miss the fine print): While the topic didn’t come up in his remarks to Congress, he did say there should not be a federal Department of Education on his Facebook page:
Now for the fine print, here are his remarks to Congress:http://blog.governor.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Written-Testimony-of-Governor-Gary-Herbert-UT-Sen-HELP-02-23-16-FINAL-1.pdf
In short, the Governor outlines how instead of the Federal Department of Education controlling nationwide policies for education, Governors should collude to set nationwide policy for education. Calling for the elimination of the Department of Ed while advocating for an extragovernmental process to accomplish a different centralization of power is not a principle of constitutional federalism. It is a Constitution work around.
2) I signed into law SB287 – a bill that makes it illegal for the federal government to have any control.
FALSE: No law in our state makes it “illegal” for the federal government to have “any control.” 2012 SB287 (http://le.utah.gov/~2012/bills/static/SB0287.html) began as a list of conditions under which Utah “shall exit” any federal education agreement. However, by the time it reached the Governor’s pen, it said, “may exit.” The degree to which Utah avoids federal parameters over local education policy is dependent on the people we elect to various positions of authority and whether they will take action not because they “shall” but because they “may” do so. Governor Herbert has taken great pains to emphasize Utah’s legal authority to take an alternative path to Common Core and yet he has not advocated doing it. As the chair of the National Governor’s Association, a key stakeholder in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, he accepted a nationally prominent role in promoting these reforms.
3) I called for Attorney General Sean Reyes to conduct an exhaustive investigation to determine whether or not the state of Utah had ceded authority over our education system to the federal government on Common Core or any other standards. He concluded that Utah has not. We control our standards, our curriculum, our textbooks and our testing.
FALSE: Herbert did ask AG Sean Reyes to conduct an investigation but within carefully selected parameters, not an “exhaustive” one. The report provided legal justification for whether Utah could join or exit Common Core while avoiding a conversation Utahans can’t seem to have with this Governor about whether Utah should have joined or would exit Common Core.
As far as ceding authority to the federal government, the AG report acknowledges “the USDOE, by imposing those waiver conditions, has infringed upon state and local authority over public education. States have consented to the infringement, through federal coercion…”
A full response to this report by a Utah teacher can be found here: https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/responding-to-the-attorney-generals-report-on-common-core/
Download the AG report here: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/files/attorney-general-legal-analysis-100714.pdf
4) I commissioned Utah Valley University President Matt Holland and a group of experts to review our education standards. With over 7,000 public comments, this committee recommended improvements to standards and the state board has implemented many of these proposed changes.
UNDISCLOSED BIAS: Throughout his campaign, Governor Herbert has referred to his Common Core review commission using only Matt Holland’s recognizable name, leaving out that the original chair, Rich Kendell (eventual co-chair with Holland), was an advisor for Prosperity 2020 and Education First. Prosperity 2020 Chair Allan Hall was also on the commission as was Rob Brems, a member of the Utah Data Alliance Executive Board. (Common standards are an invaluable asset for data collection.) All are highly qualified people, who, it must be noted, publicly favored these reforms before this commission was assembled. There was just one k12 teacher on the commission, from a private school, and she did not concur with the report but her reasons for dissent are not specifically listed.
In another example of this one-sided approach, the report references two experts who came to Utah to testify about the quality of the Standards but does not disclose their previous connection to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Timothy Shanahan from the University of Chicago was on the writing committee for the standards, and David Pearson from UC Berkeley was on the Common Core Standards validation committee. Both have published works and give seminars to help teachers implement Common Core around the country. The concerns of the dissenting members of the Common Core validation committee who have also submitted testimony in Utah were never mentioned.
LIMITATIONS ON PUBLIC COMMENT: Public comment was limited to making suggestions standard by standard and not on the overall scope and sequence of the framework, or on things that are absent from the standards.
NO MEANINGFUL REVISIONS: As far as proposed changes coming from the report, there is a list of changes to the standards, but they are all corrections of typographical errors or clarifications of the wording. (p. 33) Other less specific recommendations are scattered throughout, but are seemingly limited to organizational considerations like better cross-referencing between the standards and supporting materials with no substantive revisions.
Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of the report is this statement that is repeated several times regarding the natural limitation to making meaningful changes to standards that are intended, as a priority, to be common across the U.S.:
“The Utah Core Standards can be revised and improved over time in accordance with Utah students’ needs and based on sound research, while staying similar enough to other states to assist transferability at grade level.”
RISKS FOR REMEDIATION UNCHANGED: Another conclusion of note was whether Common Core would reduce college remediation (starts pg 27): “Students who master Secondary Math I, II, and III standards will be very well prepared for postsecondary education and training programs.” In other words, in this report that ironically emphasizes the need to teach more “critical thinking,” we see an example of circular reasoning: students who master the content (or, who do not need remediation) will not need remediation… just like students who mastered content in previous math programs in Utah.
UNKNOWN OUTCOMES: This is immediately followed by the observation that we won’t truly know how college readiness will be impacted until we see how the kids who have been through Common Core get to college – underlining one of the biggest concerns of parents, that this is a statewide (nationwide) experiment on a scale that will reduce alternatives and inhibit the innovation driven by competing ideas. This experiment will affect an entire generation of Utah students but we can only hypothesize about the outcome: “Research on students who complete all of the grade levels of the mathematics standards will be required to verify that the standards (and their effective implementation) make a difference.” (p.28)
A link to the report: http://www.utah.gov/governor/docs/utahcorestandards/Standards_Review_Panel_Report_to_the_Governor.FINAL.2.5.15.pdf
5) I, and others, successfully lobbied Congress to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act and return education authority to the states. This policy change was heralded by the Wall Street Journal as the “largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.”
FALSE: ESSA didn’t repeal “No Child Left Behind,” it reauthorized it. NCLB is just a nickname for one of the previous reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that has been due for reauthorization since 2007. This reauthorization was dubbed the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” It was revised to eliminate one of the most unpopular aspects of NCLB, the penalties for not meeting targets for AYP, but put nearly everything that had been pushed in the federal grants and waivers under Obama’s Department of Education into federal statute. Obama’s Secretary of Education said everything his administration had “promoted and proposed forever” is embedded in ESSA: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/elementary-and-secondary-education-act/arne-duncan-essa-embodies-the-core-of-our-agenda/
Here’s a letter sent to Utah’s Congressional delegation from a group of local parents highlighting a few of their concerns with ESSA:https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/letter-to-congress-and-compiled-notes-from-alyson-williams-and-50-citizen-readers-on-esea-every-student-succeeds-act/
Every member of Utah’s Congressional delegation, with the exception of Senator Hatch, voted against ESSA.
6) Assessing the progress of our students is important, but we want to maximize the time they spend learning, not the time they spend taking tests. This session, I worked with the Legislature and signed two bills into law that reduce high-stakes testing in our schools (SAGE testing).
TRUE-ish: Governor Herbert did sign the bill removing the high stakes for SAGE assessments from teacher evaluations and another bill that makes the SAGE test optional for 11th graders (who would likely be taking a different standardized test for college application purposes.) It is not clear how either of those reduce testing unless, in the first case, it is assumed that teachers will require less test practice if their evaluation isn’t directly impacted. In the second case, it’s likely just making room for a different high-stakes test.
7) Every budgetary proposal and policy decision I make is to give more authority and discretion to local school districts and local schools. I have continually advocated for increases to funding that gets to the classroom and can be tailored for local needs.
FALSE: Not every policy proposal. Much of the Governor’s Excellence in Education plan dating back to 2010 and the associated calls for additional funding have been in the context of his Education 2020 plan to expand state educational policy to include early childhood education (preschool, all day kindergarten), workforce alignment initiatives, data collection, and school and teacher accountability which is money for bureaucracy and additional programs, not an increase for the average classroom. He did call for additional $ to go into the WPU in his 2017 budget.
On a personal note, I have eleven grandchildren in Utah public schools. I’ve seen the frustration they and their parents have had over math assignments they didn’t understand and teachers struggled to teach. I have expressed my dissatisfaction with the flawed implementation of new standards, especially in math…
NOTE: It seems too common that when a top-down program fails it is blamed on the “implementation.” This is a key reason for true local control and for programs to be initiated at the level where the expertise, resources and student needs are best understood. Teachers should not be scapegoats for programs chosen by politicians.
Please vote for Johnathan Johnson for Governor of Utah. Gary Herbert’s pretend-a-thon about Common Core has been growing increasingly desperate and despicable. Johnson doesn’t pretend that the nationalization and standardization of all things educational is acceptable, or that it’s not happening.
I actually keep the campaign mailers that Governor Herbert sends out, rather than sending them to the bird cage, because I see them as evidence in a crime scene.
“LOCAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION,” crows one flier, “Governor Herbert played a key role in supporting Congress passing a law to prohibit federally mandated education standards– including Common Core”.
(I ran around my kitchen and shrieked and burned the pancakes the first time I read this mailer.)
ESSA, a fed ed monster bill that Herbert championed, certainly did claim that it would end fed ed in its talking points, but– since no one actually was allowed time to read it– Congress found out after the vote, in reading the over-a-thousand-pages-long language, that it did no such thing. Those of us who had been studying its predecessors knew what was in the crock pot.
Federal ESSA passed into law last Christmastime, when nobody had time to read or debate the 1,000+ page bill. (To make doubly sure no one would have time to read or debate the bill, the writers gave it to the voters in Congress TWO DAYS before the vote). Senator Lee protested loudly while Herbert promoted ESSA– just as he had so long openly promoted Common Core.
Despite what Governor Herbert or the Wall Street Journal may have said, ESSA didn’t end fed ed. It cemented the entire Common Core / common data standards / common tests / federally aligned preschool system. It just deleted the term “Common Core” so that millions who despised that term might be fooled. All the federal and corporate strings were still there.
Even Federal Education Arne Duncan admitted that.
Duncan, who gloated over the deception of so many Republicans, said, “[I]f you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law [ESSA] are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e., Common Core]… For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.”
In that interview with Politico Pro, posted by Pulse2016, Duncan said, “I’m stunned at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it.”
Duncan also said:
We had many, many conversations behind the scenes . . . . And I said for us to support [ESSA] they’d have to shed their far, far right [constituents who support the Constitution] . . . . I honestly didn’t know if they’d have the political courage to do that. But they both said they would and they did. I give them tremendous credit for that.
Duncan described an intentional betrayal by silence about the real agenda of ESSA:
We were intentionally quiet on the bill – they asked us specifically not to praise it – and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed – intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill . . . [W]e were very strategically quiet on good stuff . . .
With such praise for ESSA coming from Duncan (and from Herbert) and with such condemnation of ESSA coming from Lee, Chaffetz, Love, Bishop, and Stewart, one can easily see who’s aligned with progressive, Obama Administration ideology.
Utah’s Congressional delegation very correctly cited local control being taken away as the reason for voting against ESSA. Senator Mike Lee was very clear on why ESSA should never pass. The governor must have heard the ear candy of the bill’s prominent promoters, notably LaMar Alexander and Paul Ryan– but did he dismiss the words of Senator Mike Lee about ESSA?
Did Governor Herbert believe that he alone recognized ESSA as cutting fed ed, while the famously conservative Lee, Stewart, Bishop, Love and Chaffetz saw it as growing fed ed? Did these Utah Congressmen vote against local control, and for federal control? Of course not; that’s why Herbert was vague on the mailer and did not actually use the term “ESSA”.
Herbert’s mailer also brags about Herbert being top dog at the National Governors Association (NGA). True, he is its chair, but that is not something to impress an actual conservative.
The NGA is not a constitutional congress of governors. It’s a trade group. Not all governors want to be in NGA. Some governors boldly criticize it. NGA is a closed-door, private club, not subject to sunshine laws, so no voter can influence (or even listen in on) what happens there. –And what does happen there? A lot of grant-taking from the likes of Bill Gates to push Common Core on the states, for one thing; copyrighting and attempting to sell America on the Common Core, for another. One non-NGA governor, LePage of Maine, said, “I get no value out of those [NGA] meetings. They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey.”
If NGA Chair Governor Herbert wasn’t flabbily playing both sides of the campaign fence, appearing to be pro-Common Core to D.C. and to the ed sales lobby, while appearing to be anti-common core in his mailer to conservative delegates like me, he might come out with a clear and unmistakable statement, like Governor LePage’s of Maine, who said, in addition to the quote above: “I don’t believe in Common Core. I believe in raising standards in education.”
But that wouldn’t fly with the Governor’s friends in his favorite, unconstitutionally recognized, high places: NGA, CCSSO, Prosperity 2020, the Education First lobby, and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Parents and teachers in Utah have endured intense, years-long frustration as we have listened to the charade led by the governor, echoed by those friends in unconstitutionally recognized, high places. Herbert once said he aimed to “get to the truth” about Common Core. But the narrow, controlled “conversation” that Governor Herbert then led about Common Core, was light years away from the spirit of the scripture that the governor quoted at his public meeting about Common Core: “Come and let us reason together.” There was no listening happening. Yes, he got his attorney general to say that Common Core was a locally controlled initiative, but that report was easily, factually rebutted.
If you want to see the governor’s four-year hypocrisy on Common Core newly documented, with links to the nuts and bolts of when and where Herbert promoted and defended Common Core, please read this week’s Herbert’s Common Core history article on Utahns Against Common Core by Oak Norton. It will knock your socks off.
Lastly: there’s more to object to than just Herbert’s federal rubber-stamping of nationalized education standards and tests and data gathering without consent. Look at other issues, just as important as education:
- Why did Herbert veto Constitutional Carry? Aren’t gun rights on the top of conservatives’ priority lists?
- Why did Herbert support the expansion of Obama’s ideas for “healthcare” here in Utah? Aren’t conservatives supposed to stand for fiscal realism and self-reliance and charity (as opposed to forcery –not a misspelling–)?
- Why did Herbert not refuse the SLDS data mining movement, the federally-built and paid-for “State Longitudinal Database System”–from which no child or parent or teacher may opt out— a system that inventories and profiles students without consent?
I will never forget that day, four years ago, in the governor’s office: it was just the governor, his bodyguard, and we three teachers and moms: my friends, Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy, and me.
Although we explained our documented research about Common Core and common data collection (CEDS/SLDS) and gave Governor Herbert a thick binder that documented our research and our alarms; although we begged him to recognize the error and to steer away from these federally-promoted systems; although we pointed out that the State Office of Education was using zero documentation to support their pro-common core ear candy– the governor didn’t hear us.
He didn’t keep his promise to have us back in one month, after he and his legal staff had reviewed the issues, either.
He stayed his Common Core-promoting course and entrenched Utah further, using Prosperity 2020 and Education First as financial and political vehicles.
It was never about improving education.
Read Johnathan Johnson’s campaign site. It is a breath of fresh air.
ACTION FOR TODAY
Joan Landes of Utah has launched ActionforToday.Wordpress.Com, a site where you can spend five minutes or five dollars to make a difference. If you become aware of a pressing need that could use some grassroots awareness, post it in the comments section and the site administrator will read and post it.
2016 UACC BILL TRACKER
The Utah legislature meets for its yearly session now. The session is only a few weeks long. Bills will pass or not pass, right now.
On the Utahns Against Common Core (UACC) website, there is now a bill tracker built in. UACC is asking you, your neighbor, your teacher friends, your grandparents– anyone who cares about saving local control and liberty and high quality, honorable education –to please help review and file education bill reports so we can see at a glance which bills are a problem. You will be helping legislators, who cannot possibly analyze the number of bills that they are asked to analyze in the time given.
Oak Norton, UACC email director, has sent out emails about it. If you’re not on the email list, go to the UACC site and sign the petition. You will then receive all future e-mailings.
Sign up for a bill here: https://docs.google.com/…/1h_eB3A9Ghqfa6-sdEwjRGSkaLb…/edit…
Read it and then report on it here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/20…/file-bill-report/
See bill summaries here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/2016…/bill-summaries/
US PARENTS INVOLVED IN EDUCATION (USPIE)
In a series of press conferences held this week in various states, US Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) launched its campaign to stop federal intrusion into local education, and launched a membership drive for parents to join, as well as a pledge for legislators to sign, if they stand for true local control of education, as well.
Please join with those across the nation who realize that it’s time to reassert authority over education, over privacy rights, over testing and curriculum; and over stewardship of children by their own families.
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.)
Michelle Malkin’s #STOPESEA video is available on her public Facebook page; click here to view. It was posted 18 hours ago and already has over 120,000 views. I hope each viewer called D.C. (202-224-3121) or tweeted to Congress @repjohnkline @SpeakerRyan or will do so now.
Michelle Malkin said in the video that even though many have not heard of the hashtag #STOPESEA, it is one of the most important issues on the table in Washington D.C. today.
She called out the media for not covering “bread and butter” education issues like this one and praised “firebreathing moms and dads” from across the political spectrum who “have been ever vigilant on all of the issues involving federal encroachment into education”.
She noted that “so much of this process is taking place behind closed doors out of view of the public with back door and back room negotiations and no sunlight and no input from the people who are most affected. That’s you and your kids and your grandkids.”
“You’ve got a vote coming up in just a couple of days on this massive piece of legislation which isn’t accessible to the public yet [wasn’t as of last night; link just added] that many of these politicians on Capitol Hill will, of course, never read, and will have two days for their staffs to digest before they cast votes on it. It is supposed to be released November 30 with the first vote on December 2nd….Same-o Same-o, business as usual in Washington, D.C., don’t you think?”
“What good is it to elect new GOP leaders who promise transparency and pay lip service –the same way that Barack Obama did– and then sabotage that very process? So much for Constitutional Conservatives.”
“Not only does the process stink, but as many of these vigilant parents have been warning about, it’s the actual policy itself that stinks, too.”
” One of the few heroes out there who’s been warming about this Senator Mike Lee from Utah, who during a floor speech on November 18th warned that voting for this ESEA/NCLB reauthorization will be tantamount to doubling down or tripling down on all of the awful Common Core concepts that have taken so long for so many so-called Constitutional Conservatives on Capitol Hill to finally acknowledge. It’s the expansion of the federal role in education and the meddling in the classroom; the cementing of grant money to all sorts of crony educational special interests; along with that of course is the continued federalization of curriculum, the cementing again of contracts and special arrangements between the federal government and a lot of tech companies in the business of leveraging the power and the money that they’re making on these boondoggles on everything from textbooks to testing to technology. And that data mining aspect, of course, is something that people across the political and ideological spectrum should be objecting to and warning other parents about, and opposing.”
“Of course, it’s hard to digest all that’s in these hundreds and hundreds of still unseen pages in just a matter of days. It’s an absolute disgrace. So Monday morning, tomorrow morning, I hope those of you who have been active in any manner in opposing Common Core will see the connection here…call your congress people: 202-224-3121. ”
She emphasizes that (see minute 8:47) for those in every type of schooling system, those in “public schools, private schools, private schools, charter schools, home schools, Christian schools, secular schools— there is no safe space from fed ed. That’s one of the most important messages I want to get across tonight.”
She adds, “There are all of these strategists in Washington, D.C., who are always puzzling and pulling their chins on, ‘how do they reach out to nontraditional consitituencies” and you have to watch out because when they start talking out loud you have to watch out… that they are about to pander, pander, pander, pander, pander and move to the left on everything… how do we reach out to nontraditional constituencies? What it really means is throwing all their conservative principles and conservative constituencies under the bus in some desperate attempt to cow-tow to nontraditional constituencies. What they should be doing is looking at issues where they can find agreement with people across the political spectrum, without compromising their principles … and yes, that includes Common Core and this massive expansion of the testing racket that has usurped so much of the already limited time that there is in the classroom? Guess what? It’s not just us right-wing, fire-breathing Mammas and Pappas who care about that.”
“…Issues include all of the money that is being poured into overtly political organizations that are using our kids as political and ideological and pedagogical guinea pigs. And I can’t tell you how many parents and educators who span the political spectrum who I’ve talked to over the years since I’ve started learning about this, who tell me, “I don’t agree with practically anything else you say, but you are right on this.”
“It’s finding those issues and actually listening to the people who are affected, that is going to have the most promise for Republicans who are looking to win over people who otherwise wouldn’t vote for them. Education is one of those issues.”
Thank you, Michelle Malkin!
Note to readers: today, the full ESEA bill was released. It’s well over 1,000 pages long. The Congressional vote is set for the day after tomorrow. MAKE SOME NOISE.