Archive for the ‘Common Core Gold Rush’ Category

Threatening Academic Freedom and Scientific Truth: Last Chance Public Meeting with USOE on Nationalized Science Standards   2 comments

 

american mom field

How Do the Common Core Science Standards Threaten Academic Freedom and Scientific Truth?

(This information is provided by Vince Newmeyer, a scientist and member of Utah’s science standards review committee.)

Please Attend:  Salt Lake Meetings Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Issues of controversy range from:

  • Politicized presentation of Global Warming and Environmentalism
  • Darwinian Dogma

o    The lack of an objective view of data

o    The indoctrination of a materialistic mantra, which excludes any data or logic that indicates that there is anything more than simply Matter and Energy as an explanation of human origins.

o    This enthroned materialistic view has a devastating affect on the morals of society as a whole.

  • Instances of bad science
  • Missing and “implicit” content
  • Artificial limits on learning
  • The failure to include essential math critical to science learning
  • Lack of depth in critical topics
  • Missing science foundations
  • The watering down of science with social issues
  • The failure to evaluate the whole of the NGSS and only looking at grades 6-8
  • The presentation to the public of only selected material, and not the full body of material that will be presented to our teachers
  • Submitting to a National Standard can bring Federal consequences if we should add to or deviate from those set standards in the future

 

I feel we would be selecting a substandard and politicized science program unfit for what the parents of Utah would really want for their public school students.

Students of Utah Families should be free to hear the full breadth of scientific evidence. Science teachers should not be shackled to sterilized arguments and filtered scientific facts, as we find in the NGSS standards, simply because other data points to what has become politically unpopular conclusions.  I firmly believe that we should not accept the substandard NGSS being proposed for our Utah students. We can do better!  – Vince Newmeyer

 

The Utah State Office of Education promised to never adopt national science standards, but that is exactly what they are doing. Watch this short video.  Ask yourself why the state was so determined not to adopt a nationalized set of science standards then, but are doing it now.  What changed?  Please share it with your legislators and state board member.

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/utahs-deceptive-science-standards-adoption/
Salt Lake City – Tuesday May 19th

5:00 – 6:30 PM The PRE-MEETING – organized by parents

Day-Riverside Branch
Salt Lake City Public Library
1575 West 1000 North
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
7:00 PM- USOE meeting – official USOE meeting

Salt Lake Center for Science Education Media Center

1400 Goodwin Ave.

Salt Lake City Utah, UT 84116

Please Attend these Salt Lake Meetings Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

 

 

See also:

  • Updates at ScienceFreedom.org
  • Open letter from another member of the parent science review committee:   https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/open-letter-from-alisa-ellis-usoe-deliberately-withholding-actual-science-standards-from-public-scrutiny/
  • Kansas Parents suing Kansas Board over NGSS science standards  http://www.copeinc.org/science-readings.html      (Notice that the newspapers deride this parental group as an” anti-evolution” group; but the parents themselves call their group Citizens for Objective Public Education.  The parents are clamoring for actual science,  for open mindedness that includes the possibility of intelligent design in this universe.  It’s a very important word game that’s being played.  Which side is really for or against academic open dialogue, scientific freedom, true debate, and an open mind?  Which side is really pushing a one sided dogma and subjective, controlled learning?  Study it carefully.)

 

Detailed Schedule: Band of Mothers Event at UVU this Wednesday, May 13   Leave a comment

The Band of Mothers Tour proudly presents the “Empowering Parents Symposium,” convening to present freedom’s true fight for children this Wednesday, May 13th, at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.

Have you registered yet?  (Click here!)

 

bom

 

 

Here’s the outline.  Starting at 9:00 a.m., attendees will choose from nine available workshops held in classrooms at the UVU Sorenson Center (see below – detailed workshop information follows).

Following the workshops, attendees will enjoy an elegant luncheon while hearing from KNRS star Rod Arquette.  In the evening, the symposium reconvenes at the UVU Ragan Theater 6:00 with entertainment and discussion starting with the Five Strings Band, followed by keynote speakers Senator Al Jackson,  Analyst Joy Pullman and Child Rescuer Tim Ballard.  The evening’s finale will be “The Abolitionist,” the documentary movie, introduced by its star, Tim Ballard, founder of the truly amazing rescue force, Operation Underground Railroad.

Operation-Underground-Railroad

 

If you haven’t registered yet, please click here.  Donations are appreciated and needed, but all the evening events are free and the morning workshops only cost $5 apiece.  You can register at UACC or just show up.  Remember: all events are first-come, first-served, with registered attendees having priority.  (If you happen to own filming equipment, please bring it and film the workshops that you attend.)

rod

If you want to hear Rod Arquette’s power-packed talk at mid-day and haven’t registered for the catered lunch, you have now missed the deadline for the order, but you can brown-bag it or come listen without eating.

To see “The Abolitionist” documentary, come very early because the seats will be filled up in the Ragan Theater by those who are there for the earlier events that begin at 6:00.

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Here’s the morning workshop schedule.  (Descriptions and teacher bios further below.)

  • 9:00 to 9:55 a.m. – Choose from:

1.  Common Core 101 by Jenny Baker – room 206 a

2. The Next Frontiers:  Data Collection from Birth to Death by Joy Pullman – room 206 b

3. Principles of the Constitution by Stacie Thornton and Laureen Simper – room 206 c

  • 10:00 to 10:55 – Choose from:

1. Data – by Big Ocean Women – room 206 a

2. The Difference Between Progressive and Effective Education – by Joy Pullman – room 206 b

3. Parental Rights – by Heather Gardner – room 206 c

  • 11:00 to 11:55 – Choose from:

1. It is Utah Science Standards or National Science Standards? – by Vince Newmeyer – room 206 a

2. SAGE/Common Core Testing – Should I Opt Out?  – by Wendy Hart – room 206 b

3. Getting Involved and Making a Difference – by Jared Carman – room 206 c

 

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MORNING WORKSHOPS – Register here.

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Detailed Class Descriptions with Teacher Bios:

9:00 to 9:55 a.m.

1.  Common Core 101 by Jenny Baker – room 206 a

The word “Education” has been redefined.  Education used to evoke images of children and youth engaged in the learning process as they discover their own endless potential.  With recent educational changes, “Education” brings an image of frustration, canned answers and testing.  What is the purpose of this new form of “Education”?  What can you do about it?

Jenny Baker is the founder of Return to Parental Rights and The Gathering Families Project.  She has just returned from the United Nations as part of the Big Ocean Women delegation which hopes to raise awareness of the anti-family ideas that affect our world.  Jenny lives in St. George, Utah and is married to Blake Baker.  She is the mother of five daughters.

Stories_BakerFamily

 

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2. The Next Frontiers:  Data Collection from Birth to Death by Joy Pullman – room 206 b

Technology has opened Pandora’s Box by giving government and private organizations the power to collect very private information about people and create unerasable dossiers that can follow them for life.  What is possible now– how can we benefit from technology while controlling it, and what are ways people can reclaim their personal property from the institutions taking it without consent?

joyJoy Pullman comes to Utah for this event from Indiana.  She  is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and is managing editor of The Federalist, a web magazine on politics, policy and culture.  She is also a former managing editor of School Reform News.

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3.  Principles of the Constitution by Stacie Thornton and Laureen Simper – room 206 c

This class is an introduction to the principles of liberty embedded in the Constitution.  It explains the Founders’ “success formula” based on their thorough study and knowledge of history, past civilizations and human nature.  Learn the principles behind what George Washington called “the science of government” which, when applied, yields results that can be predicted and replicated.

Watching the news can leave us feeling helpless and hopeless.  Studying eternal principles of agency will leave you feeling empowered, joyful and hopeful!

laureen

Laureen Simper taught junior high English and reading before raising her two children.  She has run a private Suzuki piano studio for much of 31 years.

 

stacie t

Stacie Thornton was the financial administrator for the U.S. District Court in Utah before marrying and raising five children.  She began homeschooling nearly 20 years ago, and continues now with her two youngest children.

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10:00 to 10:55

1. Data – by Big Ocean Women – room 206 a

big ocean

Learn about international organizations and their motivations behind data collection.  Come unite in standing in defense of our families:  find out what you can do and what we can do together.

carolina

Carolina S. Allen is the founder and president of Big Ocean Women which is an international grassroots “maternal feminist” movement taking the world by storn. Recently representing at the United Nations this past march, their message is picking up steam internationally.  Big Ocean Women are uniting in behalf of faith, family and healing the world in their own way, on their own terms.  Carolina is the happy homeschool mother of five.

michelle boulter

Michelle Boulter is a mother of three boys.  She recently attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.  She currently serves on the board of Big Ocean Women over politics and policy.  She is co-founder of Return to Parental Rights and Gathering Families.  Her passion is to empower other families to be primary educators in the lives of their children.

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2. The Difference Between Progressive and Effective Education – by Joy Pullman – room 206 b

This class is a short history lesson explaining why and how American education shifted from supporting self-government through individual and local action into a massive national conglomerate where no one is responsible but everyone is cheated.

joy

 

Joy Pullman comes to Utah for this event from Indiana.  She  is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and is managing editor of The Federalist, a web magazine on politics, policy and culture.  She is also a former managing editor of School Reform News.

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3. Parental Rights – by Heather Gardner – room 206 c

Heather Gardner will speak about the parental rights laws that are in place –and the laws that are lacking– for the protection of children and the rights of parents in determining what they will be taught and who can access data collected on individual children.  Know the law and know your rights.

 

heather gardner

 

Heather Gardner is a former state school board candidate and is currently a middle school teacher at Liberty Hills Academy, a private school in Bountiful, Utah.  She was appointed by Senator Niederhauser to the standards review committee for Fine Arts in Utah.  She has been actively involved in supporting parental rights via media interviews and grassroots efforts during legislative sessions.  She and her husband are the parents of five children.  Heather is an advocate for students, special needs children, teachers and parents.

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11:00 to 11:55

1. It is Utah Science Standards or National Science Standards? – by Vince Newmeyer – room 206 a

Utah is in the process of adopting new science standards.  Contrary to public pronouncements from officials of the State Office of Education, on multiple occasions and before a variety of legislative bodies, that Utah would not adopt common national standards, there is now an admission that this is precisely what is happening.  Just what is in these standards that would be troubling for most Utah parents– and what can we do about it?

politics of science 10

Vince Newmeyer has had a lifelong love of science.  He attended BYU studying engineering, and has dabbled with experiments and inventions.  Vince ran his own computer consulting company, designed and built solar power installations, and engaged in electronic technical work.  Vince took an intense interest in evolutionary thought in 1998 and has studied it deeply since that time.  As an amateur geologist and science buff, he has done extensive research on topics in geology, biology, physics, astronomy and earth sciences.  He speaks about data which fundamentally challenges current popular views on our origins.

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2. SAGE/Common Core Testing – Should I Opt Out?  – by Wendy Hart – room 206 b

Should you opt your children out?  Come learn about SAGE testing and why thousands of parents are choosing to opt their children out.

wend

Wendy Hart:  “First and foremost, I am a mom.  I have three kids and a wonderful husband.  The responsibility I have for my children’s well being motivates me to ensure that they have the best education possible.  I currently have the honor of representing Alpine, Cedar Hills, and Highland residents on the Alpine School Board.

I started my own data migration and programming business 14 years ago.  Before establishing my own business, I worked for various local companies doing database migration and analysis, as well as project management.  I graduated from BYU cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a French minor.  I served a mission for my church in Northern France and Brussels, Belgium.  Raised in Cupertino, CA (home of Apple Computers) I am the oldest of five girls.  I play the piano and harp, and I like to sing.”

 

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3. Getting Involved and Making a Difference – by Jared Carman – room 206 c

Centrally managed education policy is weaking Utah family rights, responsibilities and relationships.  We need to “run, not walk” to turn this around.  What could we accomplish with 1,000 active, local groups of families in Utah who know each other, meet regularly, set and achieve specific goals, and synchronize efforts with other groups?  Come learn how to:

  • Organize and nurture a local group
  • Conduct effective, action-oriented meetings
  • Coordinate with other group leaders to support education policies that “put family first”.

 

 

jared carmen

 

Jared Carmen is a husband, dad, citizen lobbyist on education issues, member of the Utah Instructional Materials Commission, and advisory board member for a K-8 private school in Salt Lake City.  He holds an MS in Instructional Technology from Utah State University and is the founder/owner of two online learning companies.  He serves his precinct as a state delegate.

 

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EVENING EVENTS – Register here.

Evening events begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Ragan Theater at UVU

FIVE STRINGS BAND

five strings

SENATOR AL JACKSON WITH HIS WIFE, JULEEN JACKSON

al jackson

JOY PULLMAN

joy

TIM BALLARD AND “THE ABOLITIONISTS” DOCUMENTARY

Tim-Ballard-620x331

abolitionist movie

abolition poster

Ten Reasons To Opt Out of Common Core/SAGE Testing   5 comments

opt out 2015

 

 

1.  THE TESTS HAVE NEVER BEEN VALIDATED.  It is out of the norm for tests to be given to children that never have been validated in a formal, scientific, peer-reviewed way.  Professor Tienken of Seton Hall University calls this “dataless decision making“.  What does it mean to a mom or dad to hear that no validity report has ever been issued for the SAGE/Common Core tests?  It means that the test is as likely to harm as to help any child.

We would not give our children unpiloted, experimental medicine; why would we give them unpiloted, experimental education?  –And, did you know that Florida bought/rented the SAGE test from Utah, and now Florida points to Utah students as its guinea pigs?  Where was Utah’s parental consent? Is it okay that the youngest, most helpless citizens are compulsory research subjects without the knowledge or consent of their parents?

2.  THE STANDARDS (upon which the test is based) HAVE NEVER BEEN VALIDATED.   Building a test on the sandy foundation of unvalidated standards –hoping but not having actual evidence on which to base that hope– that the standards are unquestionably legitimate, means that not only the test but the teaching that leads up to it, is experimental, not time-tested.  The SAGE evaluates teachers and even grades schools (and will close them) based on test scores from this flawed-upon-flawed (not to mention unrepresentative/unconstitutional) system.   Dr. Tienken reminds us that that making policy decisions in this baseless way is “educational malpractice.”

3. THE TESTS UNFAIRLY REDEFINE WHAT IT MEANS TO BE EDUCATED.  The tests assume improper authority to enforce the common core and they thus cement this new definition of what education is.  The redefining was not done by educators, but by businessmenfalse philanthropists and politicians. The copyright on the standards for this test ensure that nobody gets any influence in what the standards will look like years from now, except those who hold copyright.  Teachers are pressured, even against their professional judgment, to conform to test-centric standards and curriculum.  Schools can get shut down, teachers can get rewarded, punished or fired, all based on the high stakes test.

4. THE TESTS ARE SECRETIVE.  Parents and teachers may not see test questions, not even years after the test is over.  Last year’s leaked screen shots of the test, taken by a student with her cell phone to show her mother, revealed an unpleasing agenda that asked students to question the value of reading (versus playing video games).  The student who took the photos was told that she was a cheater, was threatened with expulsion; and the teacher who didn’t notice (or stop) the cell phone photography was threatened with job loss.  Members of Utah’s 15-parent SAGE review committee have expressed grave concerns about the quality and content of SAGE, citing “grammar, typos, content, wrong answers, glitches, etc.,” but were never shown whether corrections were made to SAGE, prior to its hasty rollout.

5.  TEST ITEM CREATION IS QUESTIONABLE.  SAGE questions were written by two groups: a few hand picked Utah educators, and the psychometricians at the testing company, American Institutes for Research (AIR) which is not an academic organization but a behavioral research group.  We don’t know why psychometricians were entrusted to write math and English questions.  And we don’t know what the percentages are– how many SAGE questions come from educators, and how many from AIR’s psychometricians?

6.  THE TEST DISREGARDS ETHICS CODES FOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCH TESTING.  As Dr. Gary Thompson has pointed out, behavioral tests are normally governed by strict codes of ethics and test-giving psychologists lose their licenses to practice if they veer from the codes of ethics.

The Utah State Office of Education claims tests do not collect psychological information, but it seems unreasonable to believe the claim.

Consider:

  • Behavioral Indicators” is a phrase that’s been in Utah laws concerning student testing for years.  It’s old news.  Happily, last month, Sen. Aaron Osmond wrote a bill to remove that language.  (Thank you,  Senator Osmond.)  Time will tell if the new law is respected or enforced.
  • Psychometric census” of Utah students was part of the agreement Utah made with the federal government when it applied for and received a grant to build a longitudinal database to federal specifications, (including federal and international interoperability specifications.)  Utah promised in that grant contract to use its Student Strengths Inventory to collect noncognitive data.
  • The test company, AIR, is a behavioral research company that creates behavioral assessments as its primary mission and focus.
  • U.S. Dept of Education reports such as “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance” promote collection of students’ psychological and belief-based data via tests, encouraging schools to use biometric data collection devices.  I have not seen any of these devices being used in Utah schools, but neither have I seen any evidence that the legislature or our State School Board stand opposed to the Dept. of Education’s report or the advice it gives.
  • The NCES, a federal agency, has a National Data Collection Model which it invites states to follow.  Since Utah has no proper legal privacy protections in place, there is nothing stopping us from accepting the invitation to comply with the Model’s suggestions, which include hundreds of data points including intimate and even belief-based points: religious affiliation, nickname, voting status, bus stop times,  birthdate, nonschool activities, etc.

7.  UTAH’S NEW SCHOOL TURNAROUND LAW WILL SHUT DOWN SCHOOLS OR TAKE THEM OVER –USING SAGE AS JUSTIFICATION.  The bell curve of school-grading uses SAGE as its school-measuring stick; when a certain number of schools (regardless of quality) are inevitably labeled “failing” because of their position on that bell curve, they will be turned over to the state, turned into a charter school, or closed.  These events will alter lives, because of Utah’s belief in and reliance on the illegitimate SAGE test scores.

8.  SAGE TESTS ARE GIVEN ALL YEAR LONG.  These are not just end-of-year tests anymore.  SAGE tests are summative, formative, interim, and practice (assignment based) tests.  The summative (ending) test is given so early in the year that content has not been taught yet.  But it gets tested anyway, and teachers/students/schools get negatively judged, anyway.

9.  OPTING OUT IS ONE WAY TO PROTEST DATA MINING AND TO MINIMIZE IT.  The State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) collects daily data on every school child without ever asking for parental consent.   SLDS collects much more than test-gathered data.  The government of Utah will not allow an SLDS opt out.  And since SLDS does not have an opt out provision (while SAGE does) it makes sense to minimize the amount of data mining that’s being done on your child by not taking these tests.

10.  OPTING OUT OF SAGE FIGHTS EDUCATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.  The lack of transparency, of fairness, of any shared amendment process or true representation under Common Core and its testing system defies “consent of the governed,” a principle we learned in the Declaration of Independence.  “It is the right [and responsibility] of the people to alter or abolish” governments [or educational programs] destructive of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness –or those that govern without the knowledge of, or consent of, the governed.

I believe that parents now have the right and responsibility to abolish SAGE testing, by refusing to participate.

If you haven’t yet realized that the Utah State Office of Education acts as an unaccountable bully to both the State School Board and to parents/teachers/legislators, please watch this; it is yet more reason to not allow your child to take the SAGE/AIR test, which is a science test as well as English and math:

 

Beware of Stealth Assessment as SAGE replacement

Please beware, however:  The testing opt out movement has grown so huge (outside Utah) that some Utah legislators have decided to hop on the anti-testing bandwagon with an eye toward replacing SAGE with something  from which public school parents can never, ever opt out (unless they home school or use private school).  That’s called embedded testing, or stealth assessment.

Rep. Marie Poulson’s resolution to create a task force to study getting rid of SAGE and to replace it with embedded, or stealth assessments, passed in the Utah legislature this year.  That means that it will most likely become law next year.

Opt out of SAGE this year; fight Stealth Assessment next year.

 

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 National News Update on Test Opt-Out Movement

provided by Fairtest.org 

We’ve pulled together this special edition of our usually-weekly newsclips because of three huge stories that broke in the past several days.

–  In New York, more than 173,000 students opted out of the first wave of state testing, at least tripling last year’s boycott level.

–  In five states (Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota) computerized Common Core testing systems collapsed in a replay of the widespread technical problems which plagued Florida exams earlier this spring.

Both major developments further undermine the credibility of judgements about students, teachers and schools made on the basis of standardized exam results.

—  And, in Washington DC, the U.S. Senate education committee responded to grassroots pressure for assessment reform by endorsing an overhaul of “No Child Left Behind,” which eliminates most federal sanctions for test scores.  The bill does not go far enough to reversing test misuse and overuse, but it is a step in the right direction

Remember that these updates are posted online at: http://fairtest.org/news/other for your reference and for use in Facebook posts, Tweets, weblinks, etc.


U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Kill “No Child Left Behind,” But High-Stakes Testing Era is Far From Over
http://www.thenation.com/blog/204593/senate-committee-votes-kill-no-child-left-behind-high-stakes-testing-era-isnt-over#
NCLB Reauthorization: A Chance to Right a Wrong That is Hurting Low-Income Children
http://blogs.rollcall.com/beltway-insiders/esea-reauthorization-chance-right-wrong-commentary/

California Large Urban School District Leadership Rebukes Standardized Testing Fixation
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/apr/15/san-diego-schools-rebuke-testing/

Colorado Computerized Testing Shut Down Statewide by “Technical Difficulties”
http://gazette.com/technical-difficulties-cause-statewide-shutdown-of-standardized-testing-in-colorado/article/1549677

Florida
Governor Signs Modest Testing Reductions into Law; Parents and Teachers Promise Escalating Pressure
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article18529547.html
Florida’s New Student Testing Law Should Have Gone Further
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-new-student-testing-law-should-have-gone-further/2225493

Georgia Judge Sentences Educators to Up to Seven Years in Prison for Test Cheating
https://celebrity.yahoo.com/news/pleas-mulled-former-atlanta-educators-test-cheating-scandal-120733406.html

Indiana
Legislators Have Competing Views About Future of State Testing
http://in.chalkbeat.org/2015/04/15/no-clarity-yet-on-competing-vision-for-indiana-state-testing/#.VTDyTkZLUZw

Michigan
Opt-Out Movement is Starting to Gain Steam
http://www.tctimes.com/news/local_news/opting-out/article_231a679c-e377-11e4-9a4a-53b0b97da9c8.html

Minnesota
Student Assessments Snarled by Computer Crash
http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_27914106/minnesota-student-assessments-snarled-by-computer-crash

Montana
Cancels Smarter Balanced Testing Mandate After Computer Administration Woes
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2015/04/montana_lets_schools_cancel_smarter_balanced_testing_after_technical_woes.html

Nevada
Common Core Testing Disrupted for Two Days by Computer Problems
http://www.8newsnow.com/story/28811425/nevadas-common-core-testing-halted-for-second-day

New Jersey
More than 15% of 11th Graders Skipped Standardized Test
http://www.thedailyjournal.com/story/news/local/new-jersey/2015/04/15/new-jersey-nearly-th-graders-skipped-standardized-test/25850117/

New York
Fed-up Parents Revolt Against Testing in Historic Fashion
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/fed-up-parents-revolt-state-standardized-tests-article-1.2185433
Tens of Thousands Boycott New York State Exams, Raising Questions About Test-Based Evaluations
http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=157&sid=34264074&title=thousands-skip-ny-tests-raising-questions-about-evaluations
Track District-by-District Data Here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/t2_8Bg3h8mqx6Ax8rwGG5Mw/htmlview?pli=1

North Dakota Testing Plagued by More Computer Glitches
http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/education/more-glitches-plague-standardized-tests/article_a5de5054-375e-5a8e-97ad-448efbf4cc39.html

Ohio Panelists Blast Testing at League of Women Voters Forum
http://www.ohio.com/news/local/panelists-relay-school-testing-concerns-at-league-of-women-voters-forum-1.583799

Oklahoma
Schools Struggling to Meet State Requirements for Test Monitors
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/help-wanted-schools-struggling-to-meet-state-requirements-for-test/article_ce65ce4c-28ce-577d-9815-66ee2f0a1631.html

Oregon
House Passes Bill Making it Easier to Opt Out of Tests
http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/32990672-75/oregon-house-oks-bill-making-it-easier-for-parents-to-opt-out-of-common-core-standardized-tests.html.csp
Oregon District Considers Suspending Common Core Test
http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/32980118-75/springfield-board-considers-moratorium-on-smarter-balanced-standardized-tests.html.csp

Pennsylvania Sees More Students Opting Out of Standardized Tests, Especially in Philadelphia
http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/education/more-glitches-plague-standardized-tests/article_a5de5054-375e-5a8e-97ad-448efbf4cc39.html
Lehigh Valley Opt-Outs on the Rise
http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/04/lehigh_valley_pssa_opt_outs_on.html

Texas Parents Speak Out Against STAAR Exams
http://www.connectamarillo.com/news/story.aspx?id=1192443
Texas Principal’s Firing May Stem From Testing Criticism
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/20150416-popular-dallas-isd-principal-at-rosemont-elementary-to-lose-her-job.ece

Vermont
School Board Chair Explains Why State Voted to Suspend Use of Smarter Balanced Scores
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/my-turn/2015/04/16/opinion-vermont-dropped-sbac-testing/25901041/

Washington
State Students Are Right to Fight Testing Requirements
http://www.queenannenews.com/Content/News/Breaking-News/Article/EDITORIAL-Students-right-to-fight-testing-requirements/26/539/37377
Washington Board of Ed Wants to End Biology Exam That Blocks 2,000 From Graduating
http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/scrap-biology-test-or-2000-students-wont-graduate-state-board-of-education-tells-lawmakers/

West Virginia Common Core Testing Off to Rocky Start, “The Logistical Issues Are Terrible
http://wvmetronews.com/2015/04/17/common-core-woes-continue-in-wv/

Wisconsin Opt-Out Movement Gains Ground
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/writers/pat_schneider/opt-out-movement-gaining-ground-for-testing-in-madison-schools/article_83c01e97-b2d8-5fbc-b595-ce437251d1b5.html

Computerized Tests Face Major Technical Barriers
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2015/04/15-next-generation-assessment-glitches
FairTest Chronology of High-Stakes Computer Test Failures
http://www.fairtest.org/computerized-testing-problems-2013-2015

Utah Legislature Adopts Obama’s Model for “Turnaround Schools”   11 comments

I feel as if Secretary Duncan and President Obama run education in Utah without any legislative or USOE opposition at all, ever.

Whatever is suggested on the education pages of Whitehouse.gov, by its federal education branches or by its corporate partnersends up in Utah as a law, presented to the masses as if it were Utah’s idea.

Tonight: guess what?

The Salt Lake Tribune reported  that tonight, Utah lawmakers passed a bill that “will assign rewards and consequences to Utah schools based on the state’s controversial school grading system. Schools who improve their grades will get funding and salary bonuses, while struggling schools will have the option of getting mentoring from school turnaround experts.”

Am I the only one reading this as:  Utah adopted Obama’s School Turnaround model?

There is in fact an Obama-led, federal school turnaround model.   There’s the federal “Office of School Turnaround” where states are assigned program officers. There’s a blue team and a green team.

Utah’s been assigned to the green team on that federal office of school turnaround chart.  (I don’t remember voting on this.)

In the chart where Utah’s listed for turnaround (see below) the Utah program officer is not yet named.  It says, “To Be Determined.”  The feds hadn’t assigned us a program officer before today.

They surely will now.

 

green team

There’s also a federal Center on School Turnaround (CST) that’s so much more than an office in D.C.  It’s a whole ” federal network of 22 Comprehensive Centers”  that boasts ” 15 Regional Comprehensive Centers… and 7 national Content Centers.”  The federal CST condescends to report  that states are allowed to play a role in their own school turnaround.  But not the leading role; that’s for the feds and the Comprehensive Centers.  In a report titled “The State Role in School Turnaround” we learn that some of CST’s goals are to change states’ laws and to micromanage turnaround efforts.  In their words:

“The Center on School Turnaround’s four objectives:

  1. Create a Pro-Turnaround Statutory and Regulatory Environment
  2. Administer and Manage Turnaround Efforts Effectively”

HowStupid.  Or.   Blind.  AreWe. Really!   –And how apathetic to our rights.

Friends!  Here’s our wakeup fact of the decade: our state holds a Constitutional duty and right to keep the federal government out of education.  We are failing in this duty.  Utahns are collectively–  even lawmakers–  either asleep, too busy or perhaps paid off by corporate lobbyists partnered with the machine, that we cannot notice a swift transfer of fed ed’s aims into local ed’s reality.

The passage of SB 235 is just one example of this ongoing series of terrible mistakes that cement our actions in line with the federal will.

 

235

The new Utah law calls for “turnaround experts” to improve low labeled schools using one driving method: tests.  Schools will be labeled by student performance on Common Core/SAGE tests as low- or high-performing.  Then some will be assigned a  “turnaround expert” to raise Common Core test scores.

How will Utah, in practice, select the turnaround experts? Will the experts be chosen from Obama’s personal list of school turnaround experts, which you may view, with colorful photos of each person, at  Whitehouse.gov?  Will these experts be taken from Bill Gates’ personal turnaround recommendation list?  Will they be recommended by the Federal Center for School Turnaround (CST)?  –Or by bigtime school turnaround advocates at the Über-progressive Center for American Progress (CAP)?

That famous turnaround group, the Center for American Progress, brazenly “disagrees that school improvement should be left entirely to states” and the Center has written that: “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control… new authority will have to come at the expense of local control…  local control is the source of many of the nation’s problems related to education.”

I am not screaming out loud because I’m saving my screams until this next paragraph:

This week, the Tribune reported that longtime Utah State School Board member Leslie Castle “expressed frustration with the political rhetoric that pits states’ rights against the federal government. She…  urged her colleagues to refrain from statements critical of federal overreach.

‘I am not going to be voting in favor of anything that plays to this nonsense that somehow our relationship with the federal government is crazy and something we’re trying to get out of,’  she said.”  -Read the rest here.

In the Utah turnaround law, the phrase “credible track record” is used to establish the person who will “fix” Utah’s low-labeled schools.  “Credible track record” is an odd choice of words because in the post-2010 altered education world of Common Core, there has been no track record required of education reformers.  There were exactly  zero validity studies and no empirical evidence to accompany the Common Core standards and tests.  If you didn’t know that validity and piloting were missing, read what academics and scientists have been shouting from the rooftops about the nonvalid, utterly empty track record of Common Core tests and standards: Dr. Christopher Tienken‘s and Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s and  Dr. Gary Thompson‘s and Dr. Yong Zhao’s writings are good places to start.

Utah’s new law on school turnaround says that the experts who will turn around low-labeled schools must be:  “experts identified by the board under Section 53A-1-1206“. They must  “have a credible track record of improving student academic achievement… as measured by statewide assessments; (b) have experience designing, implementing, and evaluating data-driven instructional  systems…  have experience coaching public school administrators and teachers on designing data-driven school improvement plans…”

Translation:  the expert  solves problems by defining problems as test-centric.   The expert is solely devoted to test-focused, test-and-data-centric methods and will likely be devotees of Sir Michael Barber’s “Deliverology” method.  (“Deliverology,” written for American education reformers by a Brit, the CEA of Pearson, Inc., (the world’s largest education sales company) is a book/philosophy that  emphasizes results to the point that it’s called “merciless… imposing arbitrary targets and damaging morale” in its “top down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”)   Deliverology is popular because it works– but only when ruthlessly applied.

FYI, our U.S. Secretary of Education has long touted Barber’s books and robotic methods.

But I have veered off topic.  And Utah’s legislative session is past.

Better luck next year.

 

 

closed

 

 

Federal HR5 Down: Ten Things to Watch for in New ESEA Reauthorization Bill and SETRA   1 comment

american mom

 

Last week bipartisan grassroots Americans saw a miracle.

That wolf in sheep’s clothing, the (supposed) shoo-in bill called federal HR5 or The Student Success Act, which was to reauthorize No Child Left Behind/ESEA, was thrown aside  by Congress instead of becoming law.  Thanks to a bipartisan effort by grassroots citizens and vigilant Congressmen who studied the language inside the bill’s 600+ pages –not just buying Speaker Boehner’s gilded talking points— the dangers of HR5 surfaced into Congressional consciousness.

A whirlwind of amendment-writing began on both sides of the aisle.  By the time Congress gave up on trying to pass HR5 last week, there were so many amendments from both Democratic and Republican members of Congress that everybody seemed to dislike the bill and Obama was threatening to veto.

That was a very unexpected turn of events.  –But proper!  Emmett McGroarty of American Principles in Action summarized the problems of NCLB and HR5: “HR5 demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the Constitution and our constitutional structure. Although it relieves the states from some NCLB burdens, it then adds others and overall sets the stage for an expanded federal footprint in our lives.

Additionally, a powerful open letter from a bipartisan group of over 2,000 educational researchers (See letter here) last month informed Congress that  “testing should not be driving reform.

The 2000 educational researchers who signed  last month’s letter saw as harmful the federal aim “to use students’ test scores as a lever to drive educational improvement.” They explained: “This use of testing is ill-advised because… it has demonstrably failed to achieve its intended goal and has potent negative, unintended consequences.”  Under No Child Left Behind/ESEA, they said, the federal government had trusted “an unproven but ambitious belief that if we test children and hold educators responsible for improving test scores we would have almost everyone scoring as “proficient” by 2014.”  The researchers said: “there is no evidence that any test score increases represent the broader learning increases…  While testing advocates proclaim that testing drives student learning, they resist evidence-based explanations for why, after two decades of test-driven accountability, these reforms have yielded such unimpressive results.”

For many, the bottom line problem with both ESEA and HR5 was the ongoing, evidence-less promotion of student high-stakes testing as the solution for education problems.  For others, the bottom line problem (in HR5) was language implying conditionality of parental rights, possible waiving of states’ rights, and federal/state intrusion into private schools, particularly into private schools’ free exercise of religious freedom.  

With so many heavy, bipartisan issues rolled into ESEA, we can expect that the upcoming bipartisan version of the bill will be plagued with the same struggles we saw in last week’s HR5.  These must be identified and fought:

 

 

#1 Clarity problems: deliberately lengthy language that scatters definitions across hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages and convoluted language that confuses most readers;

#2 A continued push for testing and data mining that pushes away from local (school or district) accountability toward centralized power; multi-state alignment (de facto national) high stakes testing and data collection that enriches corporations partnered with or funded by Bill Gates/Microsoft and Pearson.

#3  A push for centralization of power –with the elites comprised of corporate and governmental partnerships to exclude voters, teachers, parents and duly elected representatives;

#4 No privacy protections beyond the lame and wilted FERPA for our children; instead, increased data collecting powers to corporate-governmental partnerships;

#5  A continued push for more unelected boards to have increased control of greater numbers of schools via charter school expansions;

#6 A continued push for federal-corporate intrusion into private schools;

#7 A continued bartering for parental and states’ rights in trade for federal money;

#8 An assumption of federal-corporate “research” authority –devoid of parental consent and devoid of evidence-based, peer-reviewed validity;

#9  Expansion of centralized authority over specified groups, such as “migratory students” or “Alaskan Natives”; in sum:

#10 A continued disregard for Constitutional rights.

 

Please watch not only the ESEA/NCLB reauthorization, but also the S.227 SETRA bill.  They go hand in hand.

Federal SETRA  hurts student data privacy, allows emotional testing in increased student data mining, and reassigns grant-making (funding) control to REL regions, not states.  Read SETRA bill text here.

It appeared to me that HR5 got away with its marketing (saying it was restoring local control) because it transmitted federally-desired, test-driven reforms and other expansions to state authority and to state enforcement, perhaps to appease local control activists.  But this was just passing the abuse baton.  I imagine the corporate-regional power grabbers singing the “Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo” song:  “You don’t get the steering wheel.  Constitution Constasmooshen. Who’s got your taxes?”

(Important note: in the coming SETRA bill, fund-approving power is siphoned past the states to REL regional authorities, making Constitutional state-rights less and less relevant.)

These power-reassignments are not appealing to those who want true local control.

Pray that our Congressmen find time, energy and wisdom to see through it all and that they will have the courage to protect children’s rights, teacher’s rights, voters’ rights, and parent’s rights.

 

american mom field

 

 

 

Federal Control of Technology and Data: On “Internet Neutrality,”the ConnectEd Initiative, and SETRA   7 comments

How will President Obama’s multiple initiatives increase federal control over American technology and data mining –and how will these initiatives affect children?

There are several new initiatives to consider.

I.  NET NEUTRALITY

Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed the Obama-approved definition of “Internet Neutrality.”  Proponents made it sound as if “neutrality” meant openness and freedom for individuals, but the ruling increases federal power over the internet.

The notion that fairness and neutrality should be government-defined and government-enforced makes me roll my eyes. The term “net neutrality” sounds just like Harrison Bergeron, with the FCC playing the part of the Handicapper General to enforce equality by handicapping achievers and punishing success.

So now that the federal government has increased power to define and enforce its one definition of neutrality, how will this advance the goals of Obama’s ConnectED initiative?  Will “neutrality” aim, like ConnectEd aims, to strap tax dollars and children’s destinies in education to Bill Gates’ philosophies and coffers?  I ask this in light of Microsoft’s alignment with the FCC’s ruling, Microsoft’s celebrated discounting of common core-aligned ed tech products and Microsoft’s promotion of ConnectED.  Add to that question this fact: Microsoft’s owner, Gates, funded the Role of Federal Policy report, which found (surprise, surprise) that the power of federal groups, to “research” children/education without restraint, should be increased using ESRA reauthorization.  More on that below.

How does all of this work with the SETRA bill’s student data collection goals?

II.  CONNECT-ED

First, a quick ConnectEd review:  Obama is bringing the now-neutralized internet to all schools while behaving very non-neutrally himself: he’s officially favoring and partnering with Microsoft/Bill Gates/Common Core so the uniform customer base (children) will only receive the One Correctly Aligned Education Product (and likely will thank Gates for what they see as kindness, deep discounts).  Microsoft’s website explains: “Partnering with the White House’s ConnectED Initiative, we’re helping provide technology for education, at a fraction of the cost.”  Pearson, Inc. is doing the same thing here and here and here to lay those near-irreversible foundations for the future.

What Microsoft, Pearson and ConnectEd are doing could be compared to offering free or discounted train tracks to your city.  They’re fancy tracks, but customized to fit one sort of train only.  By accepting the offer, you are automatically limited to using only the kinds of trains made to run on your new tracks.

States and schools ought to be saying “no, thanks” to Gates and Pearson if we want to have the freedom to later use education and ed technology that might be Common Core-free.

(As an important aside: one of the stated aims of Obama’s ConnectEd is to catch up to South Korea where “all schools are connected to the internet… all teachers are trained in digital learning, and printed textbooks will be phased out by 2016.”  I’ll never join the chorus of “Let die traditional, print books”.  But ConnectED has. )

The Internet has been, until now, unregulated by the federal government.  It’s been free.   The controllistas think of free as “unfair,” however.

“The main excuse for implementing the new invasions is the statists’ favorite complaint: Internet service providers ‘discriminate’  …[F]acilitators seeking to benefit from less competition, such as Facebook, Google, and Netflix,  ought to be beige in color, have identical horsepower, the same number of doors, and get the same gas mileage no matter how far or fast they may be driven” (from Bob Adelman, New American Magazine).

In the FCC’s ruling, Bob Adelmann pointed out, there’s been dramatic change without  transparent vetting.  Adelmann wrote, three days ago: “On Thursday consumers will finally be able to see and read the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) planned new rules to regulate the Internet. Deliberately hidden from public view, the 332-page document … [was] demanded by President Obama… he told FCC … to adopt the “strongest possible rules” in regulating the Internet.”

 

 

WHY?

 

Why was Obama bent on getting the “strongest possible rules” to control the Internet– and why did he confuse people by calling this move one toward openness and freedom?  I don’t know why.

The “why” is not so important.

What matters most now is that Americans recognize that he is, in fact, aiming for ever increasing control at the expense of our freedoms, and that he’s partnered with private corporations who share his aims.  History teaches that many people seek to control other people; whether for kindly intentioned or malicious intentioned reasons, they always have and always will.  That’s why our Constitution is so sacred.  It protects individuals from others’ controlling tendencies by decentralizing power.

Government-imposed equality, or “neutrality,” is a theme Obama has promoted in many ways prior to yesterday’s “Net Neutrality” punch.

  1. Think of common “College and Career Ready Standards” –a.k.a Common Core, which his administration promoted to U.S. governors –and reported about to the U.N.— in 2009-10: “President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments,” said Secretary Duncan.
  2. Think of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) for all students and for every state database, data standards which his administration partnered in creating.
  3. Think of his administration’s funding and promotion of common SLDS state databases that now track and grade the nation’s schools, teachers and students using interoperable systems and common, national data models.
  4. Think of federally-promoted, aligned testing for all states and students.  Same, same, same.

Match that to the speeches of Bill Gates  about building the uniform customer base of students using Common Core.

In each of the Obama-promoted, standardizing measures, no one may soar.  No one is allowed to meander into creative or superior or innovative paths because of that devoted mindset: no failure– not allowing anyone freedom, if that includes the freedom for some to fail.  This commonizing of the masses under the banner of “fair and equal” once upon a time used to be called communism, but that’s not a politically correct term anymore.  You can’t even call it socialism.  Instead, the p.c. terms are “social justice”  or “playing fair.”  I call it theft.  Legalized plunder.

And it’s never actually fair: There is nothing fair about elites centralizing power to take freedom from individuals.  Also, for those who decide that they are above the law there are exceptions; the ruling elite still get to choose.

When I say, “elites centralize power to take freedom from individuals,” I don’t mean metaphorically or theoretically.  It’s real.  It’s no theory.  The micromanagement of schools, children, teachers to minimize parental “interference” and parental “opportunity” is a large and extremely well oiled machine.

On its federal hand, there’s the Obama Administration’s “National Education Technology Plan“.  On its private, corporate hand, there’s the Bill-Gates-led “Evolving Role of Federal Policy in Education Research,” explained out a report written by Aspen Institute and funded by the Gates Foundation.  It says, “there is a broad consensus that federal investment in education research, development, and dissemination is vital” and “the pending reauthorization of ESRA creates new opportunities to better harness the tremendous research capacity we have in America to turn broad consensus into broad benefit,” and even: “the Obama Administration has proposed to create a new unit of ED, called ARPA-ED, that would be analogous to the high-profile Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Department of Defense. ”

III. SETRA – The Reauthorization of ESRA

We need to study the “pending reauthorization of ESRA” that hopes to “harness” students’ data.  The SETRA bill now on-deck, bill S227, is the data collection bill that American Principles Project  warned America about in a press release.  SETRA is a direct answer to what the both the Evolving Role of Federal Policy in Education Research and the National Education Technology Plan had requested:  more power to the federal government over student data.

The history of educational data collection by federal/private forces is very boring.  I only bring this up because we need to see them for what they are: public-private-partnerships, with unclear dividing lines between federal and private controls.  That means that we can’t easily un-elect them or influence the power that they wield.  It’s data collection without representation.  That’s not only unconstitutional; it’s also very creepy.

The boring but important history of these public-private-partnerships is detailed in the Evolving Role of Federal Policy in Education Research report, as well as on websites from the REL/WestED groups.   WestED, a now-nonprofit, explains: “The roots of WestEd go back to 1966, when Congress funded regional laboratories across the country to find practical ways to improve the education of our nation’s children.  Charged with “bridging the gap between research and practice,” a number of the original Regional Educational Laboratories grew beyond their initial charge and developed into successful organizations. Two in particular—the Southwest Regional Educational Laboratory (SWRL) and the Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development (FWL)—evolved beyond their laboratory roots, eventually merging in 1995 to form WestEd.”

Why it matters?  Ask yourself this:  How does a parent protect his/her child from data leaks, privacy breaches and unwanted government intrusion or “guidance” when the data collection machines are not run by elected representatives, and they are paid to run well by the unstoppable force of taxes?

How does a parent protect his/her child when federal FERPA (Family Ed Rights and Privacy Act) has been altered so that it’s no longer protective of parental rights and student privacy?

How does a parent protect his/her child when the new SETRA bill allows power to go to regional commissioners, rather than residing in local schools, districts, or even states?  Regions take precedence over states under SETRA.

But the public does not know this because proponents of SETRA reveal what they want to reveal in their “pro-SETRA” talking points.

I hate talking points!  Give me truth in the form of direct quotes and page numbers from a bill next time, Congressman Boener.

Proponents fail to reveal the details of the bill that alarm opponents of SETRA.  I’ll share a few.

Psychological Profiling

For example, page 28, section 132 reveals that data to be collected on students may: “include research on social and emotional learning“.  Social and emotional learning means psychological testing!  This is promoting the same creepy biometric data mining methods that the Dept. of Education was pushing two years ago in its “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance” report of 2013 (see report pdf page 44).

grit

This SETRA bill’s  language empowers the government to create a profile on your child, psychologically (emotional learning) and politically (social learning).

I do not support allowing the government to keep psychological/political dossiers on children.

 

Reliance on a wet-noodle FERPA for privacy protection

But I have no power, they tell me,  despite being a mom, a voter, and a taxpayer.  Recall that there is no requirement under federal FERPA any longer to get parental consent over the gathering or sharing of student data.

Likewise, in Utah, there’s no protection for student data.  The state longitudinal database system (SLDS) gathers data about each child from the moment he/she registers for kindergarten or preschool without parental consent.

The state has said that no Utah parent may opt an child out of SLDS and legislation to create protections for children’s privacy in Utah has not been successful.

Utah’s legislature and school board continues to allow the SLDS to run wild, unaccountable to parents or to anyone.  Students’ data in Utah is unprotected by law.  If the board or an administrator tells you differently, ask them to show you the law that provides protection in Utah.  Then send it to me.

In fact, the Utah Data Alliance promotes the sharing of data between agencies such as schools, higher ed, workforce services, and other agencies.  If the board or an administrator tells you differently, ask them to show you the law that provides protection in Utah.  Then please send it to me.

 

Parental Rights Dismissed

 

Soon, if federal SETRA passes, student data will be even more unprotected.  Zero parental rights over student academic data (thanks to shredded federal FERPA protections and wrongheaded Utah policies) will be joined by zero parental rights over student psychological data (thanks to power-hungry SETRA).

In section 208 (see page 107) the SETRA bill reauthorizes the federal government “to align statewide, longitudinal data systems [SLDS] from early education through postsecondary education (including pre-service preparation programs), and the workforce, consistent with privacy protections under section 183;’’

SLDS is the very set of databases that deny parents their rights to be the main authorities over their own children’s data.  Do we want to reauthorize the federal government to use our tax dollars for that purpose, moms and dads?

“Privacy protections under section 183,” as we discussed above, equals no privacy at all.  Why?  There used to be confidentiality standards, such as those seen in the 2002 data privacy code.  But all of that changed.  Now, confidentiality and parental consent have been reduced to “best practice” status, and parental consent prior to sharing data is not required by federal FERPA.

 

REGIONAL EDUCATION LABS MAY SUPERCEDE STATE AGENCIES IN POWER

Under SETRA section 174, “REGIONAL EDUCATIONAL LABORATORIES FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, DISSEMINATION, AND EVALUATION” the power of the regional educational laboratories is expanded.  This whole section is worth reading, but it’s hard to read because of the many interruptions where the bill alters definitions and phrases from the original ESRA bill.  Try it.

I have to say that in this section, the repeated use of the term “laboratories,” in the context of “regional educational laboratories” gives me the creeps.  Am I the only one?  Our children as guinea pigs in laboratories of educational and now psychological experimentation –organized by region and not by state? No, thank you.

When Regions Rule, States Lose Constitutional Strength

Another important thought:  how can states’ rights over education ever be defended and protected when education is being restructured to function in regional, not by states, divisions?  Is this why the regional laboratories of educational research are growing to become more powerful than state boards?)

On page 57 of the pdf the R.E.L. Commissioner is given a lot of power.  “Each eligible applicant desiring a contract grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under this section shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner may reasonably require.”  The Commissioner can deny funds, or give funds, to people who “shall seek input from State educational agencies and local educational agencies in the region that the award will serve”.  Hmm.  I see.  People may seek input from state agencies, but the regional laboratory commissioner is The Man.

The Regions aim for that power.

rel-logo-large

I’m not finished with my SETRA analysis.  I’m just sick of it right now.

I’ll be back.

“Student Success Act” to Crush Religious Freedom, Private School Autonomy, Parental Rights: #NO on HR5   107 comments

 

 

ssa

 

This one is such a betrayal.

I’ve never been so shocked and angry over a proposed Congressional bill that I burst into tears.  Not until tonight.

I’d been quietly reading and taking notes on H.R. 5, “Student Success Act” (SSA) when my husband simply, offhandedly asked me how I was doing.   Though I’d been quiet, I was boiling over as I read tucked-away portions of this 600+ page bill which,  despite the local-control-touting, anti-Common Core-sounding words (on page 10 and elsewhere), is terrible. When my husband asked how I was doing, I stood up, walked to the couch and explained through my hot, angry tears what destruction and reduction of vital freedoms will take place if this bill passes:

It ends private schools’ religious freedom from government control.  It harms funding freedom in private schools.  It puts into question parental rights and control over education.  It pushes sameness of testing.  Those are just a few things.  There are more.

We have conscious deceivers in D.C. pushing this bill:  its damages are so painfully ironic.  The bill is touted specifically to “reduce the federal footprint and restore local control while empowering parents“. What a poignant lie.

If H.R. 5 passes this week, in exchange for billions in federal funding, we will be crushed in the following ways.  The federal Department of Education aims to take over:

1.  STATE AUTHORITIES AND RIGHTS 

2.  PARENTAL RIGHTS TO DIRECT EDUCATION OF A CHILD

3.  RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – NO MORE RELIGIOUS COUNSELING, MENTORING OR TECHNOLOGIES ALLOWED IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS

4.  PRIVATE SCHOOL AUTONOMY: GOVERNMENT-APPOINTED OMBUDSMEN WILL MONITOR COMPLIANCE  

5.  PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING – PRIVATE SCHOOLS MUST CONSULT WITH PUBLIC DISTRICTS WHICH ENFORCE EQUALITY

 

H.R. 5  the “Student Success Act” won’t be enforced for five years– plenty of time for its promoters to plan implementation, and for the opposition to burn out, give up, to feel there’s no way to rein it in.

The bill is 600-plus-pages long but was just barely introduced this month; and it’s being fast-tracked for a vote this week.  Those whose lives will be changed by it have likely never heard of it and elected reps haven’t had time to debate intended and unintended consequences.

Would our representatives vote to pass this bill if they knew that it included such hidden away, serious damages to Americans’ freedoms?

I want to thank Ann Marie Banfield of Stop Common Core in New Hampshire, who  sent me her summary and pointed to specific paragraphs and pages in this huge bill, to focus attention on where vital freedoms are being slashed.   I have included her notes following mine.  I  invite you to verify for yourself.

 

 If you read no further, here’s the bottom line:  

H.R. 5  is not a viable alternative to the terrible “Every Child Ready for College and Career” bill

Please call reps and senators: 

Vote NO on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act.  

 

Here are highlights with pages, sections and direct quotes:

1.  FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF STATE AUTHORITIES AND RIGHTS

Subpart 4, Section 6561 (page 564 on the pdf) says:

STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE” –How will a state “expressly waive” its authorities and rights?  –Answer from the bill: simply by having a state legislature accept federal money.

A state that acts “inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance” will waive its authority because the legislature of that state would have “expressly approved that [federal] program”.  If a state’s or a parent’s rights conflicted with a requirement, too bad: the federal bill claims authority to enforce obedience from states because the states take the money.

Read: “…nor shall any authority of a State have any obligation to obey… unless the legislature…. approved that program and in so doing, have waived the state’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary...”  So states have no obligation to obey unless they approved federally promoted programs (which the states have done in multiple ways).

As Ann Marie Banfield wrote: “What is going on here? The Secretary of Education can’t enforce any requirements under the program that would violate states’ rights UNLESS the state legislature gives its consent to participate in the ESEA, which encompasses around $25 Billion in aid to states.  Essentially, participating in the program to receive funds requires states to waive their states’ rights and those of the parent over their child if they conflict with ANY requirements of the program.”

2.  FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

On page 567, Section 6564, we read that “…Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart,  control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.”

By tying inalienable parental rights to the receipt of funds and federal “obligations,” the bill just claimed authority to take parental rights away, under conditions it has just defined.

Even in the statement of purpose on page 11, the bill minimizes parents and maximizes itself, by “affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”.

To reduce parents to a recipient of government-granted “opportunities to participate in” the education of a child is de-parenting.  It’s far, far different from Utah’s  legal code, which states in multiple places that: “A student’s parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or guardian.”

3.  GOVERNMENT CONTROL IN PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS  –  NEUTRALIZATION OF RELIGION 

Read pages 78-82.  It mandates that private schools:  “ensure that teachers and families of the children participate, on an equitable basis, in services and activities…  SECULAR, NEUTRAL, NONIDEOLOGICAL.—  Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and nonideological.

What’s a private Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Baptist, or any other private religious school to do?  –Alter its beliefs to match mandates for altered materials, equipment and services?

This is the price we pay for “school choice”  and “backpack funding,” folks.  It’s not what they make it out to be.  Where federal money goes, federal chokeholds follow.

The federal government has no right to mandate that private schools must give services  that are secular and non-religious.  (See page 79: it includes in its definition of services: one on one counseling, mentoring, educational television, computer technology and more).

 

4.  GOVERNMENT APPOINTED MONITORS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS

An ombudsman, if you haven’t heard the term, is a paid position, a role in which a person investigates and mediates official complaints for a living.  This bill mandates that private schools will be assigned a state-appointed ombudsman to monitor private schools:  “The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.”

On page 82 the bill states that the LEA (school district) must consult with private school officials and must transmit results of their “agreement” to a state-appointed ombudsman.  On page 86 the federal bill allows a private school to complain to the government:  “private school official shall have the right to file a complaint with the State educational agency that the local educational agency did not engage in consultation that was meaningful and timely”.  These are private schools.  They  never, ever have had any legal mandate to report to, complain to, speak to, or even think about state or federal governments.  These are private schools; private means not public, not under government mandates.

 

5.  FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING AND BENEFITS

On page 535, the bill slashes freedom by mandating equity for private and public schools.  “Benefits provided under this section for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children, teachers, and other educational personnel”.  The government has no right to command a private school to give more benefits, nor to withhold benefits, from private school teachers, staff or children.  The same page states: “Expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other service personnel shall be equal to the expenditures for participating public school children.”  The ombudsman’s job, according to page 80, is to “monitor and enforce” such “equity for private school children”.

 

 

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ann marie banfield

 

Additional Information, provided below, comes from Ann Marie Banfield of Stop Common Core in New Hampshire:

 

Kline/ Rokita Student Success Act

 

Funding:

Title 1 Part A- 16,245,163,000

Title 1 Part B- $710,000

Title 11 $2,766,356,000

Title 111 Part A (1)- $300,000,000

Title 111 Part A (2)- $91,647,000

Title 111 Part A (3) $25,000,000

Title 111 Part B $2,302,287,000

Title 4 (1) $66,813,000

Title 4 (2) Basic Payments for Impacted LEAs- $1,151,233,000

Title 4(3) Payments for children with disabilities- $48,316,000

Title4 (4) Construction $17,406,000

Title 4 (5) Facilities Maintenance $4,835,000

 

Sec. 7 Sense of the Congress:

(a)(1) This paragraphs details how the ESEA prohibits the fed. Government from “mandating, directing, or controlling a State, a local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of state and local resources, and from mandating a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under such Act.”

Problem: Language doesn’t include standards

(b) Sense of the Congress: It is the sense of the Congress that States and local educational agencies should maintain the rights and responsibilities of determining educational curriculum, programs of instruction, and assessments for elementary and secondary education.”

Problem: Language doesn’t include standards.

Sec. 1001. Statement of Purpose

“The purpose of this title is to provide all children the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce. -“

Problem:  To fulfill the purpose of this Act, or submit a plan that meets the intended purpose of this Act, a state technically would have to align their standards and assessments to the Common Core. In the state applications for Race to the Top and in NCLB waivers, state post-secondary institutions made assurances that the Common Core standards and assessments would be used to place students into entry-level courses without remediation, thus prepared for college or careers.

  • Many states have already completed the alignment of postsecondary institutions to the Common Core. For example, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington are all participating states in a grant (Rockefeller) called Core to College, which states its goal as: “Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success, aimed to foster long-term collaborations between state higher education and K-12 entities that will improve student achievement and college readiness and ultimately, increased rates of enrollment and graduation. One key to this success was using the Common Core State Standards and assessments to establish a statewide common definition of college readiness to signal a student’s preparedness for credit-bearing college courses. Having such a baseline informed processes to transition students successfully between high school and higher education environments.”

 

Core to College is only one of many similar programs establishing alignment of postsecondary institutions to Common Core, and they have been well underway since 2011. If the expectations for postsecondary institutions are the Common Core, how would a state prepare students for it without aligning their entire system to it?

 

  • There are general educational expectations of knowledge and skills that high schools provide to students who choose to join the workforce after high school, such as basic math, reading skills, etc., but “to provide all children the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for ….the workforce” could mean something more than this and could vary dramatically between states.

As used in the Statement of Purpose above, does “prepared” mean a student acquiring an industry certification, a license for a trade, or industry specific training and classes? If so, that would prescribe a great deal to the state regarding the organization, funding, and structure of their entire education system beyond the programs served under this Act.

  • While the Act authorizes the Secretary to “disapprove a State plan for not meeting the requirements of this subpart’” he does “not have the authority to require a State, as a condition of approval of the State plan, to include in, or delete from, such plan one or more specific elements of the State’s academic standards or State accountability system, or to use specific academic assessments or other indicators.” Would the Secretary have to authority to deny a State plan if through the peer review process, which he controls, determines that the state standards, assessments, or accountability system isn’t aligned to college and career established benchmarks and fails to “prepare students for post-secondary education or careers?” He wouldn’t have to condition his approval on including or deleting items concerning standards, assessments or accountability systems, he could simply deny it for failure to meet the purpose of the Act and send them back to the drawing board for the required revisions.

 

 

 

This section is on page 552, towards the very end, but it needs to be addressed first, as it negates so much of the entire Act.

‘Subpart 4—Restoration of State Sovereignty Over Public Education and Parental Rights Over the Education of Their Children

12 ‘‘SEC. 6561. STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE.

‘‘(a) RETENTION OF RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES.— No officer, employee, or other authority of the Secretary shall enforce against an authority of a State, nor shall  any authority of a State have any obligation to obey, any  requirement imposed as a condition of receiving assistance under a grant program established under this Act, nor shall such program operate within a State, unless the legislature of that State shall have by law expressly approved that program and, in doing so, have waived the State’s  rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.

‘‘(b) AMENDMENT OF TERMS OF RECEIPT OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.—An officer, employee, or other authority of the Secretary may release assistance under a grant program established under this Act to a  State only after the legislature of the State has by law  expressly approved the program (as described in subsection (a)). This approval may be accomplished by a vote to affirm a State budget that includes the use of such Federal funds and any such State budget must expressly include any requirement imposed as a condition of receiving assistance under a grant program established under this  Act so that by approving the budget, the State legislature  is expressly approving the grant program and, in doing  so, waiving the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.

Subpart 4, section 6561 What is going on here? It states that the Secretary of Education can’t enforce any requirements under the program that would violate states’ rights unless the state legislature gives its consent to participate in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which encompasses around $25 BILLION dollars in aid to states. Essentially, participating in the program to receive funds requires states to waive their state’s rights and those of the parent over their child if they conflict with ANY requirements of the program.

“[The US Department of Education may not violate states’ rights] unless the legislature of that State shall have by law expressly approved that program and, in doing so, have waived the State’s  rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance. “

The state will not be able to act inconsistently with ANY requirement that the Secretary of Education MAY impose through this program if they want to receive funding. Geez, I thought the NCLB waivers and Race to the Top grants were coercive!

“This approval may be accomplished by a vote to affirm a State budget that includes the use of such Federal funds……….. by approving the budget, the State legislature  is expressly approving the grant program and, in doing  so, waiving the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by  the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.”

This is sneaky. They want states to be able to pass this without any fanfare, sort of like how Common Core was adopted- under the radar.

(e) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This section applies in each  State beginning on the 90th day after the end of the first regular session of the legislature of that State that begins 5 years after the date of the enactment of the Student Success Act and shall continue to apply in subsequent years until otherwise provided by law.

Why is it not effective until 5 years after SSA is enacted? Seems like Obamacare- let the nightmare unravel slowly….

‘‘SEC. 6564. INTENT OF CONGRESS.

‘‘It is the intent of Congress that other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their  children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.

After the bill details how your states’ rights over education will be violated, they include this weak assurance that unless the rights were waived by participation in the program,  “state control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone  of independent authority reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution.

Gosh, thanks, guys. It’s so kind of you to have the “intent” to let me keep any constitutional and inalienable rights over parental control that you didn’t illegally revoke by tying them to the receipt of federal funding. This is laughable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sec1003(a)

Replaces the school improvement section under NCLB, yet still requires school choice transportation services and SES. The new language calls these two services “direct student services.”

 

“Part A- Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantage”

“Subpart 1- Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies”

Chapter B- Allocations

Sec.1111. State Plans:

  • (A) “In General. Each State plan shall demonstrate that the State has adopted academic content standards and academic achievement standards aligned with such content standards that comply with such content standards that comply with the requirements of this paragraph.”

(C) Requirements, The standards described in subparagraph (A) shall:

  1. apply to all public schools and public school students in the State; and
  2. with respect to academic achievement standards, include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.
  • Academic Assessments-

(B) REQUIREMENTS- Such assessments shall-

(ii) be the same academic assessments used to measure the academic achievement of all public school students in the State:

I think this should be amended to allow LEAs to use a comparable test, or nationally norm-referenced test that can be compared for accountability purposes, this allows for greater local control and freedom in testing necessary to prevent a one-size-fits-all curriculum, enforced by a single test as we witnessed with Common Core tests.

(viii) “include measures that assess higher-order thinking skill and understanding”

This language should be struck. It was also included in original NCLB text and has led to the incorporation of testing thinking skills and process of thought, which in younger grades is not developmentally appropriate. Young children’s brains, until age 11 or 12, have yet to fully develop the brain structures (pre-frontal cortex) needed to think abstractly which is required for high-order thinking- their thinking is still too concrete at this stage.

Additionally, assessing “high-order thinking” has been the impetus for mandating state assessments measure students’ thinking and process skills at the expense of measuring knowledge. The higher-order thinking skills are very difficult to accurately measure on a standardized test, and require test items like open-ended responses, constructed performance items, and technology-enhanced items that are expensive to develop and score, and don’t provide valid or reliable measurements of student knowledge. High-order skills are more accurately assessed by teachers in the classroom.

(xiv) where practicable, be developed using the principles of universal design for learning as defined in section 103(24) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 USC 1003(24) which describes an assessment that provides for multiple ways answering questions

What is Universal Design? In education circles in means “Embedding continuous assessment in instructional materials and methods themselves through the kind of technology-rich, UDL-based curriculum recommended by the National Educational Technology Plan would make it possible to assess not only students and their teachers but the curriculum itself. This would allow the collection of voluminous and timely data on the effectiveness of every element in the curriculum: what works, what doesn’t work, and what works for whom. The result: comprehensive accountability systems and instructional reforms that could support robust learning opportunities for all.”

This language should be struck. It is too prescriptive to states and prevents them from having full control over the type of assessments they develop.

(e)  PEER REVIEW AND SECRETARIAL APPROVAL

(1) ESTABLISHMENT- Notwithstanding section 6543, the Secretary shall-

(A) establish a peer-review process to assist in the review of State plans; and

If the Secretary shall establish the process the peer-reviewers use it allows him to set the criteria for how a State plan must meet the requirements of this section. This is an overreach of federal authority and negates all the language which prohibits the Secretary from mandating the states to use particular standards, assessments, and accountability systems. This is how the criteria will be set to evaluate whether State plans are approved or not approved.

(D) have the authority to disapprove a State plan for not meeting the requirements of this subpart, but shall not have the authority to require a State, as a condition of approval of the State plan, to include in, or delete from, such plan one or more specific elements of the State’s academic standards or State accountability system, or to use specific academic assessments or other indicators.

This sounds great, but as long as the Secretary sets up the process to judge whether the State plan meets the requirements it is weakened.

(g) FAILURE TO MEET REQUIREMENTS.- If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section then the Secretary shall withhold funds for State administration under this subpart until the Secretary determines that the State has fulfilled those requirements.

This make it clear that there is no financial penalty directly incurred by LEAs or individual schools. The financial loss is strictly at SEA level. The State administration funds are noted in SEC 1004. STATE ADMINISTRATION. (a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), to carry out administrative duties assigned under subparts 1,2, and 3 of part A if this title, each State may reserve the greater of

  • 1 percent of the amounts received under such subparts; or
  • $400,000 ($50,000 in the case of each outlying area)

 

Section1112. LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY PLANS.

(b) PLAN PROVISIONS Each local educational agency plan shall describe

(12) if appropriate, how the local educational agency will use funds under this subpart to support preschool programs for children, particularly children participating in Head Start program, which services may be provided directly by the local educational agency or through a subcontract with the local Head Start agency designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 641 of the Hard Start Act, or another comparable early childhood development program;

This section allows funds to be used for preschool programs and preferences Head Start instead of for the disadvantaged students the Act is intended to serve in K-12 public education. There is finite amount of money allotted to schools, to give to preschool programs reduces the amount available for K-12.

(13) how the lea through incentive for voluntary transfers, the provision of professional development, recruitment programs, incentive pay, performance pay, or other effective strategies, will address disparities in the rates of low-income and minority students and other students being taught by ineffective teachers.

Why should the federal government dictate how the lea will manage its personnel?

(14) if appropriate, how the lea will use funds under this subpart to support programs that coordinate and integrate-

(A) career and technical education aligned with State technical standards that promote skills attainment important to in-demand occupations or industries in the State and the State’s acadmic standards under section 1111(b)(1); AND

(B) Work-based learning opportunities that provide students in-depth interaction with industry professionals; AND

(15) if appropriate, how the lea will use funds under this subpart to support dual enrollment programs, early high schools, and AP or IB programs.

While it says “if appropriate” leas should not have to use funds to support anything besides the basic education of students. This clause doesn’t stipulate high school, thus it would include K-8 schools. This dilutes the purpose and intended use of Title 1 funds away from supplementing the education of disadvantaged students.

(c) ASSURANCES Each lea plan shall provide assurances that the local lea will-

(3) provide technical assistance to schoolwide programs

Why not to targeted? Does this create an incentive for targeted schools to implement schoolwide programs?

(5) In the case of a lea that chooses to use funds under this subpart to provide early childhood development services to low-income children below the age of compulsory school attendance, ensure that such services comply with the performance standards established under section 641 (a) of Head Start Act

Again, why would title 1 funds be used for children outside the K-12 system, further, why would they choose to align with the performance standards of Head Start which has a failed record to improve student long term achievement?

(6) inform eligible schools of the lea’s authority to request waivers on the school’s behalf under Title VI and

 

Part B of Title 1 (sec141) NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF TITLE I

 Amendments to section 1301(which use to be section 1501) to do the following:

  • In subsection (a)
  • In paragraph (1) , by inserting “acting through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (in this section and section 1302 referred to as the ‘Director’) after “The Secretary”’
  • In paragraph (A) strike “reaching the proficient level” and all that follows and insert “graduating high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce.”

It would read as follows: A) The implementation of programs assisted under this title and the impact of such implementation on increasing student academic achievement (particularly in schools with high concentrations of children living in poverty), relative to the goal of all students reaching the proficient level of achievement based on State academic assessments, challenging State academic content standards, and challenging State student academic achievement standards under section 1111.graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education of the workforce.

They have been very careful to switch the expectation and the goal of the Act from being proficient on assessments that measure the State standards to attaining the necessary preparation of entering college or the workforce- which is already defined through the waivers and RttT as being the end expectations of CC. Even if the reauthorization voids those agreements, the end result of them remains- public universities are, or have already, aligned their expectations to the CC. Those who wrote this had to have a measurable way to judge if in mind to measure whether or not the new goal would be met by states. What other measure will the IES Director use to see if students are prepared for postsecondary schools or workforce?

  • The types of programs and services that have demonstrated the greatest likelihood of helping students reach the proficient and advanced levels of achievement based on State student academic achievement standards and State academic content standards. meet State academic standards.

 

If the Director of IES is no longer using the measures of proficient, advanced, what will he use to gauge if the standard is met? Will he use the 1,2,3,4 score from CC aligned tests?

(v) used State educational agency and local educational agency funds and resources to help schools in which 50 percent or more of the students are from families with incomes below the poverty line meet the requirement described in section 1119 of having all teachers highly qualified not later than the end of the 2005-2006 school year. address disparities in the percentages of effective teachers teaching in low-income schools.

 

GENERAL CONCERNS ABOUT THE DIRECTOR OF IES AS ARBITRATOR OF WHAT IS EFFECTIVE AND INCREASES STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: What happens to the approval process of State plans that don’t address issues in accordance with the analyses of the Director of IES based on his analyses the data collected from schools and students? It is very likely that the Secretary could say the State plan doesn’t fulfill the requirements of the Act because the methods they choose are ones that the IES data report as “ineffective.” IT will become reversed- the Director of the IES will tell states what the data says regarding effective standards, school improvement efforts, assessments, etc. and the State plan will be formed accordingly, instead of the State presenting a fresh plan and the Secretary evaluating it.

 

(c) NATIONAL LONGITUDINAL STUDY-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary Director shall conduct a longitudinal study of schools receiving assistance under part A. subpart 1 of Part A

(2) ISSUES TO BE EXAMINED- In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary Director shall ensure that the study referred to in paragraph (1) provides Congress and educators with each of the following:

(A) An accurate description and analysis of the short- and long-term effect of the assistance made available under this title on academic achievement.

(B) Information that can be used to improve the effectiveness of the assistance made available under this title in enabling students to meet challenging academic achievement standards. State academic standards.

(C) An analysis of educational practices or model programs that are effective in improving the achievement of disadvantaged children.

(D) An analysis of the costs as compared to the benefits of the assistance made available under this title in improving the achievement of disadvantaged children.

(E) An analysis of the effects of the availability of school choice options under section 1116 on the academic achievement of disadvantaged students, on schools in school improvement, and on schools from which students have transferred under such options. extent to which actions authorized under section 1111(b) (3)(B)(iii) improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students and low-performing schools.

(F) Such other information as the Secretary Director considers appropriate.

(3) SCOPE- In conducting the study referred to in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that the study —

(A) bases its analysis on a nationally representative sample of schools participating in programs under this title;

(B) to the extent practicable, includes in its analysis students who transfer to different schools during the course of the study; and

(C) analyzes varying models or strategies for delivering school services, including —

(i) schoolwide and targeted services; and

(ii) comprehensive school reform models

  • Analyses varying models or strategies for delivering school services, including schoolwide and targeted services.

 

 

SEC. 1503. ASSESSMENT EVALUATION.

(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall conduct an independent study of assessments used for State accountability purposes and for making decisions about the promotion and graduation of students. Such research shall be conducted over a period not to exceed 5 years and shall address the components described in subsection (d).

(b) CONTRACT AUTHORIZED- The Secretary is authorized to award a contract, through a peer review process process consistent with section 1206, to an organization or entity capable of conducting rigorous, independent research. The Assistant Secretary of Educational Research and Improvement Director shall appoint peer reviewers to evaluate the applications for this contract.

(c) STUDY- The study shall —

(1) synthesize and analyze existing research that meets standards of quality and scientific rigor; and

(2) evaluate academic assessment and accountability systems in State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools; and

(3) make recommendations to the Department and to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the United States Senate, based on the findings of the study.

(d) COMPONENTS OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM- The study described in subsection (a) shall examine —

(1) the effect of the assessment and accountability systems described in section (c) on students, teachers, parents, families, schools, school districts, and States, including correlations between such systems and —

(A) student academic achievement, progress to the State-defined level of proficiency, toward meeting the State academic standards and progress toward closing achievement gaps, based on independent measures;

(B) changes in course offerings, teaching practices, course content, and instructional material;

(C) changes in turnover rates among teachers, principals, and pupil-services personnel; specialized instructional support services.

(D) changes in dropout, grade-retention, and graduation rates for students; and

(E) such other effects as may be appropriate;

(2) the effect of the academic assessments on students with disabilities;

(3) the effect of the academic assessments on low, middle, and high socioeconomic status students, limited and nonlimited English proficient students, racial and ethnic minority students, and nonracial or nonethnic minority students;

(4) guidelines for assessing the validity, reliability, and consistency of those systems using nationally recognized professional and technical standards;

(5) the relationship between accountability systems and the inclusion or exclusion of students from the assessment system; and

(6) such other factors as the Secretary finds appropriate.

(e) REPORTING- Not later than 3 years after the contract described in subsection (b) is awarded, the organization or entity conducting the study shall submit an interim report to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions of the United States Senate, and to the President and the States, and shall make the report widely available to the public. The organization or entity shall submit a final report to the same recipients as soon as possible after the completion of the study. Additional reports may be periodically prepared and released as necessary.

(f) RESERVATION OF FUNDS- The Secretary may reserve up to 15 percent of the funds authorized to be appropriated for this part appropriated under section 3(a)(2) to carry out the study, except such reservation of funds shall not exceed $1,500,000.

 

Sec 1403 STATE ADMINISTRATION

  • In general, Each state that receives funds under this title shall:
  • Ensure that any State rules, regulations, and policies relating to this title conform to the purposes of this title and provide any such proposed rules, regulations, and policies to the committee of practioners created under subsection (b) for review and comment.
  • Minimize such rules, regs, and policies to which the State’s local educational agencies and school are subject;
  • Eliminate or modify State and local fiscal accounting requirements in ,,,,,,,
  • Identify any such rule as State imposed
  1. Identify any duplicative or contrasting requirements between State and Federal rules or regulations
  2. Eliminate the rules and regulations that are duplicative of Federal requirements
  • Report any conflicting requirements to the Secretary and determine which Fed or State rule or regulation shall be followed.

How is it ensuring the rights of states and local school districts to govern education policy if all rules and regulations required under this act are to be evaluated by a committee that the USDOE picks the types of people who will sit on it, and further that they recommend which state rules will be followed if the conflict with fed rules or regs under this title. This is an attempt to have one set of federal rules and regs that govern all aspects of the state in relation to programs under this Act.

The Act requires the state to appoint the majority of the committee from representative of local education agencies. It must include administrators of other federal programs under the Title, this would include IDEA, Head Start, Health and Human Services, etc; teachers from public charter schools, traditional public, and career and technical educators; parents; members of local school boards; reps form charter school authorizers, public charter school leaders, reps of private school children, and specialized instructional support personnel ( this category includes people who are school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, and other qualified professional personnel involved in providing assessment, diagnosis, counseling, educational, therapeutic, and other necessary services, including related services as that term is defined in section 602 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as part of a comprehensive program to meet  student needs.)

In an emergency situation where such rules or regs must be issued within a very short period of time, the State education agency can issue a regulation without prior consultation, but shall immediately thereafter convene the State committee of practioners to review it before issuance in final form. Great, if the State educ, agency needs to it can act unilaterally, without the consent of the non-elected committee of practioners required to be formed by the Secretary of Education under this title.

 

TITLE II TEACHER PREPARATION AND EFFECTIVENESS

Part A

Section 2113. the state must make available 95% of the funds received under this section as grants to LEAs to do the following:

Section 2122: If state doesn’t have a statewide teacher and school leader evaluation system, the funds must be used to create and implement one. (1)(B) The LEA must show how the “activities to be carried out by the lea under this subpart will be evidence-based, improve student academic achievement, and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.”

Section 2132: The teacher evaluation system may (1)(A)“use student achievement data derived frk a variety of sources as a significant factor in determining a teacher’s evaluation, with the weight given to such data defined by the lea.;(1)(B) use multiple measures(1)(C) have more than 2 categories for rating the performance of teachers(1)(D) be used to make personnel decisions,

Really? State autonomy is restored or enhanced by a grant telling the State how the leas may constitute their evaluation systems? Also, it is worth mentioning that the extensive rulemaking authority of the Secretary allows for him to decide what are “evidence-based,” and what data shows it has “imporved teacher and school leader effectiveness.” This is also related to the new authority granted under this Act to the Director of the Institute for Educational Sciences to access data through a cariety of sources, including state and local reporting, to conduct studies to show which practices are effective and have positive impacts. This will become a loop, where schools must report data, that data will be analyzed and recommendations will be made, through the rulemaking authority, those recommendations will become necessary for approval of state plans, etc.

The funds may also be used to under (6) for professional development for teachers and school leaders that is “evidence based, job embedded, and continuous” such as

(B) aligned to State’s academic standards

(E) professional development based on the current science of learning, which includes research on positive brain change and cognitive skill development

(G) professional development on intergrated, interdisciplinary, and project-based teaching strategies, ..

 

Section 2131 REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The lea must report to the state education agency on an annual basis the following:

(a)(1) how the lea is meeting the purpose of this part described in sect 2101

(2) how the lea is using the funds

(3) if the lea is implementing a teacher evaluation system, the results of of such evaluation system, except if individually identifiable

(4) any such other information as the State educ. Agency may require

This takes complete authority away from local school districts and will require them to report any student or teacher information/data that is required by the state.

Section 2132 NATIONAL ACTIVITIES

“From the funds reserved to the Secretary under section 2111(b)(1)(A) the Secretary shall, directly or through grants and contracts-

  • Provide technical assistance to States and local educational agencies in carrying out these activities under this Act; and
  • Acting through the Director of IES, conduct national evaluations of activities carries out by the state educational agency and local educational agency under this part

RED FLAG: This gives the director of IES authority to request any data from both the State and LEA to “evaluate” the program. Remember that under FERPA, personally identifiable information is allowed to be shared- without consent- for an audit or evaluation – to authorized representatives of Federal, State, and local educational agencies. FERPA 99.31- authorities conducting an audit, evaluation, or enforcement of education programs.

 

 

‘‘PART F—EVALUATIONS

18 ‘‘SEC. 6601. EVALUATIONS.

19 ‘‘(a) RESERVATION OF FUNDS.—Except as provided  in subsections (c) and (d), the Secretary may reserve not  more than 0.5 percent of the amount appropriated to  carry out each categorical program authorized under this Act.

The reserved amounts shall be used by the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences to 1. Conduct an evaluation of the program of the effectiveness of the and long and short term impact to local schools and state, and performance of grant recipients.

 

Title 1 funds can’t be reserved for sec 6601 or other programs under this act where funds have already been reserved for an evaluation

 

 

‘‘Subpart 2—Education of Migratory Children

12 ‘‘SEC. 1131. PROGRAM PURPOSES.

13 ‘‘The purposes of this subpart are as follows:

14 ‘‘(1) To assist States in supporting high-quality

15 and comprehensive educational programs and serv-

16 ices during the school year, and as applicable, during

17 summer or intercession periods, that address the

18 unique educational needs of migratory children

 

Will they propose to offer year-round school for these kids or provide free child care when school is not in session?

 

‘‘(4) To help such children overcome edu-

5 cational disruption, cultural and language barriers,

6 social isolation, various health-related problems, and

7 other factors that inhibit the ability of such children

8 to succeed in school.

9 ‘‘(5) To help such children benefit from State

10 and local systemic reforms.

(4) allows the federal funding to establish “wrap around services for mental and physical medical treatment through the schools, and (5) requires schools to help the children, and I suppose their families, to access public assistance programs offered through the State and localities.

 

 

In Section 1001 the Statement of Purpose is to provide “all” children with the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce. Of course this must be done by 1) meeting the needs of low income children, 2) closing achievement gaps, 3) affording parents meaningful participation, 4) “challenging states to local educational agenices to embrace meaningful, evidence based education reform, while encouraging state and local innovation.”

 

 

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

 

I take issue with the purpose of the title to be for “all” children and that it will be accomplished by, among other things, number 4, -“challenging states to embrace reform policies” that will affect all schools.  This means all students, regardless of benefitting or qualifying for the program, will be stuck with statewide reforms necessary for federal compliance.

 

Private schools are eligible to receive a “direct student service” provided by the LEA to offer choice transportation and tutoring services on an equal basis to children in public schools.

 

Section 1120 PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN ENROLLED IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS

  • GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

(1)(A) an lea shall “provide such service on an equitable basis and individually or in combination, as requested by the officials or representatives to best meet the needs of such children, special education services, instructional services, counseling, mentoring, one-on-one tutoring, or other benefits under this subpart (such as dual enrollment, educational radio and television, computer equipment and materials, other technology, and mobile educational services and equipment) that address their needs and

(B) “To help ensure equity for such private school children, teachers and other educational personnel, the SEA involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements of this subpart.

(5) PROVISION OF SERVICES- The local educational agency or, in a case described in subsection (b)(6)(C), the State educational agency involved, may provide services under this section directly or through contracts with public or private agencies, organiztions, and institutions.

 

Any provision that comes with the assignment of an ombudsman to monitor and enforece compliance of private school’s adherence is problematic.

 

(b) IN GENERAL- “…….the lea shall consult with appropriate private school officials during the design and development of such agency’s programs under this subpart to reach agreement about equitable and effective programs for private school children……the results will be transmitted to the omsbudsman….

 

I’m not sure whether or not there many provisions that stop Title 1 money from following the child into private schools. The range of services is the same and it is to be on an equitable monetary amount. IT is concerning that the provision of these services must be delivered to the children in a manner prescribed by the lea in “consultation with the private school.”

 

The consultation must discuss:

“how children’s needs are identified (will they be assessed and data collected)

What services are offered (Can a private school reject certain services or will lea have the say)

How, where, and by whom the services are provided (School can’t provide it themselves- must be done by a third party or the lea, or Sea if lea can’t provide)

How the services will be academically assessed and how the results of that assessment will be used to improve those services. (Assessment, data collection, changes made based on that data)

 

The provision of services must be from a secular provider:

(d) PUBLIC CONTROL OF FUNDS (2)(B) REQUIREMENTS- In the provision of such services, such employee, individual, association, agency or organization shall be independent of such private school and of any religious organization, and such employment or contract shall be under the control and supervision of such public agency.

(e) If a local educational agency is prohibited by law from providing for participation on an equitable basis to children enrolled in private schools…….or determines the lea has failed or is unwilling, the Secretary waives the requirement and shall arrange for the provision of services to such children

The Secretary will take over the provision of equitable services to private schools if the lea refuses?

 

 

 

 

 

‘‘SEC. 6302. OPTIONAL CONSOLIDATED STATE PLANS OR APPLICATIONS.

(b) COLLABORATION.—

  • IN GENERAL.—In establishing criteria and procedures under this section, the Secretary shall collaborate with State educational agencies and, as appropriate, with other State agencies, local educational agencies, public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions, private schools, and parents, students, and teachers.

Looks like private school children, not just teachers, are part of this Act in such a substantial way that the Secretary would want to consult them on forming the State plan? I think Title 1 funds are portable to private schools, regardless of the lack of language stating it. There is nothing that prevents it.

 

  • —Through the collaborative process described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall establish, for each program under this Act to which this section applies, the descriptions, information, assurances, and other material required to be included in a consolidated State plan or consolidated State application.

This seems to allow the Secretary broad discretion to require additional assurances, information, and “other material” in a consolidated State plan. Why should this be different than a State plan where it is submitted for each program?

 

  • NECESSARY MATERIALS.—The Secretary shall require only descriptions, information, assurances (including assurances of compliance with applicable provisions regarding participation by private school children and teachers), and other materials that are absolutely necessary for the consideration of the consolidated State plan or consolidated State application.

Again, here is the private school children language.

 

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Thank you, Ann Marie Banfield and Stop Common Core New Hampshire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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