Archive for the ‘How the Common Core Initiative Hurts Kids, Teachers, and Taxpayers’ Category
My husband often says, “Truth is truth, whether people believe it or not.”
Here’s the truth that even the Common Core’s lead architect, David Coleman, and its main funder, Bill Gates openly admitted in the videos below:
- The Common Core was never state led. If it had been, it would have been constitutionally legitimate. It would have represented voters’ informed consent and desires. It would have a built-in a states’ amending process. It would have represented and standardized something vetted, not this untested theory, this not parentally authorized, not teacher-authorized, not voter-authorized, experiment on, and tracking of, children.
- The Common Core is greed-led. It was not an educator but a businessman, David Coleman, who wrote his ideas on a napkin, and brought them to the second richest man on earth, Bill Gates. Gates saw the potential: using standardized data systems, educational standards and tests (and tax dollars) they’d forge what he called, in the video below, a “uniform base of customers” nationally. While Coleman pitched the idea to a partial club of governors and a partial club of state superintendents ( who bought it, and claimed it, and copyrighted it after hiring Coleman’s company, Achieve Inc., to produce it). Gates paid anyone who would take his millions, to promote it.
To this day, the private trade groups NGA and CCSSO claim that they are the “state” originators of the Common Core. That defies common sense and the structure of U.S. government. We have legislatures to represent voters; NGA and CCSSO are not legislative bodies.
I believe in capitalism and I cheer for entrepreneurs who make money legitimately; but Common Core is not legitimate business. It took over political processes. It represents the takeover of voters’ rights. It is collusion: between businessmen who have no authority to determine educational processes, and the federal government. Think that’s just some wacky theory?
Look at this link from the CCSSO’s website. It’s clear evidence of the collusion which went behind constitutional rights of states and which destroyed checks and balances, by setting education policy centrally. Only the feds, married to these nonlegislative and private organizations, call the shots here:
The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.
So the same superintendents’ club (CCSSO) that partnered with the partial governors’ club (NGA) to copyright a Common Core for math and English, also partnered with the feds to standardize a common data mining program with CEDS standards, nationally.
Video One: Bill Gates
Bill Gates telling legislators to “unleash” the forces of a “uniform customer base” by using Common Core
Video Two: David Coleman
Businessman David Coleman explaining that he personally persuaded governors to sign on to Common Core, a business idea he plotted on a napkin
Despite the fact that the #StopFedEd / Stop Common Core movement has become politically huge, and that many people know the truth about Common Core, many people still believe that it’s a harmless initiative, and that the Common Core was “state-led”.
Who could blame them for believing so? The promoted “talking points” said so. These were marketed by power-wielders: Bill Gates, the U.S. Dept. of Education, the paid-off National P.T.A., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce –and were passed along by state boards of education and local boards of education to teachers and parents who trusted those lines. Few fact-checked. The lie got passed along and believed.
Common Core is not primarily an academic argument; it’s a takeover of local authority.
A good friend recently asked, “What’s so bad about the federal government controlling local education?”
If you know socialist/communist countries’ educational malpractices and propaganda machines; their lack of creativity, lack of joy, condemnation of faith, and lack of truth, you will not ask this question.
If you know that there is zero constitutional authority for the federal government to make decisions about education for American schools, you will not ask this question.
But if you don’t know or believe that, just think about your own desires for your children and grandchildren.
If you desire to have an ongoing voice of authority in your child’s education, his/her testing, and his/her data privacy, you cannot support federal education nor Common Core.
The Common Core allows nobody but its copyrighters to amend it. Its tests are held secret, even after the tests are over. The SLDS databases collect data on your child according to federal designs, and it is only a matter of time before this aggregated data will be legalized in disaggregated form. These are questions of personal power and personal conscience. Over time, it is ultimately a question of religious liberty, because the freedoms of conscience and of action are freedom of religion.
Who has God-given authority over what goes into your child’s open mind? Business sectors and federal government? –Or parents, with the consented-to assistance of teachers and perhaps a local school board?
If programs (such as Common Core and Common Educational Data Standards) do not allow for user amendability, for personal conscience to input change, then they are on day one, already corrupt. They are, or will be, tyrannical.
Remember the founders’ words: “consent by the governed“.
Because businesses and federal agencies have centralized education power, local and state input has been rendered increasingly powerless. Where was consent? I can’t even opt out my own child out of the CEDS/ SLDS child-inventorying machine, my state tells me.
This is why the chairman of the National Governors’ Association (NGA), Utah Governor Gary Herbert, failed to secure the nomination in last week’s state GOP convention. This is why that same governor was so loudly booed at the Utah County GOP convention by most of the 1,500 delegates in the audience, every time he said that Utah had control of education standards locally. They knew the truth.
The governor/NGA chair either didn’t know it, or didn’t believe it.
Suggestion: Don’t call Common Core “state-led” anymore, because millions of Americans realize that –even though well-meaning people were duped and then promoted it in good faith– Common Core has always been a solely greed-led collusion between the business sector and the federal government.
WHAT COMMON CORE REALLY DOES TO EDUCATION
Let me share my recent experience with you.
While I teach 10th grade English, part time, at a non-common core, classical, traditional, private school called Freedom Project Academy (FPA) I also tutor, for free, neighbors and friends.
The comparison between my private, not-common core school, and the local public school, in English Language Arts, is stunning.
Background: FPA is an online school that recognizes no governmentally-set educational standards. It recognizes time-tested books as standards: the Bible, the classic works of literature, and the classic works of math, etc. It does not promote “informational text” articles, as Common Core does. FPA tenth graders read the following works of literature cover to cover, and wrote about them this year: The Old Man and the Sea; Romeo and Juliet; Murder on the Orient Express; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Scarlet Letter. Fantastic!
Meanwhile, local public school teenagers who have come for help with their essays let me know that they were assigned “mostly articles” and very few books. Their essay assignments were based on articles about “gender-based toys” and “green cars of the future” –clearly, these young people were being fed the progressive agenda under the banner of “English Language Arts”.
I told them that they are being robbed of real education, and that they should get some real books, especially classics, on their own, and read all that they can.
How can students who are being made to read “informational articles” ever gain the depth of perspective, the insight and humanity found in the rich characters and stories of Hawthorne and Shakespeare and Hemingway?
Common Core apologists are quick to point out that there’s no prohibition against Hawthorne, Shakespeare and Hemingway in Common Core. But Common Core businessmen have made curriculum that is sold and bought nationwide, which is “informational article” heavy, not classics-heavy. The businesses are thus driving what goes on in the classroom, as imagined by noneducator David Coleman, who openly mocks the teaching of traditional, narrative writing. This is not representative governing of education policy!
Talk to your local public high school students. Ask to see what they are being asked to read and write about. I would love to know if my town is an isolated case of losing classic literature.
Video Three: Here’s Coleman, mocking traditional narrative writing, in an effort to promote his notion of reading and writing mostly informational text in English classrooms.
Lastly– NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY STANDARDS – aka “Amorality for All”
The centralization/nationalization is not just about English and Math. It is clear in the push for national science standards (Next-Generation Science Standards) which Utah has tragically now accepted. It is clear in the common alignment of tests and data mining to the illegitimate Common Core and CEDS– whether tests are the Utah SAGE, other states’ PARCC, the College Board’s SAT and AP, or other tests.
Centralization of power away from localities is clear, and most dangerous, in the push for national sexality (amoral) standards, CSE, Comprehensive Sexuality Standards (which Utah considered and rejected for now). The video below explains why it is not true that Comprehensive Sexuality Standards are simply about “medically accurate information” but are instead teaching children amorality, which is so important to the progressives’ anti-family, anti-God agenda.
Don’t watch it with children in the room.
Video Four: The War on Children– The Comprehensive Sexuality National Standards:
We are not a communist country. Why are we acting like one, in centralizing so many matters of children’s education? There is nothing secretive about what’s going on; no conspiracy theory here, but conspiracy fact: progressives proclaim that government, not family, owns the children and defines for children what is true, good, moral, healthy, or allowed.
Video Five: Progressives’ announcement that government, not parents, own children:
We need the fire of Patrick Henry to wake America.
“Give me liberty or give me death!”Patrick Henry spoke those words, as if to us.
Many today seem to fear taking a stand for parental control, state control, local school board control. Do not fear the pretentious monster! It has no constitutional, no authoritative, legitimacy. Our rights, given by God and protected by the Constitution, are legitimate. Your authority over your own children is legitimate. Own it. Act like it. It is only when each person stands in his or her place, firmly, against encroachment, that a free country remains free.
Patrick Henry’s words apply today to the takeover of authority, which is Common Core and Common Data Mining, which is in the process of stealing our God-ordained duty to determine what our children will be taught:
“[W]e are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
…There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election [choice]. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery.”
Here’s a must-read, new article at Townhall.com (here) by Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins, “Why Does Your Congressman Want to Psychologically Profile Your Children?”
The article begins:
“If the GOP-led Congress had not done enough damage to public education by passing the statist Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it’s poised to make things even worse. The new threat is theStrengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA). If SETRA passes in its current form, the federal government will be empowered to expand psychological profiling of our children. Parents must understand this threat so they can mobilize to stop it.”
It also states: “Section 132 of SETRA expands authorized research to include ‘research on social and emotional learning [SEL] . . . .’
“SEL is defined as ‘the process through which children . . . acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.’ SEL is all the rage in public education…”
“…SETRA would authorize the federal government to sponsor research on these social and emotional attributes. This means the government may analyze a child’s psychological makeup…”
Another important point:
“…even if there were real, measurable educational value in analyzing every child’s psyche, do members of Congress really believe government has any business doing this?… SETRA also allows the approved bureaucracy to ‘establish . . . cooperative education statistics systems for the purpose of producing and maintaining . . . data on early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, adult education…‘”
The article concludes: “SETRA passed the Senate on a voice vote and now awaits action in the House. House members, take note: A vote for SETRA in its current form is a vote for psychological profiling of innocent children. It’s bad enough that so-called conservatives in Congress voted for ESSA; it will be unforgivable if they vote for SETRA.”
Read the entire article at Townhall.com.
Call US Congress at 202-224-3121 to influence your elected representatives.
Student privacy rights are improving in Utah! Utah HB 358 passed and was funded this legislative session.
This is very happy news for many who have been extremely concerned about the lack of proper privacy protections in our state and country. Although the bill does not provide any opt-out ability for any student from the State Longitudinal Database System, which we’ve been asking for, for four years straight, it it does take important steps in the right direction.
The bill imposes some important restrictions on how information collected by school/government systems about a student can be stored, shared, and used. It also makes the Utah law much more protective than federal FERPA (which, as you know, was deliberately damaged by the USDOE in 2009 so that it is not protective of student privacy as it had been when first written by Congress decades ago.)
In HB 358, line 472, the new law defines who owns the data. The student.
472 (1) (a) A student owns the student’s personally identifiable student data.
(Not the “village”.)
The bill also defines three types of personally identifiable data: necessary, optional, and prohibited.
For example, under “necessary” data, the bill names:
316 (a) name;
317 (b) date of birth;
318 (c) sex;
319 (d) parent contact information;
320 (e) custodial parent information;
321 (f) contact information;
322 (g) a student identification number;
323 (h) local, state, and national assessment results or an exception from taking a local,
324 state, or national assessment;
325 (i) courses taken and completed, credits earned, and other transcript information;
326 (j) course grades and grade point average;
327 (k) grade level and expected graduation date or graduation cohort;
328 (l) degree, diploma, credential attainment, and other school exit information;
329 (m) attendance and mobility;
330 (n) drop-out data;
331 (o) immunization record or an exception from an immunization record;
332 (p) race;
333 (q) ethnicity;
334 (r) tribal affiliation;
335 (s) remediation efforts;
336 (t) an exception from a vision screening required under Section 53A-11-203 or
337 information collected from a vision screening required under Section 53A-11-203;
Under “Prohibited data” which schools and third parties may not collect, the bill name:
806 …administration to a student of any psychological or psychiatric
807 examination, test, or treatment, or any survey, analysis, or evaluation without the prior written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian, in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal information… concerning the student’s or any family member’s:
811 (a) political affiliations or, except as provided under Section 53A-13-101.1 or rules of
812 the State Board of Education, political philosophies;
813 (b) mental or psychological problems;
814 (c) sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes;
815 (d) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
816 (e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close
817 family relationships;
818 (f) religious affiliations or beliefs;
819 (g) legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with
820 lawyers, medical personnel, or ministers…
Thank you, Representative Anderegg.
Read the rest of the bill here.
Ed. Note: … State delegates have received no less than five communications in the past week from Governor Herbert related to Common Core … Just today we received a robocall from the Lt. Governor, in which he states Governor Herbert has “fought against federal control of education including Common Core”…
What follows below is a rebuttal by Alyson Williams about the letter delegates received from Governor Herbert.
Don’t miss the other UACC article exposing the history of how involved Governor Herbert has been in promoting Common Core.
In a letter to State delegates dated April 7, 2016, Governor Herbert listed seven points, concluding with a personal note, to clarify his position on Common Core in Utah. A fact check against other sources follows each excerpted point below:
1) I have called for the elimination of the federal Department of Education.
TRUE (but don’t miss the fine print): While the topic didn’t come up in his remarks to Congress, he did say there should not be a federal Department of Education on his Facebook page:
Now for the fine print, here are his remarks to Congress:http://blog.governor.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Written-Testimony-of-Governor-Gary-Herbert-UT-Sen-HELP-02-23-16-FINAL-1.pdf
In short, the Governor outlines how instead of the Federal Department of Education controlling nationwide policies for education, Governors should collude to set nationwide policy for education. Calling for the elimination of the Department of Ed while advocating for an extragovernmental process to accomplish a different centralization of power is not a principle of constitutional federalism. It is a Constitution work around.
2) I signed into law SB287 – a bill that makes it illegal for the federal government to have any control.
FALSE: No law in our state makes it “illegal” for the federal government to have “any control.” 2012 SB287 (http://le.utah.gov/~2012/bills/static/SB0287.html) began as a list of conditions under which Utah “shall exit” any federal education agreement. However, by the time it reached the Governor’s pen, it said, “may exit.” The degree to which Utah avoids federal parameters over local education policy is dependent on the people we elect to various positions of authority and whether they will take action not because they “shall” but because they “may” do so. Governor Herbert has taken great pains to emphasize Utah’s legal authority to take an alternative path to Common Core and yet he has not advocated doing it. As the chair of the National Governor’s Association, a key stakeholder in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, he accepted a nationally prominent role in promoting these reforms.
3) I called for Attorney General Sean Reyes to conduct an exhaustive investigation to determine whether or not the state of Utah had ceded authority over our education system to the federal government on Common Core or any other standards. He concluded that Utah has not. We control our standards, our curriculum, our textbooks and our testing.
FALSE: Herbert did ask AG Sean Reyes to conduct an investigation but within carefully selected parameters, not an “exhaustive” one. The report provided legal justification for whether Utah could join or exit Common Core while avoiding a conversation Utahans can’t seem to have with this Governor about whether Utah should have joined or would exit Common Core.
As far as ceding authority to the federal government, the AG report acknowledges “the USDOE, by imposing those waiver conditions, has infringed upon state and local authority over public education. States have consented to the infringement, through federal coercion…”
A full response to this report by a Utah teacher can be found here: https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/responding-to-the-attorney-generals-report-on-common-core/
Download the AG report here: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/files/attorney-general-legal-analysis-100714.pdf
4) I commissioned Utah Valley University President Matt Holland and a group of experts to review our education standards. With over 7,000 public comments, this committee recommended improvements to standards and the state board has implemented many of these proposed changes.
UNDISCLOSED BIAS: Throughout his campaign, Governor Herbert has referred to his Common Core review commission using only Matt Holland’s recognizable name, leaving out that the original chair, Rich Kendell (eventual co-chair with Holland), was an advisor for Prosperity 2020 and Education First. Prosperity 2020 Chair Allan Hall was also on the commission as was Rob Brems, a member of the Utah Data Alliance Executive Board. (Common standards are an invaluable asset for data collection.) All are highly qualified people, who, it must be noted, publicly favored these reforms before this commission was assembled. There was just one k12 teacher on the commission, from a private school, and she did not concur with the report but her reasons for dissent are not specifically listed.
In another example of this one-sided approach, the report references two experts who came to Utah to testify about the quality of the Standards but does not disclose their previous connection to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Timothy Shanahan from the University of Chicago was on the writing committee for the standards, and David Pearson from UC Berkeley was on the Common Core Standards validation committee. Both have published works and give seminars to help teachers implement Common Core around the country. The concerns of the dissenting members of the Common Core validation committee who have also submitted testimony in Utah were never mentioned.
LIMITATIONS ON PUBLIC COMMENT: Public comment was limited to making suggestions standard by standard and not on the overall scope and sequence of the framework, or on things that are absent from the standards.
NO MEANINGFUL REVISIONS: As far as proposed changes coming from the report, there is a list of changes to the standards, but they are all corrections of typographical errors or clarifications of the wording. (p. 33) Other less specific recommendations are scattered throughout, but are seemingly limited to organizational considerations like better cross-referencing between the standards and supporting materials with no substantive revisions.
Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of the report is this statement that is repeated several times regarding the natural limitation to making meaningful changes to standards that are intended, as a priority, to be common across the U.S.:
“The Utah Core Standards can be revised and improved over time in accordance with Utah students’ needs and based on sound research, while staying similar enough to other states to assist transferability at grade level.”
RISKS FOR REMEDIATION UNCHANGED: Another conclusion of note was whether Common Core would reduce college remediation (starts pg 27): “Students who master Secondary Math I, II, and III standards will be very well prepared for postsecondary education and training programs.” In other words, in this report that ironically emphasizes the need to teach more “critical thinking,” we see an example of circular reasoning: students who master the content (or, who do not need remediation) will not need remediation… just like students who mastered content in previous math programs in Utah.
UNKNOWN OUTCOMES: This is immediately followed by the observation that we won’t truly know how college readiness will be impacted until we see how the kids who have been through Common Core get to college – underlining one of the biggest concerns of parents, that this is a statewide (nationwide) experiment on a scale that will reduce alternatives and inhibit the innovation driven by competing ideas. This experiment will affect an entire generation of Utah students but we can only hypothesize about the outcome: “Research on students who complete all of the grade levels of the mathematics standards will be required to verify that the standards (and their effective implementation) make a difference.” (p.28)
A link to the report: http://www.utah.gov/governor/docs/utahcorestandards/Standards_Review_Panel_Report_to_the_Governor.FINAL.2.5.15.pdf
5) I, and others, successfully lobbied Congress to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act and return education authority to the states. This policy change was heralded by the Wall Street Journal as the “largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.”
FALSE: ESSA didn’t repeal “No Child Left Behind,” it reauthorized it. NCLB is just a nickname for one of the previous reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that has been due for reauthorization since 2007. This reauthorization was dubbed the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” It was revised to eliminate one of the most unpopular aspects of NCLB, the penalties for not meeting targets for AYP, but put nearly everything that had been pushed in the federal grants and waivers under Obama’s Department of Education into federal statute. Obama’s Secretary of Education said everything his administration had “promoted and proposed forever” is embedded in ESSA: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/elementary-and-secondary-education-act/arne-duncan-essa-embodies-the-core-of-our-agenda/
Here’s a letter sent to Utah’s Congressional delegation from a group of local parents highlighting a few of their concerns with ESSA:https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/letter-to-congress-and-compiled-notes-from-alyson-williams-and-50-citizen-readers-on-esea-every-student-succeeds-act/
Every member of Utah’s Congressional delegation, with the exception of Senator Hatch, voted against ESSA.
6) Assessing the progress of our students is important, but we want to maximize the time they spend learning, not the time they spend taking tests. This session, I worked with the Legislature and signed two bills into law that reduce high-stakes testing in our schools (SAGE testing).
TRUE-ish: Governor Herbert did sign the bill removing the high stakes for SAGE assessments from teacher evaluations and another bill that makes the SAGE test optional for 11th graders (who would likely be taking a different standardized test for college application purposes.) It is not clear how either of those reduce testing unless, in the first case, it is assumed that teachers will require less test practice if their evaluation isn’t directly impacted. In the second case, it’s likely just making room for a different high-stakes test.
7) Every budgetary proposal and policy decision I make is to give more authority and discretion to local school districts and local schools. I have continually advocated for increases to funding that gets to the classroom and can be tailored for local needs.
FALSE: Not every policy proposal. Much of the Governor’s Excellence in Education plan dating back to 2010 and the associated calls for additional funding have been in the context of his Education 2020 plan to expand state educational policy to include early childhood education (preschool, all day kindergarten), workforce alignment initiatives, data collection, and school and teacher accountability which is money for bureaucracy and additional programs, not an increase for the average classroom. He did call for additional $ to go into the WPU in his 2017 budget.
On a personal note, I have eleven grandchildren in Utah public schools. I’ve seen the frustration they and their parents have had over math assignments they didn’t understand and teachers struggled to teach. I have expressed my dissatisfaction with the flawed implementation of new standards, especially in math…
NOTE: It seems too common that when a top-down program fails it is blamed on the “implementation.” This is a key reason for true local control and for programs to be initiated at the level where the expertise, resources and student needs are best understood. Teachers should not be scapegoats for programs chosen by politicians.
Please vote for Johnathan Johnson for Governor of Utah. Gary Herbert’s pretend-a-thon about Common Core has been growing increasingly desperate and despicable. Johnson doesn’t pretend that the nationalization and standardization of all things educational is acceptable, or that it’s not happening.
I actually keep the campaign mailers that Governor Herbert sends out, rather than sending them to the bird cage, because I see them as evidence in a crime scene.
“LOCAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION,” crows one flier, “Governor Herbert played a key role in supporting Congress passing a law to prohibit federally mandated education standards– including Common Core”.
(I ran around my kitchen and shrieked and burned the pancakes the first time I read this mailer.)
ESSA, a fed ed monster bill that Herbert championed, certainly did claim that it would end fed ed in its talking points, but– since no one actually was allowed time to read it– Congress found out after the vote, in reading the over-a-thousand-pages-long language, that it did no such thing. Those of us who had been studying its predecessors knew what was in the crock pot.
Federal ESSA passed into law last Christmastime, when nobody had time to read or debate the 1,000+ page bill. (To make doubly sure no one would have time to read or debate the bill, the writers gave it to the voters in Congress TWO DAYS before the vote). Senator Lee protested loudly while Herbert promoted ESSA– just as he had so long openly promoted Common Core.
Despite what Governor Herbert or the Wall Street Journal may have said, ESSA didn’t end fed ed. It cemented the entire Common Core / common data standards / common tests / federally aligned preschool system. It just deleted the term “Common Core” so that millions who despised that term might be fooled. All the federal and corporate strings were still there.
Even Federal Education Arne Duncan admitted that.
Duncan, who gloated over the deception of so many Republicans, said, “[I]f you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law [ESSA] are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e., Common Core]… For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.”
In that interview with Politico Pro, posted by Pulse2016, Duncan said, “I’m stunned at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it.”
Duncan also said:
We had many, many conversations behind the scenes . . . . And I said for us to support [ESSA] they’d have to shed their far, far right [constituents who support the Constitution] . . . . I honestly didn’t know if they’d have the political courage to do that. But they both said they would and they did. I give them tremendous credit for that.
Duncan described an intentional betrayal by silence about the real agenda of ESSA:
We were intentionally quiet on the bill – they asked us specifically not to praise it – and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed – intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill . . . [W]e were very strategically quiet on good stuff . . .
With such praise for ESSA coming from Duncan (and from Herbert) and with such condemnation of ESSA coming from Lee, Chaffetz, Love, Bishop, and Stewart, one can easily see who’s aligned with progressive, Obama Administration ideology.
Utah’s Congressional delegation very correctly cited local control being taken away as the reason for voting against ESSA. Senator Mike Lee was very clear on why ESSA should never pass. The governor must have heard the ear candy of the bill’s prominent promoters, notably LaMar Alexander and Paul Ryan– but did he dismiss the words of Senator Mike Lee about ESSA?
Did Governor Herbert believe that he alone recognized ESSA as cutting fed ed, while the famously conservative Lee, Stewart, Bishop, Love and Chaffetz saw it as growing fed ed? Did these Utah Congressmen vote against local control, and for federal control? Of course not; that’s why Herbert was vague on the mailer and did not actually use the term “ESSA”.
Herbert’s mailer also brags about Herbert being top dog at the National Governors Association (NGA). True, he is its chair, but that is not something to impress an actual conservative.
The NGA is not a constitutional congress of governors. It’s a trade group. Not all governors want to be in NGA. Some governors boldly criticize it. NGA is a closed-door, private club, not subject to sunshine laws, so no voter can influence (or even listen in on) what happens there. –And what does happen there? A lot of grant-taking from the likes of Bill Gates to push Common Core on the states, for one thing; copyrighting and attempting to sell America on the Common Core, for another. One non-NGA governor, LePage of Maine, said, “I get no value out of those [NGA] meetings. They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey.”
If NGA Chair Governor Herbert wasn’t flabbily playing both sides of the campaign fence, appearing to be pro-Common Core to D.C. and to the ed sales lobby, while appearing to be anti-common core in his mailer to conservative delegates like me, he might come out with a clear and unmistakable statement, like Governor LePage’s of Maine, who said, in addition to the quote above: “I don’t believe in Common Core. I believe in raising standards in education.”
But that wouldn’t fly with the Governor’s friends in his favorite, unconstitutionally recognized, high places: NGA, CCSSO, Prosperity 2020, the Education First lobby, and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Parents and teachers in Utah have endured intense, years-long frustration as we have listened to the charade led by the governor, echoed by those friends in unconstitutionally recognized, high places. Herbert once said he aimed to “get to the truth” about Common Core. But the narrow, controlled “conversation” that Governor Herbert then led about Common Core, was light years away from the spirit of the scripture that the governor quoted at his public meeting about Common Core: “Come and let us reason together.” There was no listening happening. Yes, he got his attorney general to say that Common Core was a locally controlled initiative, but that report was easily, factually rebutted.
If you want to see the governor’s four-year hypocrisy on Common Core newly documented, with links to the nuts and bolts of when and where Herbert promoted and defended Common Core, please read this week’s Herbert’s Common Core history article on Utahns Against Common Core by Oak Norton. It will knock your socks off.
Lastly: there’s more to object to than just Herbert’s federal rubber-stamping of nationalized education standards and tests and data gathering without consent. Look at other issues, just as important as education:
- Why did Herbert veto Constitutional Carry? Aren’t gun rights on the top of conservatives’ priority lists?
- Why did Herbert support the expansion of Obama’s ideas for “healthcare” here in Utah? Aren’t conservatives supposed to stand for fiscal realism and self-reliance and charity (as opposed to forcery –not a misspelling–)?
- Why did Herbert not refuse the SLDS data mining movement, the federally-built and paid-for “State Longitudinal Database System”–from which no child or parent or teacher may opt out— a system that inventories and profiles students without consent?
I will never forget that day, four years ago, in the governor’s office: it was just the governor, his bodyguard, and we three teachers and moms: my friends, Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy, and me.
Although we explained our documented research about Common Core and common data collection (CEDS/SLDS) and gave Governor Herbert a thick binder that documented our research and our alarms; although we begged him to recognize the error and to steer away from these federally-promoted systems; although we pointed out that the State Office of Education was using zero documentation to support their pro-common core ear candy– the governor didn’t hear us.
He didn’t keep his promise to have us back in one month, after he and his legal staff had reviewed the issues, either.
He stayed his Common Core-promoting course and entrenched Utah further, using Prosperity 2020 and Education First as financial and political vehicles.
It was never about improving education.
Read Johnathan Johnson’s campaign site. It is a breath of fresh air.
I’m with Ted.
To see the real contest between Ted and Trump, compare something other than what the news outlets permit you to see. Start with the Cruz and Trump official websites. Note the way that they speak about (or if they even mention at all) education, family, the Constitution, and religious liberty. Compare the clarity and substance of their points. Compare their histories of real action versus talk.
To me, there is no real contest after you do this.
The only thing I sincerely like about Trump is his slogan: “Make America Great Again”.
I wonder: how, precisely, would Trump do that –without having outlined steps to actively uphold religious freedom, educational freedom, the First Amendment, religious liberty, and the family as the central unit of society, traditionally defined? On these issues –my issues– Trump seems stumped.
Cruz has real, defined solutions based on foundational principles, but Trump has not. What Trump has is hot air, angry bravado, a memorable slogan, and a nifty hat.
In researching which candidate upholds my priorities, I first took a look at Cruz’s and Trump’s official websites:
On Trump’s site, you see a lot of stuff for sale and you see narcissistic campaign articles about the Trump movement itself. You don’t learn anything substantive. There’s no mention of my priorities on his site. That scares me. Trump’s “issues” page only lists:
On Cruz’ site, however, the “issues” page mentions all three of my top issues. His list is:
The Cruz website focuses on principles and gives information about how Cruz has taken action on those principles, such as the vital detail of why religious freedom is so important. The site says:
- “America was founded on a revolutionary idea. Our rights do not come from government. They come from God.
- Ted has spent his career defending religious liberty. He has fought to protect our First Amendment rights in a number of Supreme Court cases, and as U.S. Senator, he has been a tireless fighter for the right to freely live according to our faith.
- As a presidential candidate, Ted Cruz has hosted two national religious liberties rallies and has brought together Christians who have been persecuted for their beliefs so that people across the country can listen to their stories and stand united for our first freedom.
- On day one, a President Cruz will instruct the Department of Justice, the IRS, and every other federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today.”
Aside from the websites, think about their histories. I especially like the story of Cruz, as Texas Solicitor General in 2005, who stood up to and beat the combined forces of murderer-rapist Jose Medellin plus the U.S. federal government plus the U.N. “International Court”. The U.S. and U.N. courts attempted to side with Medellin, who had raped and killed two Texas teenagers as part of a gang initiation. The U.S./U.N. courts argued that although Medellin was guilty, Medellin should not be tried by Texas, but by Mexico. Cruz won the case for Texas. The murderer-rapist, Medellin, was executed.
Trump has what history? He has made money, despite a lot of bankruptcies, and he had a reality show that a lot of people watched. And?
This is not a high school popularity contest. Choosing the wrong candidate can have devastating, even deadly, consequences.
As Mitt Romney pointed out this week, “Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies… What he said on “60 Minutes,” about Syria and ISIS, has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the campaign season… This is recklessness in the extreme. Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. …[He] mocked a disabled reporter… attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle… mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman, due to her appearance… bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity…. Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes… He calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”
The anger that Trump displays, which so many Americans feel, does not suddenly translate into a reversal of those things that make us mad. Anger is not enough. We need a president with substantive, defined plans; with honest, noble character; with a proven track record of dedication to honorable and Constitutional principles. That is not Donald Trump, nor Hillary Clinton, nor Bernie Sanders. The best available embodiment of noble aims and history is Ted Cruz.
Finally, what about Common Core?
Ted Cruz has a simple, excellent plan that moves us in the right direction, called Five for Freedom. It calls for elimination of unconstitutional agencies, including eliminating the federal Department of Education. Trump, on the other hand, makes no mention of education on his website.
It was a year ago that Ted Cruz tweeted: “Federal government has no business sticking its nose in education. We need to repeal every word of Common Core.”
Nowadays, all the Republican candidates are suddently posturing as if they are opposed to Common Core. How convenient for them, now that Common Core has become a byword.
About five minutes ago, when Trump seemed to realize that millions of grassroots Americans won’t vote for anyone who admits they’re working with, or cashing in on, the common core/common data alignment monopoly, he started making statements like “We’re cutting Common Core!” That statement elicits cheers. But Trump does not demonstrate understanding of how deep and penetrating the unwanted, common alignment of all things educational has grown, nor how sobering and difficult a task it will be to untangle it and retrieve freedom.
Know, too, that paid Common Core endorsers are top Trump endorsers.)
See through this. Trump got on the anti-Common Core, #StopFedEd bandwagon recently (in his speeches, but still not on his website). John Kasich started pretending to have fought against Common Core. (Look at Kasich’s track record.) And Marco Rubio? He’s unfortunately been confused or lukewarm on freedom in education, for years. Cruz has been with us all along.
When Senator Mike Lee endorsed Ted Cruz, he explained in a New York Times interview why Trump was not his pick: “Mr. Lee… said he worried about [Trump’s] policy positions and views on presidential power. ‘I’m still waiting to hear more detail from Donald Trump on where he stands on a whole host of issues,’ Mr. Lee said.”
We are all waiting for that. Where does Trump stand on common, aligned education standards when they alter their names? What about the common, aligned data standards? Where does Trump stand on privacy rights? Where does he stand on family rights? The right to life? Marriage or adoption of children by homosexuals? The restoration of the Constitution? Where does he stand on the Federal Reserve? Where does he stand on religious freedom? His silence is deafening on vital issues, yet he rants like a drunken sailor about making America great again. That is not meaningful to me.
Cruz is not perfect. He has said things that I don’t competely agree with. But I don’t completely agree with my own dear husband, all of the time. And that is okay. Cruz is not a danger to our nation; Trump is. So are (of course) Hillary and Bernie.
Trump seems almost a typecast for a dictatorship, a drunken one. I can’t resist sharing a video that uses Trump audio clips with a lip-synching actor; you’ll either laugh or want to cry. I know it’s immature, but it’s so darn poignant.
Please recall that last summer, a report card posted by Pulse 2016 and American Principles Project graded presidential candidates on their actions in getting rid of Common Core.
The only person who had an “A” then, who is still in the campaign, is Ted Cruz. Take a look at the grades and the criteria. It’s very telling.
Although I have a Cruz bumper sticker on my minivan and although I cheerlead for Ted Cruz on Facebook, I hadn’t, until recently, felt that making a specific Ted Cruz blog endorsement would be valuable. It felt like it would be preaching to the choir. I guess I’m naiive enough to have believed that people would see what I have seen, in comparing Trump and Cruz. I thought that the “pro-freedom-in-education” gang all agreed that it’s only been Ted Cruz who has consistently, and with more than a five-minute history, been outspoken against Common Core and the top-down suffocation of local control in every aspect of education.
It seemed like the most obvious thing in the world, to me, that Cruz was the best choice. But I was wrong about the obvious part. Some of my friends and family members are “yuge” Trump fans. They say that he’s strong. They say that he’s refreshingly blunt and politically incorrect. They say that he’s so rich that he doesn’t have to be beholden to lobbyists, the way all the other candidates on both left and right supposedly must. They say that he’ll intimidate our enemies. Tempting thoughts, all.
But I agree with what Gina Dalfonzo wrote, in an article for First Things entitled “Nikabrik’s Candidate” –that there’s a desperation, similar to the oppressed people in C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian– in the desperation of Trump supporters. Dalfonzo wrote:
“How could… the good guys in this story become corrupt enough to seek help from someone whose greed, brutality, and lust for power were legendary?
“…Nikabrik’s fears are legitimate. His enemies are real and powerful… He is right to recognize the need for help. He is wrong to decide that help must come from a force equally merciless—wrong when he tells Caspian, ‘I’ll believe in anyone or anything . . . that’ll batter these cursed Telmarine barbarians to pieces or drive them out of Narnia. Anyone or anything, Aslan or the White Witch, do you understand?’
“This is how good people with strong, ingrained values—people who have invested time and money in the sanctity of life, religious liberty, and similarly noble causes— …end up flocking to a reality-show star who spends his days on Twitter calling people ‘dumb’ and ‘loser.’ This is how some who have professed faith in Jesus Christ are lured by a man who openly puts all his faith in power and money, the very things Christ warned us against prizing too highly. As one wag on Twitter pointed out, “If elected, Donald Trump will be the first US president to own a strip club,” and yet he has the support of Christians who fervently believe that this country needs to clean up its morals.
“…Tired of waiting for Aslan—who may be nearer than we think—we turn elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if our candidate hates, bullies, and exploits other people, the reasoning goes… Hatred is a perfectly acceptable weapon, as long as it’s ‘on our side.’”
Are Trump supporters like Nikabrik in Prince Caspian, desperate for anything and anyone to defend them, even if that defender is evil? Have Americans forsaken the principles that really did make America great? Do Americans want Trump– regardless of his character, and regardless of the intended or unintended results that will come from unfettered rage and mannerlessness? Is something as transitory as anger the prerequisite to good leadership? Does blunt anger “trump” all other qualities? What lasting good can come from following such a man?
My church teaches that “honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold” because “when the wicked rule the people mourn”; also, that we must “befriend” the “constitutional law of the land”(Doctrine and Covenants 98: 6-10). It doesn’t say to seek or uphold perfect candidates; there aren’t any. It says to find the most honest, the most good, the one most seeming to befriend the Constitution.
By that, I choose Cruz.