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Please Don’t Align Utah to UN Comprehensive Sexuality “Advocacy”: #VoteNoSB196   1 comment



Utah’s pro-SB196 and pro-CSE people make what they do sound like pure charity.

But it’s not.

SB196 promotes what the U.N. promotes:  adult advocacy of practicing homosexual behavior –to kids.  Note: by removing prior language that forbade teachers from advocating homosexuality, the bill now permits advocacy (to kids) about engaging in homosexual behavior.  There is a big difference between tolerance for a personal decision and advocacy to others about child engagement in controversial, potentially dangerous, behavior.



Stuart Adams, sponsor of SB 196


This article is not aiming to attack anyone, but aims to show that when you look at multiple bills, and what they are doing, you begin to see a big picture concerning sex ed here and around the globe;  it’s about bills that are perhaps unintentionally pushing immorality in the form of education through common, global “comprehensive sexuality standards”; it’s about a Utah bill pushing gay advocacy on children in the guise of kindness toward gays; it’s about a good bill on informed consent to educate pregnant women about abortion before they abort.

It might seem that these things are unrelated.  But they’re not.  They are all aligned to the globalist (UN) agenda –and monied lobbying groups and governments far from Utah do want to see Utah fall like a domino into line with their version of  “rights” and “education”.

Before I ask you to consider helping to stop SB196, the “advocacy of homosexuality to children” bill; and before I (relatedly, belatedly) report about the happy death of HB215 last month (that was to add erotic CSE sex standards, detailed in Comprehensive Sexuality Education Standards (CSE), here’s a frame of reference.  It’s a video clip that shows the divide in Utah’s legislature on reproduction and sex ed issues. Click here.

Fast forward to 1:30 -ish on the video.  Representative Stratton speaks for the bill (at 1:30) which is written to promote informed consent of pregnant mothers prior to aborting babies.  It’s a good bill.  Then Representative King speaks against Stratton’s bill. (See 1:38 – one hour, thirty eight minutes)

At first, King sounds calm and almost reasonable.

Around 1:40 King’s tone turns and he says, “I don’t want to hear anyone stand up and talk to me about “babies” or killing babies,” he says, “What we are talking about are zygotes, embryos, and fetuses… When I hear an individual refer to an unborn child as a baby, I know immediately they are not to be taken seriously.”



This is who we are dealing with:  legislators who won’t call abortion a death, or fetuses, humans.

A year ago, pro-abortion UT Rep. Brian King pushed CSE language in a bill that failed to persuade the legislature that CSE standards were really an improvement over Utah’s current sex ed standards.

I was present last year.  There was an overflowing education committee room, lines and lines of people queuing up to speak for and against it, and, thankfully, that bill died in the committee’s vote.

One year later (a few weeks ago) again, the legislative education committee room was packed to standing room, with overflow rooms and online audiences receiving video or audio.  Many in the crowd wore red to signify “STOP CSE” (Stop Comprehensive Sexuality Education).  The bad bill was CSE-promoting, contraceptives-for-kids-promoting, parental consent-deleting  HB 215.

This meeting went on for about four hours.  As in the previous year, there were lines and lines of people queuing up to testify both for and against the bill.  It felt like a miracle when the bill failed in the vote.

We knew it was only a temporary miracle: the national, big-monied lobbying groups, such as Planned Parenthood, and the liberal, progressive think tanks, and the United Nations itself,  are relentlessly pushing CSE in every state. Bet money, if you are a gambler, that its core principles (anti-life, anti-morality) will be back every year, slid into multiple forms of bills.  But we didn’t know how temporary.

Refresher:  The national CSE standards call for children as young as third grade (nine years of age) to describe male and female reproductive anatomy and functions; to describe the changes of puberty; and to “define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender.”  And that’s just for nine year olds.  It gets more inappropriate for older children.  See: National Sexuality Education Standards  

In their testimonies, some of the pro-CSE speakers at the recent hearing said that they had been raped –as a direct result of lack of good sex ed.  They claimed that Utah doesn’t have thorough sex ed. But they must not have been taught in Utah schools; read the sex ed standards posted at USOE.

Interestingly, some of the anti-CSE testifiers were also rape victims. The rape-prevention argument for CSE thus bombed.  (Is it remotely logical that teachers’ advocacy of eroticism and masturbation (topics which CSE standards advocate as “rights of a child”) would be likely to cause –as soon as prevent– the horror of rape?)

It simply is not true that Utah’s sex ed standards are lacking substance or detail or science.  In Utah’s current, extremely thorough, sex ed standards and teacher/parent resource guides, I see nothing skipped over, nothing shallow, unscientific, sloppy or prudish.

So, if it isn’t really about decent education, what’s the real agenda?  It’s a far-left wish to push an amoral, early-age-sex pushing,  gay, lesbian, transgender-encouraging agenda on everyone, not just to prevent bullying, as they pretend it is.  This agenda is detailed by national groups SIECUS and FoSE and by global groups, including the United Nations, in its global, common Comprehensive Sexuality Standards.

It is very simple to document for yourself:  just lift terms out of Rep. King’s bill, and do an internet search to see how many far-left organizations and universities have used and coined, in their publications and initiatives, the same almost-bland sounding terms. Trace, for example, the scholarly articles and the money trails for groups publishing articles on “comprehensive sexuality” and “positive youth development”)


What Rep. King and CSE promoters don’t like about Utah’s sex ed standards is probably, simply this:

“The following shall not be taught:

1. The intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, erotic behavior, etc.

2. The advocacy of homosexuality.

3. The advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods.

4. The advocacy of sexual relations outside of marriage or sexual promiscuity”.  

Each of those four things are fully promoted by CSE.

Need evidence? Watch the “War on Children” video.  Read the CSE standards  of  FoSE and SIECUS here.  Visit the United Nations’ website, which openly  states that it works through governments [people like Representative King] to push its values on the entire world.

It admits:  “UNFPA works with governments to implement comprehensive sexuality education, both in schools and through community-based training and outreach. UNFPA also promotes policies for, and investment in, sexuality education programmes that meet internationally agreed standards.”

Internationally agreed?

Have you agreed to CSE?  Has our entire country, our entire world? Do you even know what’s written in CSE?

I do.

This fight is not over.

How relieved we felt, a few weeks ago, when the vote was taken and King’s CSE bill died. We thought we had a break until next year’s session.

We were wrong to think we had a year of rest.


RIGHT NOW, there’s another bill, SB196,  working its way through the legislature –right now– that has already unanimously passed a Senate ed committee.  It will remove point #2 above:  “the advocacy of homosexuality”.

KSL reported that SB 196 unanimously passed the ed committee, even though it removed the prohibition against Utah teachers advocating for homosexual lifestyles for Utah children.

News flash:  Advocacy of homosexuality is not sex ed.  It’s advocacy!

Education about homosexuality,  or teaching kids kindness toward homosexual individuals, is not the same thing as having teachers advocate engagement in homosexual behavior, to children.

How could the senate pass this “advocacy of homosexuality” bill?  I was told it was to dodge a huge law suit.

I don’t get it.  Do you?  What are the weights and measures– what do we prioritize: protecting and educating kids, or fearing law suits?

And in my estimation, the law suit is a brain dead argument.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the law suit (which supposedly spurred the unanimous yes vote on bill 196) said:

“These laws prevent presentation of accurate information concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual people in health classes and other classes, even when such information serves important educational purposes, while imposing no similar restriction on discussion of heterosexuality”.

That’s not true.  Utah law does not prevent presentation of accurate information; in fact, USOE standards explicitly say that sex ed includes discussion of homosexuality.  The laws do say that teachers cannot advocate for homosexual nor for heterosexual promiscuity.  Advocacy rightly is prohibited in schools.  It’s not a school’s job to advocate, but to teach academics and health.

More ridiculousness in the suit:  the Tribune reported that the lawsuit claimed that there were no similar bans applying to clubs about heterosexuality, heterosexual persons or heterosexual issues, and that “that discrimination harms LGBT students… preventing them from participating equally in student clubs, stigmatizing them as inferior an unequal.”

Not true.  Teachers are not permitted to advocate for heterosexual promiscuity, either.

Some people claim that the legalization of gay marriage necessitates teachers advocating gay lifestyles in schools.  That makes no sense to me.

What will teachers advocate for next, if this passes?  Pedophilia, so that pedophiles can have an after-school club, too?  Where do we draw a line?

All human beings should support and practice advocacy for special needs children, and for any individual being bullied, whether he/she is gay or is of an ethnic or religious minority, or is obese, or is blind, or is anything else that others may bully. What I do not support is party-line advocacy of participation in a very controversial, potentially dangerous sexual behavior to young people who are, by law, in school.

If you live it Utah, and if you think that altering the language to make advocating for homosexual behavior is wrong, please asking the representatives to say “no way” on SB 196.

Protect kids!  Stop SB196 now.  Then, work to educate  others to stop CSE in all its forms.

You can tweet #VoteNoSB196 @utahreps  – .

You can email the Utah House of Representatives.  Contact emails are here for a handful to get your started.  Look up others here.

They often prefer to have emails addressed to them individually, rather than mass emails.

Rep. Knotwell:


Rep. Brad Wilson:


Rep. Greg Hughes

801-432-0362  (Speaker of the House)

“Modern Educayshun” Video Shows Mad Reality of Social Justice Agenda   2 comments

Data Addiction and Common Core Dictates Destroying Schools: Utah Teacher Diana McKay Speaks Out on Common Core   4 comments

Diana McKay is a currently teaching, Utah public school teacher who wrote this poem, “I Became a Teacher– Why?” and the essay “Saturday Musings” below, and also the statement on Common Core below that.

She said, “This poem sums up what it is that we want for our educated children and why I went into education –and why I never would in today’s climate. It is frightening to look at how political maneuvering can have a subversive intent that is not immediately apparent”.


I Became a Teacher. Why?

I became a teacher
to lead children along the journey of learning
so they might journey to where the love of learning leads.
I became a teacher
to introduce children to the world of awesome art
so they might create art to awe the world.
I became a teacher
to ensure children recognize and cherish nature’s gifts
so they might ensure nature’s gifts are preserved to cherish.
I became a teacher to encourage children to dream so they might find encouraging dreams to follow.
I became a teacher to open children’s minds to all that is possible so they might put their open minds to making the impossible, possible.
I became a teacher to show children how to find peace in the world around them
so they might bring peace to the world.
I became a teacher to inspire these future citizens of our country to have a vision
so they might envision a greater future for our country.
I became a teacher to model putting one’s efforts toward that which is greater than one’s self
so that my students might find the greatness within themselves.

This why I can no longer be a teacher. I can no longer do what I went
into teaching to do.

by Diana McKay

A Letter to my mother-who believed I could have been more.

I just called you, wanting you to tell me that it is acceptable, no, justifiable, to still be in my pajamas at almost noon, escaping in novels, or just musing, thereby avoiding the endless and monumental pile of test papers waiting to be scored. I wanted you to tell me, that after almost forty years of nights, weekends, spent on lesson plans, on time consuming preparations and collections for science experiments or social studies lessons, on wasted hours providing so called “instructional feedback” that I deserve a break. I needed you to tell me that I am entitled to enjoy a Saturday. You didn’t answer. But, you would have scolded me again reminding me that I was magna cum laude, Phi Beta
Kappa, for hell’s sake, I could have been a doctor, lawyer, chief executive officer and I’d
retort, “They make only money, I make a difference.”

I often wonder was a “difference” worth it?

Then, once in a decade, a letter arrives at the school address, with “please forward to” in front of my name. No need to “forward to” me, I’m still here. The letter opens with, “You may not remember me, but I was in your 2nd grade class in 1988 and I became a teacher because of the way you taught,” or “ I just wanted to thank you for making me believe in myself,” and a flood of emotion washes over me. Is it joy in knowing I did indeed make a little difference or is it relief that my life was not totally wasted in hours of test grading? But, then it hits me with astounding clarity. It is not the lessons, the science experiments, the hours spent writing “constructive” feedback on papers or comments on report cards that make a difference. It is the moments spent in “real” time, the “teachable” moment, guiding students toward something far more vital and ephemeral. It is the discovery that we are only here in this world, this universe, to learn and grow into whomever we are meant or choose to be, and we’re here for such a short time.

So in these last hours of a lifetime career, I will wave a white flag and surrender the minutia of unnecessary skill “kill” drills.

I’ll surrender soul-sucking data delirium, and follow my 1969 musings about my future in education. I’ll embrace this quote by John Holt as I did in those youthful years when choosing to become a teacher.

“Children do poorly in school because they’re bored with the meaningless work . . . scared of being punished or humiliated . . . In essence I’d realized, from observing and teaching, that school is a place where children learn to be stupid!” – John Holt

Holt explains why in these last ten years I am shockingly aware of the seeming decline of intellect. In the effort to “train” students to perform better in world competition for the right answers on tests, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 has failed to raise test scores, failed to lower drop out rates, failed to increase literacy rates and failed to increase rates of college graduation. It has only been successful in “failure”. Failure is the theme, the torch, the stick, and the misnomer given to the public schools. Feed on failure, focus on failure, hold failure foremost, and what you get is failure. Is it the schools or the teachers’ failure or is it a failure of leadership?

It is a fact, as the proportion of children in poverty rises, the scores for US schools drop. In November 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau reported more than 16% of the U.S. population lived in poverty, including 22% of all people under age 18, approximately 13 million children. The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is approaching 1960s levels that led to the national War on Poverty. The war on poverty has been replaced with a war on public education scapegoating teachers who devote their
lives to educating our youth, despite the rhetoric.

Maybe next year will be my last.

I’ll be a casualty of that war, but, before I go I may just finally teach children “to fish” so that they will always be able to satisfy their hunger for information. Maybe I’ll create “seekers of knowledge” and guide them in their self selected quests to quench their curiosity. I will promote passion. I will not police production, or sort students by standardized scores, and waste gifted minds with endless mind numbing repetition so that “no child is left behind”. Next year, I will not bow to the tyranny of parent terrorists whose agenda is to destroy at least one teacher each year to appease their guilt over not really wanting to participate in educating their own child. I will not become dispirited by legislators abusing their political right to blame educators for their own failure in economic policy to reduce poverty. I will not surrender to the district dictates to demonstrate mastery of core skills under the NCLB Act which demoralizes both the student and me, with the threat of being doomed to failure if we don’t continually collect data as mandated, and to master the skills on the testing timeline. I think next year I will actually choose to “fail” to do what I am accused of failing to do and instead I’ll make a difference. But first, I’ll have to quit musing and get busy. I still have all those tests to score.

Statement by Diana McKay on Common Core:

My position is that the Common Core Standards left to teachers to teach is not the problem.

The problem is multifaceted. The data addiction and dictates derived from research using easily measured variables in schools impacted from poverty and applied to all settings is causing no child to be “left ahead”.

Overzealous testing of easily measured objectives using multiple choice answers and the omission of any untestable processes that are essential, reduces education to training. The arts are therefore being lost, but it might be worse if the arts were to be tested.

Scapegoating teachers and reducing them to robots who follow scripted lessons “with fidelity” that are designed by publishing companies has killed the professionalism of talented teachers. Publishing companies are profiting most from the Common Core– one set of texts fit all–no updates needed. Profiteers selling data system management has caused spread sheets to become more important than the content of instruction.

The grading of schools is a precursor to justifying voucher systems to line the pockets of richly connected individuals who can tap the taxpayers for private school buildings, etc. that aren’t needed, and which contribute to a caste system as children are prevented from mixing with ethnically or economically different peers.

This is my position. Politicians and corporations have no business in education and school districts
should not use taxpayers’ money to support the goals of business.

Thank you, Diana McKay.

Three Things to Simplify Your Fight Against Common Core   2 comments

More and more sinister facts about Common Core are surfacing. Proponents are running scared. They are glossing over, avoiding, lying about and making fun of, those in possession of the powerful and ugly truths about Common Core.

For example, there’s a taxpayer-funded Utah propaganda campaign that the Utah State School Board is to employ this year to “correct the misinformation” that the board members won’t actually, directly address, at all. (See page 232-236 of the 518-page document) There’s the fact that the USOE refers to critics of Common Core as “The Common Core Crazies” in teacher development trainings. This has been verified to me directly by multiple teachers who’ve attended Utah teacher conferences this spring and summer.

Open debate is out of style. Freedom of speech, thought or expression seem politically incorrect. Proponents of Common Core are opposed to discussing pros and cons, and certainly won’t reference, source, or provide documented empirical studies (because they don’t exist) to prove the claims of Common Core’s proponents to be true.

This fear of standing in light should signal to honest seekers of truth that there’s something very wrong: intellectual honesty (defined by empirical evidence and pilot testing of new programs) and freedom of speech and thought (defined by two-sided conversations) are concepts that the proponents of Common Core dismiss in favor of hand-me-down,Gates-funded “talking points.” It’s: One Size Fits All. (“If the shoe doesn’t fit, you still have to wear it.”)

You may have seen the back and forth of national education analysts and former governors and assorted others.

These attacks, aimed at critics of Common Core, is actually great news: It’s evidence that we are making a dent in this power-grabbing beast.

Please remember three simple facts to spread the truth and to cut through Gates’ marketing noise:

It’s a shaky academic experiment; it slashes local control; it’s the glue in the unconstitutional surveillance program.

1) Common Core is an academic experiment on our children that will affect not just K-12 but also universities.

Nothing they say changes its experimental nature. There’s no empirical testing that’s ever been done, no pilot study, no proof that these standards are academically an improvement. It’s just marketing– the repetitive use of the misused words “rigorous” and “internationally benchmarked” which, just as any grocery item that’s labeled “new and improved” — isn’t remotely new or improved. But who fact-checks? And yes, we should be rattled; these are radical changes: less literature; untested, way-different math. The time-tested, classical instruction’s flown out the standardized-common-testing window with the massive increase of testing. The ACT/SAT/GED/AP are all aligning to the experiment. And don’t forget about the massive increase of nonacademic student data-mining linked to the Common testing. It’s not small potatoes, folks.

2.) Common Core circumvents local authority and hands power to those who are furthest from the children/teachers.

The copyright by NGA/CCSSO is one proof. The 15% rule of the feds, that disallows soaring, is another proof. The micromanagement of the feds over the testing is another. The lack of any coming together to create a state-led amendment process is another proof. The monopoly on thought (via all texts being aligned, all ACT/SAT/GED/AP tests aligned) is another. There is no local control when the standards and tests are created from “on high.” There is no legitimacy when the standards and tests are experimental in nature and lack empirical validity. So even if the standards WERE excellent, states/districts have no control over those entities (NGA-CCSSO) who can alter them without our consent, sooner or later. When you lose control, you lose control. It doesn’t come back.

3) Common Core tests further entrench the surveillance of teachers and students by the government without parental consent.

If you remember these three points– and know where the links are to document them, you can stand up to the bullies, or to those who are uneducated about what Common Core is really all about.

All the opinion editorials in the world are not going to make the day night, or night day. Truth is truth whether people choose to believe it or not.

Utah Teen Takes a Stand Against Common Core at State Capitol   1 comment

Kenny Bradley, a Utah teenager, gave the following speech at the State Capitol last week, which was heard by a crowd of 500-600 people that included dozens of legislators, and teachers, parents and school board members. Bradley, a recent high school graduate, Valedictorian, Math Sterling Scholar Winner in the Southwestern Utah Region, and former math teacher’s aide, aiding in Common Core math classes, has given permission to share this speech.


I would like to start my speech with Aesop’s Fable of The Flies and the Honey-Pot.

“A number of flies were attracted to a jar of honey which had been overturned in a housekeeper’s room, and placing their feet in it, ate greedily. Their feet, however, became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated. Just as they were expiring, they exclaimed, ’O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves.’”

I oppose Common Core because it is like the honey that trapped and suffocated the flies, because although it appears to be wonderful, it is dangerous. It is untested, unalterable by the people and teachers in local communities, and we cannot realistically “opt out” after it is fully implemented.

First, as a recent high school graduate, Valedictorian, Math Sterling Scholar Winner in the Southwestern Utah Region, and a former math teacher’s aide, I experienced firsthand the common core math standards being implemented at my high school. I saw students struggle with the common core curriculum in the math class where I was a teacher’s aide. Not because it was advanced or difficult, but because of the rapid pace at which new concepts were introduced and the lack of necessary explanations. Many lessons jumped from one concept to another and often combined them after five problems or so, before they have fully learned or even understood the original concepts. Most importantly, they never learned “why” these concepts function, work together, or even exist. They simply learned “what” they are called and, if they are lucky, they learned “how” to do them.

Despite these issues with the math section of common core, our school is being forced to adopt Common Core fully this next school year –if something is not done by the legislature soon.

Second, Common Core is taking our children’s education away from us locally and placing them into the hands of an ever expanding government. Almost every case of this in history has led to a tyrannical government fueled by the rising generation that has been indoctrinated with specific political and social views, such as the example of youth being taught to believe in anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany.

Thankfully, our Founding Fathers included the Tenth Amendment in our Constitution to protect States’ rights protecting our children’s education from any federal program. The General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) also explicitly protects the education system from federal control. We must enforce these protections.

Third, once Common Core is fully implemented in the next school year, with so much invested money and training, we will not be able to easily “opt out.” This is especially alarming because State
Education Boards signed into Common Core before the standards were ever written!!! Common Core’s federal control does not stop with public schools. Students in charter and private schools, as well as homeschoolers, will also eventually have no choice but to learn what the federal government wants to teach them. Why? Because of the National Standards that will naturally follow Common Core in the States that it is implemented in. The ACT and SAT, necessary tests for college placement, will be aligned to Common Core standards, which may prevent homeschooled children from attending college if they do not study Common Core material.

Therefore, I oppose Common Core because it is untested, unalterable except by getting permission from outside Utah, and we are unable to “opt out.” May our children and our education system not become stuck and suffocate in Common Core like the flies trapped in honey from Aesop’s fable.

Thank you.


You can imagine that, despite the no-applause-please request of the meeting’s moderator, there was thunderous applause following this speech. Thank you, Kenny Bradley.

Minersville Parent: Utah Must Withdraw From Common Core   2 comments

Here is a letter written to the Editor of a Southern Utah newspaper. I received permission to repost it here.

Dear Editor,

I am a concerned parent who strongly opposes Utah’s Core Standards (Common Core). Understand, I’m not opposed to having State-Controlled Educational Standards. My biggest concerns with the Common Core Standards are that they are controlled by D.C. private interest groups working closely with the United States Department of Education.

It is a public-private partnership. The Common Core tests are, in fact, funded by the federal government. It’s federally approved, federally funded, and federally promoted.

Frankly, it’s a control grab that cuts the American voter out and is clearly a violation of the General Educational Provisions Act (G.E.P.A.) which prohibits “any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration . . . of any educational institution, school, or school system .”

Further, there is no amendment process in place that our state can utilize if it disagrees with, or does not like the curriculum or the standards. The question begs to be asked: “Who will really be in charge of the curriculum, the state (as it should be) or private interest groups and the federal government?” It would appear that we will not be as free to make changes or improvements in the curriculum as easily as Ms. Roberts suggested in her recent letter to the editor.

Now is the time to act! We CAN and SHOULD withdraw from Common Core and protect our state’s educational system from the grasp of the federal government!

Ms. Roberts also stated that these standards were discussed and adopted over a period of time and in public meetings where we “could have commented during the public participation period”.
Does anybody else remember any advertising of such meetings? I don’t.

What I do know, however, is that there are parents and citizens that would like to have open discussions and answers to their questions RIGHT NOW!

Personally, I would like Ms. Roberts to publically answer the questions* outlined in the recent article by Christel Swasey–giving specific, detailed answers, not blanket statements and talking points.

I believe that parents have the ultimate responsibility of teaching their children and providing for their education.

If we do not stand up as parents and demand that our concerns and desires for their education be addressed and met by those in public leadership positions, then we will be held accountable.

Consequently, until Common Core is rejected, I am pulling my children from the public school system.


Deyette Bradley
Minersville, Utah


*The board is silent on these simple questions:

Where is a shred of evidence to support the claim that Common Core improves education?

Where are any studies showing that the reduction of literary study improves college readiness?

Where is some evidence that slowing the age at which students learn math algorithms improves college readiness?

Where is any amendment process for Utah’s math and English standards, under the copyrighted Common Core?

How can one opt out of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) tracking and the Common Core tests?

Where is the legal — constitutional — authority for people outside our state to set our local standards and to create and monitor our tests?

Why does Utah stand by while Obama announces that he will redesign schools and tax all Americans to pay for it, without Utah putting up a fight?

Why is there a spiral of silence culture now, that demands everyone pretend to agree; where is freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the common agenda, now that teachers and principals don’t speak out for fear of losing their jobs?

How on earth can anyone call Common Core “state-led” when unelected boards that operate behind closed doors, that are not accountable to the public, developed and copyrighted the standards, bypassing voters and the vast majority of teachers and legislators?

Where is the line-item cost analysis of taxpayers’ money being spent on Common Core technologies, teacher training and texts?

When will state leadership address Common Core’s specific damages with the people who elected these leaders to serve us, rather than bowing to every federal whim?

Will the board and governor ever stand up to the Department of Education’s tsunami of assaults on liberties?

Will they continue to fight against local teachers and citizens who rightfully demand local liberty and who rightfully ask for proven, non-experimental, amendable standards — following the example set by the national and world-leading education system in Massachusetts, prior to Common Core?


Thanks to Deyette Bradley for sharing her letter here.

Department of Education Surveillance of Student Attitudes   12 comments

The Department of Education is increasingly creepy.

There’s no other word for it. It’s as bad as any Orwellian-styled fiction. I say this without being in the least speculative– proof is published openly in the actual source documents coming out of the current Department of Education.

I invite you to scan over the Department of Education’s document entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance.”

This 126-page report was published four months ago by the Office of Educational Technology and the U.S. Department of Education.

The whole document is about student data mining– but not just the type of data mining we’ve talked about before, where math and English and a student’s personal name and address are the issues.

Here, the issue is having schools/governments collect data about a student’s will, character, beliefs and attitudes using multiple measures that go beyond standardized testing to physical control and measurement of the child, by eye tracking and nerve sensory devices.

On page 44, see exhibit 11. It shows how affective sensors are used in some areas to measure student “engagement”. You’ll see facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, a pressure mouse, and a wireless skin conductance sensor.

These are supposed to be good things?!

We see clearly that it is not enough for the “education reformers” to nationally control, via common standards and testing, the math and English teaching; they also desire to test, analyze and control, noncognitive individual attitudes.

How is freedom of thought, freedom of belief/attitude/religion, or freedom of expression, upheld by these “reforms” in any way?

The document also says:

“There is a growing movement to explore the potential of the “noncognitive” factors— attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability…”

Attitudes! Dispositions!

I re-read Orwell’s 1984 recently. Do you remember it? The main character lives in a world completely controlled by the government, which watches all citizens through virtually omnipresent screens and makes all citizens daily chant, with the same expressions on their faces– or else.

Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.”

In Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance, as in other documents and speeches promoted by the current administration, you will also see the marginalization of parents. Parents are not seen as the primary instructor and authority figure over the child. Parents are seen as just the supporting cast. They can play a role. They can support. They can be educated about governmental “best practices” to practice at home. Think I’m kidding?

From page xiv: “Conclusion 6: Parents and guardians can also play a direct and important role in promoting
their children’s grit, tenacity, and perseverance… Recommendation 6a: Parents may employ some of the research-based best practices at home as they work with their children around academic goals… Parents can also support children in structuring their home work
environments to support effortful control…
Recommendation 6b: Educators… should consider outreach to parents and guardians as an important support for
students… parents may need to be educated about best practices.

This goes right along with Obama’s Lean Forward campaign, where the video spokeswoman, Melissa Harris-Perry said, (see below) “We haven’t had a collective notion of ‘these are our children.’ We have to break through this kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents.”

Last I heard, our Utah State Office of Education was claiming that Utah’s Common Core tests (A.I.R.) will only test math and English, and will not test behavioral indicators, attitudes, grit or tenacity.

Do you believe it?

I wish I could.

But while the Department of Education is pushing behavioral indicator measurement, and while the testing company Utah has chosen to create its Common Core tests —American Institutes for Research— has a mission statement “to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation,” and while the Utah legislature has passed HB15, a bill that requires “behavior indicators” in school testing, and when Bill Gates, the main funder of all things Common Core, is promoting the merger of technology, games, education and biometric-psychometric control– when these forces combine, how can anyone still believe that all is well?

All is not well.

Parents, teachers and legislators must stand up, speak out, and not be quiet until we stop this erosion of individual rights.

If we don’t, who will?

Teachers’ Letters to Gates   Leave a comment

Teachers are writing letters on a blog dedicated to letting Bill Gates know what they think of his education reforms.

Must share.

Posted June 17, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Orange County Register Editorial: Classroom No Place for Central Planning   3 comments

The Orange County Register published a smart editorial this week.   It makes the point that most of the opponents of Common Core agree with: this is not about whether the standards are being lowered for some states and raised for others, or any other academic argument.  This is about avoiding getting sucked into the central planning vortex.  Below is  a good chunk of that editorial.  Read the rest at this link:


May 31, 2013

 Classroom no place for central planning

Common Core not right path for raising performance of American students.

We’re hopeful that the recent spate of scandals out of Washington will cause more Americans to think twice before ceding more authority to government. If there’s any good to be derived from the revelations of misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department, it’s an increased recognition that the state can’t be blindly trusted to discharge its fiduciary duties to its citizens.

There is perhaps no issue where this insight is as valuable as education. Government involvement in our children’s schools represents a tremendous concession of sovereignty. By allowing the state to set the parameters of what children learn in their formative years, we grant government sweeping influence to form their character and shape their understanding of the world. This is a natural byproduct of widespread public education. We can, however, keep it from getting worse.


The first step is to resist Common Core, a set of nationwide K-12 curricular standards developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Thus far, 45 states, including California, have signed on to Common Core.

…The problem… is the centralization of power that Common Core introduces. Defenders of the program will note that states are not mandated to adopt Common Core – which is true only in the most technical of senses. The Department of Education has already made adoption of the program a factor for receiving grants from the Race to the Top program, as well as a condition of receiving waivers from No Child Left Behind. It’s a virtual certainty that the amount of federal money tied to Common Core will only increase. What Washington can’t get through coercion, it can usually achieve through bribery.

We’ve long insisted that one of the keys to meaningful education reform is decentralizing power. As often as possible, decision-making should devolve to parents, teachers, and state and local authorities. When it comes to shaping America’s next generation of citizens, one size cannot fit all. Education ought to be our children’s first introduction to the marketplace of ideas, not to a government monopoly.

We applaud the impulse to raise the quality of the nation’s schools – but such efforts should be undertaken freely and subject to competition in the marketplace. Central planning is always inefficient and dangerous. We find it doubly so with education.

Louisiana Teacher: Teachers Never Asked For This   1 comment

Weingarten Wants Me to Want the Common Core State Standards.

This Louisiana teacher, Mercedes Schneider, has darned good aim.  In this post, she explains why the AFT teachers’ union has Common Core wrong.

“I have not met American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten in person, but from what I have read about her, I have learned that she has chosen to “play to the middle”– to appear to support both traditional public school teachers and corporate reform at the same time. And now, Weingarten has positioned herself to appear to stand against Common Core via her ‘moratorium” while simultaneously standing with it…

… This AFT study is lousy research. Weingarten could have just dropped the insulting, shoddy “research,” cut to the chase, and said, “Bill and I have already decided to endorse CCSS. Forget the moratorium.

Teachers never asked for this federally-imposed curriculum in the first place.”

Read the rest:

Dr. Peg Luksik: The Unasked Question   4 comments

The Unasked Question

by Dr. Peg Luksik

Reposted from

The public debate over the Common Core Standards is intensifying as parents and teachers learn more about the changes to our educational system.

When the proponents of the standards mention them, they always begin with the word “rigorous”.  The word is always used, and there is never a synonym.  This is marketing at its finest.

Who could ever be opposed to rigorous standards that would make America’s children college and career-ready?

Then the definition of “rigorous” began to emerge.  To quote the training materials being used with teachers across Pennsylvania, rigor does not mean “difficult, as AP Calculus is difficult”.  Rigor meant… that lots of effort would be required.  In the example given by one of the official presenters, the rigorous activity in a high school chemistry class was to have the students use balls to build little models of each of the atoms in the Periodic Table.  She explained that the brightest students were frustrated with this activity because they were not used to having to do such “rigorous” work.

And now the Common Core based secondary school math assessment has been revealed.  To meet these “rigorous” new standards and be able to graduate from high school, America’s students will have to pass Algebra I.

In testimony before the PA Senate Education Committee this month, a proponent of these standards was asked about this situation.  He responded that a graduate only needed Algebra I to be “career-ready” – which he clarified by specifying that he was referring to working a service or manufacturing job or joining the military.

His response brings us to the unasked questions in this movement to radically restructure our schools.

Who is the client of the educational system? What is the purpose of  education?

In classical education, which is how most adults over the age of 35 were taught, the client of education was the child, and the purpose was to give each child the ability to reach his fullest potential.  The school was supposed to open doors so children from any background would have the chance to achieve their dreams.  Educational programs were not aimed at what a child “only needed” – they were aimed at giving each child as many options as possible.  They aimed a child at the ceiling instead of the floor.

And in reaching the ceiling, those adults learned what they needed to find and keep a job.  Some of them went to college and some of them entered the work force and some of them joined the military.  But those decisions were theirs, based on their abilities and preferences and effort.  And if they decided to make a different choice, they had the ability to do so.

But the Common Core changes the answers to those basic questions.  In the new system, the client of the educational system is business, and the purpose of the educational system is to create a work force with the skills they need to do the job.  And if the job only requires Algebra I, then, as the gentleman testifying said, there is no need for the workers in that job to have any education beyond Algebra I.

Who decides which students will be allowed to continue learning and which will be stopped at “the skills they need to do their jobs”?

That too is an un-asked, and un-answered, question.

And it is the most chilling question of all.


Thanks to Dr. Luksik for her essay.

Cherie Zaslawsky: Brave New Schools   5 comments

Brave New Schools

Guest post by California English teacher Cherie Zaslawsky

The much touted Common Core Standards (CCS) Initiative that is being pushed as a silver bullet to improve our schools is not simply the latest fad in education: CCS is actually an unprecedented program that would radically alter our entire K-12 educational system, affecting content (i.e. curriculum), delivery (largely via computer), testing (also via computer), teacher evaluations (connected to test scores), as well as creating an intrusive database of sensitive information from student “assessments.” This program, for all the protestations to the contrary, represents the nationalization of education in America, extinguishing any semblance of local control. Furthermore, it was essentially developed at the behest of billionaire Bill Gates, who also funded it to the tune of some $150 million, and who clearly thinks he knows what’s best for everybody else’s children. (His own are safely ensconced in private schools).

California adopted the Common Core Standards (CCS) Initiative on August 2, 2010, only two months after the standards were released. Nor has this multi-billion dollar program ever been piloted anywhere! It’s a nationwide experiment—with our children as the subjects.  Nor was CCS ever internationally benchmarked. In California, as in most states, there was no time to devote to studying the intricacies of the program, vetting it, or introducing it to the public. Instead, Race to the Top money was dangled in front of state legislatures, and 45 states sprang for it, but 16 of these states at last count are already seeking to withdraw from the program.

Parents need to understand the implications of the Common Core Standards. These standards, which amount to a national curriculum via bundled tests, texts and teacher evaluations, would severely degrade our local schools. How? By lowering the standards of high-performing schools to make them “equal” with low-performing schools, in a misguided attempt to reach what its proponents call “equity” or “fairness” by mandating the lowest common denominator for all schools. True, this would close the muchballyhooed “achievement gap”—but only by dumbing down the education of the best and brightest to better match that of the unmotivated and/or less academically gifted.

The idea that all students should perform identically sounds eerily like something out of  Mao’s China. What happened to our relishing of individual talents and uniqueness? Would we lower the standards for the best athletes to put them on a par with mediocre athletes to close the “performance gap” in, say, high school football?

How do a few of the experts view this program? Dr. James Milgrim of Stanford University, the only mathematician on the Common Core validation team, refused to sign off on the math standards because he discovered that by the end of 8th grade, CCS will leave our students two years behind in math compared to those in high-performing countries. And according to Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the respected expert who developed the Massachusetts standards, widely regarded as the best in the nation, “Common Core’s ‘college readiness’ standards for ELA are chiefly empty skill sets and cannot lead to even a meaningful high school diploma. Only a literature-rich curriculum can. College readiness has always depended on the complexity of the literary texts teachers teach and a coherent literature curriculum.”

As English teacher Christel Swasey notes:  “We become compassionate humans by receiving and passing on classic stories. Souls are enlarged by exposure to the characters, the imagery, the rich vocabulary, the poetic language and the endless forms of the battle between good and evil, that live in classic literature.”  Instead, students will swim in the murky waters of relativism where all things are equal and no moral compass exists. We should not be surprised if they are also encouraged to view history along the lines of multiculturalism, “social equity,” and the Communitarian glorification of the collectivist “global village.”

Consider how drastically literature is being marginalized (30%) in favor of “informational” texts (70%) in the 12th  grade, with a maximum of only 50% literature ever, throughout middle and high school English classes. The switch to a steady diet of “informational” texts virtually ensures that students won’t be learning to think critically or to write probing, analytical essays, let alone to develop the love of reading and appreciation for the literary masterpieces of Western culture. Put in practical terms, it means that instead of reading Hamlet, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice, your child will be reading computer manuals and tracts on “climate change,” “environmental justice,” and the virtues of recycling.

And the price of mediocrity? In California, implementation cost is estimated at $2.1 billion, with $1.4 billion as upfront costs—mainly for computers (every child needs one—along with special apps—could that be one reason Bill Gates poured a cool $150 million into this program? Perhaps giving new meaning to the word “philanthropist”…) along with training teachers to navigate the complicated new programs. Even though it’s been proven—as if we needed proof—that children learn better from real live teachers than from staring at LCD screens.

In addition, tests and “assessments” will be taken on computers—resulting in the harvesting of personal data that amounts to a dossier on every child, including choice tidbits about Mommy and Daddy.  And what is to stop the powers-that-be from using these assessments and test results to “re-educate” “politically incorrect” students who show too much independence?

Clearly Common Core is a disaster in the making.  So what can we do? The simplest solution is to insist that our school boards turn down the carrot of federal funding and reject Common Core in order to preserve the integrity of our local schools through local control and to continue to allow our teachers to use their creativity in the classroom. The price of compliance with Common Core, however tempting monetarily speaking, is just too high— the mortgaging of our children’s future.


Thanks to Cherie Zaslawsky for permission to publish her essay here.

Ogden Examiner Covers GOP Rejection of Common Core While Tribune and Deseret News are Silent   6 comments

The Ogden Examiner covered the Utah GOP’s  rejection of the Common Core at Saturday’s convention. But Utah’s main newspapers, the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, have not yet covered the story.

That lack of coverage speaks volumes.

Discussing Common Core is now akin to bringing up religion, sex or politics at family reunions.  People have such varied, and intense, beliefs about it that it can get a little awkward.


Almost whispering, a woman in my town came up to me this week and quietly said thank you.  She said that she and the other educators are grateful for those who speak out.  Most of those currently employed in schools don’t dare say anything against common core, fearing ridicule or job loss.

There are exceptions.  David Cox  is currently teaching; Margaret Wilkin, just retired;  and others nationally have spoken out.  And there’s even me.  I’m also a currently credentialed teacher, but I’m homeschooling instead of sending my ten year old (and myself) into the schools of Common Core.  Will the USSB renew my credential?  Will schools hire me in the future when they know I disagree so strongly with the Common Core agenda?  I wonder.

I spoke with a member of the Utah State School Board this week about teachers’ feelings about Common Core, asking if the board would be willing to create an official USOE anonymous survey for teachers like the one Utahns Against Common Core is doing, in order to receive honest, two-sided feedback about Common Core.  The board member told me that would be pointless because “there are always teachers who are angry.”  Those angry ones must not taken too seriously.

This makes me think that teachers need to make it clear to the USOE/USSB that the angry few are not the minority or the “always angry” types.  I suggest that teachers write letters, anonymously if necessary, but often– and many.  How else will the state leaders believe that there is a serious problem?


Another reason there is a lack of coverage and discussion about the issue is that when we say “Common Core,” we don’t all think of the same thing.

Remember the story of the blind men describing the elephant?  Each blind man reached out and touched the elephant, and were asked to describe it.  One said it was like a tree trunk.  One said it was like a wall.  One said it was like a rope.  All disagreed yet none was lying.  The beast was just bigger and more complex than any of them realized.

Because different teachers teach at different grade levels, and different teachers teach different subjects  (only some of which are affected by Common Core); and because some schools jumped on the Common Core implementation wagon fast, while others are slow; and because the Common Core tests don’t begin until this coming school year; and because the Common Core-aligned textbooks are for the most part, not yet purchased and not yet even printed, things look different in different places.

Then there’s the confusion outside the teachers’ arena; some people are aware of the political strings (such as the lack of an amendment process for common core standards; the copyright on CCSS, the 15% cap placed on it by the Dept of Education; and the lack of voter accountability to the groups who created the standards)  –while many people are unaware, and say, “Common Core is just minimum standards.”

All of these various angles make it difficult to even speak about what Common Core is.

But we have to keep speaking about it.


Common Core is not like past education reforms that are quickly altered and tossed away for another set of equally bureaucratic –but alterable– reforms.

This one’s going in cement. Two reasons:

1.  The main architect for Common Core’s ELA standards, David Coleman, was given the position of College Board president, and is aligning college entrance exams (SAT) to Common Core.  The ACT is said to be aligned as well.  This fact alters our entire system of education in the country –and cannot be easily changed later.

2. There is a philosophical and curricular monopoly happening.  The textbook industry is dominated by Pearson, the world’s largest education sales business.  Pearson is officially partnered with Bill Gates, the world’s 2nd richest man, and the main funder of all things common core.  The partnership is writing model common core curriculum (as are the testing consortia) to align all books, teacher trainings, and tests with the same standards.  Meanwhile, 99% of all smaller textbook companies are also republishing all their books to align with Common Core because of this new monopoly on what academic standards ought to cover (or what they ought to skip).

We need more states, more private schools, and more textbook companies  to stand independent of this outrageous, baseless monopoly.  Otherwise, there will soon be no alternatives, no freedom of choice, no ability to soar above the common –for any of us.

We need alternatives to a common alignment with corporate monopolies and one college exam standard.

I hope the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News decide to cover this issue fully, rather than worrying about what the Governor, State School Board, and Prosperity 2020 businesses want them to do.

People deserve to hear the full story, thoroughly covered.  It’s not unimportant:

We are reclaiming the local ability to determine what we will teach our kids.





Video: Kansas Parents, Students, Teachers Against Common Core   Leave a comment

Start at second 23 to see and hear the parents, teachers and students speaking out against Common Core.



Posted May 17, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

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Nice to see our neighbors to the North are talking about Common Core.  Here are two recent radio programs about Common Core from the Idaho Reporter.

Additional news –nationwide– all about the Common Core controversy:

Ed Week: New Attack on Common Core From Pennsylvania Democrats

Ed Week (Pioneer cited): Common-Core Pushback to the Pushback: Who Has the Political Mojo?

“Opponents of the common core are smelling blood in the water and are trying various methods to diversify their portfolio of attacks. On May 2, several anti-common-core groups and individuals held a “Twitter rally” to #stopcommoncore, and afterwards provided an analysis of anti-common-core tweets from the rally. The stats, provided to me by Jamie Gass of Pioneer Institute, showed that the rally produced 14,970 uses of the #stopcommoncore hashtag during the rally, which reached a peak at about 9 p.m. The analysis claimed that it had a “spread” of nearly 9.8 million Twitter accounts, referencing the number of accounts that “follow” those who tweeted or re-tweeted the hashtag.”

WaPo/AFT Prez/Natl Tests: Why we need a moratorium on the high stakes of testing

Heritage: Union Leader — Put Stakes Associated with Common Core Tests on Hold

PA: Lawmakers hear case for Common Core school standards–Opponents to curriculum bombard reps with letters and emails,0,4871015.story

PA: Common Core — Differences get aired at the Capitol

MI: Debate on Common Core Held in Brighton

GA state senator: Educational Accountability Should Be Local, Not Federal

GA: Is Common Core all it’s cracked up to be?

Stanford’s James Milgram, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on common core math standards, arguing they leave students two grade levels behind their international counterparts in math by grade 8.”

MO: Common Core opponents form group to educate public

KS: Kansas Common Core critics voice concerns

KS: Kansas Common Core Critics To Voice Concerns

KS TV: Common Core Initiative Frustrates Parents And Educators

ID: Idaho group forms in opposition to state implementation of Common Core standards

ID: Motives behind Common Core Standards dubious

CA: CCSS — 21st century skills and shifts

“The new common core standards for English Language Arts differ from the previous way of instructing because they’re shifting toward new 21st century skills…teaching solely literature-based material is out…The new Common Core State Standards are moving away from traditional direct instruction models and expecting teachers to transition to more student-centered models. Instead of being the sage on the stage, teachers will become more of the guide on the side…”






Posted May 15, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Ask Utah Businesses to Stop Pushing Common Core and Prosperity 2020   6 comments

On August 9, 2012, two groups sent a mass mailer to all legislators in Utah.

The two groups are  Prosperity 2020,   a business group led by our Governor, and a politcal action group Education First, who say they are a business-led movement concered with accountability.   They do explain that their vision is to “champion educational investment,” but they never explain who is accountable to whom, and under what law they assume authority for such accountability.

Since when do business leaders take such an interest in elementary schools and secondary schools?  What are all the reasons for this going out of their way– just altruism?  What do they hope to gain?  Why are they promoting the awful, untested experiment of Common Core? What will be the intended or unintended consequences of having businesses influence what’s taught in our schools? 

They use the claim of “consensus” rather than persuading others that their group and its goals are based on a legitimate constitutional or voter-based foundation.

Has anyone noticed the extreme similarities between Prosperity 2020’s goals and Obama’s 2020 vision?  Has nobody noticed how many “2020” groups exist nationally and internationally? Why isn’t anyone questioning Prosperity 2020 in the local news?

Well, this is what last summer’s letter said.




August 9, 2012


Utah business leaders have organized a movement– Prosperity 2020– to advance educational investment and innovation.  We share a common vision with Education First, a citizens group dedicated to improved accountability, innovation and increased investment for education in Utah.  Our vision is that Utah’s educated and trained workforce will propel Utah to enduring prosperity

Prosperity and Education First comprise the largest business led education movement in state history.

During the 2012 legislative session, Prosperity 2020 championed Common Core implementation accompanied by robust student assessment…

Business leaders have found consensus support for Utah’s utilization of Common Core… We stand with… our state board of education in moving forward with Common Core….

Prosperity 2020 and Education First are prepared to again champion educational investment and innovation during the 2013 legislative session…


And on and on the letter goes.

I am concerned about the effect of public-private partnerships on true capitalism and individual representation.  It appears that Prosperity 2020 and Education First are concerned primarily about the economy, not about the well being of children or teachers.  Evidence for this lies in the fact that even the state school board admits there is no evidence to support the theories upon which the Common Core experiment is built– it’s based on unfounded “consensus” and money-hungry “trust.”

These groups represent businesses and a political action committee, linking arms with the governing powers of Utah’s education system– for financial gain.

It’s scary.

Do you know about public-private-partnerships?  Study it.

“What is a public-private partnership? What purposes were they supposedly created to serve? What, on the other hand, is free enterprise? Are the two compatible? In answering these questions we shall see that although advocates of public-private partnerships frequently speak of economic development, public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice being built…  -Dr. Steven Yates (Professor Yates’ white paper is available here. )

His main points are these:

  • Public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice
  • The individual person does not own himself; he exists to serve the state or the collective
  • Public-private partnerships bring about a form of “governance” alien to the founding principles of Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed
  • Vocationalism in education makes sense if one’s goals are social engineering, since it turns out worker bees who lack the  tools to think about the policies shaping their lives

By not questioning the motivations and the possibly unintended consequences of these public-private partnerships, we set ourselves up to lose even more local control and voter representation.

Let’s analyze Prosperity 2020 a little bit more.  Let’s not “consensus” our way to disaster.

News Roundup on Common Core   2 comments

Michelle Rhee: Reframe Common Core As a Global-Competitiveness Issue

WaPo: Eighth grader: What bothered me most about new Common Core test

UT: Federal interference in education

FL: Collier parents raise concerns over Common Core Standards

FL: Hillsborough School Board frets about new Common Core standards

GA state senator: Common Core sacrifices sovereignty

MO: Common Core meeting draws skeptical audience

Posted May 8, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

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Michelle Rhee v. Constitutional Rights   1 comment

John Merrow’s Investigation of Michelle Rhee.

I’m posting this link to Diane Ravitch’s blog.


Yesterday, a Utah State School Board Member told me that Michelle Rhee is telling legislators to “reframe the debate” about Common Core– so that instead of it being about local control and the VOICE of the GOVERNED, it’s about being more and more like CHINA.

The school board member seemed to think this was a good idea.

Insane, yes.

Dismissive of the constitutional rights of Americans, yes.

Revealing of the fact that Rhee and her group care only about making money off Common Core, yes.

As you read the post from Diane Ravitch’s blog on the subject of John Merrow’s investigation of Michelle Rhee, please notice that she mentions the RIGHT supporting common core. And we all know Obama supports common core.

This is not a left v. right or a Democrat v. Republican issue.

This is about saving America for every last one of us.

Please pay attention.

Common Core ends local control in MULTIPLE WAYS:

It’s in the financial monopoly over educational materials held by the marriage of Pearson and Gates and the copycat alignment of 99% of all textbooks nationwide.

It’s in the political takeover of unelected boards that do not answer to the voters, groups that have copyrighted the standards and have left no amendment process for states.

It’s in the common core tests, which are federally reviewed and micromanaged and from which student data is given to the federal portal called the Edfacts Exchange for anyone– even researchers and vendors– to peruse.

It’s in the academic standards themselves, which are educational malpractice— unproven, unpiloted, unvetted, and relying on nutty theories like slashing classic literature and delaying the time math algorithms,get taught— standards which were passionately rejected by key members of the core validation committee,  James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky.

It’s in the lack of any state cost analysis, with states throwing out perfectly good, actually vetted, curriculum, and bearing the burden of paying for all this implementation, teacher training, textbook purchasing, technology sales of Common Core aligned structures.

We must get out.


Dr. Stotsky Sets the Record Straight on English Language Arts 70/30% @ USOE   9 comments

Is it logical to say that writing and literature will be effectively taught by all subject teachers?  All teachers do not have adequate training in grammatical, literary and editing background teach writing and literature.  But our Utah State Office is claiming that this will be the case.  A letter, seen below, from Tiffany Hall of the Utah State Office of Education, will serve as evidence.
The USOE is telling legislators and parents that nothing is really being taken away by Common Core, but informational text is being added to English literature in all classes and across all subjects:
The study of literature is not limited or reduced by the Standards,” writes Tiffany Hall of USOE, “Rather, we are looking at a more comprehensive view of literacy that includes a focus on reading information text in all content areas—and not just reading, but reading and writing with purpose and understanding in every subject area.” 
Does that make sense?  Can you imagine P.E. teachers, math teachers, and woodworking teachers effectively sharing the burden of teaching reading and writing skills, including literature and informational texts?  This is how we cut down on remedial college work?
Before I post the USOE’s letter, here are two messages from Dr. Stotsky– a video, (above) and an explanation (below) from an email I received this week dealing with the misleading statements being put out by the Utah State Office of Education.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, as you recall, served on the official Common Core Validation Committee and refused to sign off on the validity of the standards because they were so academically weak.

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Sandra Stotsky

This needs to be explained over and over again.  The reading standards for ELA are divided into 10 informational standards and 9 literature standards.  That division goes from K to 12.   It affects high school English as well as middle school English.
It means that over 50% of the reading instruction must be devoted to informational reading and less than 50% to poetry, drama, and fiction.   The 30/70 division is from NAEP and is for the selection of reading passages on NAEP reading assessments.  It is specifically NOT for the English curriculum.
Just because David Coleman thinks that the NAEP chart is for the English curriculum doesn’t mean that it is.   He does want informational reading in other subjects.  But he refuses to clarify his stupid misunderstanding of the NAEP percentages.  He doesn’t know how to read tables and charts.
If Tiffany really thinks the 30/70 split means what she thinks it does, ask her how the English teacher can take care of 30% literary reading on a weekly basis (or daily basis) when she only teaches English 20- 25% of the school day or week.   Where is more literary reading to be done to get kids up to the 30% Tiffany thinks kids should be doing?  What other classes will literary reading be done in, if 30% of what kids read every day or every week must be literary and the English teacher is only 1 of 5 subject teachers?
–Dr. Sandra Stotsky
From USOE’s Tiffany Hall:
I appreciate your concern about the Utah Core Standards limiting the study of literature in English classes. I studied and have taught English literature, and if I felt that students were not going to be reading high-quality literature as a part of their K-12 education, I would be devastated.
The study of literature is not limited or reduced by the Standards. Rather, we are looking at a more comprehensive view of literacy that includes a focus on reading information text in all content areas—and not just reading, but reading and writing with purpose and understanding in every subject area. You are correct that we already have these informational  books; we are now focusing on using them more effectively, and in supplementing them with authentic reading from the appropriate content discipline.
The evidence of this can be found in the  Utah Core Standards , which you can read here:
I’d like to guide you to a few specific places for evidence relative to your concerns about literature and instruction in English Language Arts (ELA) and how the Utah Core Standards are focused on creating a culture of literacy in schools.
On page 3, the Standards state “The Standards insist that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language be a shared responsibility within the school. The K–5 standards include expectations for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language applicable to a range of subjects, including but not limited to ELA. The grades 6–12 standards are divided into two sections, one for ELA and the other for history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. This division reflects the unique, time-honored place of ELA teachers in developing students’ literacy skills while at the same time recognizing that teachers in other areas must have a role in this development as well.”
This section continues on page 4, where there is a table indicating the recommended distribution of literary and informational passages by grade. This table shows a 50-50% split between literary and informational text in grade 4; 45-55% in grade 8; and 30-70% in grade 12. However, this refers to reading over the entire school day, not in a student’s English Language Arts course alone.  The Standards strive to balance the “reading
of literature with the reading of informational texts, including texts in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects…” The level and quality of reading informational text in all subjects is a critical element of creating independent readers who can read and understand a wide variety of texts that are present in career and college settings.
So what do the Standards say about reading in English Language Arts courses? In addition to literature, they also include literary nonfiction. A good example of what these two categories mean can be found page 65, where literary fiction and literary nonfiction texts are sampled. These are not required texts; the choosing of texts remains a local decision. These are offered to illustrate the range of high-quality reading. For example, these are the sample texts listed for students in grades 11 and 12:Literary Fiction:
“Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats (1820)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1848)
“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson (1890)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)Literary Non-Fiction:
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776)
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)
“Society and Solitude” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1857)
“The Fallacy of Success” by G. K. Chesterton (1909)
Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945)
“Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell (1946)
“Take the Tortillas Out of Your Poetry” by Rudolfo Anaya (1995)

These selections have merit for their content and their writing. An ELA teacher has the opportunity to link themes and subjects across the full range of literary choices: novels, poems, dramatic works, essays, speeches, memoirs, etc. As an English teacher, I always tried to provide a variety of reading choices for students. Great literary works are how we understand other people, other times, and other cultures. Students need examples of many kinds of great writing.

In Appendix B, found here, the Standards provide a list of exemplary texts. (These are not required texts, but rather examples of appropriate reading selections.) Please look at the Table of Contents, beginning on page 5, for a listing of readings organized by grade level. You will notice informational readings are included in addition to stories and poetry. Informational reading is an important part of helping students answer questions and learn content in the elementary classroom. However, the topics and presentation are interesting and grade-appropriate. At the elementary level, all subjects are generally taught in the same classroom and by the same teacher, so a wider range of topics is included in these lists.

You’ll notice that by the grades 6-8, the  examples of Informational texts have been grouped by content area (ELA, History/Social Studies, and Science, Mathematics, and Technical Subjects); the ELA texts are literary nonfiction. And, you will probably also notice that the lists of fiction and poetry contain many of your favorites—there are certainly many of mine, including Chaucer, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Shakespeare.

I completely and fundamentally agree with your statement, beautifully written: “Great writing creates great writers. We learn how to write best from studying great literature. We learn about shared values. We learn the consequences of both good and bad choices without having to experiment personally. We learn about our rich culture and heritage when we study the works of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson and others.” And when I look at the suggested readings in the Standards, these readings are reflected. They are the study of English and Language Arts.

I am not sure from whence the claim that we are replacing literature with “tracts from the EPA” or “dry technical writing” stems. As you have seen in the Standards, the writing is high-quality, appropriate, and interesting.

The Standards outline reading in all the content areas, including writing created by and for scientists, historians, engineers…every field has writing and communication that is important to the work that field supports. While I might not pick up a computer programming manual to read for fun, I know that there are many people who would, and I’m grateful that we are all different in our interests and reading. I am also glad that teachers in all the content areas will choose appropriate informational texts for their students to read and develop content knowledge and communication fluency. As a concerted effort, as a collaborative school, students will have the opportunity to read and learn what they will need to know in our society.

And I will always believe that includes Macbeth and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thank you for your concern. I hope that examining the evidence—the actual Standards document—has assured you that students in Utah are reading high-quality literature in their ELA classrooms—and reading high-quality writing in all the content areas.

Tiffany Hall, MA, M.Ed.
K-12 Literacy Coordinator
Teaching and Learning
Utah State Office of Education
Please note: Utah has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state employees regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your email communication may be subject to public disclosure.

Missouri Congressman Luetkemeyer to Sec. Duncan: “We Formally Request A Detailed Description of Each Change to Student Privacy Policy”   3 comments

This letter from Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri condemns the coercive nature of Common Core and formally requests a detailed description of alterations to student privacy policy made under Sec. Duncan’s leadership.

Click link here to see which congressmen have cosigned.  (THANK YOU CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ!)


April 20, 2013

The Honorable Arne Duncan Secretary U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Secretary Duncan,

As you know, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) allows Congress to authorize and allocate funding for public K-12 education and, most importantly, is the primary vehicle in which we implement education policy reform. Most recently reauthorized through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the ESEA’s authorization expired on September 30, 2008, and has yet to be reauthorized. Since the ESEA’s expiration, the Department of Education (Department) has moved forward with education policy reform without Congressional input. Such action is, at best, in contravention with precedent.

In addition to expressing our concern with the Department’s circumvention of Congress to reform education policy, we are writing you to express our concerns with the implementation of Common Core standards and changes to federal data collection and disbursement policies.

In 2009, forty-six governors signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Governor’s Association committing their states to the development and adoption of new education standards within three years. As we understand it, states then had the option of adopting Common Core standards or creating their own equivalent standards. At the time, Common Core standards were simply an idea where states would collaborate to create uniformed education standards. Details about Common Core were not only unknown to the states, they did not exist. From there, your department offered Race To The Top (RTTT) grants and NCLB waivers to states under the condition that each state would implement “college and career ready” standards. At the time, the only “college and career ready” standards with the Department’s approval were Common Core.

In addition to serious concerns we have regarding the Department’s aforementioned coercion of states to opt-in to Common Core standards, many of which were and continue to have serious budgetary issues and specific issues with existing education policies, we have become increasingly concerned over the development of the Common Core standards themselves. Though initially promoted as state-based education standards, Common Core standards, as they have been developed over the last few years, are nothing of the sort. In just one very troubling instance, Common Core standards will replace state-based standardized testing with nationally-based standardized testing, the creation and initial implementation of which will be funded in full by the federal government. The long-term, annual administering of the exams, the cost of which has not been specified by the Department, is to be funded by the states.

As representatives from states across the nation, we understand the diverse cultures and state-specific education needs that exist in America. We believe that state-driven education policy is vital to the success of our children and that Members of Congress can best demonstrate the specific needs of their constituents. As with most one-size-fits-all policies, Common Core standards fail to address these needs.

As you know, because states opted-in to Common Core standards, there is little Congress can do to provide any relief from these burdensome and misguided standards. Instead, the ability to opt-out of these standards lies with the state. With that in mind, we will be working with our respective state legislatures and governors to provide relief to our education systems. In the meantime, we urge you to work with Members of Congress to reauthorize the ESEA in a manner that allows state-specific education needs to be addressed.

Separate from reauthorization, we are extremely concerned over recent changes your department has made to the manner in which the federal government collects and distributes student data.

As you know, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was signed into law in 1974, guaranteeing parental access to student education records and limiting their disclosure to third parties. FERPA was intended to address parents’ growing privacy concerns and grant parental access to the information schools use to make decisions that impact their children.

Once again circumventing Congress, in 2011 your agency took regulatory action to alter definitions within FERPA. With the technological advances that have occurred in recent years, changes to FERPA deserve the full scrutiny of the legislative process more so than ever before.

In addition, we understand that as a condition of applying for RTTT grant funding, states obligated themselves to implement a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) used to track students by obtaining personally identifiable information.

Regarding these two very concerning changes to the manner in which government collects and distributes student data, we formally request a detailed description of each change to student privacy policy that has been made under your leadership, including the need and intended purpose for such changes. We also request that you submit to us the authority under which the Department has implemented Common Core, FERPA and SLDS.

It is our sincere hope that the Department works with the Legislative Branch to implement any changes to education standards and student privacy policy. We look forward to your response and welcome the opportunity to address these issues in the future.


_ Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03)

USOE Still Dodging Honest Debate, USOE Asking Teachers for Stories About Common Core Agenda   6 comments

The Utah State Office of Education  sent out this email to state curriculum directors yesterday, labeling calls by teachers, senators and parents who ask for honest debate on the many constitutional, academic and privacy-related issues of the Common Core agenda, “vicious” attacks.  The recipients of the email have been removed to protect privacy.  The links have been added to clarify the email.


Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 3:55 PM
Subject: [Curriculum Directors] Your action is needed

As you are probably aware the Utah Core based on the Common Core is under vicious attack. Opponents of the core cite reasons against the core ranging from fears about data collection to federal government intrusion. They have specifically begun attacking the mathematics core, in some cases because it “holds students back” and in others because “students who were formerly receiving good grades are now struggling”. These complaints have caught the attention of the legislature and some members of the Utah Board of Education.

At the same time, everywhere I go I am hearing stories of student successes that far exceed previous expectations. I am visiting with teachers who tell me about engaged students who are doing real mathematics, not just copying problems out of textbooks. And teachers are empowered by creating units of study for students that go beyond anything their textbooks ever provided. Wonderful things are happening in Utah!

The time is now to contact policymakers and reassure them that the adoption of the Core was the right thing to do and give them specific evidence of how the integrated model is supporting student learning of mathematics. It’s ok to recognize challenges, but it is critical that policymakers understand that the Core has already had a positive impact on student learning and is likely to result in changes that really will close achievement gaps in the future. I cannot stress enough how important it is that policymakers hear directly from teachers regarding what is happening in their classrooms. The teachers do not need to advocate for the core, just give evidence of the results.

Please invite teachers to send their stories to their own legislators and State Board of Education members. Also, letters to Aaron Osmond and Todd Weiler may have extra pull because of their roles in the Utah Senate. Copies sent to USOE, either to me or to Brenda Hales are also appreciated. The legislators and other policymakers need real information. If we do not voice our thoughts now, we may not have another chance.

Diana Suddreth, STEM Coordinator

Secondary Mathematics

Teaching and Learning

Utah State Office of Education

250 E. 500 South

PO Box 144200

Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200




So, the USOE is inviting teachers to speak out.  I thought that was what I was doing.
Please invite teachers to send their stories to their own legislators and State Board of Education members.”

Now, I invite teachers to truly do this.  Send your stories anonymously if you fear career repercussions for telling the State you don’t like to be micromanaged.  Tell them the truth:  that whatever’s okay about Common Core, we are free to do without the federal mandates.  Whatever’s bad, we should be able to amend.  The Constitutional right to self-direct education by states has been violated.  SPEAK UP NOW or lose your chance, maybe forever.

Send letters and stories to legislators, the school board (at ), newspapers, and send a copy here, in the comment area.  I will repost as a guest post.

 Also, remember to take the optionally anonymous teacher survey at Utahns Against Common Core.

Cato Institute on Indiana’s “Time Out” Law Against Common Core   Leave a comment

Neal McClusky of Cato Institute has written an Op-Ed for the IndyStar. Read the whole thing here:


“Indiana has just shot into the spotlight of the education world, with the legislature voting over the weekend to hit the pause button on the Common Core national curriculum standards. But this action is just the loudest strike in a growing backlash against the Core, a revolt set off by the arrival of the federally backed standards in schools across the country. And people are right to be wary, especially since Core supporters have too often ridiculed dissenters instead of engaging in honest debate.
While 45 states have adopted the Common Core, don’t mistake that for enthusiastic, nationwide support. States were essentially coerced into adopting by the President’s Race to the Top program, which tied federal dough to signing on. Even if policymakers in recession-hobbled states would have preferred open debate, there was no time. Blink, and the money would be gone. Which isn’t to say there wasn’t opposition — there certainly was among policy wonks — but most people hadn’t heard of the standards at adoption time, and their effects wouldn’t be felt for several years.

…Indiana is arguably the highest-profile rebel, with its new legislation set to halt implementation of the core so Hoosiers can, at the very least, learn about what they’re getting into. Nationally, the Republican National Committee has officially condemned the standards, while several states are in the process of potentially withdrawing from the core. Finally, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has requested that a Senate subcommittee handling education end federal meddling in standards and assessment.

…Rather than address worries and evidence that the Common Core is empirically ungrounded, moves the country closer to a federal education monopoly and treats unique children like identical cogs, supporters have often smeared opponents and dodged constructive debate.

… Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, complained that the move “will bestow a degree of legitimacy upon the anti-standards coalition.” –As if the people who have been decrying the absence of research support for national standards, potential flaws in its content, or other logic and evidence-based concerns have all somehow been illegitimate.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — a leading Common Core spokesperson — elected to dismiss the RNC as ignorant for resisting the Core. “I don’t really care if the RNC, based on no information, is going to oppose this because of some emotional pitch,” he said. This despite the RNC resolution offering several valid reasons for opposing the Core, including the indisputable fact of federal coercion.

To be sure, there are some specious arguments being made against the Common Core, such as the claim that it requires schools to ditch Emerson in favor of reading EPA regulations. Such assertions should be refuted by people on both sides. But those are hardly the only concerns of Core opponents, and many standards supporters are guilty of no lesser deception when they insist, for instance, that the Common Core is “state-led” and “voluntary.”

…As Common Core continues to be implemented, the chorus of opposition is likely to grow, and it is critical that supporters and opponents alike keep sight of their truly common goal: improving American education. Dodging honest discussion is no way to get there.

McCluskey is associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and author of the report

School Board Member Speaks Out: Common Core = Complete Lack of Choice   9 comments

Guest post by Wendy Hart

One of the things that has been irritating and frustrating me is the comprehension that the end game of all of this is a complete lack of choice when it comes to education. It will only take a few years, because we have jumped on this bandwagon so quickly.

I think, if you get a chance, it is important to note that if Utah had adopted standards in isolation, there wouldn’t be the level of concern. (Of course, that was one of the “selling points”… commonality.) What the State Board says about “being able to change them” is technically true. They could drop Common Core standards at any time.
However, in 5 years, due to market forces, there will be nothing left to go to. Who will develop those standards, and what textbooks and professional development resources will we have? Nada!

When your ACT and SAT match Common Core, when all your textbooks and teaching materials are Common Core aligned, where is the market for anything “outside the box”? It was a brilliant move: 45 states signing on all at the same time. It will make the work of the other 5 irrelevant.

We MUST opt out and get a large group of the other states to opt out PRIOR to the SAT/ACT realignment. Once that’s done, it will be almost impossible to go back. Who or what, at that point, will have the power and desire to change it?

In the end, if I DON’T want my kids “aligned” with Common Core, what are my options? For the short term, I can do private school. But within 4 years, my prediction, just when my oldest is ready for college, the SAT/ACT tests will align, and if I haven’t been “on board”, he will be at a disadvantage. It just makes me ill.


Thank you, Wendy Hart, for this insightful, important statement.

BYU Math Professor David Wright on Common Core Math   12 comments

This letter (posted at Utahns Against Common Core) is written by a BYU professor to help Utah legislators know the facts about Common Core math. Other important letters on this subject from other math experts to the State Office oF Education are posted here.

Dear Senators Osmond and Weiler,

I see that Diana Suddreth sent a “Your Action is Needed” email to defend the Utah Math Common Core. She is encouraging letters of support for the Utah Common Core and is concerned that the Common Core is under a “vicious attack.” She is inviting her supporters to send letters to both of you.

As a mathematics professor and someone who is very aware of the details of the Common Core, I would like to comment on what I feel is the awful way the Common Core Math Standards have been implemented by the USOE.

1. The Core was implemented before there were textbooks. In fact, some of those who favor the Utah Core do not even feel that textbooks are important. When I hear Suddreth say, ”And teachers are empowered by creating units of study for students that go beyond anything their textbooks ever provided” I know something is seriously wrong.

2. The Core was implemented before there were assessments in place.

3. The standards do not dictate any particular teaching method, but rather set goals for student understanding. However, the USOE has used the implementation of the new Core to push a particular teaching method; i.e., the “Investigations” type teaching that was so controversial in Alpine School District.

4. Evidence of the type of teaching promoted by USOE comes from the textbook used for the secondary academy, 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions (Margaret S. Smith and Mary Kay Stein) as one of the primary resources. The book is about the kind of group learning envisioned by Investigations and Connected Math (the sequel to Investigations).

5. The Mathematics Vision Project was created in partnership with the USOE. It has developed integrated secondary math material for the Utah Core. They openly admit that their “teaching cycle” is similar to the model of the Connected Mathematics Project. Here is a statement about their teaching method:

As students’ ideas emerge, take form, and are shared, the teacher orchestrates the student discussions and explorations towards a focused mathematical goal. As conjectures are made and explored, they evolve into mathematical concepts that the community of learners begins to embrace as effective strategies for analyzing and solving problems. These strategies eventually solidify into a body of practices that belong to the students because they were developed by the students as an outcome of their own creative and logical thinking. This is how students learn mathematics. They learn by doing mathematics. They learn by needing mathematics. They learn by verbalizing the way they see the mathematical ideas connect and by listening to how their peers perceived the problem. Students then own the mathematics because it is a collective body of knowledge that they have developed over time through guided exploration. This process describes the Learning Cycle and it informs how teaching should be conducted within the classroom.

6. The USOE does hold students back. This is not the intent of the Common Core, but it is Utah’s implementation. I regularly judge the state Sterling Scholar competition. Almost all of the bright kids take AP calculus as a junior or even earlier because they were taking Algebra 1 by seventh grade. Now it will be difficult to get that far ahead. The National Math Panel made it clear that there was no problem with skipping prepared kids ahead. The Common Core has a way for getting eighth graders into Algebra 1 which the USOE has ignored.

7. The USOE chose the “uncommon” core when they picked secondary integrated math. Hardly anyone else is doing this program. So there are no integrated textbooks except the one that the USOE is developing. I have been told that this is the “Asian” model, but I am very familiar with the textbooks in Hong Kong and Singapore. The Mathematics Vision Project Material does not look like Asian material, it looks like Investigations/Connected Math.

8. There is substantial information that Diana Suddreth, Syd Dickson, Brenda Hales, and Michael Rigby of the USOE participated in unethical behavior in the awarding of the Math Materials Improvement Grant. The USOE chose reviewers (including Suddreth and Dickson) who were conflicted. Suddreth helped the University of Utah choose a principal investigator who was her own co-principal investigator on a $125 K grant . According to the USOE internal email messages, the required sample lesson of the winning proposal contained “plagiarized material.” The sample lesson had “no text” instead it contained 79 pages of “sample materials” (some of which was plagiarized) for a teacher study guide including problems for discussion and homework. The adaptive performance assessment program for the winning proposal was non-existent. The principal investigators redefined “adaptive assessment” to be something that was never intended.


David G. Wright

I am a Professor of Math at BYU, but this letter is written as an educator, parent, and concerned citizen and does not represent an official opinion from BYU.

Brigham Young University has a policy of academic freedom that supports the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and ideas. The university does not endorse assertions made by individual faculty.

— — — — —

Thank you, Dr. Wright, for your courage in speaking out.

The USOE’s Diana Suddreth has called the movement to stop common core a “vicious attack.”  The State School Board’s Dixie Allen has said that we (teachers and parents against common core) are “creating turmoil in our state.”

In our defense:  1) we do not wish to disparage personally the USOE or the USSB or Governor Herbert’s staff, despite their endless claims, in the face of truckloads of evidence to the contrary, that Common Core is a benefit to Utahns.  We do have much against the fact that as a state, we’ve sold out our kids to common core– to its slashing of local control, slashing teacher autonomy,  slashing the right to amend our own education standards, deleting legitimate and proven academic standards, and ending student privacy.

I would appreciate not being called names, such as special interests, turmoil-makers or vicious attackers –since we have made no personal attacks, and are not making but are losing our personal money in this fight for true principles, our rightful duty to defend;  and since we’re  the ones trying to clean up the turmoil our leaders created by signing away local rights, privacy and standards, without letting us know it.

Personal pride, personal investment in the common core agenda, personal career investment related to the common core agenda, and social loyalties are not more important than LEGITIMATE education standards, student PRIVACY rights, PARENTAL consent requirements for state systems in testing students and in collecting student data, and most of all, they are not more important than constitutional, LOCAL control.

Common Core must be stopped.

Thank you, Senator Mike Lee   2 comments

Senator Mike Lee of Utah joined other senators — Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Inhofe  (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Jeff  Sessions (R-Ala.) in signing Iowa Senator Grassely’s letter that points out that the Dept. of Education must be restrained from funding and promoting nationalized standards and must not be allowed to continue the illegal implementation of Common Core with federal tax monies.

The letter said:  “”While the Common Core State Standards Initiative was initially billed as a  voluntary effort between states, federal incentives have clouded the picture.  Current federal law makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education may not be  involved in setting specific content standards or determining the content of  state assessments. Nevertheless, the selection criteria designed by the U.S.  Department of Education for the Race to the Top Program provided that for a  state to have any chance to compete for funding, it must commit to adopting a  ‘common set of K-12 standards’ matching the description of the Common Core. The  U.S. Department of Education also made adoption of ‘college- and career-ready  standards’ meeting the description of the Common Core a condition to receive a  state waiver under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Race to the Top  funds were also used to fund two consortiums to develop assessments aligned to  the Common Core and the Department is now in the process of evaluating these  assessments.”

Read more at  and

Utah’s D.C. Senator, Mike Lee, also wrote yesterday at his official website:

Common Core Polluted by Federal Guidelines and Mandates

“The first principle of education, and therefore of education policymaking, is that parents are the primary educators of their children. And because responsibility for children’s education lies primarily with parents, to the greatest extent possible so should decision-making authority over Pre-K to secondary education. The further such decisions are removed from the parents and guardians of children, the further they are removed from those who will promote the best interests of students. Therefore federal influence over pre-K, elementary, and secondary education should be limited. Neither members of Congress nor Department of Education bureaucrats can be expected to promote the interests of individual students – with unique talents, interests, and learning styles – more than those students’ own parents, teachers or principals.

While the Common Core Standard Initiative was initially promoted as an effort to move in this direction, it has become polluted with Federal guidelines and mandates that interfere with the ability of parents, teachers and principals to deliver the education our children deserve.”  Read More Here


Thank you, Senators Lee, Grassley, Coburn, Cruz, Fischer, Inhofe, Paul, Roberts, and Sessions.

As a teacher, as a parent, and as a believer in the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution, I can not thank you enough.

U.S. Coalition For World Class Math Co-Founder Explains Common Core Math in 3-Part Series   Leave a comment

The links to all three parts of Barry Garelick’s article on “Standards For Mathematical Practice” are available here:

A favorite highlight of the series includes the explanation of why students should be taught how to solve problems, and not just how to find internet resources to solve problems or invent their way to solutions.

Um, yes!

Utah State Office of Education at Uintah School District: On Common Core Testing   4 comments

Guest post by a parent who requested that his/her report would be anonymously published

I attended the meeting held by Uintah School District last week.

The meeting appeared to be a training on the new assessments for Common Core that will cost $30 million. The guy turned his back on the room and spoke quietly when he said ‘$30 mil’, so I’m not sure I heard him correctly. He was more than happy to face the room and speak loudly about how great these assessments will be and how very much we need them–in his opinion. (Note-his job is dependent on him holding to that opinion.)

A little more than halfway through the meeting, he finally allowed questions. He would NOT allow questions before that. When question time came, it was very clear that the majority of the people in the room were unhappy parents, not educators there for his training. With a great deal of pressure from parents, it was decided that some common core questions would be answered by Dixie Allen of the state school board.

All individuals interested in common core questions being answered were invited to get up and move to a smaller room to talk with Dixie. By the time everyone had gathered in the smaller room, common core was on a screen at the front of the room and Dixie was prepared to give a presentation. Parents tried to ask questions and Dixie tried to give a presentation.

When it became clear that Dixie’s intent was to deliver a Common Core ‘sale’, one parent specifically requested that questions be answered first and the presentation be given second because people were obviously wanting their questions answered now. Dixie said no, but eventually had to give in because the questions wouldn’t quit coming. We didn’t have to watch or listen to a big presentation from Dixie, but we did have to listen to her state several times that common core standards are higher (to which one parent consistently replied ‘no, they’re not’ every time). She also told the parent in the room who knew the most about Common Core that she (Dixie) didn’t want that mom asking anymore questions because the mom gave comments, informing other parents of the details so Dixie could not shut them down completely. Obviously, Dixie is frightened of the truth getting out.

Dixie also denied being the homeschool teacher for 2 of her grandchildren in her home. (I think the count was 2.) She later backtracked on that one and admitted that she teaches one grandchild who is in 9th grade right now and homeschooled because of bullying. (A difficult to fully believe claim because the junior high principal here is quite strict and everyone else says this principal put an end to bullying in that school when she was first put in as principal, long enough ago that bullying in that school would have ended by the time Dixie’s grandchild would have entered the jr. high.)

Dixie also repeatedly stated that Utah must do Common Core because otherwise we cannot buy curriculum to match our core because we don’t spend enough money on education and therefore the curricula vendors don’t cater to us. No one in the room agreed with her on needing more money, but she made this claim repeatedly. Then when the question “How much will these new curricula materials to match common core cost us?” was asked, the answer was “Nothing, we’re making our own.”

None of the parents in the room said anything, but note that the argument that we need to do common core so we can buy materials to match our core falls when you consider that we’re not buying the materials!
In short, no one in the meeting was convinced that common core was a good idea. Parents talked afterwards, exchanging their contact info and more information on common core. One parent had watched a program on the miserable failure of common core in Michigan and was there with her notes in hand, asking questions and providing details of how bad things are in Michigan. Dixie tried very hard, but unsuccessfully, to refute the points this good mom made throughout the meeting. Another mom mentioned that history has proven how very dangerous a national curriculum can be, but many people in the room are unaware of that and just thought she’s a little paranoid.

I left the meeting thinking that Dixie is either completely ignorant of the facts surrounding common core or she is an outright liar. I spoke with some people who know her personally the next day and they told me that she just truly believes in big government, so she wouldn’t even be able to see the facts. It was interesting to watch her at the meeting. Dixie is an elected representative of the people, but you couldn’t tell. Elected representatives should listen to the people, treat them respectfully, and do as the people want. Dixie did none of that. As an elected representative of the people, she ARGUED with them and spoke condescendingly when they didn’t understand education lingo. It was very sad.
Dixie did state that Utah might not adopt the science part of common core because of pressure from the ‘right wing’ in the state. She also said that Utah might try to vary from common core by more than the 15% allowed, but there will be no attempt to get out of common core.
Sadly, the powers that be cannot admit they’ve made a mistake and are completely disrespectful to the people who gave them power and pay the taxes that support them and their decisions.

– Anonymous attendee at UT State Office of Education Common Core presentation to Uintah School District

Professor Tienken, Ze’ev Wurman, Barry Garelick Take on Utah State Office of Education: On Common Core Math   3 comments

First, I received yet another “makes-no-sense” common core math explanation from the Utah State Office of Education, via Ms. Diana Suddreth.

Next, I asked nationally recognized experts to help me digest Suddreth’s words.  This included curricular expert Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University, New Jersey, former Dept of Ed advisor and Hoover Institute (Stanford University visiting scholar) Ze’ev Wurman of California; and U.S. Coalition for World Class Math founder Barry Garelick.

This is what they wrote.  (Ms. Suddreth’s writing is also posted below.)

From Dr. Christopher H. Tienken:


The UTAH bureaucrat is referencing this book – see below. Look at chpts 7 and 11 for where I think she is gathering support.

Her answer still does not make curricular sense in that she explains that fluency with moving between fractions and decimals is assumed in some ways. With all due respect, the curriculum document is a legally binding agreement of what will be taught. Teachers are bound by law to follow it (of course many don’t but that is going to change with this new testing system). Therefore, if it is not explicitly in the document, it might not get taught.

There are a lot of assumptions made in the Core. Just look at the Kindergarten math sequence. It assumes a lot of prior knowledge on the part of kids. That might be fine for some towns, but certainly not for others.

Perhaps the bureaucrat can point to specific standards that call for students to demonstrate fluency in converting fractions to decimals etc.

However, I think the bigger issue is that parents now don’t have a say in terms of whether and how much emphasis is placed on those skills. Local control is one mechanism for parents to lobby for emphasis of content. Not all content is equally important to each community. The negotiation of “emphasis” is a local issue, but that has now been decided for parents by a distal force.

Christopher H. Tienken, Ed.D.

Editor, AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice

Editor, Kappa Delta Pi Record

Seton Hall University

College of Education and Human Services

Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy

South Orange, NJ

Visit me @:




Dear Members of the Board,

Ms. Swasey forwarded to me an email that you have received recently, discussing how Utah Core supposedly handles the conversion between fraction forms. I would like to pass you my comments on that email.

First, let me briefly introduce myself. I am a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. I was a member of the California Academic Content Standards Commission in 2010, which reviewed the Common Core standards before their adoption by the state of California. Prior to that I served as a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Education.

Response to Diana Suddreth’s note, passed to Utah’s Board of Education on April 23, regarding the question of conversion among fractional forms
(Original in italics)

The question that was originally asked was about converting fractions to decimals; therefore, the response pointed to the specific standard where that skill is to be mastered. A close reading of the Utah Core will reveal that the development of a conceptual understanding of fractions that leads to procedural skills begins in grade 3 and is developed through 7th grade. The new core does not list every specific procedure that students will engage in; however, explaining equivalence of fractions (3rd & 4th grade), ordering fractions (4th grade), understanding decimal notation for fractions (4th grade), and performing operations with fractions (4th, 5th, and 6th grade) all suggest and even require certain procedures to support understanding and problem solving.
Unfortunately, Ms. Suddreth does not address above the question at hand—whether, or how, does the Utah Core expect students to develop fluency and understanding with conversion among fractional representations of fractions, decimals and percent—and instead offers general description of how Utah Core treats fractions. This is fine as it goes, but it does not add anything to the discussion.

In 5th grade, fractions are understood as division problems where the numerator is divided by the denominator. (In fact, the new core does a better job of this than the old where fractions were more often treated as parts of a whole, without also relating them to division.)

The above is incorrect. In grade 5, as in previous grades, the Common Core (or Utah Core, if you will) frequently treats fractions as “parts of the whole.” There is no other way to interpret grade 5 standards such as “Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole … e.g., by using visual fraction models …” (5.NF.2) or “Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts;” (5.NF.4a). All this, however, has little to do with the question at hand.

As for percents, students learn that percent is a rate per 100 (a fraction), a concept that is fully developed with a focus on problem solving in 5th and 6th grade.

Yet again Ms. Suddreth is clearly wrong. Percent are not even introduced by the Common (Utah) Core before grade 6.

The new core promotes a strong development of the understanding of fractions as rational numbers, including representations in decimal, fraction, or percent form. Mathematics is far too rich a field to be reduced to a series of procedures without looking at the underlying connections and various representations. There is nothing in the new core to suggest that students will not develop the kinds of procedural skills that support this depth of understanding.

Here, like in her first paragraph, Ms. Suddereth, avoids responding to the question and hopes that writing about unrelated issues will cover this void. The argument was never that the Common Core does not develop understanding of fractions as rational numbers, as decimals, and as percents. The argument was that such understanding is developed in isolation for each form, and that fluent conversion between forms is barely developed in a single standard that touches only peripherally on the conversion and does it at much later (grade 7) than it ought to. Fluency with conversion among fractional representations was identified as a key skill by the National Research Council, the NCTM, and the presidential National Math Advisory Panel. It is not some marginal aspect of elementary mathematics that should be “inferred” and “understood” from other standards. The Common Core is already full of painstakingly detailed standards dealing with fractions and arguing that such cardinal area as fluency with conversion (“perhaps the deepest translation problem in pre-K to grade 8 mathematics” in NRC’s opinion) should not be addressed explicitly is disingenuous.

The new core is, in fact, supported by the Curriculum Focal Points from NCTM, which do not conflict with anything in the new core, but rather provide detailed illustrations of how a teacher might focus on the development of mathematics with their students. The new core is based on the research in Adding It Up. Some of the researchers on that project were also involved in the development of the Common Core, which forms the basis for the Utah Core.

Curriculum Focal Points explicitly requires fluency with conversion between fractional forms by grade 7, which is absent in the Common Core. It also, for example, expects fluency with dividing integers and with addition and subtraction of decimals by grade 5, which the Common Core expects only by grade 6. One wonders what else it would take to make Ms. Suddreth label them as in conflict. One also wonders how much is the Common Core really “based on the research in Adding It Up” if it essentially forgot even to address what Adding It Up considers “perhaps the deepest translation problem in pre-K to grade 8 mathematics”—the conversion among fractions, decimals, and percent.

In summary, Ms. Suddereth’s note passed to you by Ms. Pyfer contains both misleading and incorrect claims and is bound to confuse rather than illuminate.

Ze’ev Wurman
Palo Alto, Calif.


From Barry Garelick of the U.S. Coalition for World Class Math:
Feel free to send them links to my article (which is a three part article).  There’s a very good comment that someone left [on part one] which once they read might make them realize they better tread a bit more carefully.



From: Tami Pyfer <>

Date: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Subject: Follow-up on Question about math standard

To: Board of Education <>, “Hales, Brenda (” <>

Cc: “Christel S (” <>, “Diana Suddreth (” <>

Dear Board members-

The note below from Diana Suddreth is additional information that I hope will be helpful for you in understanding the questions you may have gotten regarding the claim that the new math core doesn’t require students to know how to convert fractions to decimals, or addresses the skill inadequately. Diana has just returned from a math conference and I appreciate her expertise in this area and the additional clarification.

Please feel free to share this with others who may be contacting you with questions.

Hope this helps!


The question that was originally asked was about converting fractions to decimals; therefore, the response pointed to the specific standard where that skill is to be mastered. A close reading of the Utah Core will reveal that the development of a conceptual understanding of fractions that leads to procedural skills begins in grade 3 and is developed through 7th grade. The new core does not list every specific procedure that students will engage in; however, explaining equivalence of fractions (3rd & 4th grade), ordering fractions (4th grade), understanding decimal notation for fractions (4th grade), and performing operations with fractions (4th, 5th, and 6th grade) all suggest and even require certain procedures to support understanding and problem solving. In 5th grade, fractions are understood as division problems where the numerator is divided by the denominator. (In fact, the new core does a better job of this than the old where fractions were more often treated as parts of a whole, without also relating them to division.) As for percents, students learn that percent is a rate per 100 (a fraction), a concept that is fully developed with a focus on problem solving in 5th and 6th grade.

The new core promotes a strong development of the understanding of fractions as rational numbers, including representations in decimal, fraction, or percent form. Mathematics is far too rich a field to be reduced to a series of procedures without looking at the underlying connections and various representations. There is nothing in the new core to suggest that students will not develop the kinds of procedural skills that support this depth of understanding.

The new core is, in fact, supported by the Curriculum Focal Points from NCTM, which do not conflict with anything in the new core, but rather provide detailed illustrations of how a teacher might focus on the development of mathematics with their students. The new core is based on the research in Adding It Up. Some of the researchers on that project were also involved in the development of the Common Core, which forms the basis for the Utah Core.

Diana Suddreth, STEM Coordinator

Utah State Office of Education

Salt Lake City, UT



From: Christel S []

Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:42 PM

Subject: Follow-up on Question about math standard

My math and curriculum friends, I don’t know how to argue with these people. Can you assist? Here we have countless parents hating the common core math, and reviewers telling us it puts us light years behind legitimate college readiness, but the USOE continues the charade.

Please help– point me to facts and documentation that will make sense to the average person. Thank you.

Wyoming Teacher: “Should We Turn a Blind Eye and Be Led Like Sheep Off a Cliff?”   6 comments

Truth in American Education posted a powerful article from a Wyoming teacher that I hope many people read.

It’s so ironic.  In this article, the teacher says that an administrator told the teachers “not to use school resources to push political agendas.” Yet the entire Common Core Initiative is a political agenda!  Look at who leads it:  Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah, Bill Gates, Sir Michael Barber and other extremists who have no respect for local control, the state-directed provisions of the U.S. Constitution or the forbidding by G.E.P.A. law for the federal government to direct state educational systems.

Here’s that quote:

“…My administrator said that there would be no more emailing, or talking about the common core amongst the staff. There was a finality to his tone and the meeting was quickly over at that point. I then received an email from my administrator reminding me of our district policy of not using school resources to push political concerns or agendas. He also stated that there was to be no more discussion about common core unless it was on an “educational” basis between staff members.

Ironically, I had several teachers contact me outside of school that same day, to say they were shocked at my administrator’s tone. They feel I was being genuine in sharing information that was previously unknown and could potentially affect educators. Several staff member have also approached me saying that they are grateful for this information and are now researching it on their own.

The question being asked in my school now is…Why can’t educators do what they do best? Research, question, inform?? Isn’t it better to question and discuss things, even if we don’t agree on them as to find what is best for the children we have been entrusted with? Should we turn a blind eye, and be lead like sheep off the cliff?”

Read the rest:

Grassroots All Over USA Joining to Assist in Calling For Indiana’s State Bill 1427   1 comment

Have you called your favorite Indiana legislator yet today? 

 317- 232-9600. 317-232-4567. 317-232-9677

Yes, I know we may not be from Indiana.  But what happens elsewhere, affects our local freedom. 

See what one Ohio resident wrote:

“I am from Ohio. My kids are grown, but I am active in opposing Common Core. God bless you in your fight to stall Common Core in Indiana.

This morning, I sent an e-mail to Indiana Speaker, Brian Bosma. The text was as follows:

“SB1427 must be called down for a vote!

The parents and residents in Indiana are fighting for time and the Indiana House of Representatives must allow this important bill to come to a full vote! You must hear the will of the people and parents of Indiana and you must call SB1427 for a vote!

SB1427 addresses Common Core Curriculum! The education of the children is too important to pass through any state without intelligent discussion and the involvement of the parents and residents.

I do not live in Indiana, but as a resident of Ohio, I am watching what happens in states across America. Common Core is just becoming known and there is growing and fierce opposition nation wide! I believe there is great cause for concern. Common Core has, quite frankly, been foisted upon the entire nation in secret. Please allow Indiana to be a stand-out state who upholds representative government!

Please bring SB1427 to the floor for a vote in the great state of Indiana!

God bless,
Kathy L Johnson
Ohio resident”

Call the Indiana Governor at (317)232-4567. Call the Indiana House 317-232-9600 . (Ask to speak to whoever you want, or to Speaker Brian Bosma.) Another number for Bosma: 317-232-9677

The Nonsensical and ‘Lovey-Dovey’ National Governors’ Association   4 comments

Dear Christine Kearl,

It seems in the Governor’s best interest and in the best interest of Utahns for him to drop out of the National Governor’s Association (NGA).

This nonprofit, unelected group creates the illusion that Governors have a legitimate federal presence on a national stage, when Constitutionally, they do not. Our elected D.C. representatives are to govern national issues. Governors are to govern inside of states.

Texas Governor Perry does not feel that NGA membership is a smart use of taxpayer funds; Maine’s Governor LePage said,

“I get no value out of those meetings. They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey and no decisions are ever made.”

Please share this Heartland Institute article on the subject with the Governor as I can’t find a direct email address for him.

Utah’s Governor’s NGA membership is particularly problematic because the NGA/CCSSO 1) uses taxpayer dollars to pay Governors’ dues, 2) writes national educational standards behind closed doors, 3) allows no amendment process for those illegitimate national education standards, 4) allows for no voter representation, since the whole NGA governance setup is an unwanted step-sister to the American system of actual representation by proper channels; and 5) NGA is a federal contractor.

Please, let’s get out of this entangling alliance.

Christel Swasey

Heber, Utah

U.S.O.E. Informational Meetings on Common Core Tests: Clueless on the Big Issues   5 comments

Did you watch the Deseret News live feed of the Davis District meeting tonight?

I had an “A-ha!” moment, as I again watched Judy Park of the Utah State Office of Education present information about the Common Core tests.

I realized that Judy Park just does not know the answers to the big, big questions that are being asked.  She isn’t actually being dishonest; she is simply clueless.  It’s tragic.  I feel almost sorry for her.

What makes me say this?

One example:  When parents asked about the data collection issue she seemed to be blissfully unaware that the Utah State Longitudinal Database System collects personally identifiable information on every student –without parental consent and without any opt-out alternative.

“There’s federal laws. There’s all the protection in the world,” she said, and added a little simile:

As banks can’t give away your money, databases can’t give away your personally identifiable information, she said.


— Does she not know that there’s a huge lawsuit going on right now because the Department of Education has loosened and ruined privacy regulations so entirely that parental consent has been reduced from a legal requirement to an optional “best practice”??

— Does she not know that the State Longitudinal Database System is federally interoperable, and that that was one of the conditions of Utah receiving the grant money to build the SLDS in the first place?

— Does she not know that the SLDS is under a (totally unconstitutional) mandate to report to the federal government via the “portal” called the EdFacts Exchange?

— Has she not seen the hundreds of data points that the federal government is “inviting” states to collect and share on students at the National Data Collection Model?

— Has she never studied the Utah Data Alliance and the Data Quality Campaign?

— Is she unaware that the Federal Register (following the shady alterations by the Dept. of Ed to federal FERPA privacy regulations) now redefines key terms such as who is an authorized representative and what is an educational agency, so that without parental consent and without school consent, vendors and corporate researchers can access data collected by the SLDS (State Database)?

— Does she not know that state FERPA is protective and good, but federal FERPA is utterly worthless because of what the Dept. of Education has done?

Ms. Park said:

“FERPA [federal privacy law] doesn’t allow that,”   and:   “I don’t believe that,” and “Personally identifiable information is not even in our state database.”

Dear Ms. Park!   I wish I could believe you.

But last summer, at the Utah Senate Education Committee Meeting, we all heard (and Ms. Park was in the room) when Utah Technology Director John Brandt stood up and testified that “only” a handful of people from each of the agencies comprising the Utah Data Alliance (K-12, Postsecondary, Workforce, etc.) can access the personally identifiable information that the schools collect.  He said it to reassure us that barring dishonesty or hacking, the personally identifiable information was safe.  But he simultaneously revealed that the schools were indeed collecting that personal information.


Why don’t our leaders study this stuff?  Why, why?

Even Ms. Park’s secondary title, which is something about “federal accountability” is disturbing.  It’s an illegal concept to be federally accountable in the realm of state education.  Has nobody read the 10th Amendment to the Constitution at the State Office of Education?  Has no one read the federal law called the General Educational Provisions Act, which forbids —FORBIDS— the federal government from supervising, directing or controlling education or curriculum in ANY WAY.

I am not the only one flabbergasted at what I saw and heard on that live feed of the Davis District meeting today.


This portion is reposted with permission from clinical psychologist Gary Thompson.

Gary Thompson:

I’m mortified at USOE.

I’m half tempted to shoot off (another) letter to the State Superintendent of Schools demanding that they stop all future “informational”meetings until they themselves either know the correct answers, or can be honest and simply state, ” we are investigating these issues currently, and we will get back to you when we know the answers.”

Anything other than that is pure deception, and if they (Judy Park, ect) are deceiving tax paying parents, then they should be asked to resign from their positions of trust. If I here one more meeting filled with deception and plausible deniability, I may take it upon myself to publicly ask for those resignations myself in a very public manner that will make the my Glen Beck appearance look like minor league.

It is just common respect. THEY asked for my letter of assistance and clarification. Attorney Flint and myself spent an entire weekend drafting it for them and the parents in our community.

Their response over a week later?


Not even a thank you note….and then they have the gall to present a LIVE feed to the entire State filled with definitive answers to parents questions that not only could they not answer during our 2 hour in person meeting, but asked for our assistance to clarify the issues they did not understand.

How hard would it had been to simply say, “We do not know.” ???
Ms. Parks response to questions regarding adaptive testing to children with learning “quirks” (out new name for disabilities) was so devious and deceptive that I had to turn it off.

Alisa Olsen Ellis, don’t you ever stop this fight as long as you have life in you.

God bless you.

-Gary Thompson

— — —

Please, if you live in Uintah District, attend the meeting about the Common Core (AIR/SAGE) tests to be presented by the USOE on

April 25, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the  Maeser Training Center 1149 North 2500 West Vernal,UT 84078 USA


Let’s Help Indiana   8 comments


It’s time to help Indiana.  What happens in other states does affect us.

Here are two messages from Indiana moms who need your support.   Indiana is ahead of 90% of the states in that the state has TWICE voted in favor of the “time out” bill for Common Core, which will mean that the standards, tests, and data collection vehicles will have to wait while the state thoroughly vets and reviews all the intended and unintended consequences of Common Core.   This is wise and should be emulated nationwide, but there is a chance that the effort will be crushed by those who want the agenda’s wealth-making potential more than they want locally controlled, amendable, and legitimately high-quality standards.  Please, even if you don’t live in Indiana, call.

Date: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM


This is it – the legislative session ends this Friday. If HB1427 isn’t given a vote in the House by the end of the day on Friday, the bill is dead. We can’t allow this to happen! The fact is our Senate has voted twice in favor of the Common Core “time-out” bill, Superintendent Ritz has indicated a review is in order, and we believe that a solid majority of our elected Representatives in the House support HB1427. What’s more, Governor Pence continues to make encouraging remarks in our favor. All that stands in the way of Indiana citizens getting a thorough review of Common Core, is Speaker Bosma and the paid lobbyists, most of whom have vested financial interests in making sure Common Core is not reviewed in the light of day.

As Representative Rhoads was recently quoted as saying, “If it’s so wonderful, what is wrong with allowing it to have a review?”

The Chamber of Commerce has taken out vicious radio adds to try and kill HB1427. This means we are winning, and should not retreat now.

Please contact your State Representative again and ask them for support and an update on HB1427. Politely, tell them how outrageous it will be if this bill is denied an up or down vote. Then please call and leave a message for Speaker Bosma letting him know that the citizens of Indiana deserve better than to have back-room deals made on such an important issue.

The Indiana House switchboard is (317)232-9600 . Finally, call the Governor again at (317)232-4567 . I am told that the final hours of the session is when many important decisions are made. Let’s make sure they remember – this is an important decision!

Lastly, please, please, please join us at the Statehouse this Thursday, at 1:00 PM. We will be rallying to make our voices heard. I am told that if enough people show up in person, we will not be ignored. Erin and I cannot impress upon you enough how urgent and crucial it is that we get as many there as possible, one last time. Many decisions are made in the final hours of the legislative session. We have come too far, against all odds, to stop now. Please make coming a priority! We need you! We are also scheduled to be on W.I.B.C.’s Greg Garrison show that morning from 10:30am-11:00am. (Derek Redleman of the Chamber will be on from 10:00a.m. – 10:30a.m.)


— — — —


Status Update

By Monica Boyer

Alert:  Just in from the Senate:
Representative Rhonda Rhoads has agreed to concur with HB1427, (this bill puts Indiana Common Core on a year time out.) Concurring means that she accepts the bill as written, and it will go to the full house for a final vote.

HOWEVER: We now have word that Speaker Brian Bosma said he will NOT call this bill down for a vote. So yes, let me translate. A bill can go through the entire process and ONE MAN has the power to kill a bill. (That is wrong.)
We need calls to go directly to your Representative. (Ask them to demand a vote on this bill) Then we need to melt down Speaker Brian Bosma’s phone and demand he hear the will of the people and call SB1427 down for a vote.

This is your children’s future. Now is not the time for silence or fear. As of Friday, this bill is DEAD.

Indiana House 317-232-9600 . (Ask to speak to your Representative [or any representative].)
Speaker Brian Bosma: 317-232-9677

(There will also be a rally at the Statehouse on Thursday at 1 pm. More details coming soon)

USOE/Davis School District Meeting Today on Common Core – Please Come if You Can   1 comment

Today from 4 to 6 PM

District Office / Kendell Bldg (2nd Floor) 70 East 100 North in Farmington, Utah

USOE to present Common Core Testing System to Public

Please attend the Davis School District meeting today at  4:00 p.m.   The press is reportedly going to be there, too.

If you are in the vicinity, please attend the meeting today and ask your questions about AIR/SAGE.  If you need a list of questions, you can borrow these:

  • Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core and its tests?
  • What is the amendment process for Common Core standards if we find out they are not working for us?
  • Where can I see for myself the evidence that Common Core standards have been proven to be of superior quality and that they are internationally benchmarked?
  • Where can I see for myself evidence that Common Core’s transformations (deleting cursive, minimizing classic literature, moving away from traditional math, etc.) –will benefit our children?
  • What is the American process of representation of individuals in the Common Core education and assessments  system?
  • Does it seem good that the meetings of the standards writers (the CCSSO/NGA) are all closed-door meetings?
  • I read that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; so what do we do if we need to add a whole lot more to actually prepare our children well?
  • Although I have been told that Common Core is state-led, both my legislator and I missed any invitation to discuss this before it was decided for us; please explain the analysis and vetting process for the upcoming national science and social studies standards.
  • The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government.  Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“    In light of this, please explain why our state has agreed to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing.



You may want to read these posts before the meeting. /

“Much has been said about Common Core – by those who support it and those who oppose it. To me, the greatest benefit of Common Core is the fact that it has generated an army of parent activists who have educated themselves on the implementation of national standards, USOE regulations, and the data mining of students academic and personal information. We should all take note of the trends taking place in education.”   – Utah Senator Margaret Dayton


Common Core: Watch the Canary in the Coalmine   2 comments


Miners used to use canaries as early warning systems.  They would evacuate the mines when the canaries, who were more quickly sensitive to toxic substances than humans, were suddenly sick or dead.

On the issue of Common Core, there are canaries– sadly, children, who are being used as guinea pigs in this educational experiment called Common Core.

New York was one of the first states to unveil the common core tests.  And things aren’t going so well.


A Tough New Test Spurs Protest and Tears

New York Times

Students at the Hostos-Lincoln Academy in the Bronx blamed the English exams for making them anxious and sick. Teachers at Public School 152 in Manhattan said they had never seen so many blank stares. Parents at the Earth School in the East Village were so displeased that they organized a boycott. As New York this week became one of the first states to unveil a set of exams grounded in new curricular standards, education leaders are finding that rallying the public behind tougher tests may be more difficult than they expected. Complaints were plentiful: the tests were too long; students were demoralized to the point of tears; teachers were not adequately prepared. Some parents, long skeptical of the emphasis on standardized testing, forbade their children from participating.

This year’s NYS/Pearson ELA exams: an Epic Fail

NYC Public School Parents

The reviews are in, and the consensus among parents, students and teachers is that this year’s NYS/Pearson ELA exams were even worse than expected. The tests were too long, the questions confusing even for teachers, and many students ended up in tears. See just a sample of observations below. Is this what Chancellor Walcott meant when he said, “It’s time to rip the Band-Aid off” , or Regents head Merryl Tisch, when she explained, “We have to just jump into the deep end”? [Note: read the comments for details about these deeply flawed new tests.]

Field Tests: Unfair Burden on Students

Schoolbook, WYNC

Embedded in this week’s English Language Arts exams are field test questions. They do not count toward the test score. They are being tried out so the publisher can see how the items work and decide which ones to use next year. I wonder if parents should have the right to give or deny permission for their children to participate in what is essentially research for Pearson LLC, the for-profit test publisher?

Common Core and Pearson-for-Profit

Alan Singer, Huffington Post

Pearson is one of the most aggressive companies seeking to profit from what they and others euphemistically call educational reform, but which teachers from groups like Rethinking Schools and FairTest see as an effort to sell, sell, sell substandard remedial education programs seamlessly aligned with the high stakes standardized tests for students and teacher assessments they are also selling. Pearson reported revenues of approximately $9 billion in 2010 and generated approximately $3 billion on just digital revenues in 2011. If it has its way, Pearson will soon be determining what gets taught in schools across the United States with little or no parental or educational oversight.

NY-NJ to provide millions in subsidies to Pearson

The British media giant Pearson PLC, whose holdings include Pearson Education, a testing and textbook publishing company that produces the NJASK tests, will receive large subsidies from NY & NJ to relocate 1300 jobs away from its facilities in Upper Saddle River in Bergen Co. NY will give Pearson $50 million in subsidies to move 630 jobs to NYC and NJ will provide $66 in subsidies to relocate 650 jobs to Hoboken.

Utahns Discuss Common Core Math   10 comments

I’m going to share some email strings from Utah school board members who are pro-common core, and me, and two mathematicians who are opposed to common core on academic grounds.

Ze’ev Wurman: 2010 California Common Core math validation committee member and former Dept. of Education advisor; opposes Common Core.

James Milgram: Stanford and NASA mathematician; served on official common core validation committe and refused to sign off on the academic legitimacy of the Common Core.

Dr. Milgram wrote (responding to a request for clarification about math standards) in a very recent email:

  ““I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry.  Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course…  They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.

Tami Pyfer: Utah school board member, pro-common core

Dixie Allen: Utah school board member, pro-common core

I am a little confused — From your email yesterday I thought you said that you, Brenda and others at USOE had decided we shouldn’t answer any questions from the Anti-Core patrons.  Could you please make sure we know what the expectation is for all of us as Board Members.  I had tried to answer anyone that was my constituents and some others, as I felt like it was my job as chair of Curriculum and Standards.  But we probably need to know what the expectation is in regard to these questionable emails, etc.

On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM, Tami Pyfer <> wrote:

Christel – Here is the specific standard that requires students to know how to convert fractions to decimals. (Fractions are rational numbers, perhaps that’s how you missed it in your examination of the standards.) See (d) and also the sample assessment task at the very bottom which asks kids to convert 2/3 to a decimal using long division.

Board members – Feel free to forward this chart along to legislators, constituents, and others asking you about the incorrect claim that we are not going to be teaching kids to convert fractions to decimals. It’s taken from our Utah Core Math Standards documents. I’ve already sent it to everyone who has emailed me about it.

Hope this helps!


Dear Tami,
In seventh grade?
My ten year old fourth grader (home schooled) knows how to convert fractions to decimals and ratios.  Does the Utah Common Core recommend this skill be taught only at the level of seventh grade?  That seems not very “rigorous.”
However, I am happy that it is taught at all.  I am glad you found this for me. Thank you.
Please look at exhibit B which is on page 26 of this document, as you will see that in the math review of Common Core, by 2010 California Common Core validation committee member and math expert Ze’ev Wurman, Wurman states that Common Core fails to teach many key math skills along with the one we are discussing.  I would love to see your review of his complete review to see if these things are taught, and at what grade levels.
Perhaps Ze’ev was reviewing the non-integrated math portion of Common Core, which as I understand it, only Utah and Vermont have adopted.
Minutes ago, I forwarded to James Milgram a copy of your email about Common Core math.  He served on the official common core validation committee, and would not sign off on the academic legitimacy of these standards.  Milgram was also a math professor at Stanford University and a NASA consultant.
Dr. Milgram wrote back:
“I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry.  Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course…  They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.   – Jim Milgram 
Please, return our state to local control of eduation and to academically legitimate, empirically tested standards.
Dear Christel,
The 7th grade standard Tami refers to is, indeed, the only   Common Core standard that deals, at least partially, with  converting between representations of fractions:

7. NS. 2.d: Convert a rational number to a decimal using       long division; know that the decimal form of a rational number   terminates in 0s or eventually repeats.

It only obliquely deals with converting a regular fraction to      decimal, with a particular focus on the fact that rational      fractions repeat. It does not deal with conversion between      fractional forms (representations) per se. Further, it doesn’t      deal with conversion of decimals to rational fractions, it does      not deal with conversion between decimal fractions and percents      and vice versa, and it does not deal with conversion of rational      fractions to percent and back. In other words, it deals with only      one out of 6 possible conversions. It also does it — as you      correctly say — too late, and only obliquely at that.
Compare it to the careful work the NCTM Curriculum        Focal Points did on this important issue:

Grade 4: Developing an understanding of          decimals, including the connections between fractions and          decimals Grade 6: Developing an understanding of and fluency          with multiplication and division of fractions and decimals                          … They use the relationship between decimals        and fractions, as well as the relationship between finite        decimals and whole numbers (i.e., a finite decimal multiplied by        an appropriate power of 10 is a whole number), to understand and        explain the procedures for multiplying and dividing decimals. Grade 7: In grade 4, students used equivalent fractions        to determine the decimal representations of fractions that they        could represent with terminating decimals. Students now use        division to express any fraction as a decimal, including        fractions that they must represent with infinite decimals. They        find this method useful when working with proportions,        especially those involving percents

(Curriculum Focal Points are available      from NCTM for a fee, however you can get them for free here)
Here is what the National Research Council had to say      about this issue in it’s Adding It Up influential book:

“Perhaps the deepest translation problem in pre-K to        grade 8 mathematics concerns the translation between fractional        and decimal representations of rational numbers.” (p. 101, Box        3-9)
“An important part of learning about rational numbers is        developing a clear sense of what they are. Children need to        learn that rational numbers are numbers in the same way that        whole numbers are numbers. For children to use rational numbers        to solve problems, they need to learn that the same rational        number may be represented in different ways, as a fraction, a        decimal, or a percent. Fraction concepts and representations        need to be related to those of division, measurement, and ratio.        Decimal and fractional representations need to be            connected and understood. Building these connections takes            extensive experience with rational numbers over a            substantial period of time.” (p. 415, emphasis        added)

(Adding It Up is here.      If you register you can download the book rather than read it      online)
And here is what the National Math Advisory Panel said on      this issue in its final report:

Table 2: Benchmarks for the Critical Foundations        (p. 20)          … Fluency With Fractions         1) By the end of Grade 4, students should be able to identify        and represent fractions and decimals, and compare them on a        number line or with other common representations of fractions        and decimals.         2) By the end of Grade 5, students should be proficient with        comparing fractions and decimals and common percent, and with        the addition and subtraction of fractions and decimals.

The NMAP final report can be found here.
All these important and widely acclaimed documents (by both sides)      are quite clear that conversion between fractional representation      is a critical component of mathematical fluency in K-8, that it      takes time to develop, and that developing it  should seriously      start by grade 4.

Arguing that a single grade 7 standard, which  only tangentially and partially addresses this critical fluency,  is sufficient as “coverage” is disingenuous, to put it mildly.
-Ze’ev Wurman

Thanks, Dixie.

Still wondering about a few basic questions that Judy Park says she will not answer. These are simple! Who will answer them?

1.Where’s the evidence that the standards are legitimized by empirical study– that they have helped, not hurt, kids who’ve been the guinea pigs on Common Core?
2.Where’s the study showing that lessening classic literature helps students?
3.Where’s the study showing that not teaching kids how to convert fractions to decimals helps students?
4.Upon what academic studies are we basing the claims that the common core standards are academically legitimate?
5.What parent or teacher in his/her right mind would approve giving away local control to have standards written in D.C. by the NGA/CCSSO?

–Am I being unreasonable here, or is Judy Park? These are our children. These are our tax dollars. Is it too much to ask to see a legitimate foundation for altering the standards so dramatically?


I can’t answer any of your questions with research data — because I don’t have such data — but I can answer your questions as a teacher and administrator in the Public Education System for 26 years and a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 11 (some of which have been in public school and some in private school and some in home school) and a State School Board Member of 11 years.

1. There is no empirical study of the Common Core Standards — rather they have been vetted by college professors in our state and others, specialists at our State Office of Education and others throughout the nation, other specialists outside the educational community, and patrons, parents and teachers around our state who had a voice in the approval of the Core Standards and their recommendations before they were completely adopted by our State Board of Education some 2 1/2 years ago.

2. There is no study that shows we should lessen the study of classic literature, but there are endless recommendations from universities and the job creators of our nation that our students need to learn to read informational text, as well as classic literature. So my hope is that our students are getting a mix of both, but believe that we need to insure that students can read informational text and understand what it says.

3. There is no study that says that converting decimals to fractions and visa versa isn’t an important part of mathematical study. However, there is a great understanding in the educational field that if we don’t start teaching algebraic and geometric understanding early in public education and expect all students to understand these mathematical facts, as well as fractions and decimals, that we will have students who cannot make it through the mathematical courses necessary to graduate from high school and be ready to go to college. As a high school principal, I had 300 students move into Uintah High from 9th grade that had to take remedial mathematics classes, because they had not passed Pre-algebra. All students need to understand basic algebra and geometric calculations.

4. We have based our faith in the Core Standards, based upon the specialists that created them and support their validity in the educational programs for students. I believe after a couple of years of getting these standards to students, that we are seeing improvement in a deeper set of abilities to process information both in mathematics and English/Language Arts. (Of course my proof are my own grandchildren and what teachers share with me.)

5. Local Teachers and parents don’t know everything about what is quality education — and we did not give away the standards to the federal government or Washington, D.C. — we asked experts in the field, at both the national and states levels of instruction to help develop standards that would help all students be Career and College Ready. The world has changed since we were educated and our students need to know different skills to succeed in the new world of technology and world wide companies.

I am so sorry that you feel so strongly about this issue that you have created such turmoil in our state. We are truly trying to do what is best for our students and if you can pinpoint any Core Standard that you feel is problematic or doesn’t help our students be prepared for college or work, please let me know and I will take it to the experts to see what they think and if they agree we will change the standard.

However, I do not plan to throw out the Common Core, as long as I am a State School Board member, because I believe it is a step in the right direction. I will, however, help correct and update any Standard that we feel needs to be revised.


Freedom Project Education   10 comments

I just saw this today in an email and wanted to share the fact that there are alternatives to common core aligned curricula.


Official Policy of FPE Curriculum on Common Core

In mid-March of 2013, FreedomProject Education was made aware that many homeschool publishers planned to adapt their textbooks to align with Common Core mandates, those national standards developed by Washington D.C. insiders, lobby- ists, and liberal special interest groups, all subsidized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Upon learning that some of the textbooks currently used in FPE classes were slated for Common Core adaptation, FPE immediately reiterated our staunch commitment to removing any textbook from our curriculum that migrated to Common Core standards. We began an extensive review of our booklists and contacted many publishers and presses directly to ascertain first-hand their posi- tion and plans vis a vis Common Core. FPE also inaugurated a series of free and public Webcasts designed to explain and expose the insidious governmental power grab that is Common Core.

Among the things we discovered in researching our booklists is that a number of our current publishers do indeed plan to adapt their textbooks to Common Core requirements. In many cases this adaptation is in the works for future editions and has yet to manifest itself in the textbooks we currently use. In other instances, certain textbooks have already included elements in preparation for the coming move to Common Core. Further complicating the issue, some of our publishers have been designated by government agencies asCommon Core compliant” without—they claim—having asked for that designation or having taken any steps to adapt their curriculum to Common Core Standards. Our research has found a good deal of dishonesty in these claims, with representatives telling us there will be no incorporation of Common Core, while their very websites tout compliance. These are the realities as we currently find them since our investigation com- mencing in Mid-March 2013.

FPE decided on booklists for the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year in October of 2012, and those lists went out to faculty, current FPE families, and prospective students in early March 2013, two weeks before we learned that some homeschool publishers were adapting to Common Core standards. Given that 1) most of our current textbooks have yet to be altered to reflect specific Common Core guidelines; 2) that we have mailed out hundreds of program guides and distributed thou- sands of fliers listing as required the textbook list established in October 2012; 3) that many current FPE students, as well as new-enrollees for 2013-2014, have already purchased books based on the October 2012 list and will not easily be able to return them; and 4) that many of our teachers need time to adapt their courses to new textbooks that are free of any taint of Common Core ideology; we feel it is in the best interest of all concerned to proceed in the 2013-2014 academic year with the booklists established in October 2012.

Keeping the current roster of books will allow us to avoid the considerable confusion and expense that would occur if we made immediate and precipitous changes. It will also allow FPE to be careful and judicious in selecting alternative Common Core free textbooks for the 2014-2015 academic year. Further, the extra year will allow teachers to both monitor current books for Common Core problems and begin the process of transitioning from current texts to new ones in a methodical and pedagogically sound way. We plan to make each and every FPE teacher aware of any perceived Common Core bias in our current textbooks, to assist them in circumventing these standards, and to encourage them to bring to our attention any instances of infiltration they discover on their own.

We at FPE remain adamantly opposed to the implementation of Common Core in public schools, and under no circum- stances will we tolerate Common Core in our own classrooms moving forward. As we work through the upcoming 2013- 2014 school year, we encourage FPE faculty, families, and students to share with us their opinions about current textbooks and partner with us in being vigilant in opposing all such examples of gross government overreach. We also intend to host a new series of Webcasts in May 2013 that address FPE’s specific plans to counter Common Core and provide an online, homeschool education for America’s children that is free of spin, indoctrination, and cynical government manipulation.


1 (800) 807 7292 750 N. Hickory Farm Lane, Appleton, WI 54914


FreedomProject Education

Report on Nebo District’s Public Meeting on Common Core Testing   Leave a comment

The Greatest Assessments in the U.S.A.

(and other such nonsense)

guest post by Alyson Williams

During the first public meeting on anything Common Core related in Nebo School District it probably should not have come as a surprise to the USOE that there might be a number of intensely inquisitive or disenfranchised parents in attendance… or that their questions might extend beyond the bells and whistles of the new testing software that was being introduced.

This is, after all, part of a broader reform that was set in motion when former Governor Huntsman and Superintendent Harrington signed a Memorandum of Agreement to participate in the National Governor Association’s Common Core State Standards Initiative in the spring of 2009.

Mr. John Jesse, the Assessment Director for the USOE must have felt like he’d been fed to the wolves… or more accurately to bears of the mama and papa variety.

Perhaps feeling caught off guard by the unusual and poorly communicated standards adoption process that required this initial agreement of participation before the standards were even written (recently re-framed by the State School Board as an “exploratory” phase minus the ability to explore), parents were understandably critical of Mr. Jesse’s emphatic claim that these tests were the “best in the United States” and that Utah was a shining example to the rest of the country of all things assessment.

“But, you said these particular assessments haven’t even been written yet, or piloted anywhere, right?” one mother clarified in an attempt to point out the glaring credibility gap of showing the timeline of implementation that is just beginning while at the same time making this emphatic claim.

There were so many questions a decision was made to have parents write their questions on a white board, to be answered at the end, in order to allow Mr. Jesse to complete his presentation (or even complete a sentence) with some coherence.

The introduction to the testing company that Utah has contracted with included the disclaimer, or justification, that a company can be involved with a variety of projects or seek certain societal outcomes that one does not agree with, but it is still okay to use their products that are unrelated.

This was likely intended to pacify or pre-empt concerns about the mission of the testing company, American Institutes of Research (AIR), to promote global values as key supporters of the Clinton Global Initiative, or with their work on issues of mental health and sexuality as applied to children.

In other words, as long as the tests themselves meet the need, it shouldn’t matter that Utah tax payers are giving $39 million to a company whose mission they would not otherwise support.

The main advantages of this software, according to Mr. Jesse, are features to accommodate special needs, i.e. hearing or vision impaired, that it is adaptive (questions each student sees are determined in real time based on previous response) and that the results are instantly available.

He also touted the optional, formative assessment capability that is basically the ability to administer both mini-tests and mini-curriculum from an open source curriculum library that has been developed by AIR and comes pre-loaded with the system. After being pressed on the issue, Mr. Jesse confirmed that student activity while using the formative system is tracked.

A number of teachers attended the meeting as well, and one had to wonder what was going through their minds as Mr. Jesse pointed out at least three times that these tests were not high-stakes tests for children but that they were high-stakes tests for teachers and for schools. (A reference to a law passed in 2012 linking teacher pay and school grading to tests.)

What might an experienced teacher’s reaction be to his explanation of how, with the help of precise statistical analysis by a computer, a teacher could really know if a student was struggling or excelling?

Is there research that substantiates the claim that student-teacher interactions are enhanced and not disrupted by certain applications of technology? This would seem an important reference to offer along with this particular assertion. So often in education assumptions that seem sound based on anecdotal observations have unexpected outcomes or unanticipated side effects.

Mr. Jesse did not touch on the aspect of the tests that might be considered the specialty of AIR, the integration of psychometric predictors – a science that requires far more scrutiny when applied to statewide assessments because of its powerful ability, in combination with statistical data mashing enhanced by the existence of interoperable State Longitudinal Data Systems, to profile individuals and assess “dispositions” without it being apparent in the questions or content of the assessment itself.

Utah Child Psychiatrist Dr. Gary T. Thompson has publicly expressed that parents and students deserve a more thorough explanation of how this science will be applied in these assessments.

He, along with Edward D. Flint Esq. Special Education Attorney at Law, issued the following assertion as part of a longer article addressing this topic:

“Someone, independent of AIR, MUST have access to every single item on the tests being designed in order to insure that absolutely ZERO behavioral indicators are being measured on tests that parents in Utah believe are only measuring “reading, writing and arithmetic.”

As the question portion of the meeting began, Mr. Jesse reiterated his focus on assessments and his inability to answer unrelated questions. He took a head count of parents who expressed concern over the broader reforms related to the Common Core State Standards with the promise to report this to the USOE along with a request that there be another forum in the future for questions to be answered on a broader range of topics.

In response to the concerns related to content and the inaccessibility of the test questions to parents, or regarding the “use of behavioral indicators” (as specified in the section of 2012’s House Bill 115 governing computer adaptive testing) Mr. Jesse said that there would be nothing objectionable in the tests and that the audience should take his word for it, challenging those present to check his references if there were any doubts about his credibility.

This ironically was the straw that, in light of the circumstances already mentioned, broke the proverbial camel’s back in terms of credibility. “Trust me,” is not a phrase that any parent in the state wants to hear from anyone involved in the implementation of any aspect of Common Core right now… nor should it be sufficient regardless of the circumstances when it comes to a parent’s right to vet any program to which their child will be subjected.

As the tone of the meeting further devolved, insults and accusations of misinformation were exchanged leading to an abrupt end to the Q&A.

Mr. Jesse was admittedly put in a tough situation, and the meeting by any account was a disaster.

An informal survey of sentiment afterward garnered reactions that ranged from disappointment over the tone of both presenter and attendees in their remarks, to surprise that the audience had not been even more insistent that answers have some verifiable basis other than the word of the person whose job it is to promote the project.

Protecting Student Data   6 comments

Thanks to Alyson Williams and Utahns Against Common Core for providing the following.

Protecting Student Data:  Becoming Informed About Personal & Behavioral Data Collection & Sharing

Goal 1:

Allow parents to opt out* of  testing and certain data tracking on behalf of their  children.

Goal 2:

Prohibit non-academic data  collection, i.e. behavior and  require disclosure of student  data types tracked in Utah’s  Federally funded State  Longitudinal Data System.

Goal 3:

Prohibit any kind of testing  that does not allow  parents to see assessment  questions upon request 

The Federal government has established the National Education Data Model to facilitate state collection and sharing of behavioral, health, psychological, and family data.  In 2012, Utah included provisions in law to permit schools to assess “student behavior indicators.”  Utah also requires that “Computer Adaptive Tests” (CATs) be used in all Utah schools.

Utah has partnered with behavioral and social science company AIR to provide CAT tests. Utah has stated its intent to upload Utah student data to an AIR database in 2013.  Utah plans to keep “SAGE” CAT questions secret from all but fifteen Utah parents.  Utah has not disclosed to the public the student data types tracked in Utah’s federally-funded State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS.)

The US Education Department undercut “parental consent” in federal student privacy laws without going through congress “It is the public  policy of this state  that parents retain  the fundamental  right and duty to  exercise primary  control over the  care, supervision,  upbringing and  education of their  children.” -Utah Code Title 53A Section 302

National Education Data Model:

Sample from over 400 data points recommended for SLDS

Born Outside of the U.S.
Bus Route ID
Bus Stop Arrival Time
Career Objectives
Citizenship Status
City of Birth
Class Attendance Status
Class Rank
Days Truant
Death Cause
Death Date
Developmental Delay
Dialect Name
Diploma/Credential Awarded
Discontinuing Schooling Reason

Disease, Illness, Health Conditions
Distance From Home to School
Dwelling Arrangement
Economic Disadvantage Status
Electronic Mail Address
Family Income Range
Family Perceptions of the Impact of Early
Intervention Services on the Child
Family Public Assistance Status
Federal Program Participant Status
Immunization Date
Insurance Coverage
IP Address
Non-school Activity Description
Religious Affiliation
Social Security Number
Voting Status


*  A form has been created and is being circulated now, which parents will send to the school and State Superintendent.  I will post it when I receive it from Utahns Against Common Core.  The form states that the parents of this child withhold permission for the State to track the child’s personally identifiable information.  We hope to flood the State Office of Education and the Governor’s Office with these forms to protect children across this state.

— — — — — — —



National Education Data Model, including behavioral, health, & other personal data elements:
Utah HB 15 (passed in 2012), line 59:
Utah HB 15 (passed in 2012), lines 9, 10, 11:
AIR behavioral testing: and behavioral profiling:
Utah contracted with AIR to provide Computer Adaptive Tests:
Utah student data to be uploaded to AIR:
Utah computer adaptive test questions to be reviewed by appointed panel of 15 out of 700,000 Utah parents (line  22):
EPIC is challenging changes to the Federal FERPA
“Student Data,” for the purposes of this document includes, but it not limited to, behavioral test question results,  and the data elements in the federal government’s National Education Data Model (NEDM), found  at The NEDM includes over 400 student data elements, including those listed above.

Why Is Common Core Illegal?   14 comments

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifies that the federal government must refrain from micromanaging states and outlines a few roles for the federal government (NOT including education)  and gives ALL remaining authorities to the states alone.  Nothing could be clearer. There is no constitutional authority for the executive branch to be bossing states around as the Department of Education has been doing.   (See Cooperative Agreement, Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, Sec. Duncan speeches)

The General Educational Provisions Act is another federal law that prohibits the federal government from directing education in any way. It says:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”

Utah mom Alyson Williams has also pointed out that our state is represented on our national stage, for federal issues, by our Congressional representatives:  Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, etc.

It is not the job of Governor Herbert to represent us on the national stage.  His role is to govern inside Utah.

But because the power hungry executive branch (Arne Duncan) realizes that no “employee of the United States” may “exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction,” Governors have been used as brokers.  Governors have been flattered into membership in the PRIVATE (not elected, not taxpayer-accountable, not transparent) NATIONAL GOVERNORS’ ASSOCIATION (NGA).  This NGA has combined with the CCSSO to write the national standards.  And to copyright them.  Behind closed doors.  Without voter input.

The NGA and CCSSO have been pawns in the Department of Education’s hands to get around the illegal brokering of education.

And why? Simply for power and money.  (This was never about improving education; if it had been, there would have been legitimacy and empirical study attached to the adoption of the academically fraudulent Common Core.)

The executive branch wanted increased power and access to citizen data.  The corporate world wanted the money flow that comes from monopolizing a nation’s curriculum.  And so the corporate world created partnerships with the federal government and “philanthropically” gave enormous grant funds to the NGA/CCSSO and other common core promoters, to get control of the educational sales market.

As Professor Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University has said:

“Let us be very frank… The CCSS does not have anything to do with education. It has everything to do with the business of education.”

This collusion of private educational sales companies and our federal government circumvents the process of our republic which demands fair representation of individuals.

The federal government shows how it’s “exercising direction, supervision or control” of the school system in many ways, such as:

1.  The federal technical review of tests being mandated by the Department of Education.

2.  The federal mandate that testing consoria must synchronize “across consortia,” that status updates and phone conferences must be made  available to the Dept. of Education regularly, and that data collected must be shared with the federal government “on an ongoing basis”

3.  The recent federal alteration of privacy laws that have taken away parental consent over student data collection to ensure easier access for multiple agencies and “research” vendors to student data.

4. At our Utah State Office of Education website you can find this and other “federal accountability” topics:  “The Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS) is the state and federal accountability system”  Why? 

Why do we put up with “federal accountability” given what the laws of the land says about the states having a sovereign right to direct education?!

Iowa Senator Grassley Fighting Common Core   4 comments

Reposted from Shane Vander Hart at

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking his colleagues to co-sign a letter asking the Senate Appropriations Committee that funds education to cut off all future funds that would allow the Obama administration to “cajole state’s” into participating in the Common Core State Standards and it’s assessments.  This comes on the heels of the Republican National Committee voting in favor of a resolution critical of the Common Core State Standards.

His office in an email sent late this afternoon document the steps the Obama administration has taken to push states to adopt the Common Core.

  • Making adoption of Common Core a pre-requisite for a state even being able to compete for Race to the Top funds.
  • Directly funding the two assessment consortia developing tests aligned to Common Core using Race to the Top funds.
  • Assembling a panel to review the work of the two assessment consortia.
  • Making implementation of Common Core or coordination with Common Core a funding priority for other, unrelated competitive grants administered by the Department of Education.
  • Making participation in Common Core essentially a prerequisite for being awarded a waiver from the Department of requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act.

The email said, “This means no more Race to the Top funds in support of Common Core or the assessments aligned with Common Core and stopping further federal review of the assessments produced by the two consortiums.  It also means that the Department could not penalize a state that chooses to leave Common Core by revoking its NCLB waiver. The deadline for senators to sign on this letter is April 25 so it can reach the subcommittee in time to be considered. “

The text of the letter is available at


Bountiful, Utah: Common Core Presentation   3 comments

April 18, 2013 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm



Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and I will make a presentation tomorrow, Thursday, April 18th at 7:00 in Bountiful about Common Core.   Q&A to follow.  All are welcome.


Bountiful City Chambers
790 South 100 East
Bountiful,UT 84010

It’s Happened: The Marriage of Pearson and Gates   11 comments

Pearson and Gates have joined forces. 

Why is a Pearson and Gates combination a nightmare for America, for anyone who cares about competitive free enterprise, constitutional rights regarding education, and local control?

First, a few facts:
1. Pearson, led by Sir Michael Barber, is the biggest education product sales company on earth.
2. Bill Gates is the second richest man on earth, a man who has almost single-handedly funded and marketed the entire Common Core movement.

Gates previously partnered with UNESCO to bring a master curriculum worldwide in his “Education For All” program.  Gates openly values extreme socialism and says that it’s much better than American constitutional government. Listen to Gates at minute 6:20 on this clip. Gates says, “We’ll only know this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.”

Pearson’s CEA is Sir Michael Barber, a man whose company colludes with governments worldwide in public-private-partnerships (soft fascism) and believes that children’s data should be gathered on a global scale. Barber pushes his version of “sustainable educational revolution,” worldwide, explaining that sustainable education reforms meanit can never go back to how it was.”  See his speeches on YouTube and his Twitter feeds.

These two mega forces for globalizing and standardizing education have now come together.

In a New York Times article on the partnership, Susan Neuman, a former Education Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now a professor at the University of Michigan, was quoted:

This is something that’s been missing in all the policy statements on the common core: a sequential curriculum,” Dr. Neuman said. But she worries that Pearson has few rivals.

Pearson already dominates, and this could take it to the extreme,” she said. “This could be problematic for many of our kids. We could get a one size fits all.”


So when my state school board says that Common Core is just a set of minimum standards, not a curriculum, I will point them to this:  the biggest monopolizer of textbooks, technologies and teacher training–Pearson– has now partnered with one of the wealthiest foundations on earth to create a one size fits all curriculum.

Where will private schools and others go to buy books, who don’t want Common Core-aligned curriculum?  How will others stay in business with such huge competition?


Pastor Speaks Out in Maryland: This Must Become Our Alamo   5 comments

Thank you, Pastor John of Maryland, for your words:

“We need more teachers to speak out.

As a Pastor I have joined the fight in Maryland to get the word out about Common Core. Today 6 of us spoke at a School Board meeting and were told by the Board President that they are going to put Common Core on the agenda for the next meeting so more time can be spent on it.

Pray for our efforts in Maryland.

Keep up the fight to expose U.S. Dept. of Ed’s agenda to control and indoctrinate our children with an amoral, progressive, globalist agenda at the expense of our liberties and our tax dollars.

This must be stopped. This must become our Alamo!”

— — — —

Note:  there is a group in Maryland called Marylanders Against Common Core.  Meet them here:

Arizona State Superintendent Believes Common Core Provides Benefits   7 comments

Watch this Arizona State Superintendent’s interview about Common Core.  She loves it!

Notable highlights:   She calls Common Core “such a significant shift and focus in our educational system.”  Yes, it is.  But not for the better.

She admits the Common Core allows much less classic literature/stories and increases informational text in its place.  She does not address how this shift will affect students’ love for reading!

She does not talk about the horrors of the new math and the delays of the times at which children are taught to use algorithms that actually work. (Algorithm = how to quickly multiply, how to add or subtract or divide– used to be lower elementary, now it’s late elementary age)

She uses the term “internationally benchmarked” standards, as if she is unaware that that’s a flat-out lie.  (For example, the Asian Tiger countries –recognized math gurus– teach algebra years before Common Core does, at about eighth grade, which is what Utah USED TO DO, BEFORE COMMON CORE!  See Ze’ev Wurman’s and James Milgram’s math reviews.)

Arizona’s superintendent goes on:

@ 9:59 “But what’s critically important if we’re going to be effective are the additional wrap-around services that are provided…”  This means the wrap-around services that have nothing to do with school at all– mental health interventions, government food, rides to school, provision of health care, etc.  This brings to mind U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan’s vision of no-weekends off, no time off for summer; a totally school-centered life, the opposite of what most of us believe in– family centered life.
It’s socialism– where parents and their provision of service, love, learning and values, become irrelevant. Here’s more:
@ 10:40 “It becomes absolutely essential in our K-12 system that we have the additional support systems available for all students… that requires us to look at differentiated instruction… “Time on task:  How important will extended learning time be for some students?…And again, how committed are we to making sure that all of our students graduate ready for post-secondary? That will require some additional reforms in K12…”
“school is… starting to look and sound very different.  I encourage parents to stay the course… and learn to listen to diverse ways of thinking.”  Listen.  Why not have the school establishments listen to parents?  These are our children and our tax dollars yet we are being told to be quiet and listen.
The superintendent says it’s so important that all students leave high school prepared for postsecondary learning. — SO THEN WHY TAKE AWAY CLASSIC LITERATURE?  WHY TAKE AWAY LEGITIMATE MATH? WHY TAKE AWAY NARRATIVE WRITING?  WHY SLOW DOWN THE TIME THAT CHILDREN LEARN ALGORITHMS?
Yes.  I know that writing in all caps is a form of shouting.


Dear Utah State School Board   4 comments

Feel free to use this letter if it helps.  I sent it today.  If others wish to add their voices to mine, the board’s email is :

The Governor needs to hear from us, too.


Dear USOE and State School Board,

Parents and teachers like me are so very tired of reading lies about Common Core, which are stated (and published) repeatedly by the USOE and Utah State School Board, and which are then replicated across school district websites all over Utah. I’m writing to ask you to provide references to prove the claims are honest– or remove the claims. One or the other.

We’re tired of being told, for example, that there is a Utah Core. Most people do know that it’s the Common Core for Math and English. It’s misleading to say “Utah Core” unless you are talking about P.E. or history or other standards.

Some of you have not done much research about Common Core and you have been fed only the claims given you by Common Core proponents –such as Pearson, Wireless Generation, Bill Gates, and others, who stand to make a lot of money implementing Common Core.

You read Gates’ own publication, Education Week. You listen to the groups Gates has paid (bribed) to advocate for the untested experiment of Common Core, including the national PTA, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governor’s Association, the Harvard Newsletter, Manhattan Institute, Fordham Foundation and others. Gates admitted in a NY Times interview that he spent $5 Billion– billion– dollars pushing HIS version of education reform. So the marketing has been good. But the product is defective. You of all groups ought to study this thoroughly.

Sometimes people forward their emails from you to me. I am aghast at the unreferenced, untrue responses, such as “Common Core is an improvement” and “We still have local and parental control” and “We aren’t spending money on Common Core that we wouldn’t already be spending on education standards,” and “Common Core is academically rigorous.” These are absurd statements to anyone who has done their homework on Common Core.

Why not provide references for your ongoing claims to increase your trustworthiness in the public eye? If you are telling the truth, please show us. If not, it’s time to ‘fess up.

Parents deserve referenced truth. These are our kids. These are our tax dollars. And you are not telling the truth: that Common Core is an unproven, unwanted experiment –for which you’re using kids as guinea pigs.

The standards are not Utah’s. And they are not academically nor constitutionally legitimate. If I am wrong, please show me.

In education, as in medicine, the motto should be “First Do No Harm.”

Where is the evidence that Common Core standards are not harming our students? Where is the empirical data upon which this transformative alteration to Utah education was based?

More specifically, can you point me to a study that shows that not teaching kids how to convert fractions to decimals is better college prep in the long run? Where is the study that shows that lessening the teaching of classic literature and of narrative writing is going to benefit children as adults? Where is the proven, long term study that shows that informational text is more beneficial than classic literature?

If there is no such research, then why on earth have you foisted this hogwash on our kids– and called it “rigorous”!?!!

It does not even make sense. Rigorous? Running a mile is rigorous to a couch potato but it’s a dumbing down to an athlete. One size fits all can never be accurately described as “rigorous” and I pray you will quit abusing that word across our good state.

The adoption of Common Core is, ironically, dataless decisionmaking. It is decision making based on the wealth and influence of extreme politics, not based on the American principle of voter representation and local public vetting.

Where is the proof to back up the claim that Common Core is state-led? How can it be state-led when nobody in the state even knows about it? No legislator has a clue. No school board except the state school board was ever allowed to vet or vote upon this huge change to education. How can it be state-led when it’s written behind the closed doors of the NGA/CCSSO and there’s no amendment process?

Where is the proof that the Common Core is academically legitimate? We know it was developed by noneducators: David Coleman, the NGA and the CCSSO. We know it was most heavily funded and promoted by noneducators. We know it has been politically hijacked by the Dept. of Education and that Obama and Sec. Duncan claim to have given it to states (further crushing the claim that it was state-led). We have endless references for these things. Yet this board and office continually fails to provide a shred of evidence for its Common Core promoting claims.

I find this to be a terrible example to the rest of the educators and students of this state.

If I were teaching an English class today, would I say to my students, “Oh– you didn’t provide references in your research paper? Well, no big deal. Neither does the Utah State Office of Education or the State School Board” ?

Where is the proof that Utah still has control of her education system? There’s a solid copyright on the Common Core. There’s a 15% no-alteration rule. Ridiculous. That is the opposite of local control.

If Utah wants to teach sky-high, way past the mediocre Common Core, 15% does not cut it. If Utah wants to prevent corporate researchers, hackers or the federal government from accessing private student data collected in the State Longitudinal Database System (which we all know is interoperable with the federal database, and was paid for by the federal government and is modeled after their desires, not ours) — we cannot protect our kids’ privacy. Because the Common Core tests will collect all the information and will track the kids in the P-20 and SLDS. This is common knowledge today. By remaining in Common Core, you tie parents’ hands behind their backs. No parents can opt their children out of the SLDS tracking. This is unacceptable!

Common Core Standards, tests and data collecting tentacles are a tragic, horrific joke and as you know, the people who will suffer most are the children and the teachers.

For what is far from the first, and likely far from the last time, I implore you to please answer these issues with references.

If you can’t, then your duty to the people of Utah is to get us out of Common Core.

Integrity demands it.

Christel Swasey

Heber City Parent

Credentialed Utah Teacher

Utah Parents Need to Attend the Common Core Test Presentation Meetings!   1 comment

I’m posting an update for Utah parents who can and should attend the public meetings in their areas to pose questions about Common Core to the presenters from the Utah State Office of Education. This link will show addresses, dates and times if you click on the name of the district. This week will feature Logan, Weber, Juab, Nebo and Bountiful district meetings. Next week: Davis, Uintah, North Ogden, Payson. Then it’s South Utah County.
Coming Up:


April 16, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm – LOGAN DISTRICT   –  Logan District Office, Board Room 101 West Center Street Logan,  UT USA

April 16, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm – WEBER DISTRICT – District Office, Board Room 5320 Adams Avenue Parkway Ogden,UT 84405

See the full calendar here:

Watch #StopCommonCore Twitter Rally Live Today at On Point Broadcasting   1 comment

Don’t tweet? Don’t fret. Watch coverage of the #stopcommoncore Twitter Rally via On Point Broadcasting- complete with a pre- and post- show. Log in to watch at 11am EST today.\onpointtv



Parent Led Reform of Colorado is hosting the Stop Common Core rally at Twitter tomorrow.  Here’s a tutorial if you don’t yet Twitter.

(The hashtag is #StopCommonCore.)

New York Parents Coach Students Not to Take Common Core Tests   5 comments

City on a Hill Radio Interview   3 comments

Here’s the link to today’s radio interview about Common Core at City on a Hill radio.

Protest ExxonMobil’s TV Ads Pushing Common Core   3 comments

Call ExxonMobil at 972-444-1000 and leave a message to protest the Common Core TV Ads.  We know Common Core is a cash cow for many companies, but it’s at legitimate education’s expense.  Please protest.  Here’s the ad: 

Posted April 15, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Just Like Stalin’s 5-Year Plan   3 comments

There’s a term too few people know about:  “The Stalinization of Education.”   I learned this from page 68 of the book by Professors Christopher Tienken and Don Orlich, “The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies.”

The Stalinization of Education is a term that describes how America’s “No Child Left Behind,” “Common Core” and national testing are eerily similar to Stalin’s 5 year plan of over 70 years ago. How?

  • There was the complete politicization of schools (today it’s form is “teaching for social justice”).
  • There was the transformation of teachers from caretaker-nurturer to technician-like soldier, from child centered to test- or curriculum-centered.
  • There was the conversion of teachers to a new party line (today it’s  “environmental sustainability”)
  • There was the altering of loose-tight to tight-loose controls over  education. Secretary Arne Duncan used those exact words in his speech to the inter-american-development-bank (Ed secretary speech to a bank!?!) –recently.
  • There was the removal of teachers’ use of intellectual skepticism,  benevolence, spontaneity, and openness to an emphasis on militaristic strength,   effectiveness and being political and curriculum-centered.
  • Pay-for-performance transformed the definition of what a high quality  teacher would be.
Academia has been bought by the Common Core pushers (Gates, Soros, Pearson).
And academia not questioning the lack of empirical evidence behind the push the Common Core experiment is the promotion of educational malpractice.  Common Core is absolutely intellectually dishonest. It’s academic fraud.  But the highest ranking academics in our nation will not say so.
No one can explain this problem better than these guys do in this book (it’s the book I mentioned on Glenn Beck.)
Still, it’s true that countless educators believe our educational system was so awful that it is worth giving up local constitutional control of standards, for the cure-all of supposedly much better standards.
In South Carolina’s Senator Mike Fair’s words, we need to show them that Common Core is a case of trading our birthright for a mess of pottage –but not even getting the pottage.
The real trade was actual education and actual local control, for one size fits all progressive education and no control.

Mothers Cry Out   4 comments

When   Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC said  “we” need to “break through” the notion of children belonging with parents, there was a huge public outcry.

No one cried out louder than the indomitable Michelle Malkin, who was interviewed by Sean Hannity soon after (must see: 3:55  Malkin derided the progressive idea of collective ownership:  “Hands off my kids!   My kids are not your guinea pigs. My kids are not your cash cows. My kids’ minds are not for you to propagandize, and my kids’ futures are not for you to raid in the name of social justice!”

Parent activist Yvonne Gasparino said it this way:  “My children, my own flesh and blood, these beautiful little souls that I carried for nine months with nothing but unconditional love from the time the stick read “positive” –are being ripped out of my loving and protective hands virtually and kidnapped by the government for their future use. I will not and cannot let that happen and will fight with every moral fiber of my soul that God has bestowed upon me.”

Here is Yvonne's image...

Get Wise, America: Defining Terms of Education Reform   3 comments

America, we need to get smart about education reform. Fast.

Lesson one:  when education reformers use the term “rigorous,” they mean to impress you.  Don’t be impressed.  One size fits all education can never be rigorous for every student.  That’s like calling a mile run “rigorous.”  It might be rigorous for the couch potatoes but it won’t be for the athletes.   The term is meaningless when applied to every child and stripped of teacher input.

Lesson two: when education reformers use the term “high quality teacher,they mean their version. Don’t buy the assumption that what they call a high quality teacher is what you imagine when you think of a great teacher.  The new high quality teacher must be “effective” as a data-collector, test-prepper, and political indoctrinator of environmental and social justice agendas.  Gone are the days when good teachers were characterized by benevolence, spontaneity, creativity, love, nurturing, and intellectual openness and honesty.  A high quality teacher to the Dept. of Ed means one that pushes the line that the government wants pushed, one that no parent got to vote on.

Lesson three: when education reformers use the term “education reform,” they mean their version.  It’s a tightly controlled, standardized, data-collection focused, collective-not-individual focused, environmentally-obsessed, social-justice promoting, uncreative  form of education that has little to do with what a particular student needs or wants. Don’t buy the assumption that it’s actually improving education the way a reasonable parent or grandparent would want education to be improved!  Ask for evidence and empirical studies to back up claims– always.

Lesson four: when education reformers use the term “internationally competitive,” they mean to intimidate you.  Don’t be intimidated.  The truth is that America turns out so many highly qualified college graduates that we can’t even employ them all.  We are incredibly competitive internationally.  Not only are we smart, but we are creative because we have been free.  We innovate miracles in medicine, technology, entertainment and agriculture because we have not been stifled as so many other countries are.  Watch this video.

Lesson five:  when education reformers name-drop, (Harvard, Stanford, Fordham Foundation, Manhattan Institute, the P.T.A., etc.) they mean to marginalize you.  Don’t be moved.  Common Core is educational malpractice and many –even in academia– know it.  Common Core is an untested experiment being pushed without empirical evidence as a foundation.  Harvard, Stanford and countless other supposedly intellectual institutions have been literally bought with Bill Gates’ foundation money –bribed to say that the naked emperor is wearing clothes–  and these establishments have, by taking Gates’ bribes, lost their ability to question the validity of the Common Core.  Don’t listen to anyone’s academic reviews who has been paid to say Common Core is valid.  That’s not honest; that’s gold digging.

Lesson six:  when education reformers say Common Core is “state-led,” they mean to reassure you that it’s no threat to your constitutional rights.  Don’t be fooled.  There’s nothing state-led about Common Core.  Legislators were completely bypassed.  There was never a vote.  There was never a public discussion.  Most people in most states still don’t even know what the term Common Core means, much less feel they led the process.  The standards were developed stealthily behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., by the NGA/CCSSO, two unelected groups who copyrighted the standards and who have provided no amendment process for any state to alter a single strand of a standard.   And the federal government claims credit for pushing the standards on the states.  Just listen to Sec. Duncan’s and Pres. Obama’s speeches on the subject. For example, see Sec. Duncan’s 2010 speech on “The Vision of Education Reform“:

“In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming.

But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked. That is an absolute game-changer in a system which until now set 50 different goalposts for success.

The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards.”

The unconstitutional, detrimental, top-down nationalization of education and usurpation of states’ rights to determine education has clearly and without question, occurred.

The thing that remains unclear is this:  what are Americans going to do about it?

Parents Demand Real Answers at Alpine District Meeting on Common Core A.I.R. Tests   9 comments

Yesterday I attended the Alpine School District meeting, where U.S.O.E. representative John Jesse, director of assessments, gave a presentation about the new Common Core testing system created by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).  I went with Alisa, Renee, my sister and others whose district is Alpine.  I wanted to compare the attitudes of parents and teachers in Alpine to Wasatch District, where the same meeting was held last Monday.

Alpine’s meeting was so different.

The room was packed, with extra chairs being brought in and still, standing room only.  I have no idea if the majority of people were teachers, principals, or parents, but obviously, many people were concerned and many more came than had been anticipated by the district.

John Jesse had apparently predetermined that no questions would be taken until after the hour-long presentation.  When a parent raised her hand to ask a question, Mr. Jesse said that he would not answer the question until later.

The parent said that it was necessary to answer it now to understand, and other parents shouted out, “Just answer her question,” but Mr. Jesse would not.  The shouts of support continued to the point that Mr. Jesse appeared truly unreasonable, yet he would not budge.

Mr. Jesse lost the respect and confidence of his audience by refusing to answer questions as they came up.

Audience members (parents? teachers? administrators?)  decided to write their questions on the large white board wall on the side of the meeting room.  It was flooded with questions quickly. I wish I would have written them all down to share with you here.

When an audience member asked how long, after a test, parents would be able to see the test items (a week? a month? longer?) Mr. Jesse said that in order to be able to release the tests to the public each year (like ACT, SAT, etc, do), they would need to have a new set of tests created each year.

He said that one set of adaptive test items costs Utah taxpayers $32M. In his words, “It’s so expensive to build these tests, it’s just not possible to make these test items available to parents.”  (Money trumps legal, moral parental rights?!)

One parent asked why we are spending so much money on these tests rather than using the money to reduce class size.

Other parents brought up the illegality of not allowing parents to view test questions (referring to the rule that only 15 parents, appointed by the state, would have that privilege.)  One parent showed Mr. Jesse a copy of the bill that states that the Common Core Computer Adaptive Tests must collect “behavioral indicators” along with academic indicators.

She also had a copy of the state FERPA (Privacy law) and read portions aloud to Mr. Jesse, showing the violations of Common Core test and data collection.

Alisa and I had to leave early because we were on our way to make a presentation about the Common Core agenda to a group in Murray.  I quickly wrote my billion dollar question on a note and asked my sister if she would ask it.  (Even though I had been standing up, waving my arm back and forth, Mr. Jesse had not called on me during the Q and A.) I had to leave, I thought, without asking my question.

The exit door was next to the presenter.  I decided to ask my question on my way out. So I turned to the audience, the presenter and superintendent. To the best of my recollection (a videotaper –I hope– will post the video of the event soon) this is what I said:

“In medicine, the motto is FIRST DO NOT HARM. The same applies to education. We are here discussing the wonderful technology of the Common Core tests, but the standards on which they are built have not been vetted and there’s not a shred of evidence shown, ever, to prove to us that these standards are not doing harm and that the claims being made about them, claims being replicated across all district websites, are true.  There is no evidence. I am a credentialed Utah teacher and testify to you that the Common Core is a detriment to our students.  I don’t hold Mr. Jesse or Mr. Menlove personally accountable or blame them, but I say to all of us, as a state, we MUST get OUT of Common Core.”

It seemed as if the entire room jumped to its feet and started cheering and applauding. I felt like Pedro after Napoleon Dynamite finishes the dance. The audience was cheering enthusiastically on and on, and I didn’t know what to do.  (Do I take a bow? Do I run out the door?)  I stood and blinked at all the people in shock and joy.

I share this because I want to offer hope to the parents, teachers, school board members and administrators who have yet to attend these A.I.R. trainings.  Parents don’t want Common Core for the kids once they find out what the whole agenda is about.  Parents are standing up. They are speaking out. They are demanding to see evidence of claims.  They don’t want their kids being used as guinea pigs and they don’t like the lack of parental control and stifled teacher voices.

I heard that after I left the meeting, parents passed around a signup list to have a rally at the State Capitol.  But I also heard, sadly, that after I left the meeting, some parents became overly hostile and that Mr. Jesse was hostile as well.

I was not there then; this is hearsay, but I do hope that all those who stand for educational freedom do so with dignity and respect.  We do not wish to humiliate our leaders.  We just want them to do the right thing and study this fully and act then act on the knowledge that we are, in fact, being acted upon by an increasingly oppressive Executive Branch at the federal level.  This is harming quality, legitimate education.  It is harming data privacy rights.  It is removing local control.  We need our leaders to act.  But we do not want to be unkind.

I heard that at the Cedar meeting earlier yesterday, the USOE separated the teachers and the parents because they didn’t want teachers hearing the parental controversy.  This is wrong.  Do not put up with that.  These controversies affect us all.  We are in this together.

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the state meetings.  Please share with friends.  Show up and make sure your voice is heard.  These are your children. This is your tax money.  These are your rights.  I think Republicans, Democrats, teachers, parents and administrators can agree that we want no part of education without representation, and no part of education standards and tests that lack references, pilot testing or legitimate vetting.


Jordan District4–6 pmElk Ridge Middle School / Auditorium3659 W 9800 S, South Jordan Wednesday March 20

Granite District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Auditorium A2500 S State Street, Salt Lake City Thursday March 21

Salt Lake District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Room 116440 E 100 S, Salt Lake City Monday March 25

Washington District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Board Room121 W Tabernacle St., St. George Thursday March 28

Tooele District4–6 pmStansbury High School / Auditorium 5300 N Aberdeen Lane, Stansbury Park TuesdayApril 2

Park City District4–6 pmEcker Hill Middle School2465 W Kilby Rd, Park City WednesdayApril 3

Grand District4–6 pmGrand County High School / Auditorium608 S 400 E, Moab ThursdayApril 4

San Juan District4–6 pmSan Juan High School / Arena Theater311 N 100 E, Blanding MondayApril 8

Wasatch District4–6 pmDistrict Office101 E 200 N, Heber Tuesday April 9

Iron District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Board Room2077 W Royal Hunte Dr., Cedar City Tuesday April 9

Carbon District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Training Room 1251 W 400 N, Price Wednesday April 10

Sevier District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Training Room180 W 600 N, Richfield Thursday April 11

Box Elder District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Board Room960 S Main, Brigham City Thursday April 11

Alpine District4–6 pmDistrict Office575 N 100 E, American Fork TuesdayApril 16

Weber District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Board Room5320 Adams Ave. Parkway, Ogden Tuesday April 16

Logan District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Board Room101 West Center, Logan Wednesday April 17

Juab District4–6 pmJuab High School / Little Theater802 N 650 E, Nephi Thursday April 18

Nebo District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Board Room350 S Main, Spanish Fork TuesdayApril 23

Davis4–6 pmDistrict Office / Kendell Bldg (2nd Floor)

70 E 100 N, Farmington Thursday April 25

Uintah District4–6 pm Maeser Training Center1149 N 2500 W, Vernal

FBI and Dept of Ed Sued for Privacy Violations   4 comments

We knew that the Dept. of Education had been sued for violating student privacy by changing FERPA without congressional approval.

But now we learn that the same company, EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has also sued the FBI for privacy-rights obliteration.

Now, ponder those two lawsuits in the context of the White House’s “data-mashing” goals (those are the words of DOE chief of staff Joanne Weiss.)   Recall, too, that the White House hosted a “Datapalooza” conference recently to celebrate the wonders of streamlining all data collection everywhere.

The White House is very openly promoting inter-agency data sharing.  They will not easily admit that they are making privacy laws looser and looser and reducing parental say over student data. But it’s clear if you actually take the time to read, read, read.


All the states have a federally paid for, federally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System which tracks citizens throughout their lives.

Please click on the links to verify.



Posted April 11, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Republican National Convention Debates Controversial Common Core   6 comments


Reposted from Leslie Schmidt at Political Chips:

The Republican National Committee Spring Meeting starts today in Los Angeles.  One of the items that will be discussed and voted on is a draft resolution on the Common Core State Standards which you can see below:



WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of academic standards, promoted and supported by two private membership organizations, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a method for conforming American students to uniform (“one size fits all”) achievement goals to make them more competitive in a global marketplace, (1.) and

WHEREAS, the NGA and the CCSSO, received tens of millions of dollars from private third parties to advocate for and develop the CCSS strategy, subsequently created the CCSS through a process that was not subject to any freedom of information acts or other sunshine laws, and never piloted the CCSS, and

WHEREAS, even though Federal Law prohibits the federalizing of curriculum (2.), the Obama Administration accepted the CCSS plan and used 2009 Stimulus Bill money to reward the states that were most committed to the president’s CCSS agenda; but, they failed to give states, their legislatures and their citizens time to evaluate the CCSS before having to commit to them, and

WHEREAS, the NGA and CCSSO in concert with the same corporations developing the CCSS ‘assessments’ have created new textbooks, digital media and other teaching materials aligned to the standards which must be purchased and adopted by local school districts in order that students may effectively compete on CCSS ‘assessments’, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS program includes federally funded testing and the collection and sharing of massive amounts of personal student and teacher data, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS effectively removes educational choice and competition since all schools and all districts must use Common Core ‘assessments’ based on the Common Core standards to allow all students to advance in the school system and to advance to higher education pursuits; therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee, as stated in the 2012 Republican Party Platform, “do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level,” (p35)(3.), which is best based on a free market approach to education for students to achieve individual excellence; and, be it further

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is– an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee rejects thecollection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state, and be it finally

RESOLVED, the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (p36) (3.); and therefore, the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.



2.  Federal Law 20 USC 1232a-Sec. 1232a. and The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Pub.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 US.C. ch. 70.…


Judy Park Introduces Common Core SAGE Tests to Wasatch School District   18 comments

Here’s an update for everyone here in the Heber Valley who didn’t attend tonight’s Wasatch School District presentation.  It was given by State Assistant Superintendent Judy Park  on the new Common Core SAGE (American Institues for Research) tests.

If you live in Utah, please check the schedule and make sure you and everyone on your block attends when Judy Park comes to your home town.  Also, find out what your parental rights are under state and federal law.  Parental rights conflict with the parent-unfriendly testing system. This is the schedule again:   Please check the schedule.

I am still so angry that I can’t type straight–  I’m so outraged at the lack of accountability and the unwillingness to give straight answers and well-researched answers.  Ms. Park was “so thrilled” and “so excited,” she said, about the technological advances.  And apparently very annoyed by anyone’s questions (about A.I.R.’s controversial website and parental rights issues.)
The speaker will try to smother you with her pasted on smile and her long powerpoint presentation.  You have to reaaaalllly push to get any questions out.  And even then, most will remain unanswered.
It was an awful experience to be there.
Judy Park, the officer of federal accountability (yes, really, that’s one of  her titles) is also a writer for and a member of the CCSSO, the same D.C. group that developed and copyrighted the Common Core (without academic integrity, without empirical evidence, and on Bill Gates’ dime.)
Park refuses to use the word “common core” in public, and uses “Utah Core” at all times.  This deliberately misleads the listeners.  Because the tests are 100% common core aligned and are written to the common core national standards.  And she knows it.  But won’t say it.  Ever.
I realized tonight, early on, that I (we) had to be bold.  So each time she came to point that I did not understand or felt uncomfortable with, I raised my hand and, at the same time, not waiting for her to acknowledge me, I said, “I have a question about that,” so that she didn’t have a chance to ignore me.  Several others did the same thing.
If we hadn’t been that pushy, she would have done her two hour presentation without any questioning.  And boy, are there questions that need answers!!!
My first question was if she could provide us with a reference for that fact she had stated that common core tests were written for and by Utahns.  I simply asked her that we wouldn’t just have to take her word for it.   She just asked me to check the USOE website or email her later.  (I have emailed her many times and she never, never responds.)
My next question was whether we should be discussing the tests when we haven’t even seen evidence legitimizing the standards on which the tests are built.  I asked if she would provide us with some references for the claims that the standards are improving, rather than damaging, education (considering that they diminish literature and narrative writing, and deprive kids of traditional math skills.)  She pasted on her big smile and said she’d explain it to me in person, after the meeting.(So I asked her again, after the meeting. But then suddenly, she had no such evidence. She didn’t even say she would research it. It’s like she KNOWS they are building a huge building without a foundation on top of a sandbar. She just kept smiling and saying, “I can see that you are very passionate about this,” after the meeting when I repeated my request to see some empirical evidence, a shred of an academic study showing that these standards were more than some noneducator’s idea of an experiment (David Coleman.) She simply had nothing. So she turned away from me in absolute rudeness as if I had ceased to exist, and she started talking to a principal who stood nearby.)

My friend raised her hand and asked whether parents could see the test questions. (Remember, it’s in Utah law that parents HAVE to be able to see all curriculum and tests on request.)  The truthful answer to this question is no.  But Judy Park talked around and around and around the question, saying that there are thousands of questions. Not answering my friend yes or no.  Then she mentioned that there is a 15 member parent panel required by legislation.

(After the meeting I asked her if I might be on that panel because I don’t mind reading thousands of questions and she said yes, to email her about it later. Which I will. But I somehow doubt she’ll pick me or recommend me to the governor, who appoints the panel.)


Two others raised their hands at separte times and asked how much the assessments/technology will cost and she gave an incomplete and confusing answer.
Another friend raised her hand and asked how they are protecting student data privacy.  Again, Judy Park gave a partial, misleading answer, saying that only parents, students and educators will have access to personal information.  Anyone who was in last summer’s senate education committee hearing heard John Brandt testify that the Utah Data Alliance allows 12-20 people access to the data collected by all six agencies of the Utah Data Alliance, and it’s personally identifiable student information.  So it is all in one leakable, hackable collection.  Judy Park didn’t know this?  If she did, she didn’t say it when my friend asked the question.After the meeting, I mentioned this to Judy Park as well. She brushed it off, saying that John Brandt is no longer working there, and now it’s Mr. Winkler. I never got a chance to ask her how the parental-consent destroying federal FERPA alterations are being addressed in her head. Maybe one of you could ask her at other district meetings. My guess is that she has not studied it at all. She seems so totally unconcerned, so utterly bought in to this whole common core movement. She often used words like “thrilled” and “so excited about” during her speech –repeatedly!

She mentioned that the AIR tests are being used by many states including Hawaii and Oregon for their “federal accountability”.  She used that term.So after the meeting I brought up the fact that there’s something called the Constitution and the General Educational Provisions Act that forbid the federal government from telling states what to do. She had no idea what I was talking about. None. She had never heard of G.E.P.A. law. FYI, here it is: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“

She said that the accomodations that are usually reserved for special ed kids are now available for everyone.  There were tons. One of them was speech to text dictation.  It occurred to me that we might not know if we have illiterate kids graduating from our system if we allow everyone to use text-to-speech rather than requiring reading.  So I asked her about it and she assured me that that could never happen.  Not sure how.
She showed us sample math and English questions from the SAGE/Common Core test.  The technology was nice and several teachers and principals were gushing about it, oblivious to anything but the cool factor.  But I had to raise my hand again, saying that this selection of Sherlock Holmes seemed great, but with the addition of so much info-text and the deletion of so much classic literature, there was a huge chance that the students would be reading texts that I would not approve of, such as extreme environmental/sustainability informational text or text about LGTB2 (lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual, and two-spirited –whatever that means– )  since the AIR website is focused so much on LGTB2 issues.
She assured me that there are three groups that vet all the questions.  Who are the groups, I asked: anyone in Utah? Anyone in this room?  How can I get on that panel?  She never answered that question either other than to say that she trusts that there will be no bias of any kind, that the groups are so sensitive that they get rid of all cultural and other biases.  She really seems to believe that there is such a thing as value-free writing.  But she cannot seem to give a straight answer as to WHO the three vetting groups are, other than to repeat that they are Utahns.  Which I still have no documentation for and do not believe since AIR’s site says they use a “pool” of groups for input.
Another parent raised her hand and asked what happens if I want to opt my child out.  Judy Park said, “You can opt out but if too many people opt out it will make the data unmeaningful.”
I lost track of the number of times she dodged my questions by asking me to email her about it later.  So finally, I said that I have emailed her countless times and never once has she ever emailed me back.  She was embarrassed by that, but it’s the truth and she didn’t deny it.  And she still didn’t answer my most important questions.
To sum up:   1) The educators in the room seemed super excited about the technology of these tests and didn’t seem to mind, or see, worrisome issues.  2) Parents in the room seemed horrified by Common Core and did not get their questions answered satisfactorily.  3) Judy Park appeared to be very uneducated about state constitutional rights, about the American process of governed individuals having actual representation; she seemed to feel that the federal government has a legitimate right to supervise Utah and hold Utah “accountable.” She doesn’t know what the Utah Data Alliance or the SLDS does, and is unconcerned with the most pressing question I repeatedly asked her to face:   where is some empirical evidence that Common Core tests are based upon legitimate educational standards?   This is the question I hope hundreds of thousands of Utahns ask her and keep asking her.
We wouldn’t build a home without a cost analysis, an earthquake analysis, careful attention to what makes homes last in bad weather and what makes a solid, sturdy, beautiful home.  So why have we built a new educational system and shredded all vestiges of the old one, without ever asking any questions about whether this home is built of oak or granite or green cheese?  It is the height of irresponsibility.  Yet Judy Park stood with a pasted on smile, one hand on the microphone, one hand on her hip, nodding her head and saying, “You sure seem to have a lot of passion about this,” rather than having the integrity to say, “There is no empirical evidence; it’s an experiment on our kids,”  or “I hadn’t thought to ask; let me research that for you,” or giving any sort of confidence-inspiring answer.  Why?  Because there is none.  That’s why.
Judy Park, who leads all of our schools and by extension, all of our children, is either naiive and clueless or extremely dishonest.  I think she has trusted the wolves (Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond) for so long that now she in all sincerity doesn’t know what she’s really defending.
The worst part for me was when some of our local district people stood up and thanked Judy Park for this wonderful new Common Core testing system and said, “Christel, you need to listen.”  Sigh.  Has anyone listened and studied and pondered and agonized over this more than me?  Really?  I need to listen more?
After the meeting I also reminded Judy Park that I’d tried to make an appointment to visit with her in person but that the request had been denied.  She simply said I should talk to Brenda Hales.
Where is the accountability of our state leaders to teachers, parents, and taxpayers?  Sadly, we can’t vote this woman out of office.  All we can do is know our parental rights and repeatedly, firmly ask Mrs. Park and her team to answer questions with actual references and evidence rather than relying on empty claims and a mile-wide, stiff and pasted-on smile.

Posted April 8, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: # 4 Bill Ayers   10 comments

Bill Ayers:  Down with America

Countdown # 4

This is the sixth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For numbers 5,  6, 7, 8, 9 and 10,  click here.

Unrepentant anti-American and former terrorist Bill Ayers  is highly respected in certain circles. He’s welcomed with open arms to speak to university students  nationwide.  His writings are welcomed at the New York Times.  He’s gets magazine   interviews and is glamorized by Hollywood .

He’s an important associate of the powerful Linda Darling-Hammond, she who calls the big shots as an Obama education advisor  and for Common Core testing consortia SBAC.

Many teacher’s colleges  roll out the red carpet for him  — it’s incomprehensible, but true.

Ayers has never swayed from preaching against Americanism and fighting for the overthrow of America and the implementation of communism.  He’s never apologized for the violence he caused in America during the Vietnam War.  He’s never actually discussed education much; it’s only a tool to him, a useful one to create the end of capitalism and the beginning of American socialism.

Yet people listen to him.

He was the keynote speaker at this year’s Association for Teacher Educators conference.  Here’s his University of Oregon speech, last year.    Here’s his University of Southern California speech: . He’s been invited as a featured speaker at the University of Nebraska, Minnesota State, Georgetown University Law Center, New York University, University of Wyoming — the list is long.

At last year’s “Change the Stakes” meeting he told listeners to grab control of political power by using schools and local communities.

And here’s a super scary one: an interview about Ayers’ original plans for “re-education centers” and “elimination” of people who would not be re-educated in the Anti-American philosophy.  The interview is with Larry Grathwohl, who worked with Ayers during their violent Weather Underground days.

Then there’s an unbelievable Ayers in an  out of control radio interview with Larry Elder that was also rebroadcast on Hannity.

What’s Ayers’ message?  He wants students to help him overthrow America as we know it and become global (communist) citizens, free of the U.S. Constitution and traditional values.  His message has nothing to do with education reform and everything to do with using teachers and schools as change agents for socialist indoctrination. He’s open about it.  He says:

“The great challenge for our generation to find a way not just to live differently as individuals, but to find a way to think differently about what work means, to think differently about citizenship means, to think differently about what it means to be a ‘citizen of the world.’  One of the great dangers that we live in right now, is I don’t think there’s any question, and I don’t think any of you would question, that the American Empire is in decline–that economically, and politically, and in  some ways culturally, that we are in decline.  And yet, the United States remains the most powerful, weaponized military system the Earth has ever known.

That’s a treacherous combination.  A declining economic power, and an expanding military power.  And we are going to have to find ways to re-imagine what it means to live in this coun–  in this world.  And here we are 4% of the world’s population, 4.5% of the world’s population, consuming vast amounts of natural resources, consuming vast amounts of finished goods, and no politician will say that the empire is declining and that the game is over. ” 

America, stop inviting this man to teach our teachers.  Please.

Posted April 8, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Connecticut Principal of the Year: High-Stakes Testing and Common Core are Unacceptable   Leave a comment

Connecticut Principal of the Year: Advice to Politicians about High-Stakes Testing.

On the above-linked article at Diane Ravitch’s blog, I read the letter written by the 2012 principal of the year about Common Core Tom McMorran.

He explains why Common Core is unacceptable.  He pokes fun at the masses of people who say they support it without having any evidence for its claims of improvement to education.  “Elvis is alive: 50 million fans can’t be wrong.”

In a nutshell, the principal says:

Hard-nosed business practices (which I do not believe business men or women apply to their own concerns) have [no] place in a school…. there is a better way, and it is for all of us educators to embrace our responsibilities as professionals and act from Informed Professional Judgment. I am saying that we can either define ourselves or accept the so-called reform that is happening to us.”

Amen, Principal McMorran.

Diane Ravitch on Common Core: First Do No Harm   Leave a comment

Diane Ravitch has finally put her foot down. In this article, she explains that although she had long advocated voluntary national standards, the Common Core doesn’t meet the hope she had for them; the CCSS process is fundamentally flawed in the way these standards were foisted upon states and in the way that they can just as easily be doing harm, as doing good, to public education.

Diane Ravitch's blog

I have thought long and hard about the Common Core standards.

I have decided that I cannot support them.

In this post, I will explain why.

I have long advocated for voluntary national standards, believing that it would be helpful to states and districts to have general guidelines about what students should know and be able to do as they progress through school.

Such standards, I believe, should be voluntary, not imposed by the federal government; before implemented widely, they should be thoroughly tested to see how they work in real classrooms; and they should be free of any mandates that tell teachers how to teach because there are many ways to be a good teacher, not just one. I envision standards not as a demand for compliance by teachers, but as an aspiration defining what states and districts are expected to do. They should serve as a promise that…

View original post 1,126 more words

Posted February 26, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Obama and UT Senator Push For Government Preschools: Why it’s So Wrong   1 comment


Interesting.  In the same month, both President Obama and Utah’s Sen. Aaron Osmond are pushing to get more toddlers in the arms of the government.  Are they concerned for the well-being of the little ones?  Then why are they doing this?  Why does government desire to hold our babies while we work?

Two reasons: both titled “human capital.”

1.  HUMAN CAPITAL.  Government sees toddlers as property.  Socialist-styled governments increasingly are using the term “human capital” to refer to the people they plan to feed, work, tax, and yes, teach.  They want to imprint upon their capital their ideas and values as early as possible.  Yes, it’s creepy.  But it’s no secret; it’s very openly admitted and promoted.  “Education for all” (UNESCO’s term) has now become “Preschool for all” (Obama’s term.)

2. HUMAN CAPITAL. Government sees mothers (or fathers) as property. The socialist-styled governments are increasingly hoping to redistribute the parents; if a parent is highly educated or trained, it is not in the best interest of those who view those parents as human capital to “allow” them to be home, raising children, when they could be serving the government in other ways.  It is a basic choice that is being taken away from a parent when the government financially or in other ways, incentivizes the leaving of babies in daycare so that the adults will work and be taxed.

Think I’m making this up?

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s speech:  “Improving Human Capital in an Competitive World– Education Reform in the United States”  here:,,contentMDK:22848251~menuPK:282425~pagePK:64020865~piPK:149114~theSitePK:282386,00.html

Then read Sweden’s Mireja Institute’s sad “lessons learned” on the topic, here:

We are not the government’s human capital.  We are free human beings, children of God.

Let’s not be asleep while our leaders turn our society into a socialist/communist styled nanny-government nation and manipulate our babies out of our arms.

Recognize the wrong-minded, popular notion that socialism is good, that government is the ultimate provider, and that individual families are inept caretakers for their own offspring.  This should be taken as false doctrine in any church, in any family, in any reasonable mind.  Government can never provide a thing; it can only forcibly take from you to redistribute to me, or, forcibly take from me to redistribute to you.  But government is not a provider– it’s only a forcible redistributor.

I believe these words on the subject, from Ezra Taft Benson:

It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.

“We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence.

“It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.

“Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.”




Unelected Philanthropists Using Money for Policy Change Without Consent or Representation of People   20 comments

Does Bill Gates’ money circumvent the American process?

Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman writes about the funding and promotion of Common Core;  that while it is common for foundations to fund research, it is out of the ordinary to watch the way the Gates Foundation is working.  For example, Pullman notes that “Twenty-six of the 32 people who testified against a bill to withdraw Indiana from the Core are members of organizations the Gates Foundation funds.”

Pullman quotes the dean of Claremont Graduate University, who notes:

It’s the way [Gates is] doing it that we think is curious,” Thomas said. “It’s an intrusion into the public sphere more directly that has not been seen before. They’re jumping into the policy process itself. That’s an interesting position, for a nonprofit to be involved in things that look a lot like lobbying.”


Gates’ financing for initiatives like the federal Race to the Top (RTT) grant competition and in creating “intermediate organizations” to carry out its mission: “Heavens, this is some pretty direct stuff.”

Fourteen of 16 RTT-winning states received Gates funding for consultants to help write their applications for federal money. RTT grants also committed winning states to the Common Core before it was written.

“The Gates Foundation’s agenda has become the country’s agenda in education,” Michael Petrilli, vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2009 after four Gates employees moved to the U.S. Department of Education. Two US DOE transfers from Gates received Obama administration waivers from its conflict of interest policy banning lobbyists from becoming high-ranking federal employees.

“Gates has a sort of magnetic force” to attract media attention, other donors, and politicians Reckhow said, noting “the single-mindedness with which they pursue an agenda.” Because of this, Gates priorities can “crowd out” others.
The foundation has directly sponsored state departments of education and myriad groups who aim to influence policymakers. In 2012, it gave $1.9 million to the Kentucky Department of Education “to examine the use of high-quality curriculum to accelerate common core state standards implementation.” The Pennsylvania Business Roundtable got $257,391 “to educate Pennsylvania opinion leaders, policymakers, the media, and the public on Common Core State Standards and the Common State Assessment.” The Foundation for Excellence in Education received $151,068 “to complete a statewide communications campaign in Florida … on why there is a drop in school grades, why it is temporary, and how raising the bar on education standards leads to greater student success.”

For more examples of Gates’ influence on one education policy, view this spreadsheet of all its grants related to the Common Core, which include development, money for states to put it in place, and messaging to target groups like politicians, teachers, and business leaders.

Nearly everyone interviewed for this article agreed Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation’s employees are, as Greene put it, “good people trying to do good things.” But that does not quell their concerns.

“I don’t think many people will quibble the good intentions of these foundations, but that they subvert the basic democratic processes designed to help encourage liberty and equality is what we should be concerned about,” Thomas said.

Read the rest.

Posted February 11, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Utah Legislation Going On Right Now   Leave a comment

Senator Aaron Osmond

State School Board Chair Debra Roberts

Representative Kraig Powell

Governor Gary Herbert

We are not put here on earth only to eat cupcakes, to quote one another and make each other feel lovely.  We are here to STAND UP and DO something when we see our freedoms being threatened, or when we see corruption or cruelty or lying or any wrong thing.

One verse that I particularly relate to in the Book of Mormon is this:  “And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.”  (Alma 59:13)

I could paste it right into my diary:  “And it came to pass that Christel was angry with the [Utah State School Board, Federal Dept. of Education, Governor Herbert, Representative Powell and Senator Aaron Osmond] because of their indifference concerning the [educational] freedom of the country.”

In the Book of Mormon, there are two Moronis.  This Moroni was a military captain, a great patriot, of whom it was previously written:  “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. (Alma 48:17)

Where are our local Moronis?  I think in D.C. we have two:  I’ve seen Senator Chaffetz and Senator Lee each valiantly take on corruption and assaults on America’s freedom.  Lee fought Hillary Clinton’s U.N. “Let’s take over the American oceans” treaty.  Chaffetz put the “Fast and the Furious” corruption on trial at the Executive level.  I haven’t followed all they’ve done, but what I’ve seen matches the spirit of Moroni’s fight for freedom.

But locally, we could really use more.

Today, I’m extremely upset with Senator Aaron Osmond for promoting SB100, a bill sponsored by Sen. J. Stevenson.  I realize these legislators don’t have malicious intent, but neither do they seem to see what is so clear when you have studied what socialism is, and what our Constitution is supposed to protect.  They just haven’t studied enough!

If you go to the Utah Legislative website right now it will say that the bill is passing merrily along with no trouble.  Why?  Have these legislators really not done any homework at all, or are they complicit with the socialist/globalist goals of those who wish to degrade the United States? SB100 gives preferential treatment to IB schooling in Utah, (and permits the expense of IB).  International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, curriculum and tests are in no way accountable to Utah teachers, parents or the State School Board. It is a program run globally out of Switzerland, with tests graded by IB staff, and no say for any local voice in what is tested or taught. None. Additionally, IB curriculum promotes global citizenship, meaning that any country or system (such as the U.S. Constitution and its God-respecting principles) is no better or worse than ANY other– it’s equally to be taught and honored as is the communism of China, the socialism of Sweden, or the evil dictatorship of North Korea.  IB cloaks itself in tolerance and global awareness, but it is anti-American in its refusal to acknowledge the superiority and goodness of any political system over another.  There are other problems with IB.  But that is the only one that is a real dealbreaker for me.

Meanwhile, Representative Kraig Powell has bought, hook, line and sinker, the notion that “global warming” and “climate change” are settled science– so much so that he’s pushing a bill run by environmentalist extremists in Utah.  If you read the Twitter feeds or the newspapers, you will see it.

It’s funny because just this week, there’s also news that makes Rep. Powell’s ideas look silly, saying that science shows humans are not creating global warming, even if it is somehow legitimately ever proven that the earth is warming, that it’s going to do real damage, or that legislation can alter its outcomes.  Read that science here: and here:

I’ve never spoken to Sen. J. Stevenson, but have repeatedly spoken with Senator Osmond and Kraig Powell about these bills and I’ve asked them to run bills helping Utah to shake itself free of the chains of Common Core.  Neither will act.  Senator Osmond, of course, is an employee of Pearson Company, the main purveyor of Common Core and global same-education implementation products worldwide, (and Pearson has huge contracts with the State School Board of Utah) so Osmond’s not motivated to even study this stuff.

Powell, I can’t figure out.  I see him in the hallway at church sometimes and we smile at each other and there’s no animosity from either of us.  He knows a ton about Common Core because many of us in Heber have knocked ourselves over trying to educate him and get him to help us in this fight.  But he has a lot of liberal and socialist friends, and friends in education who believe the claims of the proponents of Common Core.  And I guess that’s why he won’t act.  I don’t know, really.

Then there’s Governor Herbert.  Just this week he was in D.C. testifying about how wonderful it is that Utah is aligning education with business to create a managed workforce.  Sorry, but the whole Prosperity 2020 thing sounds exactly like socialism to me: manage the people; use your “human capital,” and I don’t see much liberty or individuality in that. Our Governor is likewise doing nothing about the data collection invasion that his state technology director, John Brandt, is foisting upon Utah, using six Utah agencies in his Utah Data Alliance.  Brandt gives speeches for the federal agencies like NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) as well.  He cannot be ignorant about the damages he’s doing to student and citizen privacy in our state.  Can the governor be?

I hope and pray that better people will be willing to study these important issues, compare them to the original founding fathers’ documents, and to scripture, and to common sense, and to real, actual, empirical science.

I hope many of these good people then decide to run for office or school board or city council –or at least teach those who do, by studying the political movements and by trying to influence them correctly.

We need more people with good brains and solid hearts, who have an abiding testimony that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of freedom and truth, that the Constitution is a tangible reality to honor –and not something to claim that you honor while you write socialist bills.

I get the feeling that Herbert, Powell and Osmond actually like people like me.  They see us as cheerleaders for the Constitution and for the GOP.  They pat us on the head, figuratively, and say, “Run along now, dearie, and thanks for your enthusiasm,” while they continue to lead us down the path toward total socialism, which is the same thing, years down the developmental (progressive) path, as communism:  total control of the state of each individual, including the absorption of property rights and family authority over the child.  This is what I see as the result of  Powell’s climate philosophy, Osmond’s education bill, and Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 (business-and-education-partnership).

Yes, I’m angry.  We deserve more from these men.

Want to “shake the powers of hell” like Moroni?  Vote in some guys like this ancient defender of freedom:

“And Moroni was… a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood… this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.” (Alma 48)

Moroni wrote a letter to his political representative.  He said:

“Great has been your neglect towards us.  And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.  Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?” (Alma 60)

And that is how I feel.  The neglect of Herbert, Powell, the State School Board and Osmond is not a lack of sending provisions, but in their having done so little research homework, or, if they have done their research, the neglect is in not acting upon the truth when they learned it.

National Federation of Republican Women: Defeat Common Core   3 comments

The document I’ve pasted here is co-sponsored by the Republican Women’s Federations of Alabama, Nebraska, Delaware, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Do you think it is time for Utah to join them?


Defeat National Standards for State Schools
Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention
Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011

WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;

WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;

WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;

WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);

BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing, (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.

Submitted by: Alabama Federation of Republican Women
Elois Zeanah, President


Nebraska Federation of Republican Women
Delaware Federation of Republican Women
Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women
Georgia Federation of Republican Women
Tennessee Federation of Republican Women

Fox News: On Schools Dropping Penmanship (thanks to Common Core)   2 comments

An op-ed from Fox News (on fact that schools are dropping the teaching of penmanship –which is due to Common Core) brings up a good question:

What happens to the authentication of signatures when people can’t actually sign their names at all?  Will we revert back 100 years to when people only signed with an X?  The author of this piece is a forensic scientist who understands the legal and scientific importance of having actual, distinct signatures.

Handwriting is a physical act that helps learners remember what they learn. 

And it’s beautiful.

So, does anyone care?

Full text here:

Posted January 22, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

A Teacher Speaks Out Against Common Core Math: James Schuls   Leave a comment

In a recent Education Week article, math teacher James Schuls tells his story.   Here’s a small portion of the excellent, informative article:

“Walking into my son’s school to talk math curriculum to his teacher and principal intimidated me. It kind of felt like I had challenged my son’s teacher on the content of what she was teaching and now I was being sent to the principal’s office. Now, I am not an average parent and I cannot help wonder what a parent who is not a professional educator might feel like under such circumstances…. Still, I marched into the meeting full of optimism. My goal was singular: to make sure my children could use standard algorithms to solve math problems.

The teacher explained that the district was using Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) as the method to teach the Common Core State Standards. I was a bit confused. In the CGI book, the authors clearly stated CGI was a professional development program and I knew that Common Core was the name of the standards being implemented in the state. So I inquired where the curriculum came from, to which the reply was the Common Core…

I realized that I could spend all day going down that rabbit hole, but I remembered my goal so I asked point blank: could my son use a standard algorithm to solve a math problem in his class. The teacher responded, “We don’t do the algorithm in class.”

… I pushed the issue and asked if she would count it wrong if he explained he knew it was a difference problem, he stacked the numbers to subtract the ones and then the 10 and was left with the difference between the two numbers. She indicated she would not count this wrong, but she would make him show a way that he could demonstrate that he knew what he was doing. The principal also responded that he would have to illustrate his understanding.

My kids’ school, by their own admission, had not taught my son or daughter how to solve any math problems in nearly half of the school year. Anything he had learned, he had discovered for himself.

And what was perhaps most galling was their certainty that he could not use the standard algorithm, even though they had no idea where he was going or how he should get there. The rest of the conversation was not helpful.

They threw out buzzwords such as “discovery learning,” but could never explain to me that all of these other methods that they endorsed were acceptable, while the standard algorithm was not.”   – James Schuls

Read the rest of the story:

Posted January 18, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Indiana General Assembly Hears Pro- and Anti-Common Core Bill Testimonies   2 comments

Right now, at this very moment, the Indiana General Assembly is listening to testimony from both proponents and critics of the Common Core national standards.  You can watch here:

They are into  double overtime.
Right now, I ‘m watching/listening to the testimonies of pro-common core teachers, and it’s painful.  Why?

These teachers are obviously intelligent, caring, devoted people.  They speak about the problems of remediation, the wonders of having students read challenging texts, and their opinion that the old Indiana State Standards were inferior to Common Core standards.

But what do none of them talk about?

The part they haven’t studied!

The robbery of their state’s right to set, and later to alter, education standards.  This is a Constitutional right that they have given up.  Do these teachers have any idea of that fact?

The robbery of their students’ privacy rights, via the SLDS database that the federal government paid Indiana (and all other states) to build, to track and to control citizens.  Do these teachers know this?

The robbery of the taxpayers.  I am sure these teachers have no idea that there is a greedy corporate train that cares nothing for students that is poised to make billions and billions of dollars by “implementing” the Common Core, and that almost all previous textbooks and technologies will be kicked to the curb.  Most state legislatures have not done any sort of cost analysis.  None!  That’s nuts.

And the one teacher who I heard talk about classic literature seemed to think that because some classic literature is permitted, yes, even recommended by the Common Core, that would make the elimination of most classic literature somehow unimportant.


I hope and pray that the legislators see the truth:  that these wonderful teachers and their testimonies reflect the beauty of caring teachers and their devotion to improving their students’ lives.  But they do not reflect a viable assessment of the Common Core Initiative in all its invasive and micromanagerial aspects.

I hope and pray these Indiana Legislators pass this bill that will halt implementation of the Common Core in Indiana.  Because the rest of the nation is watching.

And we want our educational freedom back.

Video: Bill Evers of Stanford’s Hoover Institute on Ed Reform   Leave a comment

A Literacy Expert Opposes the Common Core Standards   1 comment

A Literacy Expert Opposes the Common Core Standards.

Diane Ravitch has posted this information, given by a USC linguistics professor, Stephen Krashen, a literacy expert.

He writes that Common Core’s excessive detail will:

(1) dictate the order of presentation of aspects of literacy
(2) encourage a direct teaching, skill-building approach to teaching.
Both of these consequences run counter to a massive amount of research and experience.

There is very good evidence from both first and second language acquisition that aspects of language and literacy are naturally acquired in a specific order that cannot be altered by instruction (C. Chomsky, 1969, The Acquisition of Syntax in Children from 5 to 10. Cambridge: MIT Press; Krashen, S. 1981, Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning, Pergamon Press, available at

There is also very good evidence that we acquire language and literacy best not through direct instruction but via “comprehensible input” – for literacy, this means reading, especially reading that the reader finds truly interesting, or “compelling.” (Krashen, S. 2010.The Goodman/Smith Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, the Comprehension Hypothesis, and the (Even Stronger) Case for Free Voluntary Reading. In: Defying Convention, Inventing the Future in Literacy Research and Practice: Essays in Tribute to Ken and Yetta Goodman. P. Anders (Ed.) New York: Routledge. 2010. pp. 46-60. Available at

– – – – – – –

As has often been noted:  the wonderfully informative insights about the flaws of Common Core are so important, but not nearly so important as the fact that Common Core puts into cement teaching philosophies that cannot be altered by the people using them.

There is no voice and no vote. Teachers and citizens have nothing to do with what will be decided upon to be taught. Only the central planners can alter or amend the standards.  That’s the NGA/CCSSO:  National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State School Officers.  Nobody else.  Does that sound constitutional to you?

Bill Ayers’ Advice to the Extreme Left Wing: It’s Easiest to Take Over Schools and Classrooms – Video: In His Own Words   4 comments

Extreme Leftist Bill Ayers (skip to 2:15) says here that leftists who plan to transform the American way  should forget about the White House and Congress and focus on where they have “absolute access:  schools… classrooms… shops…”

Lord Have Mercy: Music Tribute to Sandy Hook Sufferers   2 comments

Posted December 20, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Mireja: Psych. Illness Linked to Government-Controlled Education and Interrupted Family Attachment   Leave a comment

Reblogged from Mireja Institute:

In Sweden, many families lack the power to make their own decisions about their close relationships, especially when children arrive.

Symptoms are visible in the national statistics: High levels of stress-related sick leave, ambitious but insecure parents, increasing psychological ill heath among youth, plummeting learning results and more disorder in schools.

The governmental impediments are often well-intentioned: The everyone-to-work policy, gender equality, high subsidised day care, pre- and after-school care and school. But rather than create more welfare, these are in effect often hindrances to the close relationships which are so important to human health, learning and development.

The Mireja Institute seeks to educate people on this important subject.

Mireja Institute is politically and religiously unaffiliated and is neither based on any specific ideology, apart from democracy and human rights. The purpose of The Mireja Institute is to present the knowledge available today about health, learning and personal growth through attachment and relationships, to the political level.

This knowledge is lacking today in the political debate in many countries, Sweden being no exception. When this knowledge is publicly known family policies in most political camps will look different, even though the solutions may vary.

The goal is to make available the knowledge about the potential in close relationships to build welfare, development and democracy.

Jonas Himmelstrand

Founder of The Mireja Institute

Mireja founder Jonas Himmelstrand has been a consultant in business for nearly 30 years focusing on leadership, education and personal development.

Meeting a great number of Swedes in business life during many years raised some concerns about how well the Swedish people were actually doing in the world’s best well-fare system. Jonas spent five years working on a book to explain the phenomena. The problems seemed to boil down to a social system not acknowledging the key importance of family and close relationships to health, personal growth and self-fulfilment.  He currently lives in exile outside of Sweden, due to Sweden’s anti-homeschooling laws.

With The Mireja Institute Jonas spreads knowledge on the subjects of family attachment and educational liberty.  Mireja sends out a free newsletter with research videos and links.

Mireja Newsletter:

This is a newsletter from the think tank Mireja.

The mailing list is expanded and professionalized. You can sign up for the list on the web, and anytime unsubscribe – all with IT automation – see links below. You are receiving this mailing for the first time can learn more about me and think tank Mireja on .
It has been thin with “clips” in the last year. The forced relocation to Åland in Swedish education policy reasons, plus the global homeschooling conference in Berlin took all my time this year. Now with safer living conditions in exile and some good news there are many reasons to revive this mailing list.
Knowledge Channel to broadcast a full study day with Dr. Gordon Neufeld on TV!

The world’s foremost experts on children and young people’s development is the Canadian psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld.

His book “Dare to Take Place in Your Child’s Life” has been translated into 14 languages ​​and is based on a synthesis of classical developmental psychology, attachment theory and contemporary neuroscience. Dr. Neufeld has been to Sweden several times and given study days for school staff and lectures for parents. One key message is that parents and families are far more important for children’s development than we now recognize in the West and especially in Sweden.

Dr. Neufeld’s study day in Sweden in November, “Why doesn’t Charlie listen to his teacher?” Filmed by Knowledge Channel and will be broadcast in its entirety – just over five hours – as follows:

Monday, December 17, at. 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., parts 1 and 2. Tuesday, December 18, at. 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Part 3 and 4. Then, all components of the replay: Friday, December 21, at. 12:00 to 17:15, Part 1-4

After the program was broadcast on television for the first time, they will be available online at and . To find them, search for “Gordon Neufeld” or the name of the series, “Why doesn’t Charlie listen to his teacher?”  (“Varför lyssnar inte Kalle på sin lärare?”)

Do not miss this opportunity to listen to the entire field day with Dr. Gordon Neufeld absolutely free!

Think tank Mireja’s Swedish website is now fully updated with all the year’s events, including exile, and also with ten links from the historic homeschooling conference in Berlin a few weeks ago.

Welcome back to this mailing list!

Jonas Himmelstrand

Think tank Mireja , Box 1454, SE-114 79 Stockholm, Sweden Phone: +46 8-20 01 14 *


United Nations Document 19 Sep 1997 Resolution Adopted: Agenda Item 8 in 19th Special Session   1 comment



United Nations

Note from blog author: Why am I posting this long, boring document from the United Nations? Because the word “education” appears 33 times in it.  Because “sustainable” appears over 100 times and “sustainable development” 74 times.  Because the globalists are using Common Core as a vehicle to control American minds.  And because you can no longer access Agenda 21’s text online, so we’re posting whatever we had in PDFs for the public to see. A/RES/S-19/2

General Assembly


19 September 1997


Nineteenth special session
Agenda item 8


              [without reference to a Main Committee (A/S-19/29)]

            S/19-2.  Programme for the Further Implementation
                     of Agenda 21

      The General Assembly

      Adopts the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21
annexed to the present resolution.

                                                          11th plenary meeting
                                                                  28 June 1997


             Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21

       Adopted by the General Assembly at its nineteenth special session
                               (23-28 June 1997)



 I.   STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT ..............................         1 - 6

      CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ............         7 - 21

      ACTION ...............................................        22 - 115

      A. Integration of economic, social and environmental
         objectives .......................................         23 - 32  

      B. Sectors and issues ...............................         33 - 75  

      C. Means of implementation ..........................         76 - 115 


      A. Greater coherence in various intergovernmental
         organizations and processes ......................        117 - 121   

      B. Role of relevant organizations and institutions
         of the United Nations system .....................        122 - 129   

      C. Future role and programme of work of the
         Commission on Sustainable Development ............        130 - 132   

      D. Methods of work of the Commission on Sustainable
         Development ......................................        133 - 137   

Appendix.  Multi-year programme of work for the Commission
           on Sustainable Development, 1998-2002            

                          I.  STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT

1. At the nineteenth special session of the United Nations General
Assembly, we - heads of State or Government and other heads of
delegations, together with our partners from international
institutions and non-governmental organizations - have gathered to
review progress achieved over the five years that have passed since
the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and to
re-energize our commitment to further action on goals and objectives
set out by the Earth Summit.

2. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was a
landmark event.  At that Conference, we launched a new global
partnership for sustainable development - a partnership that respects
the indivisibility of environmental protection and the development
process.  It is founded on a global consensus and political commitment
at the highest level.  Agenda 21, 1/ adopted at Rio de Janeiro,
addresses the pressing environment and development problems of today
and also aims at preparing the world for the challenges of the next
century in order to attain the long-term goals of sustainable

3. Our focus at this special session has been to accelerate the
implementation of Agenda 21 in a comprehensive manner and not to
renegotiate its provisions or to be selective in its implementation. 
We reaffirm that Agenda 21 remains the fundamental programme of action
for achieving sustainable development.  We reaffirm all the principles
contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 2/
and the Forest Principles. 3/ We are convinced that the achievement
of sustainable development requires the integration of its economic,
environmental and social components.  We recommit to working together
- in the spirit of global partnership - to reinforce our joint efforts
to meet equitably the needs of present and future generations.

4. We acknowledge that a number of positive results have been
achieved, but we are deeply concerned that the overall trends with
respect to sustainable development are worse today than they were in
1992.  We emphasize that the implementation of Agenda 21 in a
comprehensive manner remains vitally important and is more urgent now
than ever.

5. Time is of the essence in meeting the challenges of sustainable
development as set out in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21.  To this
end, we recommit ourselves to the global partnership established at
the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and to
the continuous dialogue and action inspired by the need to achieve a
more efficient and equitable world economy, as a means to provide a
supportive international climate for achieving environment and
development goals.  We therefore, pledge to continue to work together,
in good faith and in the spirit of partnership, to accelerate the
implementation of Agenda 21.  We invite everyone throughout the world
to join us in our common cause.

6. We commit ourselves to ensuring that the next comprehensive review
of Agenda 21 in the year 2002 demonstrates greater measurable progress
in achieving sustainable development.  The present Programme for the
Further Implementation of Agenda 21 is our vehicle for achieving that
goal.  We commit ourselves to fully implementing this Programme.


7. The five years that have elapsed since the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development have been characterized by
the accelerated globalization of interactions among countries in the
areas of world trade, foreign direct investment and capital markets. 
Globalization presents new opportunities and challenges.  It is
important that national and international environmental and social
policies be implemented and strengthened in order to ensure that
globalization trends have a positive impact on sustainable
development, especially in developing countries.  The impact of recent
trends in globalization on developing countries has been uneven.  A
limited number of developing countries have been able to take
advantage of those trends, attracting large inflows of external
private capital and experiencing significant export-led growth and
acceleration of growth in per capita gross domestic product.  Many
other countries, however, in particular African countries and the
least developed countries, have shown slow or negative growth and
continue to be marginalized.  As a result, they generally experienced
stagnating or falling per capita gross domestic product through 1995. 
In these and in some other developing countries, the problems of
poverty, low levels of social development, inadequate infrastructure
and lack of capital have prevented them from benefiting from
globalization.  While continuing their efforts to achieve sustainable
development and to attract new investments, these countries still
require international assistance in their efforts directed towards
sustainable development.  In particular the least developed countries
continue to be heavily dependent on a declining volume of official
development assistance for the capacity-building and infrastructure
development required to provide for basic needs and more effective
participation in the globalizing world economy.  In an increasingly
interdependent world economy, the responsible conduct of monetary and
other macroeconomic policies requires that their potential impact on
other countries be taken into account.  Since the Conference, the
countries with economies in transition have achieved significant
progress in implementing the principles of sustainable development. 
However, the need for full integration of these countries into the
world economy remains one of the crucial problems on their way towards
sustainable development.  The international community should continue
to support these countries in their efforts to accelerate the
transition to a market economy and to achieve sustainable development.

8. Although economic growth - reinforced by globalization - has
allowed some countries to reduce the proportion of people in poverty,
for others marginalization has increased.  Too many countries have
seen economic conditions worsen and public services deteriorate; the
total number of people in the world living in poverty has increased. 
Income inequality has increased among countries and also within them,
unemployment has worsened in many countries, and the gap between the
least developed countries and other countries has grown rapidly in
recent years.  On a more positive note, population growth rates have
been declining globally, largely as a result of expanded basic
education and health care.  That trend is projected to lead to a
stable world population in the middle of the twenty-first century. 
There has also been progress in social services, with expanding access
to education, declining infant mortality and increasing life
expectancy in most countries.  However, many people, particularly in
the least developed countries, still do not have access to adequate
food and basic social services or to clean water and sanitation. 
Reducing current inequities in the distribution of wealth and access
to resources, both within and among countries, is one of the most
serious challenges facing humankind.

9. Five years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, the state of the global environment has continued to
deteriorate, as noted in the Global Environment Outlook 6/ of the
United Nations Environment Programme, and significant environmental
problems remain deeply embedded in the socio-economic fabric of
countries in all regions.  Some progress has been made in terms of
institutional development, international consensus-building, public
participation and private sector actions and, as a result, a number of
countries have succeeded in curbing pollution and slowing the rate of
resource degradation.  Overall, however, trends are worsening.  Many
polluting emissions, notably of toxic substances, greenhouse gases and
waste volumes are continuing to increase although in some
industrialized countries emissions are decreasing.  Marginal progress
has been made in addressing unsustainable production and consumption
patterns.  Insufficient progress has also been identified in the field
of environmentally sound management and adequate control of
transboundary movements of hazardous and radioactive wastes.  Many
countries undergoing rapid economic growth and urbanization are also
experiencing increasing levels of air and water pollution, with
accumulating impacts on human health.  Acid rain and transboundary air
pollution, once considered a problem only in the industrialized
countries, are increasingly becoming a problem in many developing
regions.  In many poorer regions of the world, persistent poverty is
contributing to accelerated degradation of natural resources and
desertification has spread.  In countries seriously affected by
drought and/or desertification, especially those in Africa, their
agricultural productivity, among other things, is uncertain and
continues to decline, thereby hampering their efforts to achieve
sustainable development.  Inadequate and unsafe water supplies are
affecting an increasing number of people worldwide, aggravating
problems of ill health and food insecurity among the poor.  Conditions
in natural habitats and fragile ecosystems, including mountain
ecosystems, are still deteriorating in all regions of the world,
resulting in diminishing biological diversity.  At the global level,
renewable resources, in particular fresh water, forests, topsoil and
marine fish stocks, continue to be used at rates beyond their viable
rates of regeneration; without improved management, this situation is
clearly unsustainable.

10.   While there has been progress in material and energy efficiency,
particularly with reference to non-renewable resources, overall trends
remain unsustainable.  As a result, increasing levels of pollution
threaten to exceed the capacity of the global environment to absorb
them, increasing the potential obstacles to economic and social
development in developing countries.

11.   Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, extensive efforts have been made by Governments and
international organizations to integrate environmental, economic and
social objectives into decision-making by elaborating new policies and
strategies for sustainable development or by adapting existing
policies and plans.  As many as one  hundred and fifty countries have
responded to the commitments established at the Conference  through
national-level commissions or coordinating mechanisms designed to
develop an integrated approach to sustainable development.

12.   The major groups have demonstrated what can be achieved by taking
committed action, sharing resources and building consensus, reflecting
grass-roots concern and involvement.  The efforts of local authorities
are making Agenda 21 and the pursuit of sustainable development a
reality at the local level through the implementation of "local Agenda
21s" and other sustainable development programmes.  Non-governmental
organizations, educational institutions, the scientific community and
the media have increased public awareness and discussion of the
relations between environment and development in all countries.  The
involvement, role and responsibilities of business and industry,
including transnational corporations, are important.  Hundreds of
small and large businesses have made "green business" a new operating
mode.  Workers and trade unions have established partnerships with
employers and communities to encourage sustainable development in the
workplace.  Farmer-led initiatives have resulted in improved
agricultural practices contributing to sound resource management. 
Indigenous people have played an increasing role in addressing issues
affecting their interests and particularly concerning their
traditional knowledge and practices.  Young people and women around
the world have played a prominent role in galvanizing communities into
recognizing their responsibilities to future generations. 
Nevertheless, more opportunities should be created for women to
participate effectively in economic, social and political development
as equal partners in all sectors of the economy.

13.   Among the achievements since the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development have been the entry into force of the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 7/ the
Convention on Biological Diversity 8/ and the United Nations
Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing
Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa; 9/
the conclusion of the Agreement on the Implementation of the
Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of
10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of
Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks; 10/ the
adoption of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States; 11/  the elaboration of the Global
Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from
Land-based Activities; 12/ and the entry into force of the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 13/ Implementation of
these important commitments and of others adopted before the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development by all the parties
to them, remains however, to be carried out, and in many cases further
strengthening of their provisions is required as well as the
mechanisms for putting them into effect.  The establishment,
restructuring, funding and replenishment of the Global Environment
Facility were a major achievement.  However, its levels of funding and
replenishment have not been sufficient fully to meet its objectives.

14.   Progress has been made in incorporating the principles contained
in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development - including the
principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which
embodies the important concept of and basis for international
partnership; the precautionary principle; the polluter pays principle;
and the environmental impact assessment principle - in a variety of
international and national legal instruments.  While some progress has
been made in implementing United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development commitments through a variety of international legal
instruments, much remains to be done to embody the Rio principles more
firmly in law and practice.

15.   A number of major United Nations conferences have advanced
international commitment for the achievement of long-term goals and
objectives directed towards sustainable development.

16.   Organizations and programmes of the United Nations system have
played an important role in the progress made in the implementation of
Agenda 21.  The Commission on Sustainable Development was established
to review progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21,
advance global dialogue and foster partnerships for sustainable
development.  The Commission has catalysed new action and commitments
and has contributed to the deliberations on  sustainable development
among a wide variety of partners within and outside the United Nations
system.  Although much remains to be done, progress has also been made
at the national, regional and international levels in implementing the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development Forest
Principles, including through the Commission's Ad Hoc
Intergovernmental Panel on Forests.

17.   Provision of adequate and predictable financial resources and the
transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries
are critical elements for the implementation of Agenda 21.  However,
while some progress has been made, much remains to be done to activate
the means of implementation set out in Agenda 21, in particular in the
areas of finance and technology transfer, technical assistance and

18.   Most developed countries have still not reached the United
Nations target, reaffirmed by most countries at the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development, of committing 0.7 per cent
of their gross national product to official development assistance or
the United Nations target, as agreed, of committing 0.15 per cent of
gross national product as official development assistance to the least
developed countries.  Regrettably, on average, official development
assistance as a percentage of the gross national product of developed
countries has drastically declined in the post-Conference period, from
0.34 per cent in 1992 to 0.27 per cent in 1995, but official
development assistance has taken more account of the need for an
integrated approach to sustainable development.

19.   In other areas, results have been encouraging since the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development.  There has been a
sizeable expansion of private flows of financial resources from
developed to a limited number of developing countries and, in a number
of countries, efforts have been made in support of domestic resource
mobilization, including the increasing use of economic instruments to
promote sustainable development.

20.   In many developing countries, the debt situation remains a major
constraint on achieving sustainable development.  Although the debt
situation of some middle-income countries has improved, there is a
need to continue to address the debt problems of the heavily indebted
poor countries, which continue to face unsustainable external debt
burdens.  The recent World Bank/International Monetary Fund Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries Initiative could help to address that issue
with the cooperation of all creditor countries.  Further efforts by
the international community are still required to remove debt as an
impediment to sustainable development.

21.   Similarly, technology transfer and technology-related investment
from public and private sources, which are particularly important to
developing countries, have not been realized as outlined in Agenda 21. 
Although increased private flows have led to investments in industry
and technology in some developing countries and economies in
transition, many other countries have been left behind.  Conditions in
some of these countries have been less attractive to private sector
investment and technological change has been slower, thus limiting
their ability to meet their commitments to Agenda 21 and other
international agreements.  The technology gap between developed
countries and, in particular, the least developed countries has


22.   Agenda 21 and the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development established a comprehensive approach to
the achievement of sustainable development.  While it is the primary
responsibility of national Governments to achieve the economic, social
and environmental objectives of Agenda 21, it is essential that
international cooperation be reactivated and intensified, recognizing,
inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities as set forth in Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration. 
This requires the mobilization of stronger political will and the
invigoration of a genuine new global partnership, taking into account
the special needs and priorities of developing countries.  Such an
approach remains as relevant and as urgently needed as ever.  It is
clear from the assessment above that, although progress has been made
in some areas, a major new effort will be required to achieve the
goals established at the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, particularly in areas of cross-sectoral matters where
implementation has yet to be achieved.  The proposals set out in
sections A to C below outline strategies for accelerating progress
towards sustainable development.  The sections are equally important
and must be considered and implemented in a balanced and integrated

       A.  Integration of economic, social and environmental objectives

23.   Economic development, social development and environmental
protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of
sustainable development.  Sustained economic growth is essential to
the economic and social development of all countries, in particular
developing countries.  Through such growth, which should be broadly
based so as to benefit all people, countries will be able to improve
the standards of living of their people through the eradication of
poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy and the provision of adequate
shelter and secure employment for all, and the preservation of the
integrity of the environment.  Growth can foster development only if
its benefits are fully shared.  It must therefore also be guided by
equity, justice and social and environmental considerations. 
Development, in turn, must involve measures that improve the human
condition and the quality of life itself.  Democracy, respect for all
human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to
development, transparent and accountable governance in all sectors of
society, as well as effective participation by civil society, are also
an essential part of the necessary foundations for the realization of
social and people-centred sustainable development.

24.   Sustainable development strategies are important mechanisms for
enhancing and linking national capacity so as to bring together
priorities in social, economic and environmental policies.  Hence,
special attention must be given to the fulfilment of commitments in
the areas set out below, in the framework of an integrated approach
towards development, consisting of mutually reinforcing measures to
sustain economic growth, as well as to promote social development and
environmental protection.  Achieving sustainable development cannot be
carried out without greater integration at all policy-making levels
and at operational levels, including the lowest administrative levels
possible. Economic sectors, such as industry, agriculture, energy,
transport and tourism, must take responsibility for the impact of
their activities on human well-being and the physical environment.  In
the context of good governance, properly constructed strategies can
enhance prospects for economic growth and employment and at the same
time protect the environment.  All sectors of society should be
involved in their development and implementation, as follows:

   (a)   By the year 2002, the formulation and elaboration of national
strategies for sustainable development that reflect the contributions
and responsibilities of all interested parties should be completed in
all countries, with assistance provided, as appropriate, through
international cooperation, taking into account the special needs of
the least developed countries.  The efforts of developing countries in
effectively implementing national strategies should be supported. 
Countries that already have national strategies should continue their
efforts to enhance and effectively implement them.  Assessment of
progress achieved and exchange of experience among Governments should
be promoted.  Local Agenda 21s and other local sustainable development
programmes, including youth activities, should also be actively

   (b)   In integrating economic, social and environmental objectives,
it is important that a broad package of policy instruments, including
regulation, economic instruments, internalization of environmental
costs in market prices, environmental and social impact analysis, and
information dissemination, be worked out in the light of
country-specific conditions to ensure that integrated approaches are
effective and cost-efficient.  To this end, a transparent and
participatory process should be promoted.  This will require the
involvement of national legislative assemblies, as well as all actors
of civil society, including youth and indigenous people and their
communities, to complement the efforts of Governments for sustainable
development.  In particular, the empowerment and the full and equal
participation of women in all spheres of society, including
participation in the decision-making process, are central to all
efforts to achieve such development;

   (c)   The implementation of policies aiming at sustainable
development, including those contained in chapter 3 (Combating
poverty) and in chapter 29 (Strengthening the role of workers and
their trade unions) of Agenda 21, may enhance the opportunities for
job creation, thus helping to achieve the fundamental goal of
eradicating poverty.

An enabling international economic climate

25.   A mutually supportive balance between the international and the
national environment is needed in the pursuit of sustainable
development.  As a result of globalization, external factors have
become critical in determining the success or failure of developing
countries in their national efforts.  The gap between developed and
developing countries points to the continued need for a dynamic and
enabling international economic environment supportive of
international cooperation, particularly in the fields of finance,
technology transfer, debt and trade, if the momentum for global
progress towards sustainable development is to be maintained and

26.   To foster a dynamic and enabling international economic
environment favourable to all countries is in the interest of all
countries.  Moreover, issues, including environmental issues, that
bear on the international economic environment can be approached
effectively only through a constructive dialogue and genuine
partnership on the basis of mutuality of interests and benefits,
taking into account that, in view of the different contributions to
global environmental degradation, States have common but
differentiated responsibilities.

Eradicating poverty

27.   Given the severity of poverty, particularly in developing
countries, the eradication of poverty is one of the fundamental goals
of the international community and the entire United Nations system,
as reflected in Commitment 2 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development, 14/ and is essential for sustainable development. 
Poverty eradication is thus an overriding theme of sustainable
development for the coming years.  The enormity and complexity of the
poverty issue could very well endanger the social fabric, undermine
economic development and the environment, and threaten political
stability in many countries.  To achieve poverty eradication, efforts
of individual Governments and international cooperation and assistance
should be brought together in a complementary way.  Eradication of
poverty depends on the full integration of people living in poverty
into economic, social and political life.  The empowerment of women is
a critical factor for the eradication of poverty.  Policies that
promote such integration to combat poverty, in particular policies for
providing basic social services and broader socio-economic
development, are effective as well since enhancing the productive
capacity of poor people increases both their well-being and that of
their communities and societies, and facilitates their participation
in resource conservation and environmental protection.  The provision
of basic social services and food security in an equitable way is a
necessary condition for such integration and empowerment.  The 20/20
initiative as referred to in the Programme of Action of the World
Summit for Social Development 15/ is, among other things, a useful
means for such integration.  However, the five years since the Rio
Conference have witnessed an increase in the number of people living
in absolute poverty, particularly in developing countries.  In this
context, there is an urgent need for the timely and full
implementation of all the relevant commitments, agreements and targets
already agreed upon since the Rio Conference by the international
community, including the United Nations system and international
financial institutions.  Full implementation of the Programme of
Action of the World Summit for Social Development is essential. 
Priority actions include:

   (a)   Improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial
opportunities and productive resources, including land, water, credit,
technical and administrative training, and appropriate technology,
with particular efforts to broaden the human and social capital basis
of societies so as to reach the rural poor and the urban informal

   (b)   Providing universal access to basic social services,
including basic education, health care, nutrition, clean water and

   (c)   Progressively developing, in accordance with the financial
and administrative capacities of each society, social protection
systems to support those who cannot support themselves, either
temporarily or permanently; the aim of social integration is to create
a "society for all";

   (d)   Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations
by involving them fully in the formulation, implementation and
evaluation of strategies and programmes for poverty eradication and
community development and by ensuring that these programmes reflect
their priorities;

   (e)   Addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women,
in particular by removing legislative, policy, administrative and
customary barriers to women's equal access to productive resources and
services, including access to and control over land and other forms of
property, credit, including micro-credit, inheritance, education,
information, health care and technology.  In this regard, full
implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 16/is essential;

   (f)   Working together of interested donors and recipients to
allocate increased shares of official development assistance to
poverty eradication.  The 20/20 initiative is an important principle
in this respect, as it is based on a mutual commitment among donors
and recipients to increasing resources allocated to basic social

   (g)   Intensifying international cooperation to support measures
being taken in developing countries to eradicate poverty, to provide
basic social protection and services, and to approach poverty
eradication efforts in an integral and multidimensional manner.

Changing consumption and production patterns

28.   Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption,
particularly in the industrialized countries, are identified in Agenda
21 as the major cause of continued deterioration of the global
environment.  While unsustainable patterns in the industrialized
countries continue to aggravate the threats to the environment, there
remain huge difficulties for developing countries in meeting basic
needs such as food, health care, shelter and education for people. 
All countries should strive to promote sustainable consumption
patterns; developed countries should take the lead in achieving
sustainable consumption patterns; developing countries should seek to
achieve sustainable consumption patterns in their development process,
guaranteeing the provision of basic needs for the poor, while avoiding
those unsustainable patterns, particularly in industrialized
countries, generally recognized as unduly hazardous to the
environment, inefficient and wasteful, in their development processes. 
This requires enhanced technological and other assistance from
industrialized countries.  In the follow-up of the implementation of
Agenda 21, the review of progress made in achieving sustainable
consumption patterns should be given high priority. 17/ Consistent
with Agenda 21, the development and further elaboration of national
policies and strategies, particularly in industrialized countries, are
needed to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption and
production patterns, while strengthening, as appropriate,
international approaches and policies that promote sustainable
consumption patterns on the basis of the principle of common but
differentiated responsibilities, applying the polluter pays principle,
and encouraging producer responsibility and greater consumer
awareness.  Eco-efficiency, cost internalization and product policies
are also important tools for making consumption and production
patterns more sustainable.  Actions in this area should focus on:

   (a)   Promoting measures to internalize environmental costs and
benefits in the price of goods and services, while seeking to avoid
potential negative effects for market access by developing countries,
particularly with a view to encouraging the use of environmentally
preferable products and commodities.  Governments should consider
shifting the burden of taxation onto unsustainable patterns of
production and consumption; it is of vital importance to achieve such
an internalization of environmental costs.  Such tax reforms should
include a socially responsible process of reduction and elimination of
subsidies to environmentally harmful activities;

   (b)   Promoting the role of business in shaping more sustainable
patterns of consumption by encouraging, as appropriate, the voluntary
publication of environmental and social assessments of its own
activities, taking into account specific country conditions, and
actions as an agent of change in the market, and actions in its role
as a major consumer of goods and services;

   (c)   Developing core indicators to monitor critical trends in
consumption and production patterns, with industrialized countries
taking the lead;

   (d)   Identifying best practices through evaluations of policy
measures with respect to their environmental effectiveness, efficiency
and implications for social equity, and disseminating such

   (e)   Taking into account the linkages between urbanization and the
environmental and developmental effects of consumption and production
patterns in cities, thus promoting more sustainable patterns of

   (f)   Promoting international and national programmes for energy
and material efficiency with timetables for their implementation, as
appropriate.  In this regard, attention should be given to studies
that propose to improve the efficiency of resource use, including
consideration of a 10-fold improvement in resource productivity in
industrialized countries in the long term and a possible factor-four
increase in industrialized countries in the next two or three decades. 
Further research is required to study the feasibility of these goals
and the practical measures needed for their implementation. 
Industrialized countries will have a special responsibility and must
take the lead in this respect.  The Commission on Sustainable
Development should consider this initiative in the coming years in
exploring policies and measures necessary to implement eco-efficiency
and, for this purpose, encourage the relevant bodies to adopt measures
aimed at assisting developing countries in improving energy and
material efficiency through the promotion of their endogenous
capacity-building and economic development with enhanced and effective
international support;

   (g)   Encouraging Governments to take the lead in changing
consumption patterns by improving their own environmental performance
with action-oriented policies and goals on procurement, the management
of public facilities and the further integration of environmental
concerns into national policy-making.  Governments in developed
countries, in particular, should take the lead in this regard;

   (h)   Encouraging the media, advertising and marketing sectors to
help shape sustainable consumption patterns;

   (i)   Improving the quality of information regarding the
environmental impact of products and services and, to that end,
encouraging the voluntary and transparent use of eco-labelling;

   (j)  Promoting measures favouring eco-efficiency; however,
developed countries should pay special attention to the needs of
developing countries, in particular by encouraging positive impacts,
and to the need to avoid negative impacts on export opportunities and
on market access for developing countries and, as appropriate, for
countries with economies in transition;

   (k)   Encouraging the development and strengthening of educational
programmes to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns;

   (l)   Encouraging business and industry to develop and apply
environmentally sound technology that should aim not only at
increasing competitiveness but also at reducing negative environmental

   (m)   Giving balanced consideration to both the demand side and the
supply side of the economy in matching environmental concerns and
economic factors, which could encourage changes in the behaviour of
consumers and producers.  A number of policy options should be
examined; they include regulatory instruments, economic and social
incentives and disincentives, facilities and infrastructure,
information, education, and technology development and dissemination.

Making trade and environment mutually supportive

29.   In order to accelerate economic growth, poverty eradication and
environmental protection, particularly in developing countries, there
is a need to establish macroeconomic conditions in both developed and
developing countries that favour the development of instruments and
structures enabling all countries, in particular developing countries,
to benefit from globalization.  International cooperation and support
for capacity-building in trade, environment and development should be
strengthened through renewed system-wide efforts, and with greater
responsiveness to sustainable development objectives, by the United
Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods
institutions, as well as by national Governments.  There should be a
balanced and integrated approach to trade and sustainable development,
based on a combination of trade liberalization, economic development
and environmental protection.  Trade obstacles should be removed with
a view to contributing to the achieving of more efficient use of the
earth's natural resources in both economic and environmental terms. 
Trade liberalization should be accompanied by environmental and
resource management policies in order to realize its full potential
contribution to improved environmental protection and the promotion of
sustainable development through the more efficient allocation and use
of resources.  The multilateral trading system should have the
capacity to further integrate environmental considerations and enhance
its contribution to sustainable development, without undermining its
open, equitable and non-discriminatory character.  The special and
differential treatment for developing countries, especially the least
developed countries, and the other commitments of the Uruguay Round of
multilateral trade negotiations 18/ should be fully implemented in
order to enable those countries to benefit from the international
trading system, while conserving the environment.  There is a need for
continuing the elimination of discriminatory and protectionist
practices in international trade relations, which will have the effect
of improving access for the exports of developing countries.  This
will also facilitate the full integration of economies in transition
into the world economy.  In order to make trade, environment and
development mutually supportive, measures need to be taken to ensure
transparency in the use of trade measures related to the environment,
and should address the root causes of environmental degradation so as
not to result in disguised barriers to trade.  Account should be taken
of the fact that environmental standards valid for developed countries
may have unwarranted social and economic costs in other countries, in
particular developing countries.  International cooperation is needed
and unilateralism should be avoided.  The following actions are

   (a)   There should be timely and full implementation of the results
of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and full use
of the Comprehensive and Integrated World Trade Organization Plan of
Action for the Least Developed Countries; 19/

   (b)   An open, non-discriminatory, rule-based, equitable, secure,
transparent and predictable multilateral trading system should be
promoted.  In this context, effective measures are called for to
achieve the complete integration of developing countries and countries
with economies in transition into the world economy and the new
international trading system.  In this connection, there is a need to
promote the universality of the World Trade Organization and to
facilitate the admission to membership in that organization, in a
mutually beneficial way, of developing countries and countries with
economies in transition applying for membership.  Actions should be
taken to maximize the opportunities and to minimize the difficulties
of developing countries, including the net food-importing ones,
especially the least developed countries, and of countries with
economies in transition, in adjusting to the changes introduced by the
Uruguay Round.  Decisions on further liberalization of trade should
take into account effects on sustainable development and should be
consistent with an open, rule-based, non-discriminatory, equitable,
secure and transparent multilateral trading system.  The relationship
between multilateral environmental agreements and the World Trade
Organization rules should be clarified;

   (c)   Implementation of environmental measures should not result in
disguised barriers to trade; 

   (d)   Within the framework of Agenda 21, trade rules and
environmental principles should interact harmoniously;

   (e)   Further analysis of the environmental effects of the
international transport of goods is warranted; 

   (f)  Cooperation and coordination between the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United
Nations Environment Programme and other relevant institutions should
be strengthened on various issues, including (i) the role of positive
measures in multilateral environmental agreements as part of a package
of measures including, in certain cases, trade measures; (ii) the
special conditions and needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in
the trade and environment interface; (iii) trade and environment
issues at the regional and subregional levels, including within the
context of regional economic and trade as well as environmental

   (g)   Cooperation and coordination between the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development and other relevant bodies within
their existing respective mandates should be enhanced, inter alia, on
environment and sustainable development issues.  Without prejudice to
the clear understanding in the World Trade Organization that future
negotiations, if any, regarding a multilateral agreement on investment
will take place only after an explicit consensus decision, future
agreements on investments should take into account the objectives of
sustainable development and, when developing countries are parties to
these agreements, special attention should be given to their needs for

   (h)   National Governments should make every effort to ensure
policy coordination on trade, environment and development at the
national level in support of sustainable development;

   (i)  There is a need for the World Trade Organization, the United
Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development to consider ways to make trade and environment
mutually supportive, including through due respect for the objectives
and principles of the multilateral trading system and for the
provisions of multilateral environmental agreements.  Such
considerations should be consistent with an open, rule-based,
non-discriminatory, equitable, secure and transparent multilateral
trading system.


30.   The impact of the relationship among economic growth, poverty,
employment, environment and sustainable development has become a major
concern.  There is a need to recognize the critical linkages between
demographic trends and factors and sustainable development.  The
current decline in population growth rates must be further promoted
through national and international policies that promote economic
development, social development, environmental protection, and poverty
eradication, particularly the further expansion of basic education,
with full and equal access for girls and women, and health care,
including reproductive health care, including both family planning and
sexual health, consistent with the report of the International
Conference on Population and Development. 20/


31.   The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when a
high proportion of the population is afflicted with debilitating
illnesses.  An overriding goal for the future is to implement the
Health for All strategy 21/ and to enable all people, particularly
the world's poor, to achieve a higher level of health and well-being,

and to improve their economic productivity and social potential. 
Protecting children from environmental health threats and infectious
disease is particularly urgent since children are more susceptible
than adults to those threats.  Top priority should be attached to
supporting the efforts of countries, particularly developing
countries, and international organizations to eradicate the major
infectious diseases, especially malaria, which is on the increase, to
improve and expand basic health and sanitation services, and to
provide safe drinking water.  It is also important to reduce
indigenous cases of vaccine-preventable diseases through the promotion
of widespread immunization programmes, promote accelerated research
and vaccine development and reduce the transmission of other major
infectious diseases, such as dengue fever, tuberculosis and human
immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). 
Given the severe and irreversible health effects of lead poisoning,
particularly on children, it is important to accelerate the process of
eliminating unsafe uses of lead, including the use of lead in gasoline
worldwide, in light of country-specific conditions and with enhanced
international support and assistance to developing countries,
particularly through the timely provision of technical and financial
assistance and the promotion of endogenous capacity-building. 
Strategies at the regional, national and local levels for reducing the
potential risk due to ambient and indoor air pollution should be
developed, bearing in mind their serious impacts on human health,
including strategies to make parents, families and communities aware
of the adverse environmental health impacts of tobacco.  The clear
linkage between health and the environment needs to be emphasized and
the lack of information on the impact of environmental pollution on
health should be addressed.  Health issues should be fully integrated
into national and subnational sustainable development plans and should
be incorporated into project and programme development as a component
of environmental impact assessments.  Important to efforts at national
levels is international cooperation in disease prevention, early
warning, surveillance, reporting, training and research, and

Sustainable human settlements

32.   Sustainable human settlements development is essential to
sustainable development.  The need to intensify efforts and
cooperation to improve living conditions in the cities, towns,
villages and rural areas throughout the world is recognized. 
Approximately half the world's population already lives in urban
settlements, and by early in the next century the majority - more than
5 billion people - will be urban residents.  Urban problems are
concerns common to both developed and developing countries, although
urbanization is occurring most rapidly in developing countries. 
Urbanization creates both challenges and opportunities.  Global
urbanization is a cross-sectoral phenomenon that has an impact on all
aspects of sustainable development.  Urgent action is needed to
implement fully the commitments made at the United Nations Conference
on Human Settlements (Habitat II) consistent with its report, 22/
and in Agenda 21.  New and additional financial resources from various
sources are necessary to achieve the goals of adequate shelter for all
and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world. 
Transfer of expertise and technology, capacity-building,
decentralization of authority through, inter alia, strengthening of
local capacity and private-public partnerships to improve the
provision and environmentally sound management of infrastructure and
social services should be accelerated to achieve more sustainable
human settlements development.  Local Agenda 21 programmes should also
be actively encouraged.  Global targets could be established by the
Commission on Sustainable Development to promote local Agenda 21
campaigns and to deal with obstacles to local Agenda 21 initiatives.

                            B.  Sectors and issues

33.   The present section identifies a number of specific areas that
are of widespread concern since failure to reverse current trends in
these areas, notably in resource degradation, will have potentially
disastrous effects on social and economic development, on human health
and on environmental protection for all countries, particularly
developing countries.  All sectors covered by Agenda 21 are equally
important and thus deserve attention by the international community on
an equal footing.  The need for integration is important in all
sectors, including the areas of energy and transport because of the
adverse effects that developments in those areas can have on human
health and ecosystems; the areas of agriculture and water use, where
inadequate land-use planning, poor water management and inappropriate
technology can result in the degradation of natural resources and
human impoverishment and where drought and desertification can result
in land degradation and soil loss; and the area of management of
marine resources, where competitive overexploitation can damage the
resource base, food supplies and the livelihood of fishing
communities, as well as the environment.  The recommendations made in
each of the sectors take into account the need for international
cooperation in support of national efforts, within the context of the
principles of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, including, inter alia, the principle of common but
differentiated responsibilities.  It is likewise understood that these
recommendations do not in any way prejudice the work accomplished
under legally binding conventions, where they exist, concerning these

Fresh water

34.   Water resources are essential for satisfying basic human needs,
health and food production, and the preservation of ecosystems, as
well as for economic and social development in general.  It is a
matter of urgent concern that more than one fifth of all people still
do not have access to safe drinking water and more than one half of
humanity lacks adequate sanitation.  From the perspective of
developing countries, fresh water is a priority and a basic need,
especially taking into account that in many developing countries fresh
water is not readily available for all segments of the population,
inter alia, owing to lack of adequate infrastructure and capacity,
water scarcity, and technical and financial constraints.  Moreover,
fresh water is also crucial for developing countries in order to
satisfy the basic needs of their population in the areas of
agricultural irrigation, industrial development, hydroelectric
generation, and so forth.  In view of the growing demands on water,
which is a finite resource, it will become a major limiting factor in
socio-economic development unless early action is taken.  There is
growing concern regarding the increasing stress on water supplies
caused by unsustainable use patterns, affecting both water quality and
quantity, and the widespread lack of access to safe water supply and
suitable sanitation in many developing countries.  Because the
commitments of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation
Decade of the 1980s have not been fully met, there is still a need to
ensure the optimal use and protection of all fresh-water resources, so
that the needs of everyone on this planet, including access to safe
drinking water and sanitation, can be met.  This calls for the highest
priority to be given to the serious fresh-water problems facing many
regions, especially in the developing world.  There is an urgent need:

   (a)   To assign high priority, in accordance with specific national
needs and conditions, to the formulation and implementation of
policies and programmes for integrated watershed management, including
issues related to pollution and waste, the interrelationship between
water and land, including mountains, forests, upstream and downstream
users, estuarine environments, biodiversity and the preservation of
aquatic ecosystems, wetlands, climate and land degradation and
desertification, recognizing that subnational, national and regional
approaches to fresh-water protection and consumption following a
watershed basin or river basin approach offer a useful model for the
protection of fresh-water supplies;

   (b)   To strengthen regional and international cooperation for
technological transfer and the financing of integrated water resources
programmes and projects, in particular those designed to increase
access to safe water supply and sanitation;

   (c)   To ensure the continued participation of local communities,
and women in particular, in the management of water resources
development and use;

   (d)   To provide an enabling national and international environment
that encourages investments from public and private sources to improve
water supply and sanitation services, especially in fast growing urban
and peri-urban areas, as well as in poor rural communities in
developing countries; and for the international community to adopt and
implement commitments to support the efforts to assist developing
countries in achieving access to safe drinking water and sanitation
for all;

   (e)   To recognize water as a social and economic good with a vital
role in the satisfaction of basic human needs, food security, poverty
alleviation and the protection of ecosystems.  Economic valuation of
water should be seen within the context of its social and economic
implications, reflecting the importance of meeting basic needs. 
Consideration should be given to the gradual implementation of pricing
policies that are geared towards cost recovery and the equitable and
efficient allocation of water, including the promotion of water
conservation, in developed countries; such policies could also be
considered in developing countries when they reach an appropriate
stage in their development, so as to promote the harmonious management
and development of scarce water resources and generate financial
resources for investment in new water supply and treatment facilities. 
Such strategies should also include programmes assigned to minimize
wasteful consumption of water;

   (f)   To strengthen the capability of Governments and international
institutions to collect and manage information, including scientific,
social and environmental data, in order to facilitate the integrated
assessment and management of water resources, and foster regional and
international cooperation for information dissemination and exchange
through cooperative approaches among United Nations institutions,
including the United Nations Environment Programme, and centres for
environmental excellence.  In this regard, technical assistance to
developing countries will continue to be important;

   (g)   For the international community to give support to the
efforts of developing countries, with their limited resources, to
shift to higher-value, less water-intensive modes of agricultural and
industrial production and to develop the educational and informational
infrastructure necessary to improve the skills of the labour force
required for the economic transformation that needs to take place if
use of fresh-water resources is to be sustainable.  International
support for the integrated development of water resources in
developing countries, and appropriate innovative initiatives and
approaches at the bilateral and regional levels are also required;

   (h)   To encourage watercourse States to develop international
watercourses with a view to attaining sustainable utilization and
appropriate protection thereof and benefits therefrom, taking into
account the interests of the watercourse States concerned.

35.   Considering the urgent need for action in the field of fresh
water, and building on existing principles and instruments,
arrangements, programmes of action and customary uses of water,
Governments call for a dialogue under the aegis of the Commission on
Sustainable Development, beginning at its sixth session, aimed at
building a consensus on the necessary actions, and in particular, on
the means of implementation and on tangible results, in order to
consider initiating a strategic approach for the implementation of all
aspects of the sustainable use of fresh water for social and economic
purposes, including, inter alia, safe drinking water and sanitation,
water for irrigation,  recycling, and waste-water management, and the
important role fresh water plays in natural ecosystems.  This
intergovernmental process will be fully fruitful only if there is a
proved commitment by the international community to the provision of
new and additional financial resources for the goals of this

Oceans and seas

36.   Progress has been achieved since the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development in the negotiation of agreements and
voluntary instruments for improving the conservation and management of
fishery resources and for the protection of the marine environment. 
Furthermore, progress has been made in the conservation and management
of specific fishery stocks for the purpose of securing the sustainable
utilization of these resources.  Despite this, the decline of many
fish stocks, high levels of discards, and rising marine pollution
continue.  Governments should take full advantage of the challenge and
opportunity presented by the International Year of the Ocean in 1998. 
There is a need to continue to improve decision-making at the
national, regional and global levels.  To address the need for
improving global decision-making on the marine environment, there is
an urgent need for Governments to implement decision 4/15 of the
Commission on Sustainable Development, 23/ in which the Commission,
inter alia, called for a periodic intergovernmental review by the
Commission of all aspects of the marine environment and its related
issues, as described in chapter 17 of Agenda 21, and for which the
overall legal framework was provided by the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea.  There is a need for concerted action by all
countries and for improved cooperation to assist developing countries
in implementing the relevant agreements and instruments in order that
they may participate effectively in the sustainable use, conservation
and management of their fishery resources, as provided for in the
Convention and other international legal instruments, and achieve
integrated coastal zone management.  In that context, there is an
urgent need for:

   (a)   All Governments to ratify or to accede to the relevant
agreements as soon as possible and to implement effectively such
agreements as well as relevant voluntary instruments;

   (b)   All Governments to implement General Assembly resolution
51/189 of 16 December 1996, including the strengthening of
institutional links to be established between the relevant
intergovernmental mechanisms involved in the development and
implementation of integrated coastal zone management.  Following
progress on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and
bearing in mind Principle 13 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and
Development, there is a need to strengthen the implementation of
existing international and regional agreements on marine pollution,
with a view in particular to ensuring better contingency planning,
response, and liability and compensation mechanisms;

   (c)   Better identification of priorities for action at the global
level to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the marine
environment, as well as better means for integrating such action;

   (d)   Further international cooperation to support the
strengthening, where needed, of regional and subregional agreements
for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans and seas;

   (e)   Governments to prevent or eliminate overfishing and excess
fishing capacity through the adoption of management measures and
mechanisms to ensure the sustainable management and utilization of
fishery resources and to undertake programmes of work to achieve the
reduction and elimination of wasteful fishing practices, wherever they
may occur, especially in relation to large-scale industrialized
fishing.  The emphasis given by the Commission on Sustainable
Development at its fourth session to the importance of effective
conservation and management of fish stocks, and in particular to
eliminating overfishing, in order to identify specific steps at
national or regional levels to prevent or eliminate excess fishing
capacity, will need to be carried forward in all appropriate
international forums including, in particular, the Committee on
Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United

   (f)   Governments to consider the positive and negative impact of
subsidies on the conservation and management of fisheries through
national, regional and appropriate international organizations and,
based on these analyses, to consider appropriate action;

   (g)   Governments to take actions, individually and through their
participation in competent global and regional forums, to improve the
quality and quantity of scientific data as a basis for effective
decisions related to the protection of the marine environment and the
conservation and management of marine living resources; in this
regard, greater international cooperation is required to assist
developing countries, in particular small island developing States, to
operationalize data networks and clearing houses for
information-sharing on oceans.  In this context, particular emphasis
must be placed on the collection of biological and other
fisheries-related information and the resources for its collation,
analysis and dissemination.


37.   The management, conservation and sustainable development of all
types of forests are a crucial factor in economic and social
development, in environmental protection and in the planet's life-
support system.  Forests are one of the major reservoirs of biological
diversity; they act as carbon sinks and reservoirs; and they are a
significant source of renewable energy, particularly in the least
developed countries.  Forests are an integral part of sustainable
development and are essential to many indigenous people and other
forest-dependent people practising traditional lifestyles, forest
owners and local communities, many of whom possess important
traditional forest-related knowledge.

38.   Since the adoption of the Forest Principles at the Rio
Conference, tangible progress has been made in sustainable forest
management at the national, subregional, regional and international
levels and in the promotion of international cooperation on forests. 
The proposals for action contained in the report of the Ad Hoc
Intergovernmental Panel on Forests on its fourth session, 24/ which
were endorsed by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its
fifth session, 25/ represent significant progress and consensus on a
wide range of forest issues.

39.   To maintain the momentum generated by the Intergovernmental Panel
process and to facilitate and encourage the holistic, integrated and
balanced intergovernmental policy dialogue on all types of forests in
the future, which continues to be an open, transparent and
participatory process, requires a long-term political commitment to
sustainable forest management worldwide.  Against this background,
there is an urgent need for:

   (a)   Countries and international organizations and institutions to
implement the proposals for action agreed by the Intergovernmental
Panel, in an expeditious and effective manner, and in collaboration
and through effective partnership with all interested parties,
including major groups, in particular indigenous people and local

   (b)   Countries to develop national forest programmes in accordance
with their respective national conditions, objectives and priorities;

   (c)   Enhanced international cooperation to implement the
Intergovernmental Panel's proposals for action directed towards the
management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of
forests, including provision for financial resources,
capacity-building, research and the transfer of technology;

   (d)   Further clarification of all issues arising from the
programme elements of the Intergovernmental Panel process;

   (e)   International institutions and organizations to continue
their work and to undertake further coordination and explore means for
collaboration in the informal, high-level Inter-agency Task Force on
Forests, focusing on the implementation of the Intergovernmental
Panel's proposals for action, in accordance with their respective
mandates and comparative advantage;

   (f)   Countries to provide consistent guidance to the governing
bodies of relevant international institutions and instruments with
respect to taking efficient and effective measures, as well as to
coordinating their forest-related work at all levels, in respect of
incorporating the Intergovernmental Panel's proposals for action into
their work programmes and under existing agreements and arrangements.

40.   To help achieve this, it is decided to continue the
intergovernmental policy dialogue on forests through the establishment
of an ad hoc open-ended Intergovernmental Forum on Forests under the
aegis of the Commission on Sustainable Development to work in an open,
transparent and participatory manner, with a focused and time-limited
mandate, and charged with, inter alia:

   (a)   Promoting and facilitating the implementation of the
Intergovernmental Panel's proposals for action;

   (b)   Reviewing, monitoring and reporting on progress in the
management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of

   (c)   Considering matters left pending as regards the programme
elements of the Intergovernmental Panel, in particular trade and
environment in relation to forest products and services, transfer of
technology and the need for financial resources.

The Forum should also identify the possible elements of and work
towards consensus on international arrangements and mechanisms, for
example, a legally binding instrument.  The Forum will report on its
work to the Commission on Sustainable Development in 1999.  Based on
that report, and depending on the decision of the Commission at its
eighth session, the Forum will engage in further action on
establishing an intergovernmental negotiation process on new
arrangements and mechanisms or a legally binding instrument on all
types of forests.

41.   The Forum should convene as soon as possible to further elaborate
its terms of reference and decide on organizational matters.  It
should be serviced by a small secretariat within the Department for
Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations
Secretariat supported by voluntary extrabudgetary contributions from
Governments and international organizations.


42.   Energy is essential to economic and social development and
improved quality of life.  However, sustainable patterns of
production, distribution and use of energy are crucial.  Fossil fuels
(coal, oil and natural gas) will continue to dominate the energy
supply situation for many years to come in most developed and
developing countries.  What is required then is to reduce the
environmental impact of their continued development, and to reduce
local health hazards and environmental pollution through enhanced
international cooperation, notably in the provision of concessional
finance for capacity development and transfer of the relevant
technology, and through appropriate national action.

43.   In developing countries, sharp increases in energy services are
required to improve the standard of living of their growing
populations.  The increase in the level of energy services would have
a beneficial impact on poverty eradication by increasing employment
opportunities and improving transportation, health and education. 
Many developing countries, in particular the least developed, face the
urgent need to provide adequate modern energy services, especially to
billions of people in rural areas.  This requires significant
financial, human and technical resources and a broad-based mix of
energy sources.

44.   The objectives envisaged in this section should reflect the need
for equity, adequate energy supplies and increasing energy consumption
in developing countries and should take into account the situation of
countries that are highly dependent on income generated from the
production, processing and export, and/or consumption, of fossil fuels
and that have serious difficulties in switching to alternative sources
of energy, and the situation of countries highly vulnerable to the
adverse effects of climate change.  

45.   Advances towards sustainable energy use are taking place and all
parties can benefit from progress made in other countries.  It is also
necessary to ensure international cooperation for promoting energy
conservation and improvement of energy efficiency, the use of
renewable energy and research, and the development and dissemination
of innovative energy-related technology. 

46.   Therefore there is a need for: 

   (a)   A movement towards sustainable patterns of production,
distribution and use of energy.  To advance this work at the
intergovernmental level, the Commission on Sustainable Development
will discuss energy issues at its ninth session.  Noting the vital
role of energy in the continuation of sustained economic growth,
especially for developing countries, be they importers or suppliers of
energy, and recognizing the complexities and interdependencies
inherent in addressing energy issues within the context of sustainable
development, preparations for this session should be initiated at the
seventh session and should utilize an open-ended intergovernmental
group of experts on energy and sustainable development to be held in
conjunction with inter-sessional meetings of the eighth and ninth
sessions of the Commission.  In line with the objectives of Agenda 21,
the ninth session of the Commission should contribute to a sustainable
energy future for all;

   (b)   Evolving concrete measures to strengthen international
cooperation in order to assist developing countries in their domestic
efforts to provide adequate modern energy services, especially
electricity, to all sections of their population, particularly in
rural areas, in an environmentally sound manner;

   (c)   Countries to promote policies and plans, bearing in mind the
specific needs and priorities of developing countries, that take into
account the economic, social and environmental aspects of the
production, distribution and use of energy, including the use of
lower-pollutant sources of energy such as natural gas;

   (d)   Evolving commitments for the transfer of relevant technology,
including time-bound commitments, as appropriate, to developing
countries and economies in transition so as to enable them to increase
the use of renewable energy sources and cleaner fossil fuels and to
improve efficiency in energy production, distribution and use. 
Countries need to systematically increase the use of renewable energy
sources according to their specific social, economic, natural,
geographical and climatic conditions and cleaner fuel technologies,
including fossil fuel technologies, and to improve efficiency in
energy production, distribution and use and in other industrial
production processes that are intensive users of energy;

   (e)   Promoting efforts in research on and development and use of
renewable energy technologies at the international and national

   (f)   In the context of fossil fuels, encouraging further research,
development, and the application and transfer of technology of a
cleaner and more efficient nature, through effective international

   (g)   Encouraging Governments and the private sector to consider
appropriate ways to gradually promote environmental cost
internalization so as to achieve more sustainable use of energy,
taking fully into account the economic, social and environmental
conditions of all countries, in particular developing countries.  In
this regard, the international community should cooperate to minimize
the possible adverse impacts on the development process of developing
countries resulting from the implementation of those policies and
measures.  There is also a need to encourage the reduction and the
gradual elimination of subsidies for energy production and consumption
that inhibit sustainable development.  Such policies should take fully
into account the specific needs and conditions of developing
countries, particularly least developed countries, as reflected in the
special and differential treatment accorded them in the Uruguay Round
of multilateral trade negotiations Agreement on Subsidies and
Countervailing Measures;

   (h)   Encouraging better coordination on the issue of energy within
the United Nations system, under the guidance of the General Assembly
and taking into account the coordinating role of the Economic and
Social Council.


47.   The transport sector and mobility in general have an essential
and positive role to play in economic and social development, and
transportation needs will undoubtedly increase.  Over the next twenty
years, transportation is expected to be the major driving force behind
a growing world demand for energy.  The transport sector is the
largest end-user of energy in developed countries and the fastest
growing one in most developing countries.  Current patterns of
transportation with their dominant patterns of energy use are not
sustainable and on the basis of present trends may compound the
environmental problems the world is facing and the health impacts
referred to in paragraph 31 above.  There is a need for:

   (a)   The promotion of integrated transport policies that consider
alternative approaches to meeting commercial and private mobility
needs and improve performance in the transport sector at the national,
regional and global levels, and particularly a need to encourage
international cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies in the transport sector and implementation of appropriate
training programmes in accordance with national programmes and

   (b)   The integration of land-use and urban, peri-urban and rural
transport planning, taking into account the need to protect

   (c)   The adoption and promotion, as appropriate, of measures to
mitigate the negative impact of transportation on the environment,
including measures to improve efficiency in the transportation sector;

   (d)   The use of a broad spectrum of policy instruments to improve
energy efficiency and efficiency standards in transportation and
related sectors;

   (e)   The continuation of studies in the appropriate forums,
including the International Civil Aviation Organization, on the use of
economic instruments for the mitigation of the negative environmental
impact of aviation in the context of sustainable development;

   (f)   Accelerating the phasing-out of the use of leaded gasoline as
soon as possible, in pursuit of the objectives of reducing the severe
health impacts of human exposure to lead.  In this regard,
technological and economic assistance should continue to be provided
to developing countries in order to enable them to make such a

   (g)   The promotion of voluntary guidelines for environmentally
friendly transport, and actions for reducing vehicle emissions of
carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter
and volatile organic compounds, as soon as possible;

   (h)   Partnerships at the national level, involving Governments,
local authorities, non-governmental organizations and the private
sector, for strengthening transport infrastructures and developing
innovative mass transport schemes. 


48.   Ensuring that the global climate and atmosphere are not further
damaged, with irreversible consequences for future generations,
requires political will and concerted efforts by the international
community in accordance with the principles enshrined in the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Under the Convention,
some first steps have been taken to deal with the global problem of
climate change.  Despite the adoption of the Convention, the emission
and concentration of greenhouse gases continue to rise, even as
scientific evidence assembled by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change  and other relevant bodies continues to diminish the
uncertainties and points ever more strongly to the severe risk of
global climate change.  So far, insufficient progress has been made by
many developed countries in meeting their aim to return greenhouse gas
emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.  It is recognized as one
critical element of the Berlin Mandate 26/ that the commitments set
out under article 4, paragraph 2 (a) and (b), of the Convention are
inadequate and that there is therefore a need to strengthen them.  It
is most important that the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention, at its third session, to be held at Kyoto, Japan in
December 1997, adopt a protocol or other legal instrument that fully
encompasses the Berlin Mandate.  The Geneva Ministerial Declaration,
27/ which was noted without formal adoption, but which received
majority support among ministers and other heads of delegation
attending the second session of the Conference of the Parties, also
called for, inter alia, the acceleration of negotiations on the text
of a legally binding protocol or other legal instrument.

49.   At the present nineteenth special session of the General
Assembly, the international community has confirmed its recognition of
the problem of climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing
the world in the next century.  The leaders of many countries have
stressed the seriousness of this problem in their statements to the
Assembly, and have outlined the actions they had in hand to respond to
the challenge, both in their own countries and internationally. 

50.   The ultimate goal that all countries share is to achieve
stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a
level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the
climate system.  This requires efficient and cost-effective policies
and measures that will be sufficient to result in a significant
reduction in emissions.  At the present session, countries reviewed
the status of the preparations for the third session of the Conference
of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change.  All agreed that a satisfactory result was vital.

51.   The position of many countries with respect to these negotiations
is still evolving, and it was agreed that it would not be appropriate
to seek to predetermine the results; however, useful discussions on
evolving positions took place.

52.   There is already widespread but not universal agreement that it
will be necessary to consider legally binding, meaningful, realistic
and equitable targets for countries listed in annex I to the
Convention that will result in significant reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions within specified time frames, such as 2005, 2010 and
2020.  In addition to establishing targets, there is also widespread
agreement that it will be necessary to consider ways and means of
achieving them and to take into account the economic, adverse
environmental and other effects of such response measures on all
countries, particularly developing countries.

53.   International cooperation in the implementation of chapter 9 of
Agenda 21, in particular in the transfer of technology to and
capacity-building in developing countries, is also essential to
promote the effective implementation of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change.

54.   There is also a need to strengthen systematic observational
networks so as to identify the possible onset and distribution of
climate change and assess potential impacts, particularly at the
regional level.

55.   The ozone layer continues to be severely depleted and the
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer 28/
needs to be strengthened.  The Copenhagen Amendment to the Protocol
needs to be ratified.  The recent successful conclusion of the
replenishment negotiations with respect to the Montreal Protocol
Multilateral Fund is welcomed.  This has made available funds for,
among other things, earlier phase-out of ozone-depleting substances,
including methyl bromide, in developing countries.  Future
replenishment should also be adequate to ensure timely implementation
of the Montreal Protocol.  An increased focus on capacity-building
programmes in developing countries within multilateral funds is also
needed, as well as the implementation of effective measures against
illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances.

56.   Rising levels of transboundary air pollution should be countered,
including through appropriate regional cooperation to reduce pollution

Toxic chemicals

57.   The sound management of chemicals is essential to sustainable
development and is fundamental to human health and environmental
protection.  All those responsible for chemicals throughout their life
cycle bear the responsibility for achieving this goal.  Substantial
progress on the sound management of chemicals has been made since the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in
particular through the establishment of the Intergovernmental Forum on
Chemical Safety and the Inter-Organizational Programme for the Sound
Management of Chemicals.  In addition, domestic regulations have been
complemented by the Code of Ethics on the International Trade in
Chemicals and by voluntary industry initiatives, such as Responsible
Care.  Despite substantial progress, a number of chemicals continue to
pose significant threats to local, regional and global ecosystems and
to human health.  Since the United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development, there has been an increased understanding of the
serious damage that certain toxic chemicals can cause to human health
and the environment.  Much remains to be done and the environmentally
sound management of chemicals should continue to be an important issue
well beyond 2000.  Particular attention should also be given to
cooperation in the development and transfer of technology of safe
substitutes and in the development of capacity for the production of
such substitutes.  The decision concerning the sound management of
chemicals adopted by the Governing Council of the United Nations
Environment Programme at its nineteenth session 29/ should be
implemented in accordance with the agreed timetables for negotiations
on the conventions relating to prior informed consent and persistent
organic pollutants.  It is noted that inorganic chemicals possess
roles and behaviour that are distinct from organic chemicals.

Hazardous wastes

58.   Substantial progress has been made in the implementation of the
Basel Convention, 30/ the Bamako Convention, 31/ the Fourth Lome'
Convention 32/ and other regional conventions, although more remains
to be done.  Important initiatives aimed at promoting the
environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes under the Basel
Convention, include (a) activities undertaken to prevent illegal
traffic in hazardous wastes; (b) the establishment of regional centres
for training and technology transfer regarding hazardous waste
minimization and management; and (c) the treatment and disposal of
hazardous wastes as close as possible to their source of origin. 
These initiatives should be further developed.  It is also important
and urgent that work under the Basel Convention be completed to define
which hazardous wastes are controlled under the Convention and to
negotiate, adopt and implement a protocol on liability and
compensation for damage resulting from the transboundary movement and
disposal of hazardous wastes.  Land contaminated by the disposal of
hazardous wastes needs to be identified and remedial actions put in
hand.  Integrated management solutions are also required to minimize
urban and industrial waste generation and to promote recycling and

Radioactive wastes

59.   Radioactive wastes can have very serious environmental and human
health impacts over long periods of time.  It is therefore essential
that they be managed in a safe and responsible way.  The storage,
transportation, transboundary movement and disposal of radioactive
wastes should be guided by all the principles of the Rio Declaration
on Environment and Development and by Agenda 21.  States that generate
radioactive wastes have a responsibility to ensure their safe storage
and disposal.  In general, radioactive wastes should be disposed of in
the territory of the State in which they are generated as far as is
compatible with the safety of the management of such material.  Each
country has the responsibility of ensuring that radioactive wastes
that fall within its jurisdiction are managed properly in accordance
with internationally accepted principles, taking fully into account
any transboundary effects.  The international community should make
all efforts to prohibit the export of radioactive wastes to those
countries that do not have appropriate waste treatment and storage
facilities.  The international community recognizes that regional
arrangements or jointly used facilities might be appropriate for the
disposal of such wastes in certain circumstances.  The management of
radioactive wastes 33/ should be undertaken in a manner consistent
with international law, including the provisions of relevant
international and regional conventions, and with internationally
accepted standards.  It is important to intensify safety measures with
regard to radioactive wastes.  States, in cooperation with relevant
international organizations, where appropriate, should not promote or
allow the storage or disposal of high-level, intermediate-level or
low-level radioactive wastes near the marine environment unless they
determine that scientific evidence, consistent with the applicable
internationally agreed principles and guidelines, shows that such
storage or disposal poses no unacceptable risk to people or the marine
environment and does not interfere with other legitimate uses of the
sea.  In the process of the consideration of that evidence,
appropriate application of the precautionary approach principle should
be made.  Further action is needed by the international community to
address the need for enhancing awareness of the importance of the safe
management of radioactive wastes, and to ensure the prevention of
incidents and accidents involving the uncontrolled release of such

60.   One of the main recommendations of Agenda 21 and of the
Commission on Sustainable Development at its second session in this
area was to support the ongoing efforts of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, the International Maritime Organization and other
relevant international organizations.  The Joint Convention on the
Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste
Management currently being negotiated under the auspices of the Agency
is now close to completion.  It will provide a comprehensive
codification of international law and a guide to best practices in
this area.  It will rightly be based on all the principles of best
practice for this subject that have evolved in the international
community, including the principle that, in general, radioactive
wastes should be disposed of in the State in which they were generated
as far as is compatible with the safety of the management of such
material.  Governments should finalize this text and are urged to
ratify and implement it as soon as possible so as to further improve
practice and strengthen safety in this area.  Transportation of
irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level waste by sea should be guided
by the INF Code, which should be considered for development into a
mandatory instrument.  The issue of the potential transboundary
environmental effects of activities related to the management of
radioactive wastes and the question of prior notification, relevant
information and consultation with States that could potentially be
affected by such effects, should be further addressed within the
appropriate forums.

61.   Increased global and regional cooperation, including exchange of
information and experience and transfer of appropriate technologies,
is needed to improve the management of radioactive wastes.  There is a
need to support the clean-up of sites contaminated as a result of all
types of nuclear activity and to conduct health studies in the regions
around those sites, as appropriate, with a view to identifying where
health treatment may be needed and should be provided.  Technical
assistance should be provided to developing countries, recognizing the
special needs of small island developing States in particular, to
enable them to develop or improve procedures for the management and
safe disposal of radioactive wastes deriving from the use of
radionuclides in medicine, research and industry.

Land and sustainable agriculture

62.   Land degradation and soil loss threaten the livelihood of
millions of people and future food security, with implications for
water resources and the conservation of biodiversity.  There is an
urgent need to define ways to combat or reverse the worldwide
accelerating trend of soil degradation, using an ecosystem approach,
taking into account the needs of populations living in mountain
ecosystems and recognizing the multiple functions of agriculture.  The
greatest challenge for humanity is to protect and sustainably manage
the natural resource base on which food and fibre production depend,
while feeding and housing a population that is still growing.  The
international community has recognized the need for an integrated
approach to the protection and sustainable management of land and soil
resources, as stated in decision III/11 of the Conference of the
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 34/ including
identification of land degradation, which involves all interested
parties at the local as well as the national level, including farmers,
small-scale food producers, indigenous people(s), non-governmental
organizations and, in particular, women, who have a  vital role in
rural communities.  This should include action to ensure secure land
tenure and access to land, credit and training, as well as the removal
of obstacles that inhibit farmers, especially small-scale farmers and
peasants, from investing in and improving their lands and farms. 

63.   It remains essential to continue efforts for the eradication of
poverty through, inter alia, capacity-building to reinforce local food
systems, improving food security and providing adequate nutrition for
the more than 800 million undernourished people in the world, located
mainly in developing countries.  Governments should formulate policies
that promote sustainable agriculture as well as productivity and
profitability.  Comprehensive rural policies are required to improve
access to land, combat poverty, create employment and reduce rural
emigration.  In accordance with the commitments agreed to in the Rome
Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of
Action, adopted by the World Food Summit, 35/ sustainable food
security for both the urban and the rural poor should be a policy
priority, and developed countries and the international community
should provide assistance to developing countries to this end.  To
meet these objectives, Governments should attach high priority to
implementing the commitments of the Rome Declaration and Plan of
Action, especially the call for a minimum target of halving the number
of undernourished people in the world by the year 2015.  Governments
and international organizations are encouraged to implement the Global
Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of
Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adopted by the
International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources held at
Leipzig, Germany from 17 to 23 June 1996.  At the sixth session of the
Commission on Sustainable Development, in 1998, the issues of
sustainable agriculture and land use should be considered in relation
to freshwater.  The challenge for agricultural research is to increase
yields on all farmlands while protecting and conserving the natural
resource base.  The international community and Governments must
continue or increase investments in agricultural research because it
can take years or decades to develop new lines of research and put
research findings into sustainable practice on the land.  Developing
countries, particularly those with high population densities, will
need international cooperation to gain access to the results of such
research and to technology aimed at improving agricultural
productivity in limited spaces.  More generally, international
cooperation continues to be needed to assist developing countries in
many other aspects of basic requirements of agriculture.  There is a
need to support the continuation of the reform process in conformity
with the Uruguay Round agreements, particularly article 20 of the
Agreement on Agriculture, and to fully implement the World Trade
Organization Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative
Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net
Food-Importing Developing Countries.

Desertification and drought

64.   Governments are urged to conclude (by signing and ratifying,
accepting, approving and/or acceding to) and to implement as soon as
possible the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in
those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification,
particularly in Africa, which entered into force on 26 December 1996,
and to support and actively participate in the first session of the
Conference of the Parties to the Convention, which is to be held in
Rome in September 1997.  

65.   The international community is urged to recognize the vital
importance and necessity of international cooperation and partnership
in combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. 
In order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of existing
financial mechanisms, the international community, in particular
developed countries, should therefore support the global mechanism
that would have the capacity to promote actions leading to the
mobilization and channelling of substantial resources for advancing
the implementation of the Convention and its regional annexes, and to
contribute to the eradication of poverty, which is one of the
principal consequences of desertification and drought in the majority
of affected countries.  Another view was that the international
community, in particular developed countries, should provide new and
additional resources towards the same ends.  The transfer to
developing countries of environmentally sound, economically viable and
socially acceptable technologies relevant to combating desertification
and/or mitigating the effects of drought, with a view to contributing
to the achievement of sustainable development in affected areas,
should be undertaken without delay on mutually agreed terms.


66.   There remains an urgent need for the conservation and sustainable
use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of
benefits arising from the utilization of components of genetic
resources.  The threat to biodiversity stems mainly from habitat
destruction, over-harvesting, pollution and the inappropriate
introduction of foreign plants and animals.  There is an urgent need
for Governments and the international community, with the support of
relevant international institutions, as appropriate:

   (a)   To take decisive action to conserve and maintain genes,
species and ecosystems with a view to promoting the sustainable
management of biological diversity;

   (b)   To ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and
implement it fully and effectively together with the decisions of the
Conference of the Parties, including recommendations on agricultural
biological diversity and the Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal
Biological Diversity, and pursue urgently other tasks identified by
the Conference of the Parties at its third meeting under the work
programme on terrestrial biological diversity, 36/  within the
context of the ecosystems approach adopted in the Convention;

   (c)   To undertake concrete actions for the fair and equitable
sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic
resources, consistent with the provisions of the Convention and the
decisions of the Conference of the Parties on, inter alia, access to
genetic resources and the handling of biotechnology and its benefits;

   (d)   To pay further attention to the provision of new and
additional financial resources for the implementation of the

   (e)   To facilitate the transfer of technologies, including
biotechnology, to developing countries, consistent with the provisions
of the Convention;

   (f)   To respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and
practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional
lifestyles, and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits
arising from traditional knowledge so that those communities are
adequately protected and rewarded, consistent with the provisions of
the Convention on Biological Diversity and in accordance with the
decisions of the Conference of the Parties;

   (g)   To complete rapidly the biosafety protocol under the
Convention on Biological Diversity, on the understanding that the
United Nations Environment Programme International Technical
Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology may be used as an interim
mechanism during its development, and to complement it after its
conclusion, including the recommendations on capacity-building related
to biosafety;

   (h)   To stress the importance of the establishment of a clearing-
house mechanism by Parties to the Convention, consistent with the
provisions of the Convention;

   (i)   To recognize the role of women in the conservation of
biological diversity and the sustainable use of biological resources;

   (j)   To provide the necessary support to integrate the
conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of
biological resources into national development plans;

   (k)   To promote international cooperation to develop and
strengthen national capacity-building, including human resource
development and institution-building; 

   (l)   To provide incentive measures at the national, regional and
international levels to promote the conservation and sustainable use
of biological diversity, and to consider means to enhance developing
countries' capabilities to compete in the emerging market for
biological resources, while improving the functioning of that market. 

Sustainable tourism

67.   Tourism is now one of the world's largest industries and one of
its fastest growing economic sectors.  The expected growth in the
tourism sector and the increasing reliance of many developing
countries, including small island developing States, on this sector as
a major employer and contributor to local, national, subregional and
regional economies highlights the need to pay special attention to the
relationship between environmental conservation and protection and
sustainable tourism.  In this regard, the efforts of developing
countries to broaden the traditional concept of tourism to include
cultural and eco-tourism merit special consideration as well as the
assistance of the international community, including the international
financial institutions.

68.   There is a need to consider further the importance of tourism in
the context of Agenda 21.  Tourism, like other sectors, uses
resources, generates wastes and creates environmental, cultural and
social costs and benefits in the process.  For sustainable patterns of
consumption and production in the tourism sector, it is essential to
strengthen national policy development and enhance capacity in the
areas of physical planning, impact assessment, and the use of economic
and regulatory instruments, as well as in the areas of information,
education and marketing.  A particular concern is the degradation of
biodiversity and fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mountains,
coastal areas and wetlands.

69.   Policy development and implementation should take place in
cooperation with all interested parties, especially the private sector
and local and indigenous communities.  The Commission should develop
an action-oriented international programme of work on sustainable
tourism, to be defined in cooperation with the World Tourism
Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development,
the United Nations Environment Programme, the Conference of the
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant

70.   The sustainable development of tourism is of importance for all
countries, in particular for small island developing States. 
International cooperation is needed to facilitate tourism development
in developing countries - including the development and marketing of
eco-tourism, bearing in mind the importance of the conservation
policies required to secure long-term benefits from development in
this sector - in particular in small island developing States, in the
context of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States.

Small island developing States

71.   The international community reaffirms its commitment to the
implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States.  The Commission on
Sustainable Development carried out a mid-term review of selected
programme areas of the Programme of Action at its fourth session, in
1996.  At its sixth session, in 1998, the Commission will undertake a
review of all the outstanding chapters and issues of the Programme of
Action.  A full and comprehensive review of the Programme of Action,
consistent with the review of other United Nations global conferences,
is scheduled for 1999.  The Commission, at its fifth session, adopted
a resolution on modalities for the full and comprehensive review of
the Programme of Action, in which it recommended that the General
Assembly hold a two-day special session immediately preceding its
fifty-fourth session for an in-depth assessment and appraisal of the
implementation of the Programme of Action. 37/ The full
implementation of the decision would represent a significant
contribution to achieving the objectives of the Global Conference for
the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. 

72.   Considerable efforts are being made at the national and regional
levels to implement the Programme of Action.  These efforts need to be
supplemented by effective financial support from the international
community.  External assistance for building the requisite
infrastructure and for national capacity-building, including human and
institutional capacity, and for facilitating access to information on
sustainable development practices and the transfer of environmentally
sound technologies, in accordance with paragraph 34.14 (b) of Agenda
21, is crucial for small island developing States to effectively
attain the goals of the Programme of Action.  To assist national
capacity-building, the small island developing States information
network and small island developing States technical assistance
programme should be made operational as soon as possible, with support
for existing regional and subregional institutions.

Natural disasters

73.   Natural disasters have disproportionate consequences for
developing countries, in particular small island developing States and
countries with extremely fragile ecosystems.  Programmes for
sustainable development should give higher priority to the
implementation of the commitments made at the World Conference on
Natural Disaster Reduction held at Yokohama, Japan from 23 to 27 May
1994. 38/ There is a particular need for capacity-building for
disaster planning and management and for the promotion and
facilitation of the transfer of early-warning technologies to
countries prone to disasters, in particular developing countries and
countries with economies in transition. 

74.   Given that further work is needed throughout the world, there is
a special need to provide developing countries with further assistance

   (a)   Strengthening mechanisms and policies designed to reduce the
effects of natural disasters, improve preparedness and integrate
natural disaster considerations in development planning, through,
inter alia, access to resources for disaster mitigation and
preparedness, response and recovery;

   (b)   Improving access to relevant technology and training in
hazard and risk assessment and early warning systems, and in
protection from environmental disasters, consistent with national,
subregional and regional strategies;

   (c)   Providing and facilitating technical, scientific and
financial support for disaster preparedness and response in the
context of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

Major technological and other disasters with an adverse impact on the

75.   Major technological and other disasters with an adverse impact on
the environment can be a substantial obstacle in the way of achieving
the goals of sustainable development in many countries.  The
international community should intensify cooperation in the prevention
and reduction of such disasters and in disaster relief and
post-disaster rehabilitation in order to enhance the capabilities of
affected countries to cope with such situations.

                          C.  Means of implementation

Financial resources and mechanisms

76.   Financial resources and mechanisms play a key role in the
implementation of Agenda 21.  In general, the financing for the
implementation of Agenda 21 will come from a country's own public and
private sectors.  For developing countries, official development
assistance is a main source of external funding, and substantial new
and additional funding for sustainable development and the
implementation of Agenda 21 will be required.  Hence, all financial
commitments of Agenda 21, particularly those contained in chapter 33,
and the provisions with regard to new and additional resources that
are both adequate and predictable need to be urgently fulfilled. 
Renewed efforts are essential to ensure that all sources of funding
contribute to economic growth, social development and environmental
protection in the context of sustainable development and the
implementation of Agenda 21.

77.   For developing countries, particularly those in Africa and the
least developed countries, official development assistance remains a
main source of external funding; it is essential for the prompt and
effective implementation of Agenda 21 and cannot generally be replaced
by private capital flows.  Developed countries should therefore fulfil
the commitments undertaken to reach the accepted United Nations target
of 0.7 per cent of gross national product as soon as possible.  In
this context the present downward trend in the ratio of official
development assistance to gross national product causes concern. 
Intensified efforts should be made to reverse this trend, taking into
account the need for improving the quality and effectiveness of
official development assistance.  In the spirit of global partnership,
the underlying factors that have led to this decrease should be
addressed by all countries.  Strategies should be worked out for
increasing donor support for aid programmes and revitalizing the
commitments that donors made at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development.  Some countries already meet or exceed
the 0.7 per cent agreed target.  Official financial flows to
developing countries, particularly the least developed countries,
remain an essential element of the partnership embodied in Agenda 21. 
Official development assistance plays a significant role, inter alia,
in capacity-building, infrastructure, combating poverty and
environmental protection in developing countries, and a crucial role
in the least developed countries.  Official development assistance can
play an important complementary and catalytic role in promoting
economic growth and may, in some cases, play a catalytic role in
encouraging private investment and, where appropriate, all aspects of
country-driven capacity-building and strengthening.

78.   Funding by multilateral financial institutions through their
concessional mechanisms is also essential to developing countries in
their efforts to fully implement the sustainable development
objectives contained in Agenda 21.  Such institutions should continue
to respond to the development needs and priorities of developing
countries.  Developed countries should urgently meet their commitments
under the eleventh replenishment of the International Development

79.   Continued and full donor commitment to adequate, sustained and
predictable funding for Global Environment Facility operations is
important for developing countries so that global environmental
benefits can be further achieved.  Donor countries are urged to engage
in providing new and additional resources, with a view to equitable
burden-sharing, through the satisfactory replenishment of the
Facility, which makes available grant and concessional funding
designed to achieve global environmental benefits, thereby promoting
sustainable development.  Consideration should be given to further
exploring the flexibility of the existing mandate of the Facility in
supporting activities to achieve global environmental benefits.  With
regard to the project cycle, further efforts should be made to
continue streamlining the decision-making process in order to maintain
an effective and efficient, as well as transparent, participatory and
democratic framework.  The Global Environment Facility, when acting as
the operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on
Biological Diversity, should continue to operate in conformity with
those Conventions and promote their implementation.  The Facility
implementing agencies, the United Nations Development Programme, the
United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank, should
strengthen, as appropriate and in accordance with their respective
mandates, their cooperation at all levels, including the field level.

80.   The efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the operational
activities of the United Nations system must be enhanced by, inter
alia, a substantial increase in their funding on a predictable,
continuous and assured basis, commensurate with the increasing needs
of developing countries, as well as through the full implementation of
General Assembly resolutions 47/199 of 22 December 1992 and 48/162 of
20 December 1993.  There is a need for a substantial increase in
resources for operational activities for development on a predictable,
continuous and assured basis, commensurate with the increasing needs
of developing countries.

81.   Private capital is a major tool for achieving economic growth in
a growing number of developing countries.  Higher levels of foreign
private investment should be mobilized given its mounting importance. 
To stimulate higher levels of private investment, Governments should
aim at ensuring macroeconomic stability, open trade and investment
policies, and well-functioning legal and financial systems.  Further
studies should be undertaken, including studies on the design of an
appropriate environment, at both the national and international
levels, for facilitating foreign private investment, in particular
foreign direct investment flows to developing countries, and enhancing
its contribution to sustainable development.  To ensure that such
investments are supportive of sustainable development objectives, it
is essential that the national Governments of both investor and
recipient countries provide appropriate regulatory frameworks and
incentives for private investment.  Therefore further work should be
undertaken on the design of appropriate policies and measures aimed at
promoting long-term investment flows to developing countries for
activities that increase their productive capability, and at reducing
the volatility of these flows.  Official development assistance donors
and multilateral development banks are encouraged to strengthen their
commitment to supporting investment in developing countries in a
manner that jointly promotes economic growth, social development and
environmental protection.

82.   The external debt problem continues to hamper the efforts of
developing countries to achieve sustainable development.  To resolve
the remaining debt problems of the heavily indebted poor countries,
creditor and debtor countries and international financial institutions
should continue their efforts to find effective, equitable,
development-oriented and durable solutions to the debt problem,
including debt relief in the form of debt rescheduling, debt
reduction, debt swaps and, as appropriate, debt cancellation, as well
as grants and concessional flows that will help restore
creditworthiness.  The joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries  Debt Initiative supported by the
Paris Club creditor countries is an important development to reduce
the multilateral debt problem.  Implementation of the  Initiative
requires additional financial resources from both bilateral and
multilateral creditors without affecting the support required for the
development activities of developing countries.

83.   A fuller understanding of the impact of indebtedness on the
pursuit of sustainable development by developing countries is needed. 
To this end, the United Nations Secretariat, the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund  are invited to collaborate with the
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in further
considering the interrelationship between indebtedness and sustainable
development for developing countries.

84.   While international cooperation is very important in assisting
developing countries in their development efforts, in general
financing for the implementation of Agenda 21 will come from
countries' own public and private sectors.  Policies for promoting
domestic resource mobilization, including credit, could encompass
sound macroeconomic reforms, including fiscal and monetary policy
reforms, review and reform of existing subsidies, and the promotion of
personal savings and access to credit, especially micro-credit, in
particular for women.  Such policies should be decided by each
country, taking into account its own characteristics and capabilities
and different levels of development, especially as reflected in
national sustainable development strategies, where they exist.

85.   There is a need for making existing subsidies more transparent in
order to increase public awareness of their actual economic, social
and environmental impact, and for reforming or, where appropriate,
removing them.  Further national and international research in that
area should be promoted in order to assist Governments in identifying
and considering phasing-out subsidies that have market distorting, and
socially and environmentally damaging impacts.  Subsidy reductions
should take full account of the specific conditions and the different
levels of development of individual countries and should consider
potentially regressive impacts, particularly on developing countries. 
In addition, it would be desirable to use international cooperation
and coordination to promote the reduction of subsidies where these
have important implications for competitiveness.

86.   In order to reduce the barriers to the expanded use of economic
instruments, Governments and international organizations should
collect and share information on their use and introduce pilot schemes
that would, inter alia, demonstrate how to make the best use of them
while avoiding adverse effects on competitiveness and the terms of
trade of all countries, particularly developing countries, and on
marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society.  When introducing
economic instruments that raise the cost of economic activities for
households and small and medium-sized enterprises, Governments should
consider gradual phase-ins, public education programmes and targeted
technical assistance as strategies for reducing distributional
impacts.  Various studies and practical experience in a number of
countries, in particular developed countries, indicate that the
appropriate use of relevant economic instruments may help generate
positive possibilities for shifting consumer and producer behaviour to
more sustainable directions in those countries.  There is, however, a
need to conduct further studies and test practical experience in more
countries, taking into account country-specific conditions and the
acceptability, legitimacy, equity, efficiency and effectiveness of
such economic instruments.

87.   Innovative financial mechanisms are currently under discussion in
international and national forums but have not yet fully evolved
conceptually.  The Secretary-General is to submit a report concerning
innovative financing mechanisms to the Economic and Social Council at
its substantive session of 1997.  In view of the widespread interest
in those mechanisms, appropriate organizations, including the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund, are invited to consider conducting
forward-looking studies of concerted action on such mechanisms and to
share them with the Commission on Sustainable Development, other
relevant intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental
organizations.  In this regard, innovative funding should complement
official development assistance, not replace it.  New initiatives for
cooperative implementation of environment and development objectives
under mutually beneficial incentive structures should be further

Transfer of environmentally sound technologies

88.   The availability of scientific and technological information and
access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies are
essential requirements for sustainable development.  There is an
urgent need for developing countries to acquire greater access to
environmentally sound technologies if they are to meet the obligations
agreed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
and in the relevant international conventions.  The ability of
developing countries to participate in, benefit from and contribute to
rapid advances in science and technology can significantly influence
their development.  This calls for the urgent fulfilment of all the
Conference commitments concerning concrete measures for the transfer
of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.  The
international community should promote, facilitate and finance, as
appropriate, access to and transfer of environmentally sound
technologies and the corresponding know-how, in particular to
developing countries, on favourable terms, including concessional and
preferential terms, as mutually agreed, taking into account the need
to protect intellectual property rights as well as the special needs
of developing countries for the implementation of Agenda 21.  Current
forms of cooperation involving the public and private sectors of
developing and developed countries should be built upon and expanded. 
In this context, it is important to identify barriers and restrictions
to the transfer of publicly and privately owned environmentally sound
technologies, with a view to reducing such constraints while creating
specific incentives, fiscal and otherwise, for the transfer of such
technologies.  Progress in the fulfilment of all the provisions
contained in chapter 34 of Agenda 21 should be reviewed regularly as
part of the multi-year work programme of the Commission on Sustainable

89.   Technology transfer and the development of the human and
institutional capacity to adapt, absorb and disseminate technologies,
as well as to generate technical knowledge and innovations, are part
of the same process and must be given equal importance.  Governments
have an important role to play in providing, inter alia, research and
development institutions with incentives to promote and contribute to
the development of institutional and human capacities.

90.   Much of the most advanced environmentally sound technology is
developed and held by the private sector.  The creation of an enabling
environment, on the part of both developed and developing countries,
including supportive economic and fiscal measures, as well as a
practical system of environmental regulations and compliance
mechanisms, can help to stimulate private sector investment in and
transfer of environmentally sound technology to developing countries. 
New ways of financial intermediation for the financing of
environmentally sound technologies, such as "green credit lines",
should be examined.  Further efforts should be made by Governments and
international development institutions to facilitate the transfer of
privately owned technology on concessional terms, as mutually agreed,
to developing countries, especially the least developed countries.

91.   A proportion of technology is held or owned by Governments and
public institutions or results from publicly funded research and
development activities.  The Government's control and influence over
the technological knowledge produced in publicly funded research and
development institutions open up the potential for the generation of
publicly owned technologies that could be made accessible to
developing countries, and could be an important means for Governments
to catalyse private sector technology transfer.  Proposals for the
further study of the options with respect to those technologies and
publicly funded research and development activities are to be

92.   Governments should create a legal and policy framework that is
conducive to technology-related private sector investments and
long-term sustainable development objectives.  Governments and
international development institutions should continue to play a key
role in establishing public-private partnerships, within and between
developed and developing countries and countries with economies in
transition.  Such partnerships are essential for linking the
advantages of the private sector - access to finance and technology,
managerial efficiency, entrepreneurial experience and engineering
expertise - with the capacity of Governments to create a policy
environment that is conducive to technology-related private sector
investments and long-term sustainable development objectives.

93.   The creation of centres for the transfer of technology at various
levels, including the regional level, could greatly contribute to
achieving the objective of transfer of environmentally sound
technologies to developing countries.  For this purpose, existing
United Nations bodies, including, as appropriate, the Commission on
Science and Technology for Development, the United Nations Conference
on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the
regional commissions, should cooperate and mechanisms be used, such as
technical cooperation among developing countries and economic
cooperation among developing countries.

94.   Governments and international development institutions can also
play an important role in bringing together companies from developed
and developing countries and countries with economies in transition so
that they can create sustainable and mutually beneficial business
linkages.  Incentives should be provided to stimulate the building of
joint ventures between small and medium-sized enterprises of developed
and developing countries and countries with economies in transition,
and cleaner production programmes in public and private companies
should be supported.

95.   Governments of developing countries should take appropriate
measures to strengthen South-South cooperation for technology transfer
and capacity-building.  Such measures could include the networking of
existing national information systems and sources on environmentally
sound technologies, and the networking of national cleaner production
centres, as well as the establishment of sector-specific regional
centres for technology transfer and capacity-building.  Interested
donor countries and international organizations should further assist
developing countries in those efforts through, inter alia, supporting
trilateral arrangements and contributing to the United Nations
Voluntary Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation.

96.   Attention must also be given to technology needs assessment as a
tool for Governments in identifying a portfolio for technology
transfer projects and capacity-building activities to be undertaken to
facilitate and accelerate the development, adoption and dissemination
of environmentally sound technologies in particular sectors of the
national economy.  It is also important for Governments to promote the
integration of environmental technology assessment with technology
needs assessment as an important tool for evaluating environmentally
sound technologies and the organizational, managerial and human
resource systems related to the proper use of those technologies.

97.   There is a need to further explore and enhance the potential of
global electronic information and telecommunication networks.  This
would enable countries to choose among the available technological
options that are most appropriate to their needs.  In this respect,
the international community should assist developing countries in
enhancing their capacities.


98.   Renewed commitment and support from the international community
is essential to support national efforts for capacity-building in
developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

99.   The United Nations Development Programme, inter alia, through its
Capacity 21 programme, should give priority attention to building
capacity for the elaboration of sustainable development strategies
based on participatory approaches.  In this context, developing
countries should be assisted, particularly in the areas of the design,
implementation and evaluation of programmes and projects.

100.  Capacity-building efforts should pay particular attention to the
needs of women in order to ensure that their skills and experience are
fully used in decision-making at all levels.  The special needs,
culture, traditions and expertise of indigenous people must be
recognized.  International financial institutions should continue to
give high priority to funding capacity-building for sustainable
development in developing countries and countries with economies in
transition.  Special attention should also be given to strengthening
the ability of developing countries to absorb and generate
technologies.  International cooperation needs to be strengthened to
promote the endogenous capacity of developing countries to utilize
scientific and technological developments from abroad and to adapt
them to local conditions.  The role of the private sector in
capacity-building should be further promoted and enhanced. 
South-South cooperation in capacity-building should be further
supported through "triangular" cooperative arrangements.  Both
developed and developing countries, in cooperation with relevant
international institutions, need to strengthen their efforts to
develop and implement strategies for more effective sharing of
environmental expertise and data.


101.  Public and private investment in science, education and training,
and research and development should be increased significantly, with
emphasis on the need to ensure equal access to opportunities for girls
and women.

102.  International consensus-building is facilitated by the
availability of authoritative scientific evidence.  There is a need
for further scientific cooperation, especially across disciplines, in
order to verify and strengthen scientific evidence and make it
accessible to developing countries.  This evidence is important for
assessing environmental conditions and changes.  Steps should also be
taken by Governments, academia, and scientific institutions to improve
access to scientific information related to the environment and
sustainable development.  The promotion of existing regional and
global networks may be useful for this purpose.

103.  Increasing efforts to build and strengthen scientific and
technological capacity in developing countries is an extremely
important objective.  Multilateral and bilateral donor agencies and
Governments, as well as specific funding mechanisms, should continue
to enhance their support for developing countries.  Attention should
also be given to countries with economies in transition.

104.  The international community should also actively collaborate in
promoting innovations in information and communication technologies
for the purpose of reducing environmental impacts, inter alia, by
taking approaches to technology transfer and cooperation that are
based on user needs.

Education and awareness

105.  Education increases human welfare, and is a decisive factor in
enabling people to become productive and responsible members of
society.  A fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development is an
adequately financed and effective educational system at all levels,
particularly the primary and secondary levels, that is accessible to
all and that augments both human capacity and well-being.  The core
themes of education for sustainability include lifelong learning,
interdisciplinary education, partnerships, multicultural education and
empowerment.  Priority should be given to ensuring women's and girls'
full and equal access to all levels of education and training. 
Special attention should also be paid to the training of teachers,
youth leaders and other educators.  Education should also be seen as a
means of empowering youth and vulnerable and marginalized groups,
including those in rural areas, through intergenerational partnerships
and peer education.  Even in countries with strong education systems,
there is a need to reorient education, awareness and training so as to
promote widespread public understanding, critical analysis and support
for sustainable development.  Education for a sustainable future
should engage a wide spectrum of institutions and sectors, including
but not limited to business/industry, international organizations,
youth, professional organizations, non-governmental organizations,
higher education, government, educators and foundations, to address
the concepts and issues of sustainable development, as embodied
throughout Agenda 21, and should include the preparation of
sustainable development education plans and programmes, as emphasized
in the work programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development on
the subject adopted in 1996. 39/ The concept of education for a
sustainable future will be further developed by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in cooperation with

106.  It is necessary to support and strengthen universities and other
academic centres in promoting cooperation among them, particularly
cooperation between those of developing countries and those of
developed countries.

International legal instruments and the Rio Declaration on Environment
and Development

107.  The implementation and application of the principles contained in
the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development should be the
subject of regular assessment and reporting to the Commission on
Sustainable Development by the Secretariat in collaboration with the
United Nations Environment Programme, in particular.

108.  Access to information and broad public participation in
decision-making are fundamental to sustainable development.  Further
efforts are required to promote, in the light of country-specific
conditions, the integration of environment and development policies,
through appropriate legal and regulatory policies, instruments and
enforcement mechanisms at the national, state, provincial and local
levels.  At the national level, each individual should have
appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is
held by public authorities, including information on hazardous
materials and activities in the communities, and the opportunity to
participate in decision-making processes.  Governments and
legislators, with the support, where appropriate, of competent
international organizations, should establish judicial and
administrative procedures for legal redress and remedy of actions
affecting environment and development that may be unlawful or infringe
on rights under the law, and should provide access to individuals,
groups and organizations with a recognized legal interest.  Access
should be provided to effective judicial and administrative channels
for affected individuals and groups to ensure that all authorities,
both national and local, and other civil organizations remain
accountable for their actions in accordance with their obligations, at
the appropriate levels for the country concerned, taking into account
the judicial and administrative systems of the country concerned.

109.  Taking into account the provisions of chapter 39, particularly
paragraph 39.1, of Agenda 21, it is necessary to continue the
progressive development and, as and when appropriate, codification of
international law related to sustainable development.  Relevant bodies
in which such tasks are being undertaken should cooperate and
coordinate in this regard.

110.  Implementation of and compliance with commitments made under
international treaties and other instruments in the field of the
environment remain a priority.  Implementation can be promoted by
secure, sustained and predictable financial support, sufficient
institutional capacity, human resources and adequate access to
technology.  Cooperation on implementation between States on mutually
agreed terms may help reduce potential sources of conflict between
States.  In this context, States should further study and consider
methods to broaden and make more effective the range of techniques
available at present, taking into account relevant experience under
existing agreements and, where appropriate, modalities for dispute
avoidance and settlement, in accordance with the Charter of the United
Nations.  It is also important to further improve reporting and
data-collection systems and to further develop appropriate compliance
mechanisms and procedures, on a mutually agreed basis, to help and
encourage States to fulfil all their obligations, including means of
implementation, under multilateral environmental agreements. 
Developing countries should be assisted to develop these tools
according to country-specific conditions.

Information and tools for measuring progress

111.  The further development of cost-effective tools for collecting
and disseminating information for decision makers at all levels
through strengthened data collection, including, as appropriate,
gender-disaggregated data and information that makes visible the
unremunerated work of women for use in programme planning and
implementation, compilation and analysis is urgently needed.  In this
context, emphasis will be placed on support for national and
international scientific and technological data centres with
appropriate electronic communication links between them.

112.  A supportive environment needs to be established to enhance
national capacities and capabilities for information collection,
processing and dissemination, especially in developing countries, to
facilitate public access to information on global environmental issues
through appropriate means, including high-tech information and
communication infrastructure related to the global environment, in the
light of country-specific conditions, using, where available, such
tools as geographic information systems and video transmission
technology, including global mapping.  In this regard, international
cooperation is essential.

113.  Environmental impact assessments are an important national tool
for sustainable development.  In accordance with Principle 17 of the
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, environmental impact
assessments should be undertaken for proposed activities that are
likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are
subject to a decision of a competent national authority; where
appropriate, they should be made available early in the project cycle.

114.  The work programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development
on indicators of sustainable development should result in a
practicable and agreed set of indicators, suited to country-specific
conditions, including a limited number of aggregated indicators, to be
used at the national level, on a voluntary basis, by the year 2000. 
Such indicators of sustainable development, including, where
appropriate, and subject to nationally specific conditions,
sector-specific ones, should play an important role in monitoring
progress towards sustainable development at the national level and in
facilitating national reporting, as appropriate. 

115.  National reports on the implementation of Agenda 21 have proved
to be a valuable means of sharing information at the international and
regional levels and, even more important, of providing a focus for the
coordination of issues related to sustainable development at the
national level within individual countries.  National reporting should
continue (see also para. 133 (b) and (c) below).


116.  The achievement of sustainable development requires continued
support from international institutions.  The institutional framework
outlined in chapter 38 of Agenda 21 and determined by the General
Assembly in its resolution 47/191 of 22 December 1992 and other
relevant resolutions, including the specific functions and roles of
various organs, organizations and programmes within and outside the
United Nations system, will continue to be fully relevant in the
period after the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly. 
In the light of the ongoing discussions on reform within the United
Nations, international institutional arrangements in the area of
sustainable development are intended to contribute to the goal of
strengthening the entire United Nations system.  In this context, the
strengthening of the institutions for sustainable development, as well
as the achievement of the goals and objectives set out below are
particularly important.

              A.  Greater coherence in various intergovernmental
                  organizations and processes

117.  Given the increasing number of decision-making bodies concerned
with various aspects of sustainable development, including
international conventions, there is an ever greater need for better
policy coordination at the intergovernmental level, as well as for
continued and more concerted efforts to enhance collaboration among
the secretariats of those decision-making bodies.  Under the guidance
of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council should play a
strengthened role in coordinating the activities of the United Nations
system in the economic, social and related fields.

118.  The conferences of the parties to conventions signed at the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development or as a
result of it, as well as other conventions related to sustainable
development, should cooperate in exploring ways and means of
collaborating in their work to advance the effective implementation of
the conventions.  There is also a need for environmental conventions
to continue to pursue sustainable development objectives consistent
with their provisions and be fully responsive to Agenda 21.  To this
end, inter alia, the conferences of the parties to or governing bodies
of the conventions signed at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development, or as a result of it, and of other
relevant conventions and agreements should, if appropriate, give
consideration to the co-location of secretariats, to improving the
scheduling of meetings, to integrating national reporting
requirements, to improving the balance between sessions of the
conferences of the parties and sessions of their subsidiary bodies,
and to encouraging and facilitating the participation of Governments
in those sessions, at an appropriate level.

119.  Institutional arrangements for the convention secretariats should
provide effective support and efficient services, while ensuring the
appropriate autonomy necessary for them to be efficient at their
respective locations.  At the international and national levels there
is a need for, inter alia, better scientific assessment of ecological
linkages between the conventions; identification of programmes that
have multiple benefits; and enhanced public awareness-raising with
respect to the conventions.  Such tasks should be undertaken by the
United Nations Environment Programme in accordance with the relevant
decisions of its Governing Council and in full cooperation with the
conferences of the parties to and governing bodies of relevant
conventions.  Efforts of convention secretariats, in response to
requests from the respective conferences of the parties, to explore,
where appropriate, modalities for suitable liaison arrangements in
Geneva and/or New York for the purpose of enhancing linkages with
delegations and organizations at those United Nations centres are
welcomed and fully supported.

120.  It is necessary to strengthen the Inter-Agency Committee on
Sustainable Development of the Administrative Committee on
Coordination and its system of task managers, with a view to further
enhancing system-wide intersectoral cooperation and coordination for
the implementation of Agenda 21 and for the promotion of coordinated
follow-up to the major United Nations conferences in the area of
sustainable development.

121.  The Commission on Sustainable Development should promote
increased regional implementation of Agenda 21 in cooperation with
relevant regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations
regional commissions, in accordance with the results of their
priority-setting efforts, with a view to enhancing the role such
bodies play in the achievement of sustainable development objectives
agreed at the international level.  The regional commissions could
provide appropriate support, consistent with their work programmes, to
regional meetings of experts related to the implementation of Agenda

              B.  Role of relevant organizations and institutions
                  of the United Nations system                   

122.  In order to facilitate the national implementation of Agenda 21,
all organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, within
their respective areas of expertise and mandates, should strengthen,
individually and jointly, the support for national efforts to
implement Agenda 21 and make their efforts and actions consistent with
national plans, policies and priorities of member States. 
Coordination of United Nations activities at the field level should be
further enhanced through the resident coordinator system in full
consultation with national Governments.

123.  The role of United Nations Environment Programme, as the
principal United Nations body in the field of the environment, should
be further enhanced.  Taking into account its catalytic role, and in
conformity with Agenda 21 and the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and
Mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme, adopted on
7 February 1997, 40/ the Programme is to be the leading global
environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda,
promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of
sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves
as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.  In this
context, decision 19/32 of 4 April 1997 of the United Nations
Environment Programme Governing Council on governance of the
Programme 41/ and other related Governing Council decisions 41/ are
relevant. The role of the United Nations Environment Programme in the
further development of international environmental law should be
strengthened, including the development of coherent interlinkages
among relevant environmental conventions in cooperation with their
respective conferences of the parties or governing bodies.  In
performing its functions related to the conventions signed at the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development or as a
result of it, and other relevant conventions, the United Nations
Environment Programme should strive to promote the effective
implementation of those conventions in a manner consistent with the
provisions of the conventions and the decisions of the conferences of
the parties.

124.  The United Nations Environment Programme, in the performance of
its role, should focus on environmental issues, taking into account
the development perspective.  A revitalized Programme should be
supported by adequate, stable and predictable funding.  The Programme
should continue providing effective support to the Commission on
Sustainable Development, inter alia, in the form of scientific,
technical and policy information and analysis of and advice on global
environmental issues.

125.  The United Nations Development Programme should continue to
strengthen its contribution to and programmes in sustainable
development and the implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels,
particularly in the area of promoting capacity-building (including
through its Capacity 21 programme) in cooperation with other
organizations, as well as in the field of poverty eradication.

126.  The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in
accordance with General Assembly resolution 51/167 of 16 December 1996
and relevant decisions of the Trade and Development Board on the work
programme, should continue to play a key role in the implementation of
Agenda 21 through the integrated examination of linkages among trade,
investment, technology, finance and sustainable development.

127.  The Committee on Trade and Environment of the World Trade
Organization, the United Nations Confere