God, Science, and the Utah State Office of Education’s Puzzling Stance Regarding High Stakes, Common Core Testing of Special Education Students.   2 comments


God, Science, & The Utah State Office of Education’s Puzzling Stance Regarding High Stakes, Common Core Testing of Special Education Students.

By Dr. Gary Thompson


“Interesting enough, Utah’s most respected representative of the school of empirically based educational thought (USOE), has formed a basis for adopted policies associated with the  SAGE Common Core test, that appear to be almost religious in nature..”

Dear Parents & Community Members:

During the next several weeks, between now and September 15, 2015, parents, activists, board members and politicians will be engaging in a  very intense “disagreement” concerning the Common Core based SAGE test, and how its use and implementation in Utah is affected by recent administrative law changes implemented by the U.S. Department of Education, as such entail the use of the Common Core SAGE test on Utah’s population of divergent (“special education”) students.   (http://www.noticeandcomment.com/Improving-the-Academic-Achievement-of-the-Disadvantaged-Assistance-to-States-for-the-Education-of-Children-fn-292468.aspx)

One side will definitely state that such changes will have absolutely no effects, ill or otherwise, on Utah’s current policies associated with the Common Core SAGE test (e.g., “Utah State Office of Education Administrators”)….

The independent medical and psychology experts will state that the changes in the policy may serious adversely affect the cognitive and mental health of potentially tens of thousands of divergent learning students in Utah, due to USOE’s dangerous, and almost mystical faith-based belief, that the SAGE test can be given to ALL divergent learning students, with zero adverse emotional and/or cognitive consequences. (In addition to the claim that the SAGE test will determine if ALL divergent students are “career and college ready”.)

Regardless of where one stands today on the issue, it is reasonable to state that there is no middle ground between the two parties.   Both parties will submit “evidence” and state their respective positions to State Board Members, lawmakers, and parents of divergent learning children throughout the State of Utah.   Both parties will hope that their evidentiary “proof” will hold sway over the general public, as well as mainstream media entities.

Before this “war” for the hearts and minds of the Utah populous begins, I just wanted to share a few interesting observations about “empirical evidence”, and “faith”, from two vantage points:

1. From the objective viewpoint of a doctoral level, “local clinical community scientist” in the field of clinical psychology.

2. From the faith-based viewpoint as a devout Christian, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


A common discourse and theme among many (certainly not all) members of the Christian faith, is that the current education system does not welcome inquiry in public school settings regarding concepts of “faith”,  as such may be related to the existence of a higher being (God). (The legal reality of “separation of Church and State” is well established).   The argument often made is that teachings of God, faith and creationism have no place in our education system because there is no empirical evidence to support them. I have no intention of “solving” this debate, my sole intent is to point out the obvious  differences between the two schools of thought.

Interesting enough, Utah’s most respected representative of the school of empirically based educational thought (USOE), has formed a basis for policies  associated with the  SAGE Common Core test, that seems to be almost religious in nature. In other words, the Utah State Office of Education, the self appointed gate keeper between the illicit mixing of “pure” empirical science, and the subject of God in public schools, is demanding that parents in our community subject their children to a high stakes SAGE test entirely on the basis of….well….’faith’.

Here is what we do know, and what no person or organization in the country has yet to refute on any objective, empirical level:

The SAGE test is unscientific because it violate the basic rule of social science/academic achievement science. The assessment is not verifiable, because the SAGE test is not permitted to be subject to independent scientific evaluation. Its validity cannot be proven nor disproven. Under the guise of “test security” Utah’s $39,000,000.00 testing vendor, American Institute of Research (AIR), uses copyright laws so extreme that they prevent true scientific evaluation of the validity of these tests, by scientists with expertise in the fields of Education, Psychology, and related fields.

The main reason this practice of ignoring validity is scientifically reprehensible, is that U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and the USOE, has ignored this most accepted scholarship in the field of “testing”. The concept of Validity, or simply put, PROOF that a test performs as “advertised”, is used to halt the dangerous myth of “certainty” that permeates in the field of educational testing. The Utah State Office of Education, is asking our community of parents to accept that the SAGE test can measure academic constructs in special education students (other than the highest “1% of the most cognitively impaired students”) accurately, with no adverse emotional or psychological harm, on the basis of “faith”.  In reality and practice, USOE and Secretary Duncan, expects this community to subject its most cognitively and emotionally vulnerable students to the admittedly experimental in nature SAGE test, simply because they said so.

   “Just trust me.”


As one parent expressed to me last night in a social media exchange, “so what? Suppose the SAGE test is an invalid, unnecessary experimentation on the children in Utah…what’s the harm?”  Here was my reply:

“Students (and many parents) “internalize” what SAGE scores mean, and since the majority of the students have not developed the mental skills to counteract what the “authorities” say, they accept as “natural and normal” that “story/description” of them. Although paradoxical in a sense, the “I’m a Top SAGE Proficient student” is almost as harmful as “I’m a Bottom Non Proficient SAGE student” in hindering students becoming independent, critical and free thinkers. And having independent, critical and free thinkers is a threat to the current socio-economic structure of Utah.    Simply put, he who writes, administers and controls the test, literally controls the psycho-social structure of an entire community.   Kids become in their minds, what the test says they are.   If an education entity unleashes this powerful force on an entire community, they sure as hell better ensure that it works as advertised.”

One does not have to be a mental health professional to know the mental health ramifications associated with a child or teen who believes that he or she is “stupid” when compared to his peer siblings and/or peers on campus.   Anxiety, depression, self-mutilation (cutting), drug abuse,  and a well documented increase in youth suicidal ideation, are just a few of the consequences associated clinically with the high stakes academic testing game.

I make a living off of the art and science of academic, cognitive and emotional assessment. I understand, and believe in the benefits associated with tests and measurement.   Our challenge to the Utah State Office of Education will be to simply verify their claims, as such pertain to the validity of the SAGE test, and its use and application with psychologically vulnerable populations of divergent learning and special education students….who are NOT categorized with the confusing and general label as the “1% of the most cognitively impaired.”

As professionals in the field of clinical psychology, we will rely entirely on independently produced, peer-reviewed research from this nations most prestigious universities, as well as established ethics as published by the American Psychological Association  (APA Ethics Code), and the American Medical Association (AMA Ethics Code) , to present our case to the community.

Slide010 Given the serious nature of the pending conflict, we will demand that the Utah State Office of Education use the same criteria of scholarship, ethics and communication with the public, as well as the Utah State Board of Education, as opposed to their current reliance on “faith”, as their basis of justification for accepting the changes to well established, local/state level Utah practices associated with divergent learning students in Utah.   The misleading, disingenuous, omission laden guidance given to our elected State Board members from an administrator from USOE,  regarding this serious unilateral rule change initiated by the Federal Government, would be comical if it were not for the fact that her propaganda, if accepted as a “matter of faith”, may result in the needless suffering of divergent learning students in the State of Utah.    https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/usoe-letter-tells-state-board-all-is-well-all-is-well-in-special-ed/

At the bequest of my own four divergent learning children (who do not fit into the U.S.D.O.E.’s criteria of “severely cognitive impaired“, as well as the hundreds of similarly situated diverse African American, Latino, Autistic, Suicidal, Dual Exceptional, Cognitively Gifted, Learning “Disabled”, Schizophrenic and otherwise emotionally disturbed children and teens in the State of Utah that my talented staff of Doctor and therapist have valiantly served, I humbly request that the Utah State Board of Education suspend their “faith”, as such apply to the USOE’s agenda laden claims, and protect our most vulnerable assets in our community:   Our children.

Yours in service;

Dr. Gary Thompson
Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center


“Parents are, and must always be, the resident experts of their own (divergent learning) children.”


Source: God, Science, & The Utah State Office of Education’s Puzzling Stance Regarding High Stakes, Common Core Testing of Special Education Students.

Tucker, a Top Ten Scariest Ed Reformer, to Lecture at Legislator-USOE Conference   10 comments


I’m surely sprouting new gray hairs at 80 miles per hour.

If there was doubt about whether something was truly rotten in the state of education governance here in sweet, naiive Utah, this news should end that doubt: of all the possible gurus, this is who our legislators, USOE and state school board have invited as the out-of-town centerpiece for a joint education conference taking place this Wednesday and Thursday.



Marc Tucker.

You may recall that he’s on the Top Ten List of Scariest People in Education Reform.

He’s the espouser of no more Algebra II in our high schools, the dismisser of classic literature as not so relevant, a disciple of federal power, a conspirator with Hillary Clinton for cradle-to-grave student-citizen micromanagement, and the top crusader against what he calls “the beloved American emblem: local control” –he’s the one.

The  conference is for Utah’s State Board of Education, State Office of Education, and legislators, but it’s open to the public and will be streamed.

If you can attend, it’s  on September 2 and 3, at Gilbert Great Hall, R. Haze Hunter Conference Center, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah.




If you don’t know who Marc Tucker is, learn a little bit more.

Marc Tucker is– unbelievable as it may seem– an open advocate for the complete deletion of local control.   You read it right. This is a direct quote  from Tucker:

 The United States will have to largely  abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control. If the goal is  to greatly increase the capacity and authority of the state education agencies,  much of the new authority will have to come at the expense of local  control.

Marc Tucker also despises what is –or was– real education, in favor of the robotic efficiency  of cradle-to-grave federal micromanagement of systems.  He wrote the unbelievable NCEE report that advocates for the removal of Algebra II –and any math beyond it from high schools, that also labeled classic literature and student personal writing “less relevant” and dismissable.  If this sounds like impossible, deliberate dumbing down, you have not read Tucker’s reasoning, which envisions a socialist’s factory view of school: a place to create economy-centered worker bees, to generate a collective; not a place to “waste” resources for soaring and free thinkers.  He’s all about efficiency at the expense of individual freedom.

Marc Tucker’s BFF relationship with the creepiest lady in D.C., Hillary Clinton,  is notable.  It is a decades-long collaboration that, back in the 90s, envisioned US education with all federal control rather than any local control. That collaboration was recorded in the Congressional public record.  Tucker and Clinton outlined the entire Common Core/Common Data movement, but used different terminology.  Read that in full sometime.

Marc Tucker’s shameful, anti-freedom philosophies have been repeatedly, successfully put to pasture by great thinkers and scholars– for example, very clearly, by Dr. Yong Zhao.  Dr. Zhao should have been invited to advise Utah this week, not Tucker!

If you want to know more, I’ve written many articles about Marc Tucker.  He’s bad news.  Read my archive on Tucker at this link.

I really can’t believe he’s coming.

What are your thoughts?  Is this okay?


–If he were invited to the university for a two-sided debate, fine!

–If his visit was a University lecture, some attempt by the dean to expose students to radical ideas from extreme ends of a spectrum, fine!

But this is not a university lecture.

It’s a joint legislative – school board – USOE meeting, which just happens to be taking place at SUU.  It could have been at any venue.

No one is slated to debate him.

Marc “end-local-control” Tucker is the only out of town speaker coming to this conference to address the Utah legislature and the Utah State Office and School Board.  He was hand selected for the at-taxpayer-expense conference –as someone to look to for advice.

That decision says more about the state of education politics in Utah than anything more I could write tonight.





USOE Letter Tells State Board All is Well, All is Well in Special Ed   2 comments

Below are two letters.  The first one is my response to the second, so you might want to skim the second one first.  But the second one is written in the style that George Orwell warned us about– “like a cuttlefish squirting out ink… (the great enemy of clear language is sincerity).”
That one, in essence, has the head of the Utah State Office of Education’s Special Education department telling the rest of the bureaucracy that the new No Child Left Behind reauthorization ruling from Secretary of Education Duncan won’t in any way hurt anyone in Utah; in fact, Duncan’s ruling doesn’t even affect Utah students, she says!  It’s her complete handwaving away of the rule itself, as well as an admission that it’s okay with her that our rights as parents and teachers in Utah are going away.  It’ s not keeping her up at night.
My letter says that Duncan’s rule for NCLB and his snipping away of the last vestiges of state authority over special education IS keeping me up at night.
(If you didn’t already read why, that’s here.)
Dear Glenna Gallo and Utah State School Board,
I have read a letter that was sent out to the USOE/USSB concerning Secretary Duncan’s “final rule”  concerning the end of state authority over special education that Duncan plans to take effect nationally September 15th.  [Pasted in full after this letter]
Here is a direct quote from your office:
“The recent regulation changes taking effect in September do not impact Utah students at all.”
I am stunned at this quote. I have read the Department of Education’s directive.  It certainly applies to every state if the unconstitutionally acting Secretary Duncan is to be taken seriously.
Here is the link.
Its summary states that the rule will “no longer authorize a State to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards….”
Further down, the page promotes the idea that forcing the same curriculum (Common Core Curriculum aka College and Career Ready) –on all students, without differentiation for special education students, is a good idea:
“Including students with disabilities in more accessible general assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards [Common Core] promotes high expectations for students with disabilities, ensures that they will have access to grade-level content, and supports high-quality instruction designed to enable students with disabilities to be involved in, and make progress in, the general education curriculum—that is, the same curriculum as for nondisabled students.”
How can the USOE claim that this will not affect Utah students?
There are two major battles to be fought here.  One is the battle for the children themselves, whose best interests are no longer to be determined (for testing nor for curriculum or standards) by their loving parents and teachers, but by the feds.  This is clearly not limited to testing, but to standards and curriculum as well.
The other is the fight for our local right to direct the affairs of our children’s lives as we see fit: the fight to defend the application of the Constitution in our daily lives.
By continuing to hold hands with the Dept. of Education, rather than to stand up against this takeover of our rights, the USOE and School Board and Governor are complicit with Secretary Duncan’s federalization of special education in Utah. 
Utah’s government (USOE/USSB) is freely giving away what is not theirs to give:  the people’s voice, the people’s power, the people’s authority over the lives and programs of their own children.  By not saying no, you have said yes.
I take this very, very seriously.  The power to make decisions for our children’s lives and any programs by which our children are molded –and from which few have any alternative pathways– is a Constitutional, sacred birthright in America.
You who are elected (or paid) to be the guardians of Utah’s public education system have a duty to be a voice  for US, to represent We, the People, We, the teachers, and We, the Students. 
By not saying no, and by sending out letters like this one, you are representing Secretary Duncan to us, rather than us to Secretary Duncan.  That is not right.
I implore you to open your eyes to see the lies of Secretary Duncan.  The title itself is a complete deception: “Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities,” –while the text of the rule states, “to no longer authorize a state to determine. Does that title match that text? Assistance equals dictatorship?  Improvement equals dictatorship? 
It is ironic that the ESEA reauthorization was sold to Congress as a reduction in the federal educational footprint.  That was another sheer lie that should be obvious to everyone now.
I cannot stomach the ongoing tolerance of Utah’s educational leadership, that passes along, rather than stops, the bullying that flows from the Department of Education. Why has Utah’s education board and office been so willing to relinquish her own authority in these matters? 
It is time for those who have a conscience to take a stand.  Make a statement even if you cannot alter the course; take the public stand so that we know who is on what side of this fight over our children and our freedoms.
I suggest that you do something more than pass along dictator-like directives from Duncan to Utah’s districts. 
I would start by sending Secretary Duncan a letter of reprimand for attempting to assert such falsely gotten, pretended authority over us and over our children.  Perhaps our D.C. representatives will cosign.
We don’t get a second chance.  Failure to say no to this “final rule” means we lose this autonomy forever. 
Christel Swasey
Utah Teacher and Mother
Pleasant Grove
Here is the letter/email referenced above, that went out today or yesterday from Utah’s Special Education Director at USOE to the State Board and USOE:
Dear USOE Leadership and Utah State Board of Education,
In case you have been receiving concerned emails and phone calls regarding recent USDOE regulation changes taking effect September 15th that impact statewide assessments, here is some additional information, beyond that already provided by Superintendent Smith and Asst. Superintendent Nye (below).
ESEA used to allow states to create an additional state assessment, beyond the regular state assessment (in Utah, the SAGE) and the 1% assessment (in Utah, the DLM for math and ELA and UAA for science).  That additional assessment was referred to as the 2% assessment.  In other words, the SAGE would be used for 97% of students with disabilities, with the students with the most significant disabilities taking the 1% assessment, and 2% of students with significant disabilities (but who do not qualify for the 1% assessment) taking the 2% assessment.  Although the 2% option was removed in 2013 for states applying for an ESEA waiver, this did not impact Utah, as we have never had a 2% assessment, nor were there plans to develop one.  The recent regulation changes taking effect in September do not impact Utah students at all.
There is some misinformation on how students with disabilities participate in the appropriate statewide assessment.  Students with disabilities may participate in the 1% assessment (DLM and UAA) if the IEP team determines that they should not access grade level standards, and require instruction aligned to the Essential Elements (EEs) (alternate core standards).  You can find those EEs athttp://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/Instruction.aspx and more information about the DLM and UAA athttp://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/Assessment.aspx.
Students with disabilities who do not receive instruction in the EEs receive instruction aligned to grade-level state standards, and as such participate in the SAGE, with the provision of appropriate IEP team-determined accommodations and/or modifications.   Special education is in place, and there are no planned changes to remove special education services or accommodations.  However, special education services are intended to supplement grade level general education instruction, not replace it, UNLESS the student is learning under the EE standards (again, students with most significant disabilities).   You can find more information about assessment participation for students with disabilities at http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/Assessment/AccommodationPolicy.aspx.
Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions.

Effective Sept 2015: Feds Remove State Authority Over Special Needs Students and Redefine Who is Special Needs   14 comments


Pray that our politicians and superintendents are interested enough, and honest enough, to see through the Department of Ed, and kick to the curb its lies and false reassignments of authority that hurt our children and our Constitutional power.

Jakell Sullivan, a beautiful Utah mom who happens to be one of the most dedicated  researchers on education reform and data privacy breaches that I know, has pointed out that this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan posted a “final rule” on the No Child Left Behind reauthorization.

(Thank you, Jakell.)

The final rule will move us from the “phasing out” phase to the “no more state authority at all” phase of the federalization of state education over “disadvantaged” children, which is defined ever more loosely, and can almost mean “any child”.

Some may dismiss this “final rule” from Secretary Duncan as not affecting them, as only harming those who have a  handicapped or otherwise disadvantaged child.  But think twice.  Because in the new, upside down, 2+2=5 world of Common Core, children who don’t score high on Common Core tests, may now be considered “disadvantaged”. I imagine that in the future, even children who opt out of testing may be labeled as disadvantaged by failing to achieve high scores on these tests.  (To clarify: opting out of testing is still a great choice, and still should be thoughtfully considered by every parent.  Utah State Superintendent Smith recently said: “The most important legal policy…. by constitution, and by what I consider to be natural rights, parents have the right to opt out of anything! They don’t need permission. They don’t need to fill out a form. They don’t need to seek someone else’s response.”)

Because so many children showed awful performance on the rammed-down-our-throats, ready or not, Common Core assessments, many children are labeled as low scorers, or  as “special needs”.  But for those children who actually are “special needs” and did not take the test, because there was an alternate test, those happy days are over.  The Dept. of Ed mandates that now, even handicapped people, take the same test.  No mercy, no wiggle room, no local judgment by caring professionals or parents.  (Except for the option to opt out.)

The final rule summary from Secretary Duncan is found here (and the Dept. invites comments). It says:

The Secretary amends the regulations governing title I… (ESEA) … to no longer authorize a State to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments…  effective September 21, 2015.

Less than a year ago, Secretary Duncan told us he was aiming to “phase out state authority” over these special needs assessments.  At that time, we still had time to fight this.  At that time, there was still a chance that Congress would refuse to reauthorize No Child Left Behind (aka ESEA).  Now, children have been taking (and generally bombing) Common Core tests.  Meanwhile, Congress gave Duncan the power he craved when it passed ESEA’s reauthorization –and other education bills that shouldn’t have passed– this summer.

Jakell Sullivan said, “Parents, be warned. Most kids will soon fall into the “disadvantaged” category because it now means not meeting Common Core benchmarks. This is how they’ll make most schools Title 1 schools–federalization complete.”

She explained that this will affect all states (both the states that did and states that didn’t offer alternative assessments for special needs students) because, “The assessments for “disadvantaged” children will now be Common Core assessments… whether it’s the federalized NAEP, or something else the Feds require… and the formative online assessments will also be required to help teachers change their instruction practices to “help” these children.”

Another Utah mom, Morgan Olsen, speaking to the fact that these electronic assessments are a main source of psychological and academic data mining about individual students, said: “I find this particularly concerning because all data collected by schools is legally classified as education data and doesn’t have the same protections as health data collected by a private doctor. And because the USOE discussed using the State Data System to collect and store this type of information in its guidance counselor’s guide a few years back.” (Links added).

To summarize the reason for this “final ruling,” Sullivan said:

“Think about it like this: it sets the framework for all the schools to be turned into Arne’s much-desired community centers. The Feds already have the full-service community center bill in Congress, SB1787. This regulation change helps them force more schools quickly into transformation phase once that [bill S1787] passes (or even if it doesn’t). [Links added.]

She said:

“Think of the federal objectives this way:

“1. Get every child into federalized assessments (no State can determine an alternate path now)

2. Liberalize what it means to be “disadvantaged”,( ie; they’ll make it so anything they want can meet their disadvantaged criteria, and schools will fall for the federal money)

3. Hold teachers and schools accountable to “make” every child college-and-career ready, (ie; “meeting 21st Century Skills”)

4. When teachers and schools fail, require teacher instructional changes and require that the school becomes a full-service community center with wrap-around services for mental health, medical, etc.”

Utah, we need to stop holding hands with the Department of Education and recognize it as an enemy– an enemy  to autonomy, to parental control, to teacher judgment, to the U.S. Constitution’s protections, to individual privacy, and to true education.

Please, if you are reading this, call someone. Write something.  Email or tweet or get an appointment with your Governor or your State Superintendent.  Small ripples can cross large bodies of water.

Sometimes we “Nice” people must shake off our Hobbit-like niceness to detect and expose real and dangerous lies, worrying less about whether we may be perceived as “Nice” and more about how fast the power to direct the lives of our own children is being robbed by the thieves and enemies of Constitutional freedom.

I am standing here, calling the U.S. Department of Education a granddaddy of lies and unconstitutional actions.

That they are lies is indisputable.  Check the links.  Read your U.S. Constitution.



–That federalizing education (“phasing out the authority of states”)– so that states will lack authority to define who is and who isn’t “special needs” or disadvantaged– is good, and is constitutionally legitimate;

–That states have lost their constitutional authority to give alternative tests to special needs children;

–That Duncan, making a state-and-school-authority-robbing “final rule,” is a constitutionally legitimate act, in harmony with common sense and parental/voter will.

–That S1787’s shifting of the center of a child’s universe away from home/church, toward government school as its center, is a legitimate goal and activity for the federal or state government;

—That forcing physically and mentally handicapped children to conform to the same curriculum and testing is a good plan;

—That even genius children and even mentally handicapped children will benefit when the same curriculum is mandated for all; as when the White House writes: “Including students with disabilities in more accessible general assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards promotes high expectations for students with disabilities, ensures that they will have access to grade-level content, and supports high-quality instruction designed to enable students with disabilities to be involved in, and make progress in, the general education curriculum—that is, the same curriculum as for nondisabled students.”

These are a few lies.  There are more.


Dr. Thompson, Dr. Glass: Exposing the Underbelly of Psychometric Testing   3 comments

gene glass


Dr. Gene V. Glass, the award-winning psychometrician who invented the term meta-analysis, made recent news when he announced that he is no longer comfortable in his field.  In a Washington Post column, Dr. Glass summarized the failure of psychometrics (educational measurement using big data) to give accurate information: “Both talent and tasks were too complex to yield to this simple plan.”

This failure of psychometrics to win “the wars on poverty and ignorance” do not stop psychometric testing companies from lobbying politicians to alter American education for financial gain, he said.  Glass writes: “test company lobbyists convince politicians that grading teachers and schools is as easy as grading cuts of meat. A huge publishing company from the United Kingdom has spent $8 million in the past decade lobbying Congress.”

Glass laments the false belief of politicians who are convinced by articulate, monied lobbyists to buy, and then act on, the idea “that testing must be the cornerstone of any education policy”.

The results? “Parents see the stress placed on their children and report them sick on test day. Educators, under pressure they see as illegitimate, break the rules imposed on them by governments. Many teachers put their best judgment and best lessons aside… And too many of the best teachers exit the profession.”  A result Glass did not mention, but which is also notable, is that some politicians are beginning to be swayed by the idea of stealth testing.

The resignation from the field of psychometrics by Dr. Glass came to my attention because of Utah-based child psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson, who published the article with the following warning directed at Utahns who are complicit  in the use of Utah’s nonconsensual student data mining web.


A Warning To Educational Data Worshipers:

We can’t paint a meta data picture of creations we still know so little of. The arrogance of the “career and college ready crowd” along these lines, is astounding to me both as a father, and as a doctoral level local clinical community scientist.

Apparently the scientist, who I studied in graduate school…and who pioneered the process of mass educational meta data analysis, feels the same way that I do.

Mankind (e.g., “Bill Gates, Secretary Duncan, AIR, USOE, or Superintendent Smith, etc) will never create a form of data analysis more accurate and informative than what can be garnered from the combination of a mother, a well trained local teacher and principal, and valid, personalized, private, assessment tools interpreted by a professional, with one, and only one motive in mind:

To lift the academic, emotional, and spiritual foundation of a child for the sake of the joy of enrichment.

Assessments, as well as the associated meta-data generated by our current Common Core-based educational system, will never be able to be used as a valid measure of teachers, schools, or as a tool to achieve the mythical political term of “career & college ready”….or to support the political desires of our current Governor and Utah’s Chamber of Commerce.

Parents are, and must always be the resident experts of their own children.

The testing/data pseudo-science spewing from the lips of the educational/political bureaucracy, can’t change this very law of nature and the universe.

Be wise Utah.



Thank you, Dr. Gary Thompson and Dr. Gene Glass.

New Book by Sandra Stotsky: An Empty Curriculum   2 comments

Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s new book, An Empty Curriculum, discusses the trouble that has arisen from weak teacher licensing expectations, easy teacher tests, and the recruiting of teacher candidates from the lowest third of graduating classes. She points to South Korea, Finland, and Singapore which recruit teachers from the top third of their classes; America does the opposite.

Stotsky notes that states must have the fortitude to let under-qualified candidates fail.  She calls on everyone involved in the education of children to model academic excellence.

In his review of the book, Michael Poliakoff explains: “Dr. Stotsky explodes the convenient and comforting belief that state regulations are a reliable assurance that teachers are academically competent to teach the subjects they were legally licensed to teach. These tests often set a standard well below reasonable expectations for a college student, much less a college senior or college graduate” (pp. 105–107).

 Read the rest of the review here.  Buy the book here.
sandra stotsky book




U.S. Senate bill S1787: Anti-Family Communist Power Grab, No Big Deal   18 comments



stealth assessment baby



An anti-family bill, a communist’s dream bill, is sitting in the U.S. Senate right now.  It’s called S1787, The Full Service Community Schools Act (bill’s  full text is here; promoters’ talking points, here.)

To take action to prevent it from becoming law, contact the U.S. Senate: contact information is here.

This bill sounds friendly, but it is not friendly. Any initiative that shifts the center of a child’s universe away from home, church and family to snatch family authority and personal privacy while it strengthens government’s authority over almost every aspect of a life, is communism.  History and religion have repeatedly warned us against communism. But here it is, posing as “social justice” and “community schools”.




S1787 will grant the wish that  US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan dreamed would come true.  Years ago, Duncan wished to see schools as the center of a child’s life and society, with 14 hour school days and 7 day per week schedules.   Watch this 44 second clip.


So what’s the tyrrany of  S1787?  It creates micromanagement of students and intrudes into families.  Powerfully fueled by data mining, including many government agencies outside school agencies,  it will dangle grant money carrots in front of communities in exchange for greater federal power over the local community.  It seeks to take over the local community agenda (not just the school community– the entire community’s agenda) and to absorb family time.

How?  Community schools can control (“assist”) individuals because they are astronomically empowered to know everything about a child, by nonconsensual data collecting and by the wide open data-mashing that has been happening –between state and federal lines (Study the State Longitudinal Database Systems, the Common Core of Data, the SIF interoperability frameworks) –and across state and private lines (Study the private CCSSO’s partnership with the US Department of Education and with State Higher Ed in promoting Common Educational Data Standards and the Data Quality Campaign).




With a society  increasingly forgetting the protections of the Constitution and increasingly buying into the nanny-knows-best philosophy of government, few people are standing against the nonconsensual collection of personally identifiable data. Ignorance or tolerance by the people is making individuals’ data-life-takeover possible.

Recall that this communistic, centrally-managed direction is the one in which our US Secretary of Education has been pushing us, unconstitutionally, for years.


In a December 2012 speech Duncan clearly stated:

“…We have pursued a cradle-to-career agenda, from early childhood programs through postsecondary graduation… [the] final core element in our strategy is promoting a career-to-cradle agenda.” 

He also said: “we have to learn to think very, very differently about time. I think our school day is too short.  I think our school week is too short.  I think our school year is too short.”

Years ago, Duncan wrecked privacy regulations (FERPA) and punched out parental rights by reducing the requirement that agencies get parental consent prior to sharing student data.  He also altered the definition of the term “education program”.  It now “includes, but is not limited to” a long, long list of programs that are to be called education programs “regardless of whether the program is administered by an educational authority.”

Community schools are “social justice” (and communism) in action.  There is no representation of individuals.  There is no privacy. Nobody gets to opt out.  Personal data of a medical, academic, mental, familial, or any other type, belongs to the nanny government. In fact, individuals owe themselves as human capital to the government.  It’s in the language of the bill. In community schools, HIPPA (medical privacy rights) protections do not exist because FERPA (school privacy nonrights) usurps them.  Your child has fewer privacy rights than ever in a community school.

Please don’t think it’s only academic scores that are being collected.  Remember that Comrade Duncan also altered the term “personally identifiable information,” which now includes biometric data —meaning psychological and biological data:  “a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting.”

So how could a student retain private records of a medical, mental health, academic, or family nature, under S1787?  The whole purpose of the community school is to mesh and mash records and services.

Lest there be any confusion or name calling (“conspiracy wacko!”) remember that neither the data grab nor the push toward communism is theoretical or hidden.  It is promoted by notable congressmen and the US Secretary of Education.  Just study the words of Secretary Duncan and Congressman Fattah (PA) and Congressman Honda (CA) who were were the architects  of the education redistribution program known as The Equity and Excellence Commission. Congressman Fattah explained: “The Equity and Excellence Commission…that has been established by Secretary Arne Duncan will begin to close the gap in resource distribution between rich and poor…”

Duncan prefers the term “social justice” over the term “communism.”  But he fights for it!  At a University of Virginia speech, Duncan said:  “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.”  At an IES research conference, he said: “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.” 

The truth is that social justice is the opposite of justice.  It is forced financial equality; it means wealth and property theft and redistribution, Animal Farm style. It is communism. And there’s only one way to enforce it: top down, heavy-handed government force.

S1787 means to reassign authority (from families to governments) to crush independent businesses and churches (in favor of government-partnered ones) and to redistribute money and resources –without the consent of the people who owned and earned them.

I’m sure by now you want to see if this is really true.  Time to look at the language of the bill.  I’ll pose questions before each bill citation to help clarify.


  • Does the bill turn students into government resources rather than free agents?  Yes.

“engage students as resources to their communities”  -Section 5701, Purposes.

“Students are contributing to their communities.” – Section 5703

  • Does the bill dramatically increase the role of the government school in society?  Yes.

“provides access to such services to students, families, and the community, such as access during the school year (including before- and after-school hours and weekends), as well as during the summer.” – Section 5702

  • Does the bill mesh and other socialist programs, such as ObamaCare, into schools?  Yes.

” …to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services”-Section 5702

“Access to health care and treatment of illnesses demonstrated to impact academic achievement.”

  • Does the bill integrate families into its programs without their informed consent?  Yes.

” …to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services”-Section 5702

“Participation rates by parents and family members in school-sanctioned activities” – Section 5703

  • Does the  bill aim to influence or control children’s psychological or behavioral development under government authority?

” …to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health, and other comprehensive services”-Section 5702

  • Is the federal government to bribe schools to give away data about the students, families, and other residents of the community?  Yes.

To get a financial grant, communities must hand over “A needs assessment that identifies the academic, physical, social, emotional, health, mental health, and other needs of students, families, and community residents.”  -Section 5703

Also, to get and keep federal money, communities must show that “Families are supportive and engaged in their children’s education.” (Section 5703) How does a community measure that metric?  And, if I am an opponent (nonsupporter) of Common Core or other school-adopted programs, am I to be labeled “not supportive and engaged in my child’s education”?  What’s the consequence to me?

  • Does the bill discourage data collection opt-outs by families, by requiring multiple test measure, including inviting stealth (hidden) assessment of students?  Yes.

Multiple objective measures of student achievement, including assessments, classroom grades, and other means of assessing student performance.” – 5703

  • Does the bill encourage state workers to inspect families in their homes?  Yes.

Nurse home visitation services” and  “Teacher home visiting” and “Programs that promote parental involvement” are “qualified services” under this bill.

Remember, a “service” is not necessarily optional in the world of big government (think: compulsory education, nonconsensual data collection).

  • What non-academic or after-academic programs are included?

“expanded learning time,” “summer” learning experiences, “after school” experiences, “early childhood education,” “remedial education activities,”  “expanded learning time,” “programs under the Head Start Act,” “Programs that promote parental involvement,” “mentoring and other youth development programs,” “conflict mediation,” “Parent leadership development activities,” “Parenting education activities,” “Child care services” “Community service and service-learning opportunities,” “nurse home visitation services” and  “teacher home visiting” and “programs that promote parental involvement” “physical education,” “Programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended, or expelled” (so you can’t get kicked out/freed no matter what you do), “Job training, internship opportunities, and career counseling services,” “Nutrition services,” “Primary health and dental care,” “Mental health counseling services,” “Adult education,” “Juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs,” “Specialized instructional support services,” “Homeless prevention services,” “Other services.”

(Does this sound like a gigantic community prison to anyone?  If American schools become these community schools, and all communities become sucked into this web of “services,” there will be nowhere to run.  If parents aren’t “supportive and engaged” in this paradigm, they will be reeducated in “parenting education activities” or “parent leadership development activities”.  A person can’t even escape by expulsion from school, because rehab and community service hours take place on campus, too.  Nor can anyone escape by running away because they have “homeless prevention services.”)

  •  Is there any local control in these schools?  No.

There is no representation by those governed under the community schools act.  The rulers are to be a five member,  unelected, un-repealable advisory committee, federally appointed, that will call the shots for community schools.  It will include:  “The Secretary of Education (or the Secretary’s delegate) The Attorney General of the United States (or the Attorney General’s delegate) The Secretary of Agriculture (or the Secretary’s delegate) The Secretary of Health and Human Services (or the Secretary’s delegate)  The Secretary of Labor”. – Section 5705

We are living in an upside down, black-is-white, bad-is-good, liars’ world of ed reform.

As Stanley Kurtz wrote, “you’ve got to understand the Orwellian world of Common Core advocacy, where day is night, war is peace…” and realize that “the whole trick of Common Core is to make an end-run around the legal and constitutional barriers… even as you deny that you’re doing it.”  Just as Common Core proponents “concocted a fiction” pretending that “Common Core was state led using the fig leaf of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA)”, and just as the “Student Success Act” and “Every Child Achieves Act” talking points say one thing, but the actual, buried legal language create the opposite: less and less and less and less freedom for the individual student, teacher, or family– so, too, S1787 wears a false mask.

Unlike true benevolence or community care, these ed reform initiatives carry the weight of compliance and are not based in free will or personal agency.  Forcing, even out of care, is still forcing.  And robbing, even if the purpose is to share, is still robbing.

In S1787, proponents have again concocted a fiction that their Full Services Community Schools Act will empower parents, bless children, and benefit communities. Few things could be further from the truth.




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