Archive for the ‘Anti-Common Core’ Tag

How Feds Are Getting Away With Controlling Public School Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing   2 comments

obama ed

Feds Will Control Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing

Reblogged with permission from Return to Parental Rights on 09/21/15

by Jakell Sullivan

The federal government has absolutely no constitutional right to control curriculum, but they’re doing it anyway. In a 2011 video for the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry, Steve Midgley, the Deputy Director of Education Technology for the US Department of Education, says that the Learning Registry “makes federal learning resources easier to find, easier to access and easier to integrate into learning environments wherever they are stored.” He also admits that the Federal Communications Commission changed broadband internet regulations to get federally-sanctioned curriculum items into every child’s classroom.

Say what? Yes. You heard it right. The Whitehouse is picking winners and losers in curriculum providers. They have created an effective oligarchy over online learning and testing resources in order to make sure that the curriculum coming through your child’s school-issued iPad or computer contains the right worldview.

They funded the creation of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), gave states federal grants to expand their state longitudinal data system (see Utah’s here and here), got 300 (and counting) online learning and testing groups to create interoperable curriculum and computer-adaptive tests, and created a one-stop-shop called the Learning Registry where every child’s learning data will be tracked. This is information control, folks. And, it’s not just for K-12.


George Washington University, among many other institutions of higher ed, has jumped on the Learning Registry’s bandwagon. They are helping the federal administration (perhaps unwittingly) succeed at redefining student competencies around student behaviors, as opposed to academics.

When Utahns think of competency-based education, we think of a student mastering something factual and proving competency. That’s not what the federal Learning Registry seeks.  It defines competencies around values, attitudes and beliefs.

In other words, the more a student can think in moral relativist terms, the more “skilled” they are. Students who think “all truth is relative” will be easily malleable workers for a globally managed economy—widgets for crony business leaders.

So, how will the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry work? It will:

  1. Filter the curriculum content that reaches teachers and students
  2. Collect data on how a child thinks and what they believe
  3. Use that data to personalize online learning curriculum and adaptive testing systems (compare this to political campaigns changing the way voters vote by collecting data to create personalized marketing)
  4. Viola! A child will see America in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality—and advocate for big government solutions.

When John Marini talked about the famous movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington written by Frank Capra, he said, “Frank Capra did not see America as many Americans do today, in terms of personal categories of identity…he understood America in terms of its political principles.”

If we want our children to be champions of liberty, including religious liberty, we need to engage our local education leaders in a discussion about who is defining “competency.” And, we cannot be naïve in thinking that we will implement competency-based education differently than the federal administration desires. If we put our plug (technology systems) into their electrical outlet (Learning Registry), we will be giving them all-power over what our children learn—and, we’ve already started plugging in. As one tech-savvy mom recently noted, “Parents need to understand that a unique student ID# will act like a social security number on steroids.”

George Washington University says that they are helping the Whitehouse “create a beta version of a credentialing registry on the existing Learning Registry.” This means that the Feds are positioned, not only to control curriculum, but how colleges rate student credentials—also called “digital badges.” If this sounds like German-style education, that’s because it is.


We can’t allow the federal administration to use personally identifiable data to “personalize” learning resources for our children. It’s time for Congressional hearings into the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry—and it’s international data standards-setting partners, IMS Global and the SIF Association.

It’s also time for our local boards of education to take back what it means to have locally controlled education. Local boards should stand with parents by making sure that their district’s online curriculum and test items do not conform to federally-funded data standards.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

For more information on how the federal administration is aligning state and district policies to internationalist goals for competency-based education, see:

obama ed
• Race To The Top for Districts (RTT-D) gave priority funding to districts that would embrace personalized learning and competency-based ed. See:
• Feds Give Nudge to Competency-Based Education
• Bill Gates’ KnowledgeWorks has published two Policy Briefs with the most extensive information about how the federal administration used Race To The Top to push state and district policies towards implementing personalized-learning and towards the competency-based education that Utah is now embracing.

bill united nations

New York Teacher: “Bald Piano Guy” Plays Now-Viral Billy Joel Anti-Common Core Songs   Leave a comment

“Bald Piano Guy” is a New York teacher who sings “Opting Out” to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Moving Out,” and sings “Seen Them Opting Out on Broadway” to the tune of “Seen the Lights go out on Broadway”. He sings “The Arrogant Man” dedicated to NY Governor Cuomo, to the tune of “Angry Young Man”.  He has many more YouTube performances but I’ll share just a few here.

I appreciate “Bald Piano Guy”!  I also feel jealous of the passion and care that New Yorkers and parents in many other states seem to have for honest education; they seem to have many more people on the ball about fighting for their rights of liberty than we do in Utah.  While New York opt outs are angering Arne Duncan and making headlines with hundreds of thousands of opt outs, and while zero juniors showed up to take the Common Core SBAC test at Seattle High School, here in Utah, opt out numbers are low and the State Office of Education pooh-poohs the concerns, research, and even the political rights of teachers and parents.

Hats off to this teacher, who chooses to be simply:  “Bald Piano Guy”.

New York and “Bald Piano Guy,” I feel you!

Pay attention to the lyrics of the last song especially:

“Just like the Battle of Saratoga turned around the American Revolution, the revolution against standardized testing began in New York State….

I’ve seen them opting out on Broadway from Babylon to Buffalo. Parental anger up in Albany; they chased the Senators to the stop at Ramapo.

They tore the Common Core in Plattsburgh and threw the tests into Oyster Bay.

The governor lost his clout the day they opted out.

 And schools could live another day

… They slam-dunked Pearson there in Syracuse.

 They never made a truce

with children’s lives at stake.

They all refused the test in Lockport and Rockville Center rocked with rage.

Assemblymen took flight

when parents showed their might

and shredded booklets page by page.

 You know they opted out on Broadway.  But those refusals meant much more.

It’s ’cause America took note of this

and forced the government to kill the Common Core.

When parents stand up for their children

how can opponents still survive?

We’ll tell the world about

the way we opted out

and kept our public schools alive

…. Agree or disagree with opting out, the power of a parent can spark a revolution.”


National Opt Out Movement Update:

Bob Schaeffer, of in Colorado,  again provided the following links of news updates about the national opt out movement:

U.S. Opt-Out Movement Explodes, Test-and-Punish Empire Strikes Back
Federal Education Department Disinformation Campaign Seeks to Quell Opt-Out Movement

Arizona Seven Schools Implicated in Exam Cheating Scandal

Standardized Testing Sparks Backlash

Legislature Passes Modest Assessment Reform “Compromise” in Final Hours of Session

Officials Confuse Parents About Test Opt Outs

House Overwhelmingly Supports Opt-Out Rights

Ongoing Computer Testing Programs Disrupts School Schedules
Florida Elected Officials Don’t Subject Their Own Kids to the Standardized Exam Frenzy They Mandate

Exams Leave Some Feeling “Testy”–Exams-have-some-feeling-testy
Atlanta Test Cheating Hurt Students’ Reading Performance

Testing Overkill Drives Veteran Teachers Out of the Profession

Teachers Say PARCC Test is “Bar to Real Work”
Mass. Teachers Association Supports Parental Opt-Out Rights

Maine Legislature Hears Bill to Eliminate Smarter Balanced Test

District Super and PTA President Outline Five Ways to Improve State Assessments

Educators Protest Politically Set Test-Score Cutoff That Could Hold Back 6,000 Third Graders

State Testing Will Not Come Close to 95% Participation

New Hampshire
Parents on a Mission

New Jersey
Students Share Thoughts on PARCC

New York
English Language Arts Test Opt Outs Topped 205,000 Statewide
N.Y. Educators Have Lengthy Grievance List Against State Assessments

North Dakota Computerized Testing Glitches Hurt Students

Ohio Super Says K-3 Literacy Test Scores Are Unfair

School Testing Error Affecting Thousands of Students

Pennsylvania Overhaul of Federal, State Laws Needed to Curb Testing Frenzy
Pennsylvania Keystone Exams Are One Big Headache for Students

Texas Governor Signs Law Exempting Thousands of Seniors From Graduation Exams

Testing is Profitable But Not for Students

Parents Learn How to Keep Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests
Virginia is Sadly Obsessed With State Testing

Students Protest Common Core Exams
Maryville, Washington, Teachers Hold One-Day Strike Over Funding, Testing

Wisconsin State Legislature Advances Bill to Make Opting Out Easier

Contact U.S. Senators for Less Testing, More Learning


As I’ve said before, please be wise and very careful about what happens in each of our states as a replacement for high stakes testing.  The controlistas love to take a crisis and turn it to their own advantage.

In Utah we are on another brink of doing something exceedingly stupid right now:  Utah’s legislature has created a task force that will promote the idea of stealth assessment, or embedded, hidden tests in assignments.  This absolutely kills privacy and kills parents’ ability to opt out or even to know when tests are happening at all.  Think I’m kidding?  Rep. Marie Poulson’s resolution passed this last legislative session.  See line 66 and ask your legislator exactly what it means.  

U.S. Secretary of Education Punishes Children of Washington State as State Stands Up For Teachers   4 comments

washington state seal

by  Whitne Strain and Christel Swasey


Long ago, the horrific invading soldiers of Genghis Khan used children as shields.  Seeing innocent children sandwiched between defenders and invaders, few defenders would continue a defense.

That  image, from “The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World” comes to mind as we watch the U.S. Secretary of Education’s recent war against what he sees as a noncompliant Washington State.

Washington State became a thorn in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s side when the state refused to comply with the federal agenda that would  tie teacher evaluations to students’ Common Core test scores.

Washington State’s leaders had listened to teachers and parents; they then stood up to the unconstitutional federal demands and just said no. They would not comply with the damaging policy of tying teacher evaluation to student scores.

The federal response was a punch in the face: Duncan stripped Washington of its waiver from ESEA (aka No Child Left Behind).

Why is that a punch in Washington State’s face?  Losing the waiver means that Washington now will get reburied in the absurd, impossible NCLB mandates —and  will lose funding.

Duncan not only punished Washington state; he especially punished the state’s neediest children.

According to the Washington Spokesman-Review, “Washington is the first state to lose control over federal dollars used to help students in the poorest schools. The result: Districts will be forced to set aside the $40 million they had been getting for those student services”.

We wonder: how does Duncan sleep at night?

barack arne

Read his wordy, meaningless federal explanation letter here.  It is so verbiose and devoid of goodness that we won’t quote a single word.  But do read teacher Peter Greene’s clever and hilarious teacher’s translation of Duncan’s letter to Washington, it here  —  spot-on.

peter greene   Here’s Greene’s conclusion:

Washington got to ignore its violation of federal NCLB laws if they agreed to install Duncan’s own untried, untested, unproven, unsubstantiated but very specific prescriptions about how to use CCSS [Common Core] tests to evaluate teachers and principals…    Duncan doesn’t just believe that CCSS [Common Core] test-based measures of teachers and principals are a good idea. He doesn’t just deny every stone on the mountain made out of evidence that he’s wrong. He has given CCSS test-based measurement the full weight of federal law.  

So what will happen to Washington, and who will do it? Or will the legislators freak out and panic, installing Arne’s junk science system at the 11th hour to win back his Kingly affection? You can bet a few other states will be watching… “ 


Thank you, Mr. Greene.  Yes, we are watching.


The Dying of the Light: How Common Core Damages Poetry – by Esolen, Highfill, Stotsky   11 comments

Alyson Williams at Utah State Capitol: “The Fistful of Flowers They’ve Shoved in My Face”   5 comments

Utah parent Alyson Williams gave permission to share the following speech which she gave at last week’s Common Core informational meeting at the Utah State Capitol. Dozens of legislators as well as parents, teachers, students and school board members heard this speech.


I was reading recently about George Washington as a child. I’d heard the story of the cherry tree and his father, but there was another story with his mother that was new to me.

His mother had a prized peony bush. One day, with the sweetest of intentions, George picked some of the flowers and presented them to his mother. He was surprised when she was angry. Young Washington learned that actions taken with good intentions still have consequences.
I think there are those who brought Common Core to Utah with good intentions. But they seem to not understand that in making decisions that affect my children, they are in my garden, messing with my flowers.

In response to the complaints of Utah parents about the way Common Core came into our State, Board Member Dave Thomas wrote last week that we are “late to the party.”

I think that is like a policeman telling someone who’s house has been robbed that it’s their own fault because they weren’t home at the time of the theft.

The truth is I was home – but while I was watching the front door, the thieves snuck in the back door… and the the policeman is the one who gave them the key.

The Utah constitution gives authority to the State School Board to set academic standards. It does not say that they can outsource a role we entrusted to them to the National Governors Association who outsourced it to another group of so called experts. No meeting minutes, no public records, no obligation to even respond to the input of anyone who submitted it, including any input from our school board. As a parent and a taxpayer, this process cuts me out completely.

And now they’re surprised that I’m not pleased with the fistful of flowers they’ve shoved in my face. They only want to talk about how pretty the standards are.

When George Washington’s father learned about the flowers, he took the opportunity to help his son reflect on how his desire to be helpful didn’t change the fact that he’d done something he had no right to do.

There is no such thing in the Constitution as a council of governors or chief state school officers. Comparing best practices is one thing, but Governors working together to jointly address issues that affect the whole nation is not a legitimate alternative to Congress, our national representative body. If every state, or even most states have the same standards, we have de facto national standards. Those who brought Common Core to our nation, state-by-state, had no constitutional commission to do what they did. It’s a role they assigned themselves, and they did it in a way that circumvented constitutional representative processes.

So why am I talking to you, members of the legislature? I don’t want the legislature to act as a school board, or to set standards, but when the State executive branch or State school board act outside of their enumerated powers or try to delegate those powers to others who have no obligation to Utah voters, I think they should be held accountable. Isn’t that what the checks and balances of our Constitutional Republic are all about?

For me this is not only about my children’s education it’s about preserving the kind of constitutional government I hope they will inherit when they have children of their own.

According to our laws the role of the state is supposed to be secondary to that of parents, but as I’ve sought answers to my concerns in various meetings I’ve been dismissed, told I’m not an expert, been given Utah history lessons, and told that it’s a complicated issue in terms of the law. For me it is really simple: “These are my kids, it’s my garden! If you want to even get near my flowers you’d better come to the front door and ask!”


What a powerful, important speech. Thank you, Alyson Williams.

Video: North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Opposes Common Core   1 comment

North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest speaks out about why he wants the state to follow Indiana’s lead in taking a time out to study Common Core before implementing this untested, one size fits all nationalization of education.

Three cheers for Dan Forest.

Video: Alabama Federation of Republican Women: Stand Against Common Core   2 comments

This week, the vivacious president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women spoke at the Wetumpka Tea Party meeting.

Here’s a video of the event.

“Would you like Obama in your child’s classroom?  How about Bill Ayers?”

In a related forum, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE) put out the following press release:


Sharon Sewell        Email:       Phone:   334/324-0035
Donna Burrage         Email:             Phone:  205/553-2888

Asks Alabama Legislature to Include Legislation that Returns K-12 Education to Parents

BIRMINGHAM, AL:   A new citizens group, formed to return K-12 education to parents, responded quickly to the Alabama House Speaker’s press release about the legislative priorities of the Alabama Republican House members and specifically about the absence of a bill to protect Alabama values and states rights in education.  The group, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE), met on January 18th to discuss mutual concerns of how to protect Alabama children from becoming part of a national database, mandated by Common Core, and their curriculum being controlled by the federal government.  The group feels that a bill to preserve state education sovereignty and to protect our children from becoming part of a national database and tracked without parental permission should be included as a top priority by the House.

Members of the citizens task force include parents, teachers, representatives from conservative organizations, and other concerned individuals who find that state’s rights and Alabama values are in jeopardy, and that Alabama has ceded its constitutional rights to decide what values and subjects our children study in schools.

Spokesperson and retired teacher Sharon Sewell, who served as a member of Alabama’s textbook committee, stated:  “We support the House’s focus on protecting the constitutional rights of Alabama citizens, but we notice the absence of what we consider the top priority — preserving the constitutional rights of parents and the state to decide what values and subjects our children study in school.  We are concerned about the transformational overhaul of K-12 now being implemented in our schools; and textbooks, which do not reflect Alabama values, are being aligned to Common Core.  Our bill is the only bill under discussion that can return education decisions to Alabamians.”

Kathy Peterson, another member of this citizens task force, stated, “While I applaud the idea of the Speaker of the House appointing a ‘Commission on State Rights and Alabama Values’ to solicit input from the public, the meetings were not publicly advertised, so attendance was scarce.”  Peterson stated she attended one meeting and commission members reported that the repeal of Common Core to return parental authority and local control was brought up at every meeting.  “Therefore,” she stated, “I can’t understand why a bill to defund and repeal Common Core is not backed by the Speaker.”

Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, stated: “I’m surprised that the Speaker did not choose to include repealing Common Core as a priority, especially since the school flexibility bill the Speaker cited does nothing to protect Alabama values, parental rights or state sovereignty in education.  It’s urgent that the legislature withdraw from Common Core this year since Common Core will be fully implemented in 2014.  We hope the House Caucus will add this goal to their priority list to protect Alabama citizens from the federal government.”

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Go, Fight, Win, Alabama!


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