Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Tag

How Feds Are Getting Away With Controlling Public School Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing   4 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.

dunc

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: http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition
• Feds Give Nudge to Competency-Based Education https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/03/19/feds-give-nudge-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

It’s Back: The No Child Left Behind Rewrite   6 comments

american mom

 

You can’t blame people– even Congressmen themselves–  for not wanting to get involved in the current rewrite of ESEA/NCLB.  The hundreds of pages of bill language and amendments are intimidating –and boring.

But boring and intimidating or not, if we believe in “consent by the governed” then, as the governed, we must pay attention.   If we ignore what D.C.  –mostly without constituent knowledge or input –are rewriting for the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)– we may regret it.

ESEA/NCLB is such a mangled mess.  HR5, this year’s earlier rewrite of NCLB/ESEA, was remarkably stopped in its tracks.  But now I’m worried that the new rewrite may not be better.  Here’s why.

1.)  The U.S. Constitution never gives any authority to the federal government to boss states around in educational matters.  Congress does not seem to remember this at all.

The premise of creating or altering a federal education law, in a country governed by the Constitution, is a hopelessly flawed premise.  Each state is supposed to be each doing its own separate –not standardized, nor nationalized– education dance.  Freedom thrives on distinction and variety and on spreading out the decision making power– not on top-down, heavy handed, one-law-fits-all sameness.  So felt the Constitution writers.

Now, the distraction of a debate over NCLB/ESEA manipulates today’s debaters into forgetting that there shouldn’t even be a NCLB/ESEA.

For example, when my toddler doesn’t want to go to bed, I enforce my mandate by distracting his focus:  I ask him for input on my mandate:  “Do you want to read three stories or four?”  “Should we read our bedtime stories in your room or my room?”  “Which pajamas do you like the best?”  Our family constitution says that parents know best.  —Not so in the case of ESEA/NCLB.   States are not toddlers and the federal government is not a nanny or a parent –unless we are states united under federal dictatorship  rather than a constitutional republic of United States.

Should we actually stoop to discuss their questions such as this one?  “Should Title I dollars follow low-income children to schools of their choice, or should they go to poor schools?”  The taking and redistributing of state taxpayers’ money to education in the first place is unconstitutional, to me.  Discussion about it seems wrong-headed since it’s falsely appropriated money.  It’s unconstitutionally appropriated money. It’s “legalized” plunder by the government, at the people.

If you happen to approve of that–  if there’s a socialist within you that can go along with it– know this:   Obama’s blueprint for education reform shows his intent in a 2011 press release: “Under President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA], the Title I comparability provision would be revised to ensure that state and local funding levels are distributed equitably between Title I and non-Title I schools.”  (Obama doesn’t seem to be the “charitable socialist” helping the poor but a noncharitable socialist bent on forcing the states to force equality, instead.)  Please comment below if you see this differently.

Failure to remember and honor the rights and rules of the Constitution is one very serious problem.  The second reason for the manged mess is also very sobering– it’s dishonesty (by some) and failure to detect and call out that dishonesty (by others).

2.)  Dishonesty and deliberate lengthiness makes bill discussion difficult.

During this year’s first rewrite and push of NCLB/ESEA, called HR5, which failed recently, we saw honest-to-goodness grassroots conservatives, arms linked with grassroots liberals, saying NO to Congress’ HR5 and crying out: “The talking points aren’t true.”

Speaker Boehner’s HR5 talking points, “Ten Things You Should Know About the Student Success Act” made a great sounding sales pitch to the voters of Congress, but when grassroots researchers then pointed out to their reps that  that Boehner’s points were false, the reps stopped HR5.  Score!

Sadly, it seems that legislators really don’t make time for reading bills.  True, bills and their amendments are as long as Dostoevsky novels minus the interesting dramas,  yet legislators pass them (or not) only depending on other legislators or on lists of bill-talking-points to decide how they’ll vote.  A misleading or outright dishonest set of talking points can get a bill passed.  This madness must stop.  It’s like taking a pill when even the pharmacists and doctors haven’t read the ingredient list.

Congressmen should be defending us with deep research –and with the knowledge that standing on the Constitution, they have power.

Congress should be standing up to the Executive Branch and standing up against the endless unconstitutional federal agencies.

 

 cute kids

 

I want NCLB/ESEA to be repealed entirely.  But if it’s not repealed, then I want a SERIOUS rewrite.

I want to see and hear my Utah representatives, Mike Lee, Mia Love, Orrin Hatch, Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, standing in ESEA discussion meetings in D.C. saying:

  • “We just remembered that our nation’s supreme law for education is the U.S. Constitution and we’re sticking with that.  So taxes for education will be staying inside the state.  Utah won’t be complying with rules about, nor asking for, Title I monies –because our state taxpayers will be keeping the taxes locally, not sending them to D.C.  and we’ll be deciding locally where our own tax dollars go.”

I want to hear them saying:

  • “If we allow the writing of any federal education law at all,  it will be only to reinforce Constitutional rights, to reclaim individual rights and to stop big government encroachment. “

I want to hear them saying:

  • “Individual privacy matters.  So we won’t allow the collective State Longitudinal Database System (created by all fifty states’ individuals SLDS’s)  to be used by corporations partnered with the government, nor by the federal government itself in its Edfacts Data Exchange.  We won’t allow national Common Educational Data Standards (CEDS) nor SLDS systems to bind student privacy rights.   We won’t use a national Common Core of standards nor data mining tags.”

I want to hear them saying:

  • “Teachers are professionals.  Government should keep its snoopy unwanted nose out of the business of professionals who are accountable to the parents and principals whom they serve, and to the local taxpayers who support them– not to Big Government.”

I want to hear them saying:

  • “Under no condition will private schools, their standards or their data ever, ever be “accountable” to anyone other than the parents who pay for them and the teachers who work there.  Period, end of story.”

I want to hear them saying:

  • “Regional Educational Laboratories and Centers for School Turnaround, as branches of the federal network of an unconstitutional management of education, will no longer be funded by American tax dollars nor supported by federal government policy.”

I want to hear them saying:

  • “Children and their parents are the most important core of society.  They are not “human capital” to be inventoried, surveyed, tested, guided, used and controlled by a government nor its corporate partners. Every family has the right to opt out of government’s databases.”

 

Please contact your local and D.C. representatives.  Tell them what you want in the ESEA/NCLB rewrite.  Make your influence strong.  Because we frankly outnumber them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIX THINGS THE US DEPT OF EDUCATION DID TO DEPRIVE YOUR CHILD OF PRIVACY   79 comments

The story of Common Core and data mining begins as most stories do, with a huge, unmet need.

Self-appointed “stakeholder” know-it-alls at the federal level (also at state, corporate, and even university levels) determined that they had the right, and the need, for open access to personal student data– more so than they already had.

They needed state school systems to voluntarily agree to common data core standards AND to common learning standards to make data comparisons easy. They didn’t care what the standards were, as teachers and parents and students do; they only cared that the standards would be the same across the nation.

So, without waiting around for a proper vote, they did it. The CEDS (Common Education Data Standards) were created by the same people who created and copyrighted Common Core: the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). No surprise.

CEDS common elements

Because the federal “need” to control schools and data was and is illegal and unconstitutional –the federal government “needed” to do (and did) at least six sneaky things.

SIX SNEAKY THINGS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DID TO DEPRIVE YOUR CHILD OF PRIVACY:

1. Sneaky Thing Number One: It bribed the states with ARRA Stimulus monies to build 50 linkable, twinlike State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS). This act created a virtual national database.

These SLDS’s had to be interoperable within states and outside states with a State Interoperability Framework. Utah, for example, accepted $9.6 million to create Utah’s SLDS. Think about it. All states have an SLDS, and they are built to be interoperable. How is this not a de facto national database?

2. Sneaky Thing Number Two: It altered the (previously privacy-protective) federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) law to make access to personally identifiable student data –including biological and behavioral data– “legal”.

So now, the act of requiring parental consent (to share personally identifiable information) has been reduced from a requirement to just a “best practice” according to the altered federal FERPA regulations.

Best practice FERPA

For more information on this, study the lawsuit against the Department of Education by the Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC).

The Department of Ed also altered FERPA’s definitions of terms, including what would be defined as “personally identifiable information”.

Biometric Definition FEDERAL

So personally identifiable, shareable information now includes biometric information, (which is behavioral and biological information) collected via testing, palm scanning or iris scanning, or any other means. Schools have not been told that the information they submit to the state SLDS systems are vulnerable to federal and corporate perusal. Legislators write bills that call for the testing of behavioral indicators— but have they considered how this can damage a student’s lifelong need for, and right to, privacy?

The Department of Education openly promotes schools collecting data about students’ personalities and beliefs in the report called “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance.” This document promotes the use of facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, wireless skin conductance sensors and other measures of students’ beliefs and emotions. See page 44.

3. Sneaky Thing Number Three: The US Department of Education partnered with private groups, including the CCSSO (that’s the Council of Chief State School Officers —copyright holders on Common Core–) to collect student data nationally.

The CCSSO, or “Superintendents’ Club” as I like to call it, is a private group with no accountability to voters. This makes it in-valid and un-American, as far as governance goes. The CCSSO has a stated mission: to disaggregate student data. Disaggregate means to take away anonymity.

CCSSO disaggregation

The CCSSO states that it has a mission to collect data nationally in partnership with the US Dept of Ed: “The Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) is CCSSO’s network of state education agency officials tasked with data collection and reporting; information system management and design; and assessment coordination. EIMAC advocates on behalf of states to reduce data collection burden and improve the overall quality of the data collected at the national level.

The CCSSO site states that its data collection effort is a USDOE partnership: “The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United Staes Department of Education.”

(Do you recall voting for this arrangement, anyone? Anyone? –Me neither! )

4. Sneaky Thing Number Four: It used private-public partnerships to promote data linking among agencies. The Data Quality Campaign is one example. The National Data Collection Model is another example. The Common Educational Data Standards is another example.

What do these “models” really model?

Example one: from the Data Quality Campaign: “as states build and enhance K12 longitudinal data systems they continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce and with other critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

Let that sink in: linking data from schools, medical clinics, and criminal justice systems is the goal of the Federal-to-CCSSO partnership. So nothing will be kept from any governmental agency; nothing is to be sacred or private if it is known by an SLDS serving entity (any state-funded, state-accountable school).

Example two: from the National Data Collection Model:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
– and even cause of death.

Proponents point out that this is not mandatory federal data collection. True; not yet. But it’s a federally partnered data model and many states are following it.

5. Sneaky Thing Number Five: The Department of Ed created grants for Common Core testing and then mandated that those testing groups synchronize their tests, report fully and often to the U.S. Department of Education, share student-level data, and produce “all student-level data in a manner consistent with an industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard that is approved by the Department”.

So federally funded Common Core tests require Common data interoperability standards.

Check out that Cooperative Agreement document here.

But, do you think this “Agreement” information does not apply to you because your state dropped its SBAC or PARCC membership –as several states have? Think again. There is an incestuous, horrific pool of private and public organizations, all of which are VOLUNTARILY agreeing to Common Core based, technological interoperability and data collection standards!

The Data Quality Campaign lists as its partners dozens of groups– not only the CCSSO and NGA (Common Core creators), not only the College Board –which is now run by the lead architect of Common Core, David Coleman; –not only Achieve, Inc., the group that contracted with CCSSO/NGO to write the Common Core, but even the School Interoperability Framework Association, the Pell Institute (Pell Grants), Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, American Institutes for Research (Utah’s Common Core testing provider) and many other Common Core product-providing organizations.

So virtually everyone’s doing data the same way whether they’re privately or publically funded. This should freak anybody out. It really should. We the People, individuals, are losing personal power to these public-private partnerships that cannot be un-elected and that are not subject to the transparency laws of elected offices.

6. Sneaky Thing Number Six: The Department of Education directly lied to the American Society of News Editors. In a June 2013 speech given to the American Society of News Editors, Secretary Duncan mocked the concerns of parents and educators who are fighting Common Core and its related student data mining:

A new set of standards — rigorous, high-quality learning standards, developed and led by a group of governors and state education chiefs — are under attack as a federal takeover of the schools. And your role in sorting out truth from nonsense is really important… They make.. outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t. And let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping. This work is interesting, but frankly, not that interesting.”

Despite what the state school board and the federal Department of Education claim, corporations do know that Common Core and student data mining are interdependent.

CEO of Escholar Shawn Bay spoke at a recent White House event called “Datapalooza.” He said (see his speech on this video, at about minute 9:15) that Common Core “is the glue that actually ties everything together” for student data collection.

And President Obama himself has called his educational and data related reforms so huge that they are cradle to career” -affecting reforms. Secretary Duncan now refers to the reforms not as “K-12” but as “p-12” meaning preschool/prenatal. These reforms affect the most vulnerable, but not in a positive way, and certainly not with voters’ knowledge and consent.

The sneakiness and the privacy invasion isn’t just a federal wrong; there’s state-level invasion of local control, too: to be specific, our state’s robbing parents of the right to fully govern their own children.

When I asked my state school board how to opt out of having my children tracked by the State Longitudinal Database System, I was told that the answer was no. There was no way to opt out, they said: all children registered in any state school system (charters, online schools, homeschool-state hybrid programs) are tracked by the SLDS. Here’s that letter.

The Answer is No

Despite Constitutional and G.E.P.A.-law prohibitions, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan admitted that “The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more”. Duncan also said, “America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform.” (Yes, it’s been so quiet that the people governed by it weren’t asked about this revolution.)

Yet, federal speeches, and scholarly research conferences and corporate marketers now openly push for common standards and common data systems. From the official White House website to federal educational grant applications to federally partnered corporate sites, to Secretary Duncan’s speeches, there are countless examples to show that the priorities of the federal government are these four things: 1) standards 2) staff 3) “robust” national data systems 4) labeling certain schools as low-achieving.

And the data product sales companies couldn’t agree more.

Common Core proponents insist that Common Core has nothing to do with data mining. But the federal government always bundles the common standards and the data systems, always. This federal push for common data standards and common education standards ought to be household knowledge. That is step number one, seeing the federal patterns and federal pushes for what they are.

EDFACTS

So, what difference does it make? I hear people say that since they have nothing to hide, they’re unconcerned about who’s tracking their children or their families without consent.

I say our founding fathers didn’t write the Constitution without inspiration.

The Constitution describes the God-given right to privacy:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

How easy will it be for those with access to the national databases to label a person as behaviorally unstable and therefore, unworthy of passing a background check for a job or for a gun purchase? How easy will it be for those with access to the databases to search and seize anything at all that they deem inappropriate, that they deem threatening, that they deem theirs?

Privacy is not properly protected by our state school systems and those who ought to know this, don’t. It’s not their fault; the truth has been carefully, quietly hidden. But widespread knowledge of the facts can –and must-– alter these facts.

Please share.

———————————————————-

Postscript: About Control

State school boards tell citizens to give them feedback on the Common Core Standards, and not to discuss anything else related to Common Core or its governance structures.

But citizens have the right to determine what will be discussed; this is America. And any discussion of the standards themselves can only be very temporarily relevant.

Why is academic argument about Common Core only temporarily relevant?

Because two private D.C. trade groups, the NGA (Governors’ club) and the CCSSO (Superintendents’ club) own the standards and have copyrighted them. They alone control the standards. The states do not; nor do the voters in the states.

Inside the state: We can alter the standards only by 15%, according to federal mandates and the writings of the private trade groups that created the standards.

Outside the state: We have no voice in future alterations to the standards. There is no written amendment process outlined for states to have a voice in “their” standards. There is no representative process. That’s why Common Core is unAmerican.

This is why we call Common Core education without representation. It is also accurate to call the education reform package citizen surveillance without warrant, as detailed above.

—————-

For a 15-minute crash-course on the connection between Common Core and student data mining, watch this video by Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project:

New Hampshire Representative Aims to Repeal Common Core With NH Constitutional Redress   6 comments

NH senate

Rep. John Hikel, a Republican Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2008, often shares this quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then”.

A little rebellion is exactly what’s happening in New Hampshire, as more and more parents and legislators are waking up to the takeover of education by corporate and federal forces. Rep. Hikel is asking New Hampshire citizens to sign the petition, to stop common core.

New Hampshire may be at an advantage constitutionally (state-constitutionally). As Representative Hikel reminds people, there is a New Hampshire redress allowance to repeal problems (such as common core.) It states, in part 1, article 31: “The legislature shall assemble for the redress of public grievances and for making such laws as the public good may require”.

Rep. Hikel notes that article 32 also states that the people have the right to instruct their representatives to redress wrongs:

[Art.] 32. [Rights of Assembly, Instruction, and Petition.] The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble and consult upon the common good, give instructions to their representatives, and to request of the legislative body, by way of petition or remonstrance, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.

Hikel explains: “Most states have a redress process but New Hampshire is the only one that has a mandate written in its Constitution– that the People are guaranteed redress. People need to know their full authority.”

To read more about inherent parental rights over the children’s educational system, or to sign the NH petition, or to read the September 2013 testimony of New Hampshire Parents for Education against Commmon Core click here.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

ben franklin tyrants rebellion is obedience

Dear Miami Herald   8 comments

Dear Miami Herald,

I’m writing to point out five gross factual errors published in the Herald’s editorial yesterday. I realize that it’s an opinion editorial, not objective reporting; however, credibility demands common knowledge facts ought to be truthfully presented by a reputable newspaper.

Please have an independent source fact-check the following quotes, which came from the editorial, and issue a correction:

1 — “Common Core standards outline what is expected of students at each grade level in each core subject, like reading and math. They do not — we repeat, not — include suggested books or how teachers should plan their lessons.”

Fact Check: At the official Common Core website, there is an extensive list of suggested books and excerpts of books. (Additionally, the federally funded testing consortia are pointing teachers toward model curriculum to go with the tests).

2 — Common Core standards “were developed by Florida educators, backed by the state Board of Education and have the blessing of Florida’s former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.”

Fact Check: The Common Core official website states that the standards were developed solely by NGA Center/CCSSO. “NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.” It also states that localities must display “the following notice: “© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers.” (Not exactly home grown standards.)

It’s true that they have the blessing of Jeb Bush– but why? Because his Foundation is so heavily funded by –and dependent on– Bill Gates, who bankrolled the whole Common Core. Follow the money trail.
It’s not academic betterment at all, but almost exclusively Gates’ money that drives proponents to call Common Core legitimate.

3 — “tea party elements of the Republican Party have twisted Common Core and PARCC into some kind of federal assault on states’ rights.”

Fact Check: There are bipartisan organizations and individuals ranging from Marco Rubio to Diane Ravitch to Democratic teachers against Common Core, to a Left Right Alliance for Education, to the tea party, to an increasing number of child psychologists, to the National GOP –which voted to pass a resolution against Common Core, to name just a few. Please don’t paint us all with the same paintbrush. All these oppose Common Core for valid, sobering reasons, including a loss of local control and a realization that the standards lack empirical validity, academic legitimacy, or child developmental psychological sensitivity.

4 –“Common Core is about higher education standards devised by the states”

Fact Check “higher” standards: Common Core lowers standards in some states; (for example, Georgia and Massachusetts.) It lowers expectations for high school graduates by minimizing exposure to classic literature and by putting us years behind in math by catering to nonselective, community college standards.

Fact Check “devised by states”: In fact, Common Core was devised by unelected, unrepresentative groups in D.C., including Achieve, Inc., NGA and CCSSO. None of these groups are subject to sunshine laws, none are accountable to taxpayers/voters, and none represent the teachers or parents of this nation. Even the lead architect of Common Core, David Coleman, has boasted that he talked the NGA into using “his” standards.

5 — “But the simple fact is, no one can defend the lower standards that we have across this country.”

Fact Check: Many can defend the high standards that were previously held by many states before dumbing down to Common Core. And they have.

Even more importantly, many defend the principle of local control as outlined in the Constitution and under federal G.E.P.A. law, which prohibits federal involvement in the direction of local education.

Christel Swasey
1987 Graduate of West Orange High School, Orlando, Florida
Current Utah Resident and Credentialed Utah Teacher

Bergen County, New Jersey: Resolution to Stop Common Core   3 comments

Bergen County, NJ has put together a resolution against Common Core stanards and tests.

——————————————————————————————-

Resolution in Opposition to Common Core Standards and Assessments
Adopted by Both Democrats and Republicans
Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders
September 17, 2013
(The text of the Resolution is copied below these comments.)

With sincere and heartfelt appreciation, please join me in thanking all of our Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders for their unanimous vote earlier tonight opposing Common Core Standards and Assessments, and, in particular, Vice-Chairwoman Joan Voss (D) and Freeholder John Mitchell (R) who jointly sponsored and actively lobbied for this important Resolution! Had you been there to hear all their wonderful comments, (and I hope to share the entirety with you soon as such must be circulated – not only in New Jersey – but across the USA), you would have been as overwhelmed as I with thankfulness for their passion, understanding, and commitment to the wise education of our children. Further, the date of this passage is significant: on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States was adopted. The very wording of this Resolution honors that as Common Core violates Constitutional law by granting the United States power that the Constitution reserves for the States and we the people.

It has been my extraordinary privilege to appear before this august body on several occasions sharing a multitude of information concerning the topic of this Resolution. In each appearance, I have experienced their utmost respect, sincere concern, and obvious careful examination of all presented. It is impressive to note that members of both Parties came together, in unanimity, to oppose this unconstitutional, expensive takeover and dumbing down of the education of children.

Joining me tonight to express our appreciation was Kim Barron and Susan Winton. Kim’s son, Jordan, a student in 8th grade, was our *star* witness! He spoke with ease, experience, and excellence regarding why he opposes Common Core. He had also been our *star* when he testified before the New Jersey State Board of Education and at a “Stop Common Core” press conference this month in Trenton with Kim, Nora Brower, Barbara and Bill Eames, Jan Lenox, Michelle Mellon, and Roseann Salanitri.

Please thank the Freeholders:
David L. Ganz, Freeholder Chairman, 201-336-6280
Joan M. Voss, Freeholder Vice-Chairwoman, 201-336-6279 (Sponsor of Resolution)
John D. Mitchell, Freeholder, 201-336-6277 (Sponsor of Resolution)
John A. Felice, Freeholder, 201-336-6275
Maura DeNicola, Freeholder, 201-336-6276
Steven A. Tanelli, Freeholder, 201-336-6278
Tracy Silna Zur, Freeholder, 201-336-6281
http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/FormCenter/Freeholder-3/Contact-a-Freeholder-34

BERGEN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS RESOLUTION
IN OPPOSITION OF
COMMON CORE STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS
SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

WHEREAS, the Board of Chosen Freeholders believes that the Common Core State Standards initiative is not representative of Bergen County’s residents but rather developed by non-governmental organizations and unelected boards outside of Bergen County.

WHEREAS, the Common Core is financed by private foundation funds and is therefore influenced by private interest and not representative of our voters.

WHEREAS, the Common Core violates privacy laws by requiring storage and sharing of private student and family data without individuals consent.

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Education Association urges the State to “slow down a headlong rush to over-rely on student test scores to evaluate teachers in New Jersey”.

WHEREAS, the Common Core has been repudiated by both Republicans and Democrats and it has been stated that curriculum reform should be done at the state level.

WHEREAS, the Common Core violates Constitutional and Federal Law by granting the United States powers which the Constitution reserves for the States, or to the people.

WHEREAS, the New Jersey General Assembly and New Jersey Senate have introduced legislation to further investigate the principals of The Common Core Initiative, and that The Bergen Board of Chosen Freeholders fully supports the passage of *A4197 and *S2973.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders opposes The Common Core Initiative; asks Congress and the Administration to withdraw support and discontinue funding The Common Core Standards Initiative.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution shall be delivered to Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Jeffrey Chiesa, Governor Chris Christie, Congressman William Pascrell, Congressman Albio Sires, Congressman Scott Garrett, and the entire State Legislative Delegation from Bergen County.

*http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/S3000/2973_I1.HTM
*http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/A4500/4197_I1.HTM

——————————————————————————————————————-

The Constitution v. Redistribution of Teachers and Money in Ed Reform   Leave a comment

The heavyhanded education reform machine, by which I mean both the federal Department of Education and the corporate education business machine that’s led by the Bill Gates/Pearson folks, could never get away with what they are getting away with, taking over public education, testing, privacy, and the direction of textbook alignment nationwide, if the average American understood –and demanded– his/her constitutional rights.

1. There’s the right to representation.

Remember the rallying cry of the American colonists against Mother England in the 1700’s? No Taxation Without Representation. I don’t see many people carrying signs down at the Capitol today that read, “No Education Without Representation.” Yet, under Common Core, we have no representation. Putting aside for a moment* the fact that it’s constitutionally illegal to even have nationalized education in this country– if it was legal, it should at least be representative! But the copyrighted Common Core standards are written behind closed doors by private, unelected groups (NGA and CCSSO) that have no public accountability and are not subject to the laws to which elected groups (like Congress) are subject. The two groups are tricky; for example, using the official sounding name of National Governors’ Association (NGA) one group fooled most of us into believing that they were a representative, legitimate governing group. No. NGA has some governors as members, but it is a private group with zero accountability to you or me.

We weren’t represented when our legislatures were bypassed and our states adopted Common Core as part of a grant application signed by only two Utahns.

And we weren’t represented when the money and influence of Bill Gates (not a public vote) produced the whole Common Core, partially by bribing the national PTA and countless other influencers to call this “state-led” and to call it good for kids. Even though it never was.

2. There’s the 10th Amendment* which we are now taking back.

It says that all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, to the people! That means that education is reserved to the states, to the people. There is no such thing as accountability to the Department of Education– unless we stupidly accept grants with strings attached, from that department. Then we are accountable to whatever we agreed to under the conditions of the grant.

3. There’s the right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Many people still don’t realize that unreasonable searches are happening electronically, using schools to collect personal and family information about individual students. And too many of those who do realize it, are unalarmed.

As NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden recently explained, “The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change… People will know the lengths to which government is going to grant themselves powers– unilaterally– to create greater control over American society and global society but they won’t be willing to take the risk necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interest…. the only thing that restricts surveillance activities are policy… They’ll say that because of the dangers… we need more authority… it will be turn-key tyranny.” (see minute 10:48)

4. There’s the right to pursue happiness.

–Not the right for groups to take away others’ happiness or rearrange the happiness distribution of citizens.

The pursuit of happiness for teachers and students is being threatened by new plans for the redistribution of teachers and of wealth, wrapped up in the education reforms that we’re all having rammed down our throats.

If you read the Executive Summary of Race to the Top, (RTTT was the original grant contest that lured states into the Common Core movement) you will see this on page 3:

(D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.

What will this look like?

As one teacher recently noted:

“I can’t make teachers understand that the equitable distribution of effective teachers mean that they get moved if they do a good job. Principals don’t get this either. They will no longer have the ability to retain their best teachers. They will be placed. I can just imagine, a teacher does a good job and has high test scores, so her reward is to be placed in a failing school and as a bonus, she will now be deemed a “leader” charged with extra responsibilities on her new PLC team. That won’t possibly cause problems, will it? And what about the people who move into a certain attendance area because they like the teachers and principals? Schools will become revolving doors with no stability or consistency. We will be on a hamster wheel forever. Well, maybe when principals find out they will lose their best and brightest, they might stop drinking the Kool-aid. They’ve been fed a dribble of this for years and now they just accept it! By the way, this includes them as well. They will be rewarded by being moved to a turnaround government-run school… They have to begin actively recruiting minorities and start hiring a certain amount. No longer the best teacher for the job, but the best minority who might not be as good as [another] applicant. What happened to opportunity for all? When I interview for a job, I would like to think that I get a fair shot.”

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are founding American rights. Redistribution of wealth and redistribution of teachers is totally un-American.

The General Educational Provisions Act (G.E.P.A. Law) – Yes, Common Core is Illegal.   12 comments

The shortest, most important post I’ve written:

In addition to the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, a federal law called The General Educational Provisons Act (G.E.P.A.)

 prohibits the federal government from directing education –very, very clearly:

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…

 

Read the rest here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a

Please ask an honest legislator to notice that Obama and Secretary Duncan  openly promote Common Core –and use our taxes to give out grants for common core tests.  Someone has to stop this.

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?!

Because Stalking is Creepy –Especially When the Government Does It   Leave a comment

Michelle Malkin’s true to her word. She said her New Year’s Resolution would be to expose the truth about Common Core, and she’s well on her way. Her fourth installment in the series “Rotten to the Core” is out.

In “The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Data Base” Malkin brings up the fact that while millions of Americans worry about government drones spying on citizens from the skies, millions are unaware that Washington is already spying on us using a web of recent “education reforms” known as the Common Core Initiative.

Malkin shares a link to the National Data Collection Model which asks states to report intimate details of an individual’s life, including bus stop times, parental names, nicknames, languages spoken, and more.

Reading her article made me think of last year’s “child privacy no more” revelation.

Last year, when I first learned these student data tracking facts, I contacted my state school board to ask if there was an opt-out privilege.  Could my public school attending child NOT be intimately tracked by the state’s SLDS data collection system?  The answer came back, eventually.  They said NO.  They blamed it on the technology: the technology doesn’t allow us to opt certain children out.

Agencies mashing data = citizen surveillance but under the nice concept of "sharing".

The idea of “data driven decision making” has become a passion to many educrats, corporate icons  and government leaders (Think Obama, Duncan, Joanne Weiss,  –or Utah’s  own John Brandt, David Wiley, and Judy Park).

“Data Driven” is a  concept used as justification  for behavior that in the end amounts to corporate/government stalking of children –without any parental consent.

I’m not using the word “stalking” facetiously. Does the governmental obsession with personal data collection differ from stalking?

Individual stalkers have their reasoning for doing what they do, that makes sense to them, just as gleaning student data without parental consent  that makes sense in Utah’s education leaders’ own heads, too.

I can think of only one answer to the question of how these differ:  an individual stalker tends to stalk just one person at a time and rarely “inspires” millions to help stalk.

So what do we do? Let’s look at our options. We can:

1. Dismiss facts and call student stalking by government a silly conspiracy theory —even though there’s nothing secret about it— as many do.

or–

2. Wake up, stand up and tell our state leaders that we and our children have had enough.

J.R. Wilson: Parents Need to Know About Student Data Privacy

Our Governor’s To-Do list:

1. Read the Constitution closely and think about what freedom looks like, in comparison to what Utah leaders promote;

2. Shut down Utah’s SLDS, P-20, and Prosperity 2020 systems;

3. Fire John Brandt, Judy Park, the Utah Data Alliance staff, and everyone who works as if “1984” was an instruction manual for school improvement;

4. Stop accepting money and directives from the Dept. of Ed.;

5. Cancel membership with the National Governors’ Association;

6.  Get rid of the trojan horse of Common Core which serves the tracking goals of the federal and corporate elite;

7. Insist that only parents of school-aged children, people who honor freedom, not socialism –and know the difference– serve on any school board;

8.  End cradle to grave tracking in the state.

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.  http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55764715-90/utah-climate-committee-bill.html.csp?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

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:  http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/11/19/study-drought-trends-estimates-possibly-overstated-due-to-inaccurate-science/ and here: http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/13919-new-report-man-made-global-warming-is-a-farce

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.

Weber County Republican Women’s Meeting Speech on Common Core   4 comments

Stop Common Core

Talk given by Christel Swasey at the Weber County Republican Women’s Meeting Jan.7, 2013

A few months ago, a University of Utah exhibit displayed original documents, newspapers, books and letters written by Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin and many others. The exhibit did not only show the freedom fighters’ side of the argument, but also displayed articulate, meaningful debate from the other side. The heated 1700s argument boiled down to either standing for local freedom or standing for America remaining a managed colony under England’s non-representative government.

In retrospect, how obvious it is to us which side was correct; America should be free. But at the time it was not so clear to all. Both sides had strong arguments that made some sense.

There is a similar, heated battle going on in America over education now. Will we retain local freedom or will we be a managed colony under the Department of Education’s rule, with no say over testing, education standards and innovation? Unconstitutional though it is, this is the battle we face today– a battle for control of American classrooms. Most parents, students, teachers, governors and even State School Board Members seem unaware that it is going on at all.

It’s a battle for constitutional education with local decision making, versus nationalized education without representation. It’s a battle between states retaining the freedom to soar, versus having mediocre sameness of education across states. It’s a battle between teaching the traditional academics versus teaching the extreme political agendas of the Obama Administration; it’s a battle for who gets to decide what is to be planted in the mind of the child.

One of America’s strengths has long been its educated people. The world flocks to our universities. We have had one of the most intellectually diverse public education systems in the world.

But this is changing dramatically.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) leads the changes. The vast majority of states have already replaced previous education standards with Common Core. These national standards standardize– McDonaldize– a dreary and mediocre education plan for the country that lies far below the previous standards of top-ranking states, such as Massachusetts. Although many respected organizations have pledged support for the Common Core, evidence is painfully lacking to support Common Core’s claims. The common core proponents are quick to make sweet-sounding claims, but their claims are not referenced and are, in fact, false.

Many independent reviews suggest supporters of Common Core are sorely misguided. Dr. Michael Kirst of Stanford University pointed out that the standards define college readiness as being the same for 4-year, 2-year, and vocational colleges, essentially dumbing down expectations for university students.

Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University pointed out that the standards are meant to save us from what is a myth– the idea that American students are lagging behind international peers; Tienken writes: “When school administrators implement programs and policies built on faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice.”

Despite claims to the contrary, Common Core Standards do not meaningfully increase academic rigor, are not internationally benchmarked, do not adequately prepare students for 4-year universities, were never assessed by top curriculum research universities, were never voted upon by teachers nor the public, do not allow a voice for the individual; have no amendment process, and do rob states of control of education and students of privacy.

The Common Core is an untested, federally promoted, unfunded experiment.

The standards creators (NGA/CCSSO) have not set up a monitoring plan to test this national experiment, to see what unintended consequences the Core will have on children. The standards slash the vast majority of classic literature, especially from high school English classes; minimize narrative writing skills acquisition, and push student-investigative, rather than instructive, math at all levels.

COMMON CORE HISTORY:

The Constitution and 10th amendment have long made it clear that only states –not any federal agency– have the right to direct education. Americans seem to have forgotten that we do not live in a top down kingdom but in a Constitutional republic. Many believe the federal government has power to rule over the state governments. This is false. States alone hold the right to educate.

Our Constitution was set up with a vital balance of powers between states and federal powers, and each maintains separate roles and authorities. Nowhere is any authority given to the federal government to direct education.

In addition to the Constitution’s and the tenth amendment’s giving states sole authority to direct education, another law called the General Educational Provisions 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…”

So the Common Core standards are a set of national education standards which the federal government are forbidden, by law, to control or supervise. Yet the standards were foisted upon the states by the federal government with the repeated assertion that they were state-led standards.
    The Dept. of Education paid others to do what they were forbidden to do. The common standards were not written by the federal government, but they were financially incentivized by the federal government and then were promoted by private interests. Bill Gates, for example, spent $100M and plans to spend $150M more to push Common Core.

He gave the national PTA $@ million to promote it in schools. Common Core represents an ongoing cash cow for many groups, which explains why the media does not cover this issue. Many media outlets, even Fox News via Wireless Generation, are entangled in the massive money-making factory that is Common Core implementation. Microsoft and Pearson and others are seeing what a huge opportunity it presents them, as they benefit financially from the newly created false need: millions of new textbooks, teacher development programs, and new testing technologies are called for under the common core and its nationalized tests.

The standards were solely developed –and copyrighted– by nonacademic groups– the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Neither state education agencies nor major curriculum research universities were asked for meaningful input.

We were told that the Common Core was voluntary and “state led,” but it was a case of arm-twisting and financial bribery on the part of the Dept. of Education. States did not come together to write and share great ideas. (If that had been the case, we would likely have adopted high standards, instead, like those previously had in Massachusetts.)
The first time states were introduced to these national standards was when the federal government bribed states with a shot at a huge grant (our own tax money) in 2009. It was called Race to the Top, a grant for states. The Department of Education made a state’s promise to adopt common standards –sight unseen– a prerequisite to getting points in the grant contest called “Race to the Top”. There were 500 points possible. Adopting Common Core and its tests gave us some 70 points. Making the federal tracking database on students, the State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) gave us 47 additional points.

Not by any authority of Congress, but by the lure of money –the Stimulus Bill– was Obama’s Race to the Top funded. States were given only two months to apply.

States competed for this money like a taxpayers’ lottery with a points system. There were 500 points possible. By adopting Common Core tests and standards, a state could earn 70 points. By implementing the SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System that serves as surveillance on citizens) a state could earn 47 points. Even though Utah didn’t win any money at all, we took the Race to the Top bait. Then we were stuck with Common Core standards as well as the SLDS database which would track and control citizens.

We were repeatedly assured, “states can get out of Common Core any time they like” but, like the story of Gulliver, tied down by many strings, we are in fact bound– unless we realize our rights and privileges and assert them firmly to free ourselves while we still may, to shake off the ties that bind us down.

Gulliver’s First String: No cost analysis

One of the strings that ties us down is the financial obligation of Common Core. No cost analysis has been done by Utah to date. It’s like a family agreeing to build a house without knowing what it will cost beforehand. It’s absurd. Virginia and Texas rejected Common Core, citing on both educational and financial reasons.

While textbook companies without exception are on a marketing spree with “Common Core Alignment,” it is taxpayers who will carry the burden for the unwanted texts, tests, the professional development, testing technology, data centers, administration and more.
If corporations were getting wealthy at taxpayer expense yet we had agreed to it, by a vote after thorough public vetting, that would be acceptable.

But Common Core never had pre-adoption teacher or parent or media attention, had no public vetting, no vote, and now we see that some of the corporations providing implementation of the common core standards have alarming political agendas that will harm our children. One example is Pearson, headed by Sir Michael Barber, with whom the Utah State Office of Education has multiple contracts.

   Gulliver’s Second String:

    The myth: that Common Core solves educational problems

The second string tying states down, Gulliver-like, is the problem-solving myth, the myth that our many educational problems, such as low expectations or college remediation, are to be solved by Common Core. Without a doubt, Common Core will worsen our educational problems.

   

Professor Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, English and Math professors who refused to sign off on the adequacy of the common standards when they served on the official Common Core validation committee, have written and have testified before legislatures that the standards are not sufficiently rigorous at all.
Students in our schools and universities are required to provide references for their reports. Yet the information provided by official Common Core sites, as well as by our state office of education, is unreferenced and contains half truths and false claims about Common Core.

I asked the Utah State Office of Education to provide me, a Utah teacher, with references to verify the “facts” about Common Core, but the office refused to do so. Why?

The myth that Common Core solves educational problems is far-reaching and is far from being harmless.

There’s a questionnaire that must be answered by any person wishing to be a candidate for Utah’s state school board. The first question on it is: Do you support the Common Core State Standards?

So anyone who for any reason opposes Common Core may not even stand in the candidates’ pool to run for this vital, elected position as a member of the state school board.

The emperor of Common Core is wearing no clothes. Yet, the myth that Common Core solves educational problems is so widespread that most teachers and principals fear raising concerns.

We are experiencing a huge Spiral of Silence. The Spiral of Silence is a well-known communications theory by Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann. The Spiral of Silence phenomenon happens when people fear separation or isolation from those around them, and, believing they are in the minority, they keep their concerns to themselves.

The Spiral theory arose as an explanation for why many Germans remained silent while their Jewish neighbors were being persecuted in the 1940s. This silence extends to parents and legislators who do not know enough about the common standards to feel comfortable arguing that we should be free of them. Truly, this movement has slid under the public radar.

Gulliver’s Third String: One Size Forever, For All

The third string tying us down, Gulliver-like, is the fact that we will never have a vote or a voice in the one-size-fits-all-standards.

Common Core’s copyright, placed on the standards by the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, takes away educational flexibility. There is no way a local voice or voices can alter the standards when we discover the system doesn’t fit our needs. There is no amendment process.

Additionally, the NGA/CCSSO has zero transparency. Though the Council of Chief State School Officers holds over one hundred meetings per year, CCSSO meetings are closed to teachers, taxpayers, and the general public.

I asked a lawyer at the Utah State Office of Education what the process would be to amend the standards. She told me, “Why would there need to be [an amendment process]? The whole point is to be common.”

Her response illustrates the tragic fact that many of our state education leaders do not appreciate local, constitutional control over education for our state.

There is a 15% cap placed on the NGA/CCSSO’s copyrighted standards, a cap placed on top of the copyright by the Department of Education. We may delete nothing. We may add no more than 15% to any standard.

So when we run into a disaster –such as the rule that 12th grade reading material in an English class can contain no more than 30 percent classic literature, and must be 70% informational text, we are stuck. When we run into another disaster –such as the rule that Algebra I be introduced in 9th grade, when it used to be an 8th grade topic, we are stuck. We are literally voiceless and bound by the 15% rule plus the copyright it is based upon. But it gets worse:

Gulliver’s Fourth String: Problems with national testing

The fourth string tying us down, Gulliver-like, is nationalized, federally-supervised, compulsory testing. It commits our dollars without our input. And the content of the tests will be dictated by the NGA/CCSSO to test writers.

There isn’t even the tiny bit of 15% wiggle room on tests. I wrote to a test writer how they would incorporate the 15% variation in state standards and they told me that it is “in each state’s best interest” not to have “two sets of standards.” Why? Because the test won’t be incorporating anything in addition to the national standards.

Why is this bad? What we are valuing and testing is extremely narrow and cannot be altered by any state, but only by the NGA/CCSSO. It opens the door for a one-track, politicized agenda to be taught and tested.

Our local leaders continue to refer to “The Utah Core” as if it were not the exact same core as all the other states. This is misleading.

Teachers and principals will be evaluated and compared using these national tests’ results, so what would motivate them to teach anything beyond or different than what will be tested? The motivation to be an innovative educator is gone with the high stakes national tests. Right now Utah has only adopted math and English standards, but soon the NGA/CCSSO will be releasing social studies and science standards. One can only imagine how these subjects will be framed by the “progressive” groups who write the tests and shape the curriculum. And the test writers will be providing model curriculum for states to follow to prepare students for the tests.

Gulliver’s Fifth String: Common Core English:

David Coleman’s version of what is appropriate for the rest of the nation

The fifth string tying us down, Gulliver-like, was wrought almost singlehandedly by one wrongheaded man with too much power, named David Coleman.

Coleman was the main architect of the English standards for Common Core, despite never having been a teacher himself, and is now president of the College board. He is now aligning the national college entrance exams with Common Core standards. He holds a dreary, utilitarian vision of the language, without appreciation for classic literature or narrative writing. He has deleted much of it, and has deleted all cursive for students.

It was Coleman’s idea to make all children read 50% informational texts and 50% fiction in English classes, and then gradually to get rid of more and more fiction and classic literature, so that when a student is in 12th grade, he or she is reading 70% informational text and very little classic literature.

Does this differ from actual book burning?

It is as if Coleman mandated that all English teachers must put 70% of their classic textbooks outside the classroom door to be picked up for burning. Would the teachers put Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, Melville, or O’Connor on the pile? Which classic books would you remove from a high school English classroom? And what informational texts are being recommended by Common Core proponents to replace the classics? Among the suggestions: Executive Order 13423. Writings by the Federal Reserve Bank. And more. (See: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf )

David Coleman explained why he decided that narrative writing should not be taught:
“As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a sh__ about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’”
If Coleman were to value a diamond, he would base its worth solely on the fact that it’s the hardest substance in nature. The diamond’s beauty, or its history as the symbol of eternal romance, would not matter. Just so long as the darn rock can drill. That’s how he thinks about reading and writing.
This is why he has gotten rid of all things beautiful in education:
• No more cursive.
• Very little classic literature, to make room for mostly informational text.
• Informational texts to include Executive Order 13423, in the English classroom.

Gulliver’s Sixth String: Weakening Math

The sixth string tying us down, Gulliver-style, down is weak math. While the Common Core math standards may be an improvement over previous standards in some states, they are deficient for most, including for Utah.
Scholars have written extensively about these standards in reports published by Pioneer Institute and others. They say:
– Common Core replaces the traditional foundations of Euclidean geometry with an experimental approach. This approach has never been successfully used but Common Core imposes this experiment on the country.
– Common Core excludes certain Algebra II and Geometry content that is currently a prerequisite at almost every four-year state college. This effectively redefines “college-readiness” to mean readiness for a nonselective community college, as a member of the Common Core writing team acknowledged in his testimony before the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
– Common Core fails to teach prime factorization and consequently does not include teaching about least common denominators or greatest common factors.
– Common Core fails to include conversions among fractions, decimals, and percents, identified as a key skill by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
– Common Core de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation, which is a prerequisite for advanced mathematics, and instead effectively redefines algebra as “functional algebra”, which does not prepare students for STEM careers.
– Common Core does not require proficiency with addition and subtraction until grade 4, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
– Common Core does not require proficiency with multiplication using the standard algorithm (step-by-step procedure for calculations) until grade 5, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
– Common Core does not require proficiency with division using the standard algorithm until grade 6, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
– Common Core starts teaching decimals only in grade 4, about two years behind the more rigorous state standards, and fails to use money as a natural introduction to this concept.
– Common Core fails to teach in K-8 about key geometrical concepts such as the area of a triangle, sum of angles in a triangle, isosceles and equilateral triangles, or constructions with a straightedge and compass that good state standards include.
There is already evidence that book publishers’ revisions to texts that align with the standards are highly likely to be “inquiry-based”. Discovery and group learning approaches to math have had poor results when they have been used in classrooms across the country.


Gulliver’s Seventh String:

Neither Local Education Leaders Nor Federal Educational Leaders Value American Rights

• A current Utah State School Board member said to me, “I have always understood it is the principle of “equality” not “freedom” that was the guiding principle of our constitution… I have always understood the theme to be equality… you continue to reference freedom over equality.”
• The Dept. of Education has created regions for all America. These regions are to be answerable to the Department of Education. The creation of regional identities ignores the existence of states and consequently, of states’ rights, under the Constitution. This is a dangerous affront to our rights as states.
• Predestining kids: Secretary Arne Duncan says the government needs to control education and teachers via data-driven decisions. The data will be collected: “… so that every child knows on every step of their educational trajectory what they’re going to do.” He says, “You should know in fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth grade what your strengths are, what you weaknesses are.” He’s talking about a managed society, not a free society, where children are to be compliant tools for the government’s purposes, not the other way around.
• The Utah Data Alliance, SLDS system, and the federal Department of Education each seek data at all costs, even without parental consent. Sec. Duncan often says, ”We have to be transparent about our data.” (What Duncan really means is, states have to be transparent about their data to be supervised by the federal government– which is not Constitutional by any stretch of the imagination.)

Duncan’s data transparency statement explains much: why Duncan aims to triangulate data Common Core tests which will be collected and compared under his (unconstitutionally) watchful eye; why Duncan rewrote FERPA regulations without authority or Congressional oversight, why the Department of Education paid states to create SLDS systems to track citizens; why federally, states are pushed to have P-20 tracking councils, and more.
Duncan’s desire to grab private data is further illustrated by the changes Duncan has led in redefining key terms.
For example, you may notice that federal education leaders seldom refer to this movement as the Common Core. They use a code phrase (you can verify this on the definitions page at ed.gov) which is “college and career readiness”. But that code phrase is a deception. College and Career Readiness does not mean what you think it means; there is a new mediocrity to the standards which has made the same standards appropriate for 4 year universities, 2 year colleges, and technical colleges. It has essentially dumbed down the expectations for 4 year universities. So college readiness actually means nothing other than common and mediocre standards. By this definition, states can’t be preparing students for college unless standards are the same as every other state’s and country’s standards. It’s like the old Ford Advertisement: You can Have Any Color As Long as it’s Black.” Secretary Duncan’s version is– “You can have any standards as long as they are the exact same as all other states’ standards.”
Another phrase you’ll hear a lot is “world class education” which doesn’t mean “excellent education.” It means “non-competitive education.” Yikes. Some other phrases that have been officially redefined by the Dept. of Education in federal regulations are: “authorized representative” “education program” and “directory information”
What is the effect of these re-definings?
According to a group that has sued the Dept. of Education, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, this redefining has removed legal duties for state and local educational facilities that used to be in place to protect private student data.
The redefinings open up what used to be tightly protected. But why?
Because the Dept. of Education is using the testing consortia to triangulate the tests and to oversee the data collection. They want access to the data. Words give them access. This brings me to Gulliver’s string, and it’s a whopper.


Gulliver’s Eighth String: Invading Citizen Privacy

The eighth string tying us down, Gulliver-like, is a set of horrific privacy violations. It begins with the fact that Utah built a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) system, as required by the federal government in exchange for money. The SLDS was supposed to be a benefit to Utahns. The argument was that the more data they collect, the smarter decisions could be made about education. It sounded logical at first.

But the SLDS tracks children from preschool through workforce. It interacts with six other Utah state governmental agencies, beyond the K-12 system. It essentially guides and monitors citizens.

When I found out about this, I wanted to opt out for my children. I asked the Utah State Office of Education myself whether it is even allowed to have a student attend a school without being tracked by the Utah Data Alliance and the federal SLDS.

They finally gave me a straight answer, after I nagged them many a time, finally, and it was simply ”No.”No child, no citizen may escape tracking. We are all being closely tracked. Schools are the starting point.

Unknown to most parents, children’s data is being shared beyond the school district with six agencies inside the Utah Data Alliance and with UTREX, according to Utah Technology Director John Brandt. The student data is further to be “mashed” with federal databases, according to federal Education Dept. Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html

While Utah’s John Brandt assures us that only a handful of people in Utah have access to the personally identifiable data of children, recent alterations to federal FERPA (Famly Education Rights Privacy Act) regulations which were made by the U.S. Dept of Education, as we noted earlier, have radically redefined terms and widened the window of groups who can access private data without parental consent. (For more on that, see the lawsuit against the U.S. Dept of Education on the subject: http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html)

In America, a law is a representative thing. Laws are made by people who either directly vote for that law, or who vote for a representative who votes for a law. Then the people must obey the law, or be forcibly punished.
But watch out for rules and regulations, which are not laws, and which come from unelected boards with appointed members who cannot be repealed by us. Rules and regulations are a form of nonrepresentation, and can be dangerous. Common Core is quickly becoming a snare because of its rules and regulations. FERPA regulatory changes are a prime example. Congress never changed the privacy law that FERPA was written originally to be. But the Department of Education made un-approved regulatory changes to FERPA that are being treated as if they were law today.

Our schools (teachers, adminstrators, and even State Office of Education workers) are being used: used to collect private data, both academic and nonacademic, about our children and their families.

I choose the word “used” because I do not believe they are maliciously going behind parents’ backs. They are simply expected to comply with whatever the U.S. Dept. of Education asks them to do. And the Dept. of Education is all for the “open data” push as are some notable Utahns, such as Utah Technology Director John Brandt and even some BYU Education professors, notably David Wiley. I have heard these men speak and they are passionate about getting data at all costs, even at the cost of not pausing for students’ parental consent.

What it means: Courses taken, grades earned, every demographic piece of information, including family names, attitudes and income, can now legally be known by the government via schools.

The U.S. Dept. of Education’s own explanation is here, showing why SLDS systems exist: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html

There are 12 elements that states had to share or they would not have received ARRA stimulus money. The twelve elements of the SLDS (State longitudinal data system) include enrollment history, demographic characteristics, student’s scores on tests; info on students, even those who are not tested; transcripts, grades earned; whether they enrolled in remedial courses; and the sharing of data from preschool through postsecondary systems.

While all this data gathering could theoretically, somehow, benefit a child, or community, it can definitely hurt a child. Denial of future opportunities, based on ancient academic or behavioral history, comes to mind. The databases are to share data with anybody they define as “authorized.”

The now-authorized groups who will access student data will most likely include the A-list “philanthropists” like Bill Gates, as well as corporate educational sales groups (Microsoft, Pearson, Wireless Generation, and K-12 Inc., Achieve, Inc., SBAC, PARCC, NGA, CCSSO, for example) as well as federal departments that are far outside of education, such as the military, the workforce agencies, etc.)

Furthermore, even psychometric and biometric data (such as student behavioral qualities, DNA, iris and fingerprints) are also acceptable data collection points, to the Dept. of Education (verify: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf )

Verify these facts on the government’s public sites, such as:

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/slds/factsheet.html
http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/stateanalysis/states/UT/
http://www.utahdataalliance.org/links.shtml
http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/edview/edview.aspx?class=StudentTracking

In Closing:

Our country is a miracle in the history of the earth. No other country has ever had such a Constitution that limits and spreads out the power of the government to ensure the maximum liberty of each individual, balancing the need for limited government to prevent anarchy. It is important to understand the document. “The powers not delegated to the United States Government are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nothing could be more clear. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to exercise any power over education.

Our Department of Education is aware of this. Recent speeches by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan include the fact that the Department is “limited” in this country. Yes, very limited. Like, not allowed at all.

We may not be able to take back all the ground we have lost by allowing the federal government to dictate regulations to us in return for our own tax money. But we must not allow them any further ground.

The states (except for the handful of states that rejected Common Core) are otherwise like the neighbor who does not know where his rights are and can never know when they are taken and is thus unable to defend them. This neighbor believes he owns a piece of ground which his neighbor also claims, but he doesn’t know its boundaries. The other neighbor continues to encroach further and further onto land which the first neighbor suspects is his, but since he is never certain where the boundary is, he cannot stop the encroachment.

Until we take a firm position and say: “no further,” there is no line. Unless we remember our rights, we have none. My hope is that as a state, we will say “no further,” and hold onto our own right to educate our own children without interference.

Common Core does not improve college readiness. The educational value of the standards is low. And even if they were to be significantly improved, remember that educational standards are meaningless without political freedom.

There is no amendment process for Common Core. The standards have no checks and balances. Common Core was never voted upon. Common Core administrators cannot be recalled by a vote. Common Core represents an assumption of power never delegated by the voice of the people. The Common Core Initiative has transferred sovereignty from states to a collective controlled by the National Governors’ Association and by the Council of Chief State School Officers. It also transferred educational sovereignty from states to testing groups to be overseen by the Department of Education.

We must realize the strength of our position as states under the U.S. Constitution, and must hold up the Constitution, thus holding the Dept. of Education away from monitoring and directing states’ education.


Senator Mike Fair of South Carolina stated: In adopting Common Core, states have sold their birthright without even getting the mess of pottage. He is right.
Currently, thousands of people have signed the petition at Utahns Against Common Core. Websites and organizations are forming all over the country to fight Common Core. At least six U.S. Governors staunchly oppose Common Core. The majority of Utah legislators have said they oppose it.   Americans deserve high quality education without federal interference and this will not happen without first dropping all ties to the Common Core Initiative.

Please let state leaders and school boards know we expect them to be valiant in that effort.
Thank you.

—–  —–  —–

Contact information: Utah Governor Herbert  801-538-1000 Utah State School Board. Board@schools.utah.gov

State Technology Director / leader of Utah Data Alliance: john.brandt@schools.utah.gov

Utah State Superintendent: martell.menlove@schools.utah.gov

Assistant Superintendent: judy.park@schools.utah.gov

Utah State Office of Education: Brenda.Hales@schools.utah.gov

Senate Education Committee members – (801) 538-1035

Stuart C.  Reid screid@le.utah.gov

Patricia W. Jones pjones@le.utah.gov

Mark B. Madsen  mmadsen@le.utah.gov

Wayne L. Niederhauser wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

Aaron Osmond – aosmond@le.utah.gov

Howard A. Stephenson hstephenson@le.utah.gov

Jerry W. Stevenson – :jwstevenson@le.utah.gov

Stephen H. Urquhart – surquhart@le.utah.gov

Is Socialism Wrong?   3 comments

It is becoming increasingly evident that education in America is becoming more and more a form of socialism, with the government held as the supreme authority over children and what they will be taught, rather than local educational leaders and parents making those decisions. Under this increasingly socialistic system of Common Core, education is determined by a small group of people with a large concentration of power, while the majority have no meaningful voice or vote.

For this reason, I am sharing the following study of the concept of socialism, especially for my latter-day saint friends, with highlights reposted from: http://www.latterdayconservative.com/about/

 

Socialism is wrong.

Brian M.,  author of   www.LatterdayConservative.com, has written that it’s not just anyone’s opinion to believe  that socialism is wrong, but that  latter-day prophets, starting with Joseph Smith, have taught that socialism is  wrong, and have clearly defined it.

The author writes, “socialistic  laws and policies within the government are in violation of the Constitution.  The prophets have also made many statements against communism, which shares  many of the same ideas as socialism.”

He adds:

Joseph Smith

“I  attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through,  I made a few remarks… I said I did not believe the doctrine.” (History of the  Church 6:33)

Heber J. Grant

“We  again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against  our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same  political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other  parts of the world are at work amongst us in America…

“…  Communism and all other similar isms bear no relationship whatever to the  United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always  devises of the gospel plan… Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and  lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They  will prove snares to their feet.” (Grant and McKay 273, 343)

David O. McKay

“Church  members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the  matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to  honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own  freedoms. They are free to participate in non-church meetings that are held to  warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that  will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the  Constitution of the United States.” (”Statement Concerning the Position of the  Church on Communism” 477)

First Presidency 1941 ( Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David  O. McKay )

“We believe  that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from  that underlying spirit common to Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array  class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which  would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution…

“As  we see it, there is no way in which we can, to use your own words, “preserve  and perpetuate our freedom—freedom to govern ourselves, freedom of speech, and  freedom to worship God according to our own light,” except we shall turn away  from our present course and resume the normal course along which this great  country traveled to its present high eminence of prosperity, of culture, of  universal education, and of the peace and contentment which we enjoyed prior to  the inauguration of the “New Deal”. (1932-3)

“These  things are not matters of partisan politics with us. We care nothing as Church  leaders about partisan politics as such, nor about the dominance of one party  or the other. We grant to every man the right to vote as he wishes, and we  would not control his vote even if we could. But we do reserve to ourselves the  right to tell our people what we think is right regarding politics as affecting  the fundamentals of our government system, to warn them of the dangers that lie  under the present course, and to try to persuade them that their peace, their  happiness, and their security do not lie along the path of the present trends  of government.

“Truly,  we do not believe that—again to quote your own words—we can “preserve and  perpetuate our freedom—freedom to govern ourselves, freedom of speech, and  freedom to worship God according to our own light” unless we turn squarely  about and return to the old-time virtues, and re-enthrone our liberties and  free institutions.” (A Letter to the Treasury from the LDS First Presidency in  1941 )

Ezra Taft Benson

“No  true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist  principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of  this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto  that very purpose [D&C 101:80].” (”A Four-Fold Hope” 11)

“President  McKay has said a lot about our tragic trends towards socialism and communism  and the responsibilities liberty-loving people have in defending and preserving  our Constitution. (See Conference Report, Apr 1963, pp. 112-13.) Have we read  these words from God’s mouthpiece and pondered on them?” (”Be Not Deceived”  1064; compare GFC 340)

“Let  us not be deceived in the sifting days ahead. Let us rally together on  principle behind the prophet as guided by the promptings of the Spirit. We  should continue to speak out for freedom and against socialism and communism.  We should continue to come to the aid of patriots, programs, and organizations  that are trying to save our Constitution through every legal and moral means  possible.” (”Be Not Deceived” 1065; compare GFC 342)

“We  must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We  have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us  than what we ourselves are. In the final analysis, people generally get the  kind of government they deserve. To live a higher law means we will not seek to  receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember  that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It  means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the Source of our liberty.” (CHB  28-31)

“I  fear for the future when I realize that for some thirty years our once-free  institutions, political, economic, educational and social, have been drifting  into the hands of those who favor the Welfare State, and who would “centralize  all power in the hands of the political apparatus in Washington. This  enhancement of political power at the expense of individual rights, so often  disguised as ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘civil rights,’ is ’socialism,’ no  matter what name tag it bears…

“I fear for the future when I see an affluent but complacent  citizenry paying little or no attention to these and many other socialistic trends  in America.

“Dr. V. Orval Watts, noted political economist, has described this  socialist system which I fear-and I have but suggested a very few evidences.  Here are his words: ‘Socialism… is the theory and practice of coercive  collectivism. It is the evil fruit of greed for other men’s possessions and  greed for control over other men’s labor.’” (Elder Ezra Taft Benson December 10 1963. A Race Against Time.)

“We  have moved a long way – and are now moving further and more rapidly down the  soul-destroying road of socialism. The evidence is clear – shockingly clear for  all to see…

“Now we should all be opposed to Socialistic-Communism, for it is  our mortal and spiritual enemy – the greatest evil in the world today. But the  reason many liberals don’t want the American people to form study groups to  really understand and than fight Socialistic-Communism is that once the  American people get the facts they will begin to realize that much of what  these liberals advocate is actually helping the enemy.

“The liberals hope you’ll believe them when they tell you how  anti-Communist they are. But they become alarmed if you really inform yourself  on the subject of Socialistic-Communism. For after you inform yourself you  might begin to study the liberal voting record. And this study would show you  how much the liberals are giving aid and comfort to the enemy and how much the  liberals are actually leading America towards Socialism itself.

“For Communism is just another form of socialism, as is fascism.  So now you can see the picture. These liberals want you to know how much they  are doing for you – with your tax money of course. But they don’t want you to  realize that the path they are pursuing is socialistic, and that socialism is  the same as communism in its ultimate effect on our liberties. When you point  this out they want to shut you up – they accuse you of maligning them, of  casting aspersions, of being political. No matter whether they label their  bottle as liberalism, progressivism, or social reform – I know the contents of  the bottle is poison to this Republic and I’m going to call it poison.” (Ezra Taft  Benson. Stand Up For Freedom. Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966.  Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea)

Howard W. Hunter

“You  were given a  great message by Elder Marion G. Romney which was inspiring and profound. He  compared socialism with the United Order.  I encourage you to study carefully that message. He gave much of the basic  theory, the principles, the similarities and the differences between these two  basically conflicting systems. As I accept his premises, logic, and  conclusions, with your permission, at this time, I would like to use his  message as a springboard for my own. The basic principle in his message is the  same principle in mine, as already discussed – the principle of the Law of the  Harvest – As a Man Sows, So Shall He Reap.

“From  my own experience in business and as a lawyer and church worker, and from my  firsthand observations in this country and other countries of the world, there  appears to me to be a trend to shift responsibility for life and its processes  from the individual to the state. In this shift there is a basic violation of  the law of the harvest, or the law of justice. The attitude of “something for  nothing” is encouraged. The government is often looked to as the source of wealth.  There is a feeling that the government should step in and take care of one’s  needs, one’s emergencies, and one’s future. Just as my friend actually became a  slave to his own ignorance and bad habits by refusing to accept the  responsibility for his own education and moral growth, so, also, can an entire  people be imperceptibly transferred from individuals, families, and communities  to the federal government…

“What  is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more  socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal  unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and  righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms…

“If  man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the  gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a  democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The  government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have  last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of  their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost  their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something  for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the  gift.

“Under  this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the  vital freedoms which they have lost.” (Speeches  of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest.” Devotional Address,  Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966.)

I would also recommend that everyone  read the talk by Elder Marion G. Romney entitled “Is Socialism the United  Order?” This talk was recommended by Elder Hunter, and as mentioned by Elder  Romney, he was asked by “the Brethren” to give this talk in General Conference  Priesthood meeting of April, 1966. Here are some excerpts from that talk:

“Thus  in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United  Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of  it… Socialism  is political, both in theory and practice. It is thus exposed to, and riddled  by, the corruption that plagues and finally destroys all political governments  that undertake to abridge man’s agency.

“…No,  brethren, socialism is not the United Order. However, notwithstanding my  abhorrence of it, I am persuaded that socialism is the wave of the present and  of the foreseeable future. It has already taken over or is contending for  control in most nations.

“We  here in the United States, in converting our government into a social welfare  state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism. Specifically, we have to an  alarming degree adopted the use of the power of the state in the control and  distribution of the fruits of industry. We are on notice according to the words  of the President, that we are going much further, for he is quoted as saying: ‘We’re  going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it  from the ‘haves’ and give it to the ‘have nots.’” (1964 Congressional Record,  p. 6142, Remarks of the President to a Group of Leaders of Organizations of  Senior Citizens in the Fish Room, March 24, 1964.)

“Socialism  takes: United Order gives.

“That  is the spirit of socialism: We’re going to take. The spirit of the United Order  is: We’re going to give.

Even the scriptures warn us against socialism:

“Wo  unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite,  and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying  hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will  not labor with your own hands!” (D&C 56:17)

“They  shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat:  for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long  enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isaiah 65:22)

What greater condemnation of Socialism  could there be than from God himself? A witness from the Old Testament, and one  from the current dispensation through Joseph Smith, as well as many other  warnings through His prophets and apostles throughout the years.

I recognize that some people, with  good intentions, have been deceived into thinking that socialism is good. I  think what needs to be realized and understood by those who feel that socialism  is in line with the Gospel and teachings of Christ is that the problem is not  regarding whether or not we should help each other, we do have a responsibility  to help those in need, the problem is in others using force and violating our  agency to accomplish it. The ends do not justify the means. Socialism violates  man’s agency. We must be free to give unto others of our own choosing.

Socialism and other false “isms” which  take away our agency are part of an ongoing battle; the war that started in  heaven continues on earth today.

Further recommended reading from Brian M. :

————-

Thank you, Brian M.

Read the Full Text of Agenda 21 (Educational Systems to be Supplanted by Environmental Agenda)   32 comments

Here’s a link to the full text of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 global transformation plan:  http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/index.html

I take particular interest in these three chapters: 25, 24, and 36, as a teacher and as a mother.

Chapter 25 – the one about children: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-25.htm

Chapter 24- the one about girls:  http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-24.htm

Chapter 36- the one about education:  http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-36.htm

If you are new to governmentspeak, you won’t see many red flags.  It’s not until you slow down and really think about what they are writing (and not writing) that you begin to see how twisted this Agenda 21 really is.

Two examples:

From Chapter 25: “Ensure access for all youth to all types of education…  ensure that education… incorporates the concepts of environmental awareness and sustainable development throughout the curricula…”

Did you catch that?  Throughout curricula,  that means in every single class– spelling, grammar, science, English, math, history, technology, art, languages, sports, student government, debate, home economics, and the rest– students must be learning environmental awareness and sustainable development?  Does that not strike you as dogmatic- almost crazy?

Also from Chapter 25:  ” Consider…recommendations of… youth conferences and other forums that offer youth perspectives.” 

–On first reading, that sounds fine, right?  Listening to young people. What could possibly be wrong with it?

Well, look up “Delphi Technique” when you have some time on your hands.

There are sustainability youth “conferences” happening right now that are clearly little more than the globalists’ politically motivated indoctrination camps.

After youth spend time “dialoging” about environmental issues –where the dialogue is being controlled by Agenda 21 activist facilitators– those facilitators will take the youth recommendations back to headquarters. Nice.  Here’a a link to such a youth conference.  All 14-year-olds and up are cordially invited to be totally immersed in the green, anti-sovereignty, anti-constitution, pro-collectivism, pro-communist, environmental agenda: http://www.agenda21now.org/index.php?section=home

It should not be creeping into our schools.  But it is.

Teachers are being taught to teach sustainable development across the curricula.

The U.S. Department of Education is pushing it.  http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/greening-department-education-secretary-duncans-remarks-sustainability-summit

Secretary Duncan says in the above linked speech, “Educators have a central role in this… They teach students about how the climate is changing. They explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy. Historically, the Department of Education hasn’t been doing enough in the sustainability movement. Today, I promise you that we will be a committed partner.”

And here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001433/143370e.pdf  Unesco promotes “Guidelines and Recommendations for Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability”

It’s obvious that teachers are being pushed in the direction of Agenda 21 without knowing it’s a political agenda.  The Agenda 21 tenets, such as the supposed importance of limiting human reproduction, of limiting building, sports or recreational activities that touch grass, oceans or trees; of limiting airplane and car use, or of believing that there is human made global warming, are not settled facts among scientific communities (or in religious ones, for that matter.)  Yet teachers are supposed to teach them as settled facts, as doctrine.

Please have the courage to say no if you are a teacher, a school board member, a principal, or a parent.

Even if you happen to believe in the tenets of Agenda 21, such as global warming, population control, or putting plants above or equal with humans’ needs, do you believe that all children should be subject to these teachings, regardless of what their parents or teachers or churches believe?

Shouldn’t a child be taught to weigh competing theories and judge empirical evidence for his/herself, rather than accepting a dogma blindly?  Isn’t that what education is supposed to mean?

Yukon College Professor Bob Jickling’s article on this subject is worth reading:  “Why I Don’t Want my Children to be Educated for Sustainable Development”

Link here:

https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/green-propaganda-does-not-belong-in-schools-yukon-college-professor-explains/

The Battle Over the American Classroom   3 comments

There is a battle going on for control of American classrooms.

It’s a battle about which many students, teachers and State School Board Members are still blissfully unaware.

It’s a battle between the rights of each individual and each locality, versus the collective, as defined by the United Nations and, now, even by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

It’s a battle for what gets planted in the mind of the child.

It’s a battle for constitutional, local control (of students’ standards, tests, and curriculum) versus worldwide control (with education to be determined by federal and global cooperatives without any significant local representation.)

It’s also a battle between teaching the traditional academics: reading, writing, math, science and history, versus teaching the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which envisions a new “education” —that many are calling indoctrination.

The new “education” marginalizes academics.

It calls itself “World Class Education” but it is only a communistic sameness of learning across all countries.  It prioritizes “sustainable development,” “Social Justice” (redistribution of global wealth), the “collective good,” “going green” and “global citizenship” far above teaching academics.

And it presents “climate change” as if it were a real and settled science.

     The Department of Education, sadly, has betrayed us, lining up with the United Nations in this battle.  Link: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

Today,  the battle for the rights over a child’s life and learning has hit the news in a new form, under the title of  a United Nations treaty for the Disabled.   But it’s the same fight.  It’s a fight for our children.  http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-oppose-vote-un-disability-treaty-223300511.html

In the U.N. Disability treaty, the word “disability” is fuzzily defined.  Not really defined.  It uses an “evolving” definition.  Slippery!  Does “disabled’ mean a child with a mental handicap, including dyslexia or another common academic struggle?  Does it mean someone with a missing finger? A missing leg? A missing tooth?  And why should the government be the one to determine what is in such a child’s best interests, over the parents’ feelings?  This is a slippery slope of giving another sacred, hard-won American freedom, of parental rights over the child, utterly away.

This United Nations treaty poses as a helpful move, to ensure rights for the disabled, but what it really does is make the government, and not the parents, decision makers about what is in the best interest of a child, including whether home schooling is legal.

That provision, in the words of Rick Santorum, is “a direct assault on us and our family.”

Some also say that the treaty calls for people with disabilities to have “access to the same sexual and reproductive health programs as others” which means it might be linked to abortion.

So often, what starts off as an apparently  kindly socialistic “access to” a thing, soon becomes compulsory.

Former Utah Supreme Court Justice Dallin H. Oaks ruled that:

“Family autonomy helps to assure the diversity characteristic of a free society.  There is no surer way to preserve pluralism than to allow parents maximum latitude in rearing their own children.  Much of the rich variety in American culture has been transmitted from generation to generation by determined parents who were acting against the best interest of their children, as defined by official dogma.  Conversely, there is no surer way to threaten pluralism than to terminate the rights of parents who contradict officially approved values imposed by reformers empowered to determine what is in the ‘best interest’ of someone else’s child.”

—Dallin Oaks’ point is so vital.  Parents’ idea of what is in the best interest of their children does NOT necessarily match the “official dogma” of governments. 

No education reformers –U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, President Obama, Pearson CEA Sir Michael Barber, Bill Ayers, UNESCO– have the right to determine what is in the best interest of someone else’s child.  Period.

Arne Duncan’s 2010 speech exposes the U.S. Dept. of Education’s stance: that education should be the same everywhere, globally, and that competition and innovation is of the past.  Listen to this communist speak.  He is our U.S. Secretary of Education.  He is in charge of American K-12 children.  He even quotes Sir Michael Barber as if that’s a good thing.

“It is an absolute honor to address UNESCO. During the last 65 years, UNESCO has done so much to advance the cause of education and gender equity…   The promise of universal education was then a lonely beacon—a light to guide the way to peace and the rebuilding of nations across the globe. Today, the world… faces a crisis of a different sort, the global economic crisis. And education is still the beacon lighting the path forward—perhaps more so today than ever before.

Education is still the key to eliminating gender inequities, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet… education is the new currency…

… the Obama administration has an ambitious and unified theory of action that propels our agenda. The challenge of transforming education in America cannot be met by quick-fix solutions or isolated reforms. It can only be accomplished with a clear, coherent, and coordinated vision of reform.

Second, while America must improve its stagnant educational and economic performance, President Obama and I reject the protectionist Cold War-era assumption that improving economic competitiveness is somehow a zero-sum game, with one nation’s gain being another country’s loss.

I want to make the case to you today that enhancing educational attainment and economic viability, both at home and abroad, is really more of a win-win game; it is an opportunity to grow the economic pie, instead of carve it up.

As President Obama said in his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year, “Any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.”

There is so much that the United States has to learn from nations with high-performing education systems… I am convinced that the U.S. education system now has an unprecedented opportunity to get dramatically better. Nothing—nothing—is more important in the long-run to American prosperity than boosting the skills and attainment of the nation’s students… Closing the achievement gap and closing the opportunity gap is the civil rights issue of our generation. One quarter of U.S. high school students drop out or fail to graduate on time. Almost one million students leave our schools for the streets each year. That is economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable.

One of the more unusual and sobering press conferences I participated in last year was the release of a report by a group of top retired generals and admirals. Here was the stunning conclusion of their report: 75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 to 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school…   education is taking on more and more importance around the globe. In the last decade, international competition in higher education and the job market has grown dramatically…

Yet there is also a paradox at the heart of America’s efforts to bolster international competitiveness.

To succeed in the global economy, the United States, just like other nations, will have to become both more economically competitive and more collaborative.

In the information age, more international competition has spawned more international collaboration. Today, education is a global public good unconstrained by national boundaries.

… economic interdependence brings new global challenges and educational demands…. America alone cannot combat terrorism or curb climate change. To succeed, we must collaborate with other countries.

These new partnerships must also inspire students to take a bigger and deeper view of their civic obligations—not only to their countries of origin but to the betterment of the global community. A just and socially responsible society must also be anchored in civic engagement for the public good.

…Yet even as the United States works to strengthen its educational system, it is important to remember that advancing educational attainment and achievement everywhere brings benefits not just to the U.S. but around the globe. In the knowledge economy, education is the new game-changer driving economic growth.

Education, as Nelson Mandela says, “is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

From Indonesia to Pakistan to Kenya, education has immeasurable power to promote growth and stability. It is absolutely imperative that the United States seize the opportunity to help Haiti build a stronger school system from the ruins of its old, broken one—just as America coalesced to build a fast-improving, vibrant school system in New Orleans after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

…Educating girls and integrating them into the labor force is especially critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. It is hard to imagine a better world without a global commitment to providing better education for women and youth—including the 72 million children who do not attend primary school today.

And don’t forget that a better-educated world would be a safer world, too… My department has been pleased to partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development to help ensure that our best domestic practices are shared world-wide.

The United States provides over a billion dollars annually to partner countries working on educational reform.

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO, to promote qualitative improvements and system-strengthening…

Ultimately, education is the great equalizer. It is the one force that can consistently overcome differences in background, culture, and privilege…

Now, it is true that not all will share equally in the benefits of the knowledge economy. College-educated workers will benefit the most. That makes President Obama’s 2020 goal, the goal of once again having the highest proportion of college graduates, all the more central to building U.S. competitiveness.

… President Obama, a progressive president… wants to improve teacher evaluation…The President and I both recognize that improving educational outcomes for students is hard work with no easy answers. And transformational reform especially takes time in the United States…

The North Star guiding the alignment of our cradle-to-career education agenda is President Obama’s goal that, by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That goal can only be achieved by creating a strong cradle-to-career continuum that starts with early childhood learning and extends all the way to college and careers.

In the U.S., early learning has come into its own. It is now recognized as the first and most critical stage in human development. We have a special opportunity today to build a bigger and better coordinated system of early care and education that prepares children for success in school and life—in place of a system with uneven quality and access.

…Tragically, low-income and minority students do not have equitable access to effective teachers in the United States. Too often, the children who need the most help get the least. Too often, we perpetuate poverty and social failure—and that has got to stop.

…The United States cannot substantially boost graduation rates and promise a world-class education to every child without ending the cycle of failure in the lowest-performing five percent of our schools. Year after year, and in some cases for decades, these schools cheated children out of the opportunity for an excellent education. As adults, as educators, as leaders, America passively observed this educational failure with a complacency that is deeply disturbing.

Fewer than 2,000 high schools in the United States—a manageable number—produce half of all its dropouts. These “dropout factories” produce almost 75 percent—three-fourths—of our dropouts from the minority community, our African-American and Latino boys and girls.

…Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.

Before the 1960s, almost all policymaking and education funding was a state and local responsibility. In the mid-1960s, the federal role expanded to include enforcing civil rights laws to ensure that poor, minority, and disabled students, as well as English language learners, had access to a high-quality education.

As the federal role in education grew, so did the bureaucracy. All too often, the U.S. Department of Education operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation. The department typically focused on ensuring that formula funds reached their intended recipients in the proper fashion. It focused on inputs—not educational outcomes or equity.

The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities. While the vast majority of department funding is still formula funding, the Recovery Act created additional competitive funding like the high-visibility $4.35 billion Race to the Top program and the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund, which we call i3.

I’ve said that America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform. And this is very much a revolution driven by leaders in statehouses, state school superintendents, local lawmakers, district leaders, union heads, school boards, parents, principals, and teachers.

To cite just one example, the department’s Race to the Top Program challenged states to craft concrete, comprehensive plans for reforming their education systems. The response was nothing less than extraordinary. Forty-six states submitted applications—and the competition drove a national conversation about education reform. Thirty-two states changed specific laws that posed barriers to innovation. And even states that did not win awards now have a state roadmap for reform hammered out. [UTAH]

The i3 program also had a phenomenal response. The $650 million i3 fund offered support to school districts, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education to scale-up promising practices.

…I said earlier that the United States now has a unique opportunity to transform our education system in ways that will resonate for decades to come. Last year and this year, the federal government provided unprecedented funds to support education and 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 [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… standards… That is an absolute game-changer …

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. In September, I announced the results of the department’s $350 million Race to the Top assessment completion to design this next generation of assessments.

Two state consortiums, which together cover 44 states and the District of Columbia, won awards. These new assessments will have much in common with the first-rate assessments now used in many high-performing countries outside the U.S. When these new assessments are in use in the 2014-15 school year, millions of U.S. schoolchildren, parents, and teachers will know, for the first time, if students truly are on-track for colleges and careers.

For the first time, many teachers will have the assessments they have longed for…

    Sir Michael Barber’s book, Instruction to Deliver, reminds us that the unglamorous work of reform matters enormously…

…we are committed to establishing a different relationship with the 50 states—one more focused on providing tailored support to improve student outcomes.

… America has a great deal to learn from the educational practices of other countries…

…I welcome this international dialogue, which is only beginning. In December, in Washington, I will join the OECD Secretary General for the global announcement of the 2009 PISA results. In March, we will be sponsoring an International Summit on the Teaching Profession

Thinking of the future as a contest among nations vying for larger pieces of a finite economic pie is a recipe for protectionism and global strife. Expanding educational attainment everywhere is the best way to grow the pie for all…”   – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 2010 speech

Full text:

http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

Are People Afraid of Educational Freedom?   Leave a comment

"Like" LDS Liberty's *page* to continue receiving quotes from Prophets and Apostles as they get released.Some people are afraid of freedom. Not me.

Some people who’ve spent time in jail return to jail deliberately, having found it was scarier to be free than to be a prisoner.  They preferred guaranteed “safety” over the possibilities (and responsibilities) of freedom.

And people with that attitude seems to be growing.

If Obama got more votes than Romney (and it wasn’t a fraudulent, rigged election) then a lot of voters want a nanny government that is “safe” like prison, that is a sort of provider as it is also a slavemaster.  This system enriches the few elites, wastes money on bureaucracies, and sometimes, but barely, pays for the poor.  It’s communism.

Do unemployed people (those who could work, but don’t) really prefer a tiny government check and food stamps to self respect, self control and freedom?

But more to the point:

Are we afraid of educational freedom?

Do we prefer pre-packaged, nationally written tests and standards to writing our own?  Do we so fear failing that we don’t want to have the liberty to innovate and soar or fail on our own?  Do we believe that other people –federal officials, for example–  know best?  If so, why?

Common Core is based on a lie; the lie is that the only way to address the problems we have nationally in education is to put the collective nation in charge of each locality’s choices: what to teach and to test.

That collective notion is not the way to effectively fix the education problems; the right way is to give localities back their own freedom to innovate, to seek out the best and to determine and use what actually works.  Give them back their tax money, their self respect, their self-determination, and their freedom.  Let them look to the best of the best, like the pre-Common Core educational system of Massachusetts, which was second to none– but never to force any system, no matter how good it may be, on states the way the Dept. of Education has coerced states to adopt Common Core with the dangling carrot of grant money (Race To The Top).

The federal government is too big to be adequately aware of local needs.  The Constitution writers set up our nation to make sure that pretty much everything was up to the states– except things like the military, which needed to be federalized for obvious reasons.

Unconstitutional moves –like Common Core– hurt our country.   Look at nationalized health care, a horrible idea, a sick waste of money, a sure way to make sure wait lines are long and service slackens as it has in the European countries.  Ask a Swede.  Ask a Czech.  (I have!)

Similarly, in education, nationalized school systems are a horrible idea, a sure way to make sure innovation stops, mass indoctrination has full sway, teachers’ skills are repressed and boxed in, and students are herded and tracked and branded like cattle rather than taught as individuals.

Some of us are fast.  Some of us are slow.  Common Core is a shackle that tries to make everybody the same.  And that ain’t fun and it ain’t freedom:  not for students, not for teachers, not for textbook writers.

Please, join the fight to reclaim our educational freedom.  Help repeal Common Core.

Eco-Collectivist Values, Not Knowlege, To Be Taught in Schools   Leave a comment

The United Nations branch that oversees education, UNESCO, has issued documents, clearly displaying a plan to transform education worldwide into youth “global citizen” indoctrination.  Under this philosophy, actual learning of reading, writing, and math are old news, 20th century aspirations. But the learning of sustainable development is to the the essential literacy of the 21st century.  Quote:

“IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THE LITERACIES [OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT] WILL BE AS ESSENTIAL TO COMPREHENDING THE WORLD AS WERE THE TRADITIONAL SKILLS OF READING AND WRITING AT THE START OF THE 20TH CENTURY.”

– pg. 3 “New Vision of Education” and http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/mods/theme_a/popups/mod01t05s01.html

A seven-part video series below teaches how and why there really is a deliberate dumbing down of education happening in America today to make room for environmental/collectivist propaganda.

It’s seen as inefficient to teach children what we think of as academic knowledge.  Now, under the Sustainable Development movement, the U.N. and the Department of Education want to teach sustainable development and collective thinkingat the expense of traditional learning. 

This new mission of schools includes cutting out the teaching of individual liberty under the U.S. Constitution, or individual rights, or property rights, to make way for “global citizenship.”

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

So, what can we do?

If you can’t afford private school or home school, then teach your children when you actually do have them close how to identify and see through the indoctrination.

Teach your children that there is such a thing as goodness and truth.  It’s not all relative.

Teach them that there is right and wrong, not just tolerance and intolerance. There is a God in heaven.

Teach them that the family is more important and more lasting than the government.  Individuals matter.  Property rights matter.  The U.S. Constitution protects individual rights like owning property, owning guns, and remaining free from unreasonable search and seizure.

And tell them that while recycling is fine, it’s never going to be more important than reading, writing and math.

Education reforms that are part of Agenda 21: Rosa Koire on the Glenn Beck show   Leave a comment

Rosa Koire, author of “Behind the Green Mask” and a very smart democrat, a guest on the Glenn Beck show, talks about the education reforms that are part of Agenda 21.

Indiana Voters Rise Up Against Common Core   2 comments

Tony Bennett –dethroned by Indiana voters against Common Core

Glenda Ritz – Newly elected Indiana Superintendent

See:   http://www.wane.com/dpp/onpolitix/election_2012/jehl-unseats-peirce-from-fwcs-board

  Not only did Glenna Jehl beat incumbent John Peirce and not only did Tony Bennett get pushed out of his seat as Indiana Superintendent (and CCSSO member) –but also, in fact, Common Core was apparently the reason.

An Indiana friend writes:

“Those who are interested in the role that the Common Core played in Superintendent Tony Bennett’s upset in Indiana, should also take note of a school board race in Fort Wayne Indiana. Glenah Jehl ran on an anti-Common Core platform for the School Board of the Fort Wayne Community Schools. I believe I’ve heard that this is the second largest public school district in Indiana. She trounced her opponent, whom she unseated, 62 to 38%!

Her literature promoted local control and said the following under that heading of Local Control: Empower parents and students with choices and options * Recognize education begins at home* Resist ineffective federal initiatives like “No Child Left Behind” and the new “Common Core Standards.” Under the heading Academic Excellence she has the following: Emphasize quality education focused on child centered learning; not teach to The Test! * Recruit and keep superb teachers* Perpare our children to compete globally and succeed in the future by setting high standards, utilizing the best curriculum, and providing them with the latest technology.”

Hats off to Indiana freedom fighters!

Posted November 19, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Quotes on Freedom and the Constitution from Ezra Taft Benson   Leave a comment

http://www.latterdayconservative.com/quotes/ezra-taft-benson/   (full list of quotes here)

Thanks to the latterdayconservative.com site for putting together these quotes from Ezra Taft Benson:

Ezra Taft BensonEzra Taft Benson

Quotes on Freedom, America, Constitution, Liberty, Etc…

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if they have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.

Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.

Said Karl G. Maeser, “I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera, or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher. It is infinitely better to take chances with an ignorant, but pure-minded teacher than with the greatest philosopher who is impure.”

Vocational education, correspondence courses, establishment in a family business are being considered for their children by an increasing number of parents.

On what basis can we morally resist tyranny?

I say to you with all the fervor of my soul that God intended men to be free. Rebellion against tyranny is a righteous cause. It is an enormous evil for any man to be enslaved to any system contrary to his own will. For that reason men, 200 years ago, pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.

No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood – human blood – will win it back.

If we do not accept the existence of a Supreme Being; that God is the source of moral law, what more do we have to offer than Marx?…

Freedom is an eternal, God-given principle. There is no genuine happiness without freedom, nor is there any security or peace without freedom. After traveling in practically all of the free countries of the world and several times behind the Iron Curtain, I say that Marxism is the greatest evil in this world and the greatest threat to all we hold dear.

Of all sad things in the world, the saddest is to see a people who have once known liberty and freedom and then lost it. I have seen the unquenchable yearning of the human heart for liberty on two unforgettable occasions. These experiences are indelibly etched on the memory of my soul.

And if the time should come when you are associated with groups that take delight in tearing down our American way of life, then they seem to enjoy pointing out the weaknesses of our free enterprise system – and it has weaknesses; it has weaknesses because it’s operated by men and women who are full of weaknesses – but when those times come, when our system is criticized, just keep in mind the fruits of the system, the great blessings that have come to us because of our American way of life. No group of people have ever attained the standard of living which is ours. And so let’s become acquainted with what has been accomplished. It’s all right to criticize; it’s all right to try and improve our American way of life; but in doing so, 1et’s not surrender, let’s not give up, let’s not jeopardize that system which has made America great.

It’s a great blessing to live in America. It’s a great blessing to have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms which are ours today. I have seen people, thousands of them, who have lost the freedom which is ours, where they can no longer meet, as we meet here this morning, and express themselves  as  they  see fit, where they no longer have freedom of movement,  freedom  to  select their  own  jobs, their own educational opportunities, freedom to speak their minds, to write what they wish – freedom of enterprise. In many parts of the world today these rich blessings of freedom no longer exist.

I don’t know how you feel, my brethren and sisters, but I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we’ll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside. But I do have fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land. And so I plead with you this morning that you take an active interest in matters pertaining to the future of this country.

Occasionally, we receive questions as to the propriety of Church members receiving government assistance instead of Church assistance. Let me restate what is a fundamental principle. Individuals, to the extent possible, should provide for their own needs. Where the individual is unable to care for himself, his family should assist. Where the family is not able to provide, the Church should render assistance, not the government.

Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.” By doing this you contribute to the problem which is leading this nation to financial insolvency.

I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14–16; D&C 84:49–53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18–25.)

I testify that America is a choice land. (See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Nephi 21:4.) America will be a blessed land unto the righteous forever, and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom. (See 2 Nephi 1:7.)

On September 17, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the signing of the United States Constitution. The group of inspired men assembled for that convention produced the document that the Prophet Joseph Smith referred to as “a glorious standard” and “a heavenly banner” [TPJS 147].

In commemoration of this important event, we are providing this booklet, which contains three family home evening lessons, activity ideas, and a copy of the Constitution. We encourage you to prepare and teach each lesson prayerfully so that family members may feel the divine significance of the Constitution in their minds and hearts. Faithfully, your brethren, The First Presidency.

How then can we best befriend the Constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty and ensure the protection and guidance of our Father in Heaven?

First and foremost, we must be righteous. . . .

Two great American Christian civilizations — the Jaredites and the Nephites — were swept off this land because they did not “serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12). What will become of our civilization?

Second, We must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

Have we read the Federalist papers? Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it? . . .

We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10).

May God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

May we be equally as valiant and as free.

The United States Constitution has been in existence longer than any written constitution in history. It has been a blessing, not only to our land, but to the world as well. Many nations have wisely adopted concepts and provisions of our Constitution, just as was prophesied (D&C 101:77).

The restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the Lord’s Church could not come to pass until the Founding Fathers were raised up and completed their foreordained missions. Those great souls who were responsible for the freedoms we enjoy acknowledged the guiding hand of Providence. For their efforts we are indebted, but we are even more indebted to our Father in Heaven and to His Son, Jesus Christ. How fortunate we are to live when the blessings of liberty and the gospel of Jesus Christ are both available to us.

May we be worthy of the freedoms that have been provided us in our Constitution, and equal to the trials and tests that shall surely come. We truly have special and individual responsibilities to befriend and to defend that “glorious standard,” our Constitution.

Our Heavenly Father raised up the men who founded this government (see D&C 101:80), thereby fulfilling the prophecy of His Beloved Son that the people “should be established in this land and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father” (3 Nephi 21:4).

We encourage Latter-day Saints throughout the nation to familiarize themselves with the Constitution. They should focus attention on it by reading and studying it. They should ponder the blessings that come through it. They should recommit themselves to its principles and be prepared to defend it and the freedom it provides. (D&C 109:54.) . . .

Because some Americans have not kept faith with our Founding Fathers, the Constitution faces severe challenges. Those who do not prize individual freedom are trying to erode its great principles. We believe the Constitution will stand, but it will take the efforts of patriotic and dedicated Americans to uphold it. . . . We, as Latter-day Saints, must be vigilant in doing our part to preserve the Constitution and safeguard the way of life it makes possible.

This bicentennial year affords us renewed opportunities to learn more about this divinely inspired charter of our liberty, to speak in its defense, and to preserve and protect it against evil or destruction.

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land [D&C 101:76–80]. I testify that the God of Heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits — even you who read my words — to preserve it.

Will we be prepared? Will we be among those who will “bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction?” If we desire to be numbered among those who will, here are some things we must do:

1. We must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us than what we ourselves are. In the final analysis, people generally get the kind of government they deserve. To live a higher law means we will not seek to receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the Source of our liberty.

2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts. We have been instructed again and again to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution and to adhere to its principles. What have we done about this instruction? Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? The Church will not tell us how to do this, but we are admonished to do it. I quote Abraham Lincoln: “Let [the Constitution] be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges, let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs, let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”

3. We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God” (D&C 98:8–11).

Note the qualities that the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest. Some leaders may be honest and good but unwise in legislation they choose to support. Others may possess wisdom but be dishonest and unvirtuous. We must be concerted in our desires and efforts to see men and women represent us who possess all three of these qualities.

4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel. We must take part in local precinct meetings and select delegates who will truly represent our feelings.

I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church — men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution.

( Source: CHB 28-31 )

To all who have discerning eyes, it is apparent that the republican form of government established by our noble forefathers cannot long endure once fundamental principles are abandoned. Momentum is gathering for another conflict — a repetition of the crisis of two hundred years ago. This collision of ideas is worldwide. Another monumental moment is soon to be born. The issue is the same that precipitated the great premortal conflict — will men be free to determine their own course of action or must they be coerced?

We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: “Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” (July 19, 1840, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department.)

It is now two hundred years since the Constitution was written. Have we been wise beneficiaries of the gift entrusted to us? Have we valued and protected the principles laid down by this great document?

At this bicentennial celebration we must, with sadness, say that we have not been wise in keeping the trust of our Founding Fathers. For the past two centuries, those who do not prize freedom have chipped away at every major clause of our Constitution until today we face a crisis of great dimensions.

In recognizing God as the source of their rights, the Founding Fathers declared Him to be the ultimate authority for their basis of law. This led them to the conviction that people do not make law but merely acknowledge preexisting law, giving it specific application. The Constitution was conceived to be such an expression of higher law. And when their work was done, James Madison wrote: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution” (The Federalist, no. 37).

The Founding Fathers well understood human nature and its tendency to exercise unrighteous dominion when given authority [D&C 121:39–40]. A Constitution was therefore designed to limit government to certain enumerated functions, beyond which was tyranny.

In order to avoid a concentration of power in any one branch, the Founding Fathers created a system of government that provided checks and balances. Congress could pass laws, but the president could check these laws with a veto. Congress, however, could override the veto and, by its means of initiative in taxation, could further restrain the executive department. The Supreme Court could nullify laws passed by the Congress and signed by the president, but Congress could limit the court’s appellate jurisdiction. The president could appoint judges for their lifetime with the consent of the Senate.

The use of checks and balances was deliberately designed, first, to make it difficult for a minority of the people to control the government, and, second, to place restraint on the government itself.

The coming forth of the Constitution is of such transcendent importance in the Lord’s plan that ancient prophets foresaw this event and prophesied of it. In the dedicatory prayer for the Idaho Falls Temple, President George Albert Smith indicated that the Constitution fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that “out of Zion shall go forth the law” (Isaiah 2:3).

George Washington referred to this document [the Constitution] as a miracle. This miracle could only have been performed by exceptional men.

History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of his righteous children. Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny.

The War that began in heaven is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments. . . .

. . . We must appreciate that we live in one of history’s most exceptional moments — in a nation and a time of unprecedented freedom. Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than one percent of the human family.

( Source: CHB 3-4 )

On the 17th day of September 1987 we commemorate the two hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

I heartily endorse this assessment. . . .

We pay honor — honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth. . . .

. . . God himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots [our Founding Fathers].

Our Founding Fathers, with solemn and reverent expression, voiced their allegiance to the sovereignty of God, knowing that they were accountable to Him in the day of judgment. Are we less accountable today? I think not. I urge you to keep the commandments and to pray for our nation and its leaders.

The Founding Fathers understood the principle that “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Prov 14:34), and helped to bring about one of the greatest systems ever used to govern men. But unless we continue to seek righteousness and preserve the liberties entrusted to us, we shall lose the blessings of heaven. Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The price of freedom is also to live in accordance with the commandments of God. The early Founding Fathers thanked the Lord for His intervention in their behalf. They saw His hand in their victories in battle and believed strongly that He watched over them.

The battles are not over yet, and there will yet be times when this great nation will need the overshadowing help of Deity. Will we as a nation be worthy to call upon Him for help?

The Founding Fathers had no problems seeing the hand of the Lord in the birth of the nation. George Washington gave direct credit to God for the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. But that did not end the need for inspiration and divine help.

A constitution was drafted. And thirty-nine of fifty delegates signed it. I would ask: Why is it that the references to God’s influence in the noble efforts of the founders of our republic are not mentioned by modern historians?

The fact that our Founding Fathers looked to God for help and inspiration should not surprise us, for they were men of great faith. These men had been raised up specifically by the Lord so they could participate in the great political drama unfolding in America.

We must study and learn for ourselves the principles laid down in the Constitution which have preserved our freedoms for the last two hundred years. If we do not understand the role of government and how our rights are protected by the Constitution, we may accept programs or organizations that help erode our freedoms. An informed citizenry is the first line of defense against anarchy and tyranny.

Our Creator endowed each one of us with certain rights at birth, among which are the rights to life, liberty, speech, and conscience, to name a few. These are not just human rights; they are divine rights. When these rights are not permitted expression by a nation, that nation becomes inhibited in its progress and development, and its leaders are responsible before God for suffocating sacred rights.

This native endowment is what separates man from the animals. It causes men to want to be good and to seek higher aspirations. It creates in man a desire to better his life and his station in life.

Before the gospel could again shine forth its resplendent light, religious and political freedom first had to be restored. This land had been preserved as a continent apart from the religious oppression, tyranny, and intolerance of Europe. In time, emigrants came to the new land and established colonies. By and large, they were a God-fearing people. A war was fought for their independence, and by God’s intervention, victory was achieved (see 1 Nephi 13:16–19). By that same omnipotent power the Constitution was born (see D&C 101:80), which guaranteed religious and political liberty (see D&C 98:5–8). Only then was the time propitious for the kingdom of God — that “stone cut out without hands” — to be restored (see Dan 2:34).

Men who are wise, good, and honest, who will uphold the Constitution of the United States in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, must be sought for diligently. This is our hope to restore government to its rightful role.

I fully believe that we can turn things around in America if we have the determination, the morality, the patriotism, and the spirituality to do so. . . .

. . . I further witness that this land — the Americas — must be protected, its Constitution upheld, for this is a land foreordained to be the Zion of our God. He expects us as members of the Church and bearers of His priesthood to do all we can to preserve our liberty.

To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up . . . and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).

The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.

You must keep your honor. You cannot yet speak officially for the country, but you can become informed. You can speak your mind. You may think you can do little about the national economy or the actions of our government and the moral weakness all about us, but we must all remember that the Lord has placed great responsibilities upon the elders of Israel in the preservation of our Constitution.

The Constitution of this land, with which we should all be familiar, is the only constitution in the world bearing the stamp of approval of the Lord Jesus Christ (D&C 101:76–80).

When I became President of the Twelve and Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church, we met, just the two of us, every week after our Thursday meetings in the temple, just to be sure that things were properly coordinated between the Twelve and the First Presidency. After one of those first meetings, we talked about the many sacred documents in some of the older temples. St. George was mentioned in particular because St. George is our oldest temple in Utah. I had a stake conference down there about that time, and it was agreed that I would go into the archives — the walk-in vault — of that great temple and review the sacred documents that were there. We were planning for the remodeling and renovating of the St. George Temple and thought that the records might possibly be moved to Salt Lake for safekeeping. And there in the St. George Temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted to see the record. And I saw the record. They did appear to Wilford Woodruff twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those principles. Later the work was done for them.

In the archives of the temple, I saw in a book, in bold handwriting, the names of the Founding Fathers and others, including Columbus and other great Americans, for whom the work had been done in the house of the Lord. This is all one great program on both sides of the veil. We are fortunate to be engaged in it on this side of the veil. I think the Lord expects us to take an active part in preserving the Constitution and our freedom.

Learn about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and other basic documents of our great country so that you can sustain them and the free institutions set up under them. The greatest watchdog of our freedom is an informed electorate.

Our forefathers left us a free government which is a miracle of faith — strong, durable, marvelously workable. Yet it can remain so only as long as we understand it, believe in it, devote ourselves to it, and, when necessary, fight for it.

( Source: Hillam v )

May we be wise — prayerfully wise — in the electing of those who would lead us. May we select only those who understand and will adhere to constitutional principles. To do so, we need to understand these principles ourselves. . . .

. . . We should understand the Constitution as the founders meant that it should be understood. We can do this by reading their words about it, such as those contained in the Federalist Papers. Such understanding is essential if we are to preserve what God has given us. . . .

. . . I testify that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government as prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of our Savior.

The temple work for the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and other Founding Fathers has been done. All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was president of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that, according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests at that time. When one casts doubt about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it. Yes, with Lincoln, I say: “To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is . . . impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.”

If ever this country needed the timeless wisdom of the father of our country, it is today. How much our country could benefit by following the wisdom of our country’s first president. Here are a few among many maxims:

“Let the reins of government then be braced and held with a steady hand, and every violation of the constitution be reprehended. If defective, let it be amended, but not suffered to be trampled upon whilst it has an existence.” (To Henry Lee, October 31, 1786, Writings 29:34.)

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” (First Annual Address, January 8, 1790, Writings 12:8.)

“. . . the love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.” (Answer to the New Hampshire Executive, November 3, 1789, Writings 12:175.)

“. . . a good moral character is the first essential in a man. . . . It is therefore highly important, that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.” (To George Steptoe Washington, December 5, 1790, Writings 10:123-24.)

“Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of nations, to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to confirming of our constitution; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition, and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity, which his goodness has already conferred; and to verify the anticipation of this government being a safeguard to human rights.” (To the Senate and the House of Representatives, November 19, 1794, Writings 12:54.)

It would profit all of us as citizens to read again Washington’s Farewell Address to his countrymen. The address is prophetic. I believe it ranks alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

My feelings about this tendency to discredit our Founding Fathers are well summarized by the late President J. Reuben Clark in these words: “These were the horse and buggy days as they have been called in derision; these were the men who traveled in the horsedrawn buggies and on horseback; but these were the men who carried under their hats, as they rode in the buggies and on their horses, a political wisdom garnered from the ages. As giants to pygmies are they when placed alongside our political emigres and their fellow travelers of today, who now traduce them with slighting word and contemptuous phrase.” (Stand Fast by Our Constitution, pp. 136-37.)

The charge [has been made] that the founders designed the Constitution primarily to benefit themselves and their class (property owners) financially, and that the economic motif was their dominant incentive. Such was the thesis of the American historian, Dr. Charles Beard. Yet Madison said: “There was never an assembly of men . . . who were more pure in their motives.” We must remember that these were men who had sacrificed in many cases their fortunes and their sacred honor.

Shortly after the turn of this century, Charles Beard published his work An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. This book marked the beginning of a trend to defame the motives and integrity of the founders of the Constitution. It also grossly distorted the real intent of the founders by suggesting their motivation was determined by economics—a thesis that had originated with Karl Marx. Beard himself was not a Marxist, but he was a socialist in his thinking, and he admitted there was much we could learn from Marx’s ideas. Before his death Beard recanted his own thesis, but the damage had been done. This began a new trend in educational and intellectual circles in the United States.

The Lord has also decreed that this land should be “the place of the new Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.” (Ether 13:3.) Here is our nation’s destiny! To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land and the people for America’s eventual destiny, He “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D&C 101:80.)

Tonight I will speak to you about our beloved republic and the inspired agents whom God raised up to establish the foundation upon which our liberty rests. . . . I speak to you as members of the “household of faith,” the Lord’s true church, and remind you of your solemn charge to uphold, sustain, and defend the kingdom of God.

The destiny of America was divinely decreed. The events that established our great nation were foreknown to God and revealed to prophets of old. As in an enacted drama, the players who came on the scene were rehearsed and selected for their parts. Their talent, abilities, capacities, and weaknesses were known before they were born.

As a means of emphasizing this during this Bicentennial year, we have prepared four Bicentennial family home evening lessons, which will be distributed to all Church members in the United States of America. We are asking fathers and mothers to teach the story of America to their children, to tell of its spiritual foundation, and to emphasize how that freedom can be preserved.

We urge people to support the Constitution of the United States and our free institutions set up under it.

It is a part of our faith that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God. We reverence it akin to the revelations that have come from God. . . . We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared He established “by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 109:54).

It must be remembered that the founding fathers of this great nation were men imbued with these principles [the Ten Commandments]. There are those in the land whose faith it is that these were “wise men whom [God] raised up” for the purpose of establishing the Constitution of the United States. They recognized that there are two possible sources to the origin of our freedoms that we have come to know as human rights. Rights are either God-given as part of a divine plan or they are granted as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, and religious conviction and belief in the sovereignty of God led these men to accept the divine origin of these rights. To God’s glory and the credit of these men, our nation was uniquely born.

Before we go to our ailments and disorders, it is well to review the elements of our health and strength that we have acquired under our divinely inspired Constitution, the liberties it guarantees, and the free institution it sets up. . . .

No country has been more concerned with “due process” in its judicial system than ours. The protection of human rights, as granted by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, is not just theory. History will record that we bent over backward to protect the rights of the individual, sometimes even to a fault.

Thank God for the constitution. And may God bless the elders of Israel that when, as President John Taylor said, “The people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of earth and proclaiming liberty” (Journal of Discourses, 21:8).

It is good at all times to remember a few of the many gifts we have received from our Lord, Jesus Christ, and to think of what we in turn might give to him. . . .

. . . In addition to the gifts of the life of Christ, his prophet, his church, and the Book of Mormon is the gift of the Constitution. The Lord said, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up” (D&C 101:80). . . .

The elders of this church have a prophetic mission yet to perform so far as the Constitution is concerned. In a discourse by Joseph Smith on July 19, 1840, he said:

“Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” (Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department)

Now, how are the elders going to prepare for that mission? How are they going to know what the Constitution is so they will know when it is on the brink of ruin? . . .

To the Lord, his prophets, and the founding fathers we must go to learn of this divine document so our efforts will be to preserve and not destroy the Constitution.

May we pledge anew that the divine principles embodied in the divinely inspired documents that govern our country be written on the tablets of our own hearts. I pray that our eyes might be single to the will of God, that we might thereby bless our families and our country and that we shall, with increased devotion, work for less government, more individual responsibility, and, with God’s help, a better world.

It is a part of my religious belief that America is a land choice above all others, that we are not just another of the family of nations, but that we have been singled out to perform a divine mission for liberty-loving people everywhere. Those who founded this republic were wise men raised up by our Father in heaven to perform that very task, and the Constitution of this land was inspired by God. We have a divine duty — even a destiny — to preserve that Constitution from destruction and hold it aloft to the world.

We honor these partners [friends outside the Church] because their devotion to correct principles overshadowed their devotion to popularity, party, or personalities.

We honor our founding fathers of this republic for the same reason. God raised up these patriotic partners to perform their mission, and he called them “wise men.” (see D&C 101:80.) The First Presidency acknowledged that wisdom when they gave us the guideline a few years ago of supporting political candidates “who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.” (Deseret News, November 2, 1964.) . . .

Our wise founders seemed to understand, better than most of us, our own scripture, which states that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority . . . they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39.)

To help prevent this, the founders knew that our elected leaders should be bound by certain fixed principles. Said Thomas Jefferson: “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

These wise founders, our patriotic partners, seemed to appreciate more than most of us the blessings of the boundaries that the Lord set within the Constitution, for he said, “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:7.)

In God the founders trusted, and in his Constitution — not in the arm of flesh. “O Lord,” said Nephi, “I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; . . . cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (2 Nephi 4:34.)

I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But this does not mean that we should divorce government from any formal recognition of God. To do so strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations — a throwback to the feudal system of the Dark Ages.

With independence won, another body of men assembled; and under the inspiration of heaven, they too drafted a document, probably the greatest instrument ever struck off at a given time by the mind of man: the Constitution of the United States.

It is my conviction that the Constitution of the United States was established by the hands of wise men whom the Lord raised up unto this very purpose.

The Lord expects us to safeguard this sacred and inspired document for the blessing of all of us and our posterity. If we fail so to do we will not only lose our priceless freedom but jeopardize the cause of truth throughout the entire world.

Do we dare ask ourselves if the United States, though cast in the role of a leader to preserve and strengthen world civilization, isn’t itself tottering internally because too many of its citizens have abandoned the virtues that comprised the basic format of its own civilization? For instance, if spiritual faith, courage, and the willingness of our forbears to work hard were the sustaining virtues, and if, solely because of them, they were able to create our own civilization, can we now in the United States substitute for these virtues the human weaknesses of selfishness, complacency, apathy, and fear — and still hope to survive as a civilized nation?

I believe that God has endowed men with certain inalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.

I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the states of this nation that all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish. . . .

I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the federal government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship, and to pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.

Another standard I use in determining what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey.

For years we have heard of the role the elders could play in saving the Constitution from total destruction. But how can the elders be expected to save it if they have not studied it and are not sure if it is being destroyed or what is destroying it?

An informed patriotic gentile was dumbfounded when he heard of Joseph Smith’s reported prophecy regarding the mission our elders could perform in saving the Constitution. He lived in a Mormon community with nice people who were busily engaged in other activities but who had little concern in preserving their freedom. He wondered if maybe a letter should not be sent to President McKay, urging him to release some of the elders from their present Church activities so there would be a few who could help step forward to save the Constitution.

Now it is not so much a case of a man giving up all his other duties to fight for freedom, as it is a case of a man getting his life in balance so he can discharge all of his God-given responsibilities. And of all these responsibilities President McKay has said that we have “no greater immediate responsibility” than “to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.”

There is no excuse that can compensate for the loss of liberty.

Satan is anxious to neutralize the inspired counsel of the Prophet and hence keep the priesthood off balance, ineffective and inert in the fight for freedom. He does this through diverse means, including the use of perverse reasoning. . . .

The cause of freedom is a most basic part of our religion. Our position on freedom helped get us to this earth and it can make the difference as to whether we get back home or not. . . .

Now part of the reason why we do not have sufficient Priesthood bearers to save the Constitution, let alone to shake the powers of hell, is, I fear, because unlike Moroni, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free and we are not firm in the faith of Christ, nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights.

Jefferson warned that we should not talk about confidence in men but that we should inhibit their power through the Constitution. [Thomas Jefferson, Draft of Kentucky Resolutions of 1798; Works 9:470-71.]

The question as to whether we may save our constitutional republic is simply based on two factors: the number of patriots and the extent of their obedience.

That the Lord desires to save this nation which he raised up there is no doubt. But that he leaves it up to us, with his help, is the awful reality.

About two hundred years ago some inspired men walked this land. Not perfect men, but men raised up by the Perfect Man to perform a great work. Foreordained were they to lay the foundation of this republic. Blessed by the Almighty in their struggle for liberty and independence, the power of heaven rested on these founders as they drafted that great document for governing men — the Constitution of the United States. Like the Ten Commandments, the truths on which the Constitution was based were timeless; and also as with the Decalogue — the hand of the Lord was in it. They filled their mission well. From them we were endowed with a legacy of liberty — a constitutional republic.

Leaders of youth, teach our young people to love freedom, to know that it is God-given. . . . Teach them to love their country, to know that it has a spiritual foundation, that it has a prophetic history, that it is the Lord’s base of operation.

Teach them that the Constitution of the United States was established by men whom God raised up for that very purpose, that it is not outmoded, that it is not an old-fashioned agrarian document, as some men in high places are calling it today.

The sad and shocking story of what has happened in America in recent years must be told. Our people must have the facts. There is safety in an informed public. There is real danger in a complacent, uninformed citizenry. This is our real danger today. Yes, the truth must be told even at the risk of destroying, in large measure, the influence of men who are widely respected and loved by the American people. The stakes are high. Freedom and survival is the issue.

The Lord raised up the Founding Fathers. He it was who established the Constitution of this land — the greatest document of freedom ever written. This God-inspired Constitution is not outmoded. It is not an outdated “agrarian document” as some of our would-be statesmen, socialists, and fellow travelers of the godless conspiracy would have us believe. It was the Lord God who established the foundation of this nation; and woe be unto those — members of the Supreme Court and others — who would weaken this foundation.

We had better take our small pain now than our greater loss later. There were souls who wished afterwards that they had stood and fought with Washington and the founding fathers, but they waited too long—they passed up eternal glory. There has never been a greater time than now to stand up against entrenched evil. And while the gentiles established the Constitution, we have a divine mandate to preserve it. But unfortunately today in this freedom struggle, many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of light.

The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants. His arguments are clever.

Here are a few samples:

First: “We really haven’t received much instruction about freedom,” the devil says. . . .

Second: “You’re too involved in other church work,” says the devil. . . .

Third: “You want to be loved by everyone,” says the devil, “and this freedom battle is so controversial you might be accused of engaging in politics.” . . .

Fourth: “Wait until it becomes popular to do,” says the devil, “or, at least until everybody in the Church agrees on what should be done.” . . .

Fifth: “It might hurt your business or your family,” says the devil, “and besides why not let the gentiles save the country? They aren’t as busy as you are.” . . .

Sixth: “Don’t worry,” says the devil, “the Lord will protect you, and besides the world is so corrupt and heading toward destruction at such a pace that you can’t stop it, so why try.” . . .

And now as to the last neutralizer that the devil uses most effectively—it is simply this: “Don’t do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution.” This brings us right back to the scripture I opened with today—to those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are “compelled in all things” [D&C 58:26]. Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. And have we elders been warned? Yes, we have. And have we elders been given the guidelines? Yes indeed, we have. And besides, if the Church should ever inaugurate a program, who do you think would be in the forefront to get it moving? It would not be those who were sitting on the sidelines prior to that time or those who were appeasing the enemy. It would be those choice spirits who, not waiting to be “commanded in all things” [D&C 58:26], used their own free will, the counsel of the prophets, and the Spirit of the Lord as guidelines and who entered the battle “in a good cause” [D&C 58:27] and brought to pass much righteousness in freedom’s cause. . . .

Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country. The fact that most of us are unprepared to do it is an indictment we will have to bear. The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood, the more the persecution, and the less we can carry out our God-given mandate and worldwide mission. The war in heaven is raging on the earth today. Are you being neutralized in the battle?

Now, the Lord knew that before the gospel could flourish there must first be an atmosphere of freedom. This is why he first established the Constitution of this land through gentiles whom he raised up before he restored the gospel.

The Founding Fathers recognized the importance of vital religion and morality in the affairs of individuals and governments, and they turned to religion in order to give their new experiment a sense of direction. They were well aware that the principles of moral, intellectual, and spiritual integrity taught and exemplified by the Savior are the perfect guide for the conduct of countries and of individuals. It is no accident that the principles of Christian religion are the foundation of the Constitution of the United States.

Students, study the writings of the prophets. Fortunately, the constistent position taken over the years by the prophets of the Church on vital issues facing this nation have recently been compiled in an excellent book entitled Prophets, Principles and National Survival [by Jerreld L. Newquist].

With all my heart I love our great nation. I have lived and traveled abroad just enough to make me appreciate rather fully what we have in America. To me the U. S. is not just another nation. It is not just one of a family of nations. The U. S. is a nation with a great mission to perform for the benefit and blessing of liberty-loving people everywhere.

I think it is time for every patriotic American to join with neighbors to study the Constitution and the conspiracy. Subscribe to several good patriotic magazines.

At this particular moment in history the United States Constitution is definitely threatened, and every citizen should know about it. The warning of this hour should resound through the corridors of every American institution — schools, churches, the halls of Congress, press, radio, and TV, and so far as I am concerned it will resound—with God’s help.

Wherever possible I have tried to speak out. It is for this very reason that certain people in Washington have bitterly criticized me. They don’t want people to hear the message. It embarrasses them. The things which are destroying the Constitution are the things they have been voting for.

I believe one of the most serious mistakes a President could make would be to weaken the Constitution.

From the time I was a small boy I was taught that the American Constitution is an inspired document. I was also taught that the day will come when the Constitution will be endangered and hang as it were by a single thread. I was taught that we should study the Constitution. . . . I expect to continue my efforts to help protect and safeguard our inspired Constitution.

I quote the great American, J. Edgar Hoover: “I confess to a real apprehension so long as communists are able to secure ministers of the gospel to promote their evil work and espouse a cause that is alien to the religion of Christ and Judaism. I do fear so long as school boards and parents tolerate conditions whereby communists and fellow travelers under the guise of academic freedom can teach our youth a way of life that eventually will destroy the sanctity of the home, that undermines faith in God, that causes them to scorn respect for constituted authority and sabotage our revered Constitution.” (Menace of Communism, p. 11.)

Not cheap politicians but statesmen are needed today. Not opportunists but men and women of principle must be demanded by the people. In this time of great stress and danger we must place [in office] only those dedicated to the preservation of our Constitution, our American Republic, and responsible freedom under God. “Oh, God, give us men with a mandate higher than the ballot box.”

It is not, however, enough to be acquainted with the grave dangers facing these United States. We must also instruct ourselves, and others, in the great spiritual values underlying our divinely inspired Constitution and our American free-enterprise system.

On this basis may I give to you my own personal recommendation of some reading which will help you in the fight to save our Constitution.

First, for a number of years President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., served on the board of trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education while he was a member of the First Presidency. President Clark, as you probably know, was an Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Mexico. He wrote the famous memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine. In 1923 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle he warned us of the communist-socialist menace and what it was going to do—and he was right. No one in the Church has shown greater insight regarding our Constitution and the socialist-communist threat to it. The Foundation for Economic Education with which he served puts out some of the most enlightening freedom literature available. They also put out a free monthly magazine, entitled The Freeman, which is excellent. They will be happy to send you a free catalog of their literature. May I mention some of the books which they distribute: The Federalist, written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, three of our inspired founding fathers, explaining why the need of a constitution; The Constitution of the United States, by Mussatti; The Cliches of Socialism; The Mainspring of Human Progress, by Weaver; Economics in One Lesson, by Hazlitt; and The Admiral’s Log, by Admiral Ben Moreell, which book is also on the MIA reading list.

The scriptures also tell about our inspired Constitution. If you accept these scriptures, you will automatically reject the counsel of men who depreciate our Constitution. If you use the scriptures as a guide, you know what the Book of Mormon has to say regarding murderous conspiracies in the last day and how we are to awake to our awful situation today (see Ether 8:18–25). I find certain elements in the Church do not like to read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants so much — they have too much to say about freedom.

Today it is becoming an increasing handicap, it seems, to one’s career in government for a man or woman to take seriously his pledge of allegiance to our Constitution.

I urge all to read the solid volume, Stand Fast by Our Constitution [by J. Reuben Clark, Jr.].

They [our forefathers] believed that we must have some government, but it must be bound down by the chains of our Constitution so that it will not slip farther and farther over into the realm of governmentism.

That great and wise American, Thomas Jefferson, warned us of the danger of conferring unwarranted power upon our government administrators in these sobering words:

“. . . Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. . . . In questions of power, then, let not more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Let us not be deceived in the sifting days ahead. Let us rally together on principle behind the prophet as guided by the promptings of the Spirit. We should continue to speak out for freedom and against socialism and communism. We should continue to come to the aid of patriots, programs, and organizations that are trying to save our Constitution through every legal and moral means possible.

President McKay has said a lot about our tragic trends towards socialism and communism and the responsibilities liberty-loving people have in defending and preserving our Constitution. (see Conference Report, Apr 1963, pp. 112-13.) Have we read these words from God’s mouthpiece and pondered on them?

It is my firm conviction that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto this very purpose. This is part of my religious faith.

I do not believe an American citizen can be patriotic and loyal to his own country and its God-inspired Constitution of freedom without being anti-communist—anti-socialist.

Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any earthly possession. As a United States citizen I believe it is guaranteed in our heaven-inspired Constitution.

Teach them to love their country, and here in America to love the Constitution and the founding fathers, and to know that this is the Lord’s base of operations in these last days, and that that operation will be world-wide.

Every Latter-day Saint has spiritual obligations in four basic areas: his home, his church, his job, and his citizenship responsibility. Each of these areas should receive consistent attention although not necessarily equal time. Are we doing our duty in these important fields? What about our citizenship responsibility — our obligation to safeguard our freedom and preserve the Constitution?

The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the past several decades have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won’t care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He who has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God’s mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken.

“Our real enemies,” said President [J. Reuben] Clark, “are communism and its running mate, socialism. . . .”

“. . . Its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our Constitutional government.”

[Political and economic rights] are the things we are inclined to take for granted as American citizens.

The rights as listed included the right to worship God in one’s own way, rights to free speech and a free press, the right to assemble and freely to speak our own minds without any fear whatever. There are many countries of this world where you cannot do that today.

The right to petition for grievances, the right to privacy in our homes, the right to trial by jury, and to know that we are innocent until we are proven guilty. The right to move freely at home and abroad, the right to own private property, the right to free elections and personal secret ballot. The right to work in callings and localities of our choice. The right to bargain with our employees and employers. The right to go into business, to compete, to make a profit. The right to bargain for goods and services in a free market. The right to contract about our affairs.

These are an impressive list of rights which lay at the very foundation of the American way of life and preserve the dignity of the individual. Our constitutional government desires to serve the people, and basic in our beliefs is our fundamental belief in God and in the eternal principle of free agency, the right of choice.

We pay lip service to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution without realizing what they are and the danger of ignoring them.

( Source: The Red Carpet 263 )

Surely the preservation and enjoyment of the freedoms vouchsafed to us by the Constitution of the United States will require eternal vigilance even to the guarding of it with our lives.

. . . We must ever be on our guard against the unsound theories that would strike at our Constitutional freedoms.

We must ever keep faith with our founding fathers by keeping faith with our Constitution.

I trust that we all have faith in the Constitution of the United States, and that that faith is born of an assurance that this great document came into being through the inspiration of God to wise men, embodying as it does, eternal principles. This nation has a spiritual foundation which must be preserved at any cost of sweat and blood. May we recognize our debt and responsibility and be ever vigilant.

The need for this eternal and constant vigilance is seen in some prophetic words of Daniel Webster, given in 1802:

“Next to correct morals and watchful guardianship over the Constitution is the proper means for its support. No human advantage is indefensible. The fairest productions of man have in themselves or receive from accident a tendency to decay. Unless the Constitution be constantly fostered on the principles which created it, its excellency will fade; and it will feel, even in its infancy, the weakness and decrepitude of age.

“Our form of government is superior to all others, inasmuch as it provides, in a fair and honorable manner for its own amendment. But it requires no gift or prophecy to foresee that this privilege may be seized on by demagogues, to introduce wild and destructive innovations. Under the gentle name of amendments, changes may be proposed which, if unresisted, will undermine the national compact, mar its fairest features, and reduce it finally to a dead letter. It abates nothing of the danger to say that alterations may be trifling and inconsiderable. If the Constitution be picked away by piecemeal, it is gone — and gone as effectually as if some military despot had grasped it at once, trampled it beneath his feet, and scattered its loose leaves in the wild winds.”

If we are to keep faith with our Constitution, we must know it. Since it is the basis of our American way of life and our liberties every American should be familiar with it. We should read it periodically.

How can people who are ignorant of the principles and guarantees of American government stand up in defense of it and our rights under the Constitution? The fundamentals and processes of free government should be known to every school boy — and his parents. No free people can ever survive if they are ignorant of and fail to understand the principles of free government!

And so this great nation has come into being under the inspiration of the Almighty to accomplish his purposes. Through modern revelation we have had made very plain to us something of the mission of America and the establishment of our national Constitution.

( Source: The Red Carpet 109 )

The Founding Fathers, I repeat, in order that their new experiment — establishment of a new nation of freemen — make sense, had to turn to religion and to the scriptures. They turned to the prophecies, the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount.

Then when time came for the establishment of the Constitution, and when the time came for them to issue their Declaration of Independence, a sacred document issued in white heat on the anvil of defiance, they appealed to the Almighty. Both at the opening of that document and at its closing they spoke of eternal truths. They spoke of the fact that men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. At the close they said:

“. . . with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

( Source: The Red Carpet 106 )

The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of our freedom. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, to prayer, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It ante-dates the Founding Fathers.

It is my belief that ours is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. I thank God for the knowledge which I have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this land of America.

It is my firm belief that the Constitution of the land was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is my firm belief, also, that the God of Heaven guided the Founding Fathers in establishing it for His particular purposes. But God’s purpose is to build people of character, not physical monuments to their material accumulations.

The founders of this republic had deeply spiritual beliefs. Their concept of man had a solidly religious foundation. They believed “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another” [D&C 101:79]. They believed that men were capable of self-government and that it was the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.

The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were under no illusion that their work was done. They had carried freedom up to a new high, but had no idea that a pinnacle had been reached, that having reached the summit there was no more to be done. They were confident that we of succeeding generations would carry on.

Along with the political freedom so dearly won came a climate which challenged man’s intellect and ingenuity. People began to move freedom forward along lines possibly not envisaged by the men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Freedom from backbreaking toil came with the invention and development of labor-saving devices in factories and on farms.

( Source: The Red Carpet 94 )

In the providence of God, governments were intended to be the servants, not the masters of the people. This eternal truth needs to be emphasized and re-emphasized.

( Source: The Red Carpet 91 )

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights vouchsafe to all our people the greatest freedom ever enjoyed by the people of any great nation. This system safeguards freedom of individual enterprise, freedom to own property, freedom to start one’s own business and to operate it according to one’s own judgment so long as the enterprise is honorable.

We must return to a love and respect for the basic spiritual concepts upon which this nation has been established. We must study the Constitution and the writings of the founding fathers.

God, through his power has established a free people in this land as a means of helping to carry forward his purposes. . . .

It was here under a free government and a strong nation that protection was provided for his restored Church.

Now God will not permit America, his base of operations, to be destroyed. He has promised protection to this land if we will but serve the God of the land. He has also promised protection to the righteous even, if necessary, to send down fire from heaven to destroy their enemies. (1 Nephi 22.)

No, God’s base of operations will not be destroyed. But it may be weakened and made less effective.

To achieve his purposes the Lord had to have a base of operations. Later he revealed to a modern prophet that the Constitution of this land was established by “wise men” whom the Lord “raised up unto this very purpose.” (See D&C 101:80.) The Lord also directed that the constitutional laws of the land, supporting the principle of freedom, should be upheld and that honest and wise men should be sought for and upheld in public office [D&C 98:10].

I thank God for freedom — the right of choice. I am grateful for this great nation. Every true Latter-day Saint throughout the world loves the USA. The Constitution of this land is part of every Latter-day Saint’s religious faith.

This is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. This is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and a prophetic history and future. It has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven.

It is our firm belief, as Latter-day Saints, that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is our conviction also that the God of heaven guided the founding fathers in establishing it for his particular purpose.

The founders of this republic were deeply spiritual men. They believed men are capable of self-government and that it is the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.

Our earliest American fathers came here with a common objective — freedom of worship and liberty of conscience.

They were familiar with the sacred scriptures, and they believed that liberty is a gift of heaven. To them, man as a child of God emphasized the sacredness of the individual and the interest of a kind Providence in the affairs of men and nations.

These leaders recognized the need for divine guidance and the importance of vital religion and morality in the affairs of men and nations.

We should pay no attention to the recommendations of men who call the Constitution an eighteenth-century agrarian document — who apologize for capitalism and free enterprise. We should refuse to follow their siren song of concentrating, increasingly, the powers of government in the Chief Executive, of delegating American sovereign authority to non-American institutions in the United Nations, and pretending that it will bring peace to the world by turning our armed forces over to a U.N. world-wide police force.

What are these fundamental principles which have allowed the United States to progress so rapidly and yet remain free?

First, a written Constitution clearly defining the limits of government so that government will not become more powerful than the people.

If the Gentiles on this land reject the word of God and conspire to overthrow the liberty and the Constitution, then their doom is fixed, and they “shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” (3 Nephi 21:11, 14, 21; 1 Nephi 14:6; D&C 84:114, 115, 117.)

Every member of the priesthood should understand the divine plan designed by the Lord to raise up the first free people in modern times. Here is how scripture says it was achieved: . . .

Sixth: Having declared America to be a land of liberty, God undertook to raise up a band of inspired and intelligent leaders who could write a constitution of liberty and establish the first free people in modern times. The hand of God in this undertaking is clearly indicated by the Lord himself, in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in these words:

I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose. . . . (D&C 101:80.)

Seventh: God declared that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired for the specific purpose of eliminating bondage and the violation of the rights and protection which belong to “all flesh.” (D&C 101:77–80.)

Eighth: God placed a mandate upon his people to befriend and defend the constitutional laws of the land and see that the rights and privileges of all mankind are protected. He verified the declaration of the founding fathers, that God created all men free. He also warned against those who would enact laws encroaching upon the sacred rights and privileges of free men. He urged the election of honest and wise leaders and said that evil men and laws were of Satan. (D&C 98:5–10.) . . .

Eleventh: In connection with the attack on the United States, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread, and at that time, “this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.” (Journal History, Jul 4, 1854.)

It is my conviction that the elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will, at the crucial time, successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of constitutional government.

One of the first considerations given after my appointment to serve as Secretary of Agriculture was to formulate with my close associates and other interested parties a basic statement on agricultural policy. Among the fundamental concepts stated were the following:

“Freedom is a God-given, eternal principle vouchsafed to us under the Constitution. It must be guarded continually as something more precious than life itself.” . . .

. . . How do we stand with reference to our belief in those freedoms safeguarded for us under the Constitution of the United States? What is our attitude toward our government—toward the free enterprise system and our American Way of Life?

. . . I trust you are leaving this institution [Brigham Young University] with faith in the Constitution of the United States.

No true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose [D&C 101:80].

Under our system there has been released great creative capacity, because we have been free, unrestricted. What have we achieved? A standard of living unequalled anywhere in the world. Not because we are smarter, not because we are more brilliant, not because we have greater capacity than people of other nations, but because we have had a system which is superior — a system which was wisely provided by the Founding Fathers. We must protect and safeguard that system. Sometimes we find people who almost apologize for it — the free enterprise system. Of course it is not perfect; it is operated by human beings, but it is the best system in operation in this world today. If we are wise, we will preserve it, we will strengthen it and we will safeguard it for our children and our children’s children.

We have heard that the Prophet Joseph said something about the time when the Constitution would be in danger. We do not know just what turn that will take. He also said something about the Elders of Israel rising to the challenge and helping to save the Constitution of this land. It is entirely possible that that may come about in a rather natural way. Our young people — as they mature and develop and take their positions in industry, in the professions, and in agriculture clear across this land — might represent the balance of power in a time of crisis, when they will stand up and defend those eternal principles upon which this Constitution has been established.

I would to God that every citizen of this land might read the Book of Mormon prayerfully and learn something of the prophecies made regarding this land — the promises made and the conditions upon which they are made — that we might as an American people so live that these great promises could be fully realized; that we might come to know that the Constitution of this land has been established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose.

To every Latter-day Saint, we have a tremendous obligation to be good citizens, to uphold the Constitution of this land, to adhere to its basic concepts, to do all in our power to protect the freedoms and the liberties and the basic rights which are associated with citizenship. The Lord has said even in our day, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that we have an obligation. He has not only spoken about the Constitution being inspired, he has said that if we are to be good Latter-day Saints, we also have to take an interest in this country in which we live and we are to see to it that good men are upheld and sustained in public office.

Some day we may be called upon as a people to exert great influence in helping to preserve the liberties and freedoms and blessings vouchsafed to us as a people in the Constitution of this land. Some of our inspired leaders have had words to say on that subject. I hope and pray that we will be ready when the time comes — in fact, I am inclined to feel sometimes it is going to be a gradual process. Maybe it is underway now. We will not be able to discharge our obligations unless we adhere strictly to the standards and ideals of the church and kingdom of God.

Free agency is an eternal principle vouchsafed to us in the perfect law of liberty — the gospel of Jesus Christ. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any earthly possession. It is guaranteed in our heaven-inspired Constitution. Yes, freedom is an inherited, inalienable, divine gift to men. . . .

The inspired founding fathers formulated a system of government with checks and balances protecting the freedom of the people. But even this was not enough. The first order of the new congress was to draw up a Bill of Rights — ten amendments guaranteeing for all time the fundamental freedoms that the American people insist are theirs by the will of God, not by the will of government.

Yes, the founders of this nation bequeathed to us a heritage of freedom and unity that is our most priceless political possession. . . .

. . . Under the constitutional concept, powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people [U.S. Const. Amend. X]. . . .

The founding fathers, inspired though they were, did not invent the priceless blessing of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man. No, that priceless gift to mankind sprang from the God of heaven and not from government. Yes, the founding fathers welded together the safeguards as best they could, but freedom must be continually won to be enjoyed. Let us never forget these facts.

This is America — the land of opportunity! A land choice above all other lands. Let us keep it so! . . .

. . . It is my firm conviction that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto this very purpose.

The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will demand the faith, prayers, and loyalty of every American. Our challenge is to keep America strong and free — strong socially, strong economically, and above all, strong spiritually, if our way of life is to endure. There is no other way. Only in this course is there safety for our nation.

Second to their duty to God, youth should realize their duty to our country. They should love and honor the Constitution of the United States, the basic concepts and principles upon which this nation has been established. Yes, they need to develop a love for our free institutions.

The Founding Fathers did not invent this priceless boon of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man. That great gift to mankind sprang from the Creator and not from government. But the Founding Fathers with superb genius, I believe, welded together certain safeguards which we must always protect to the very limit if we would preserve and strengthen the blessings of freedom.

. . . They were guided by allegiance to basic principles. These principles must be kept in mind always by those who are here today and reaping the benefits and the blessings which they so wisely provided. We must be careful that we do not trade freedom for security. Whenever that is attempted, usually we lose both. There is always a tendency when nations become mature for the people to become more interested in preserving their luxuries and their comforts than in safeguarding the ideals and principles which made these comforts and luxuries possible.

Today I would like to propose four questions which every Latter-day Saint might well ask as he attempts to appraise any program, policy, or idea promoted by any would-be political leader. I mention these because I think they will provide a safeguard in electing to office men who will meet the requirements which the Lord has set forth in the revelations.

Firstly, is the proposal, the policy, or the idea being promoted right as measured by the gospel of Jesus Christ? I assure you it is much easier for one to measure a proposed policy by the gospel of Jesus Christ if he has accepted the gospel and is living it.

Secondly, is it right as measured by the Constitution of this land and the glorious principles embodied in that Constitution? Now that suggests that we must read and study the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, that we might know what principles are embodied therein.

Thirdly, we might well ask the question: Is it right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God? It is my conviction, my brethren and sisters, that these living oracles are not only authorized, but are obligated to give counsel to this people on any subject which is vital to the welfare of this people and the upbuilding of the kingdom of God. So, that measure should be applied. Is it right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God?

Fourthly, what will be the effect on the morale and the character of the people if this or that policy is adopted? After all, as a Church we are interested in building men and women, building character, because character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next. It must never be sacrificed for expediency.

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (D&C 98:10.)

Now that is a commandment to his Church and to his Saints. To me it means that we have a responsibility as Latter-day Saints to use our influence so honest men and wise men and good men will be elected to public office in the community, in the county, in the state, and in the nation. To me this commandment of God is just as binding upon the Latter-day Saints as is the law of tithing, or the Word of Wisdom, or any other commandment which the God of heaven has given us.

As I read that for the first time some years ago I thought, “What an indictment of corrupt would-be political leaders in many parts of the world — demagogues who deal in half-truths, innuendos, and falsehoods! Here the God of heaven has pointed out the type of men he wants elected to public office among his people.” It is not enough, my brethren and sisters, just to stand on the sidelines and criticize what is taking place, and to point the finger of scorn at some political leader. It is our job, our duty, and our responsibility to take an active interest in these matters, and carry out the admonition and the commandment which God has given us to see to it that men of character — good men, as measured by the standards of the gospel — are elected to public office.

So, today, I would like to throw out a challenge to the elders of Israel, my brethren of the priesthood, that we put forth an effort to prepare ourselves for statesmanlike work. The Prophet Joseph, as you will recall, had something to say regarding the important part which the elders of Israel would play in the safeguarding, if not the saving, of the Constitution of this land.

It is my conviction that only in this land, under this God-inspired Constitution, under an environment of freedom, could it have been possible to have established the Church and kingdom of God and restored the gospel in its fulness. It is our responsibility, my brethren and sisters, to see that this freedom is maintained, so that the Church can flourish in the future.

I am grateful for the Constitution of this land. I am grateful that the Founding Fathers made it clear that our allegiance runs to that Constitution and the glorious eternal principles embodied therein. Our allegiance does not run to any man, to a king, or a dictator, or a president, although we revere and honor those whom we elect to high office. Our allegiance runs to the Constitution and to the principles embodied therein. The Founding Fathers made that clear and provided well for checks and balances and safeguards in an attempt to guarantee this freedom to those of us who live in this land.

I am grateful that the God of heaven saw fit to put his stamp of approval upon the Constitution and to indicate that it had come into being through wise men whom he raised up unto this very purpose. He asked the Saints, even in the dark days of their persecution and hardship to continue to seek for redress from their enemies “According,” he said, “to the laws and constitution . . . which I have suffered to be established and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (D&C 101:77.) And then he made this most impressive declaration:

And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (D&C 101:80.)

It is gratifying that the Constitutions in many of the other lands of our neighbors in the Americas are patterned very much after this divinely-appointed Constitution, which the God of heaven directed in the founding of this nation. It isn’t any wonder, therefore, that Joseph Smith, the Prophet—a truly great American—referring to the Constitution, said,

“[It] is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 147.)

My one fear, and my one anxiety is that I may inadvertently sometime do something or say something that will cast an unfavorable light or bring discredit upon the Church and kingdom of God and the people whom I love so dearly, and upon this great nation which we all love. I pray that this may never happen.

I love this nation of which we are a part. To me it is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. It is truly a land choice above all others. I thank God for the knowledge which we have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this great land of America. . . .

I am grateful for the Founding Fathers of this land and for the freedom they have vouchsafed to us. I am grateful that they recognized, as great leaders of this nation have always recognized, that the freedom which we enjoy did not originate with the Founding Fathers; that this glorious principle, this great boon of freedom and respect for the dignity of man, came as a gift from the Creator. The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of these freedoms. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It antedates the Founding Fathers.

In concluding, I said: “I love this nation. It is my firm belief that the God of Heaven raised up the founding fathers and inspired them to establish the Constitution of this land. This is part of my religious faith.” To me this is not just another nation. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission to perform for liberty-loving people everywhere.

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee to all our people the greatest freedom ever enjoyed by the public of any great nation. This system guarantees freedom of individual enterprise, freedom to own property, freedom to start one’s own business and to operate it according to one’s own judgment so long as the enterprise is honorable. The individual has power to produce beyond his needs, to provide savings for the future protection of himself and family. He can live where he wishes and pick any job he wants and select any educational opportunity.

We stand firmly in support of the principles enunciated in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and every Latter-day Saint would defend to the last those eternal principles.

Look Behind You   4 comments

The federal government uses lots of different agencies– but increasingly, schools– to track us. It’s citizen surveillance.  But they call it research.

I wrote to the Utah State Office of Education a few months ago to ask a simple yes or no question:  can my child attend public school without being specifically and individually tracked by name, school record, social security number etc.?

No.  The answer was, no.  Your child will always be tracked using personally identifiable information.  But this will never be shared outside the State Office of Education, they assured me.

After studying the NCES website, the federal FERPA website, the lawsuit between E.P.I.C. and the Dept. of Education, the machinations of CCSSO’s John Brandt with the Utah Data Alliance, Open Education specialist Professor David Wiley’s statements about the necessity of gathering data without parental consent, and Dept. of Ed Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss’s statements on federal data-mashing and “helping” states to partner with data, I do not believe the USOE’s assurances.  I wish I could.

Under agencies like “National Center for Education Statistics” and “Institute for Education Sciences” the federal government is asking schools to collect and share hundreds of data points about your school, your teachers, and yes, your child.

There’s a federal “Common Core of Data.”  There’s a National Data Collection Model that asks for so much private information about each student, way, way beyond math and reading scores– it asks for family information, languages spoken, health information, extracurricular programs, social security numbers, bus stop descriptions— you name it.  Right here:  http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary  There is even a private school survey– private, not government.  On the federal data collection website.

If you start to talk about it with people, they’ll pat you on the head and say, “Oh, but FERPA law is here to protect you; it’s a groundless conspiracy theory.”

When they say that, please pat them right back on their own little heads and say, “Federal FERPA regulations were altered by the Department of Education quite recently. Now definitions have been rewritten and parental consent has been shoved aside: it’s an agenda.  Not a theory, an actual, verifiable, factual agenda being pushed under the radar upon Americans who still think they are protected and free.”  http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html

If they haven’t walked away from you, talk on.  Say, “Definitions that have been reshaped –loosened–  by the Dept of Ed. without Congressional approval include such details as the term AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE— now it could be literally anyone, anyone who is authorized to view your child’s personal information under federal FERPA regulation.  Even a school volunteer can have access to a child’s personally identifiable data, including biometric, physical data like fingerprints or DNA.  If parents have allowed the school to collect it.  Unless our state FERPA can stand up to the federal FERPA.”

Your listeners will still find it hard to believe that this could be legal.  Then take them to this federal 34 CFR Part 99  FERPA pdf page and type in the search terms “volunteer” or “biometric”:

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf

The point:  unless many of us look at this and talk about it, and then stand up and say, “No way” to the absolute flood of data-sucking agencies all around us, that are aiming to know everything about everyone, via data mashing and data sharing, we will lose our freedoms, we will lose our way of life as we have known it in the United States and elsewhere.

Bureaucracies of mass data-collection and sharing grow slowly but relentlessly.  Will they build a web we can’t break by the time we think it’s time to fight back?  Will we be intimidated by the clever sounding “government-speak” and the researchers’ arrogance?

Or will we take back our identities, our privacy, our freedom?

If you have time, just look at the words they use:

“The Common Core of Data (CCD) is a program of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States. The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.”  http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/

“Policy Makers – If you are an LEA or SEA policy maker, focus on Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of the User Guide.
“Data Modelers – If you are coming from a background in other data model domains such as banking, healthcare, etc. and want to familiarize yourself with the education data model domain, read Chapter 3: How to use the Data Model. Review Appendix C: Common Attributes. Then go directly to the Education Data Model…”

 

Look behind you.

If you were taking a nice walk in the park and someone said, “Look behind you. There’a a fast moving river of hot lava coming your way,” you could call that person a liar or a mad conspiracy theorist and keep enjoying your walk.

–Or you could just take that one look behind you.  What would it hurt to just turn your head and take a look?  Do you really not want to know?

http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/

This is what I’m asking you to do.

Just look for yourself.

How Swedish Families Suffer Due to Separation by Governmental Assistance   Leave a comment

In his presentation to the United Nations last year, Sweden’s Jonas Himmelstrand did some mythbusting about the “joys” of Swedish socialism.

Here’s the short version: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_un_new_york_handouts.pdf

Here are the long versions: http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_haro_un_paper.pdf

http://www.mireja.org/Resources/110603_UN_presentation.pdf

Must-read.

Free Preschool Would Hurt Utah Families and At-Risk Children   Leave a comment

Dear Utah Leaders,
I am writing to ask you not to promote the government-run preschool bill further.  This preschool issue is keeping me up at night.  Literally.
Why?  I think about the borderline-poor moms –as I have often been– who will say, “Well, preschool is free, so I guess I better put my baby in the preschool and go make money.”  It makes my heart ache.  That is no kindly favor from the government.  That is a temptation that most parents will not choose to resist.
It will push them to leave their children to go to work.
I am praying that you will take the time to listen further to Jonas Himmelstrand http://www.mireja.org/articles.lasso  and to analyze how Sweden went from good, helpful intentions (based on someone’s version of research, as always) –to a point where parents are being disenfranchised from children via the “helpfulness” of the government.
I’ve been reading “A Patriot’s History of the United States.”  Great book.  I read that when the U.S. government decided to give money to single mothers, long ago, to be helpful, guess what happened?  People stopped getting married, of course.  So children went fatherless, literally, because of the “helpfulness” of the government; the temptation for that money was too great for people to resist.  And it mostly impacted black families, who were economically more disadvantaged. It perpetuated the cycle of trouble for black families; fatherlessness led to children growing up troubled and in jail; more single moms, more fatherless kids, more poverty.  No help at all.
I’ve also been in contact with Jonas Himmelstrand.  His writings ring true.  They make sense. They are profoundly different than the studies and reasoning that is bringing Utah legislators to consider adding free government preschool for at-risk children.
I appreciate that the government has good intentions.  But if they are not based on correct principles (limiting the involvement of government, rather than increasing it) the intentions will backfire; it is only a question of how long it takes to backfire.
Putting at-risk babies in government preschools is not a good idea.  Those families need strengthening, but not by being tempted to separate from those with whom they need the strong attachment bonds.
Encourage mothers to stay at home with their children.  Don’t tempt them to go to work and drop off their kids.  Could you use the money to create jobs for moms that they can perform from home, instead?  Could you use the money to pay grandmothers to do the daycare if the moms have to work, at least?  I’m sure there are solutions other than creating Swedish-styled free government preschool.
Christel Swasey
Heber City
–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
So, after doing more reading today, I wrote the legislators another letter on the subject:

Dear Legislators,

The following research sharply contradicts the research that has previously been presented in the Legislative Education Interim Committee meeting regarding the wisdom of providing early preschool for at-risk children.

While there is little debate about whether academic performance is enhanced for preschool attendees generally, it is found that behavioral problems, self-control problems, motor skill trouble, aggression, illness, worse parent-child relationships, and other disadvantages arise from early preschool attendance.

We must not assume the proposed Utah preschool bill is good in the short or long term, especially not for at-risk children.

Jonas Himmelstrand of Sweden, who provided me with the research, is an international consultant, speaker and author.  He has consulted for the 2011 EU Child Wellbeing Workshop in Brussels, the 2011 UN World Expert Group Meeting in New York, the Institute of Marriage and Family in Canada, the Hungarian Presidency Conference, the Conferenza Famiglia in Italy, the FamilyPlatform Conference in Lisbon, and the Forum Europeen de Femmes in Brussels.  He is also the chairman of the board of the world’s global home education conference. He suggested that I share this research with you.
In Himmelstrand’s presentation with the UN Expert Group Meeting, arranged by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2011, he spoke about Assessing Family Policies: Confronting family poverty and social exclusion & Ensuring work family balance.
Himmelstrand finds that Swedish children do not suffer from material poverty but from emotional poverty, attributed to too much separation from parents at too early an age.
His charts on the envisioned outcomes versus the actual outcomes of the Swedish model are astonishing.  The envisioned model planned to increase academic success, to even out social class differences, and to liberate mothers, for example.  The actual model resulted in serious discipline problems in school, national school rating –going from top to average in 30 years– plummeting quality in day care, high rates of sick leave, especially among women; deteriorating psychological health in youth, and deteriorating parental abilities, even in the middle class.
See pages 2 through 4:
He also directed me to the research done by others on this subject:

  Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?

Katherine A. Magnuson, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper No. 10452 Issued in April 2004 NBER Program(s):   CHED

Prekindergarten programs are expanding rapidly, but to date, evidence on their effects is quite limited. Using rich data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we estimate the effects of prekindergarten on children’s school readiness. We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavioral problems and reduces self-control. Furthermore, the effects of prekindergarten on skills largely dissipate by the spring of first grade, although the behavioral effects do not. Finally, effects differ depending on children’s family background and subsequent schooling, with the largest and most lasting academic gains for disadvantaged children and those attending schools with low levels of academic instruction.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w10452  Full text

  Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being

Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, Kevin Milligan

NBER Working Paper No. 11832 Issued in December 2005 NBER Program(s):   CHPE

The growing labor force participation of women with small children in both the U.S. and Canada has led to calls for increased public financing for childcare. The optimality of public financing depends on a host of factors, such as the “crowd-out” of existing childcare arrangements, the impact on female labor supply, and the effects on child well-being. The introduction of universal, highly-subsidized childcare in Quebec in the late 1990s provides an opportunity to address these issues. We carefully analyze the impacts of Quebec’s “$5 per day childcare” program on childcare utilization, labor supply, and child (and parent) outcomes in two parent families. We find strong evidence of a shift into new childcare use, although approximately one third of the newly reported use appears to come from women who previously worked and had informal arrangements. The labor supply impact is highly significant, and our measured elasticity of 0.236 is slightly smaller than previous credible estimates. Finally, we uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w11832 – Full text

Finally, Himmelstrand directs us to study the findings of the Canadian Institute of Marriage and Family.

This research includes a psychological explanation of why early formal learning is harmful to children, and offers some public policy advice: http://www.imfcanada.org/issues/nurturing-children-why-early-learning-does-not-help

The Institute says:

There are some elements of public policy being discussed that would help undo the damage of current trends. Family income splitting allows parents to share their income and pay a lower tax burden. More money in parents’ pockets always means more choices. While the federal Conservatives made this a policy plank in the last election, they watered it down by saying they’d only institute family taxation when the books were balanced, possibly in 2015. Ending the preferential treatment of non-parental care by funding families themselves would make a dramatic difference.

For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.”

 I hope this is helpful to you.
Christel Swasey
Heber City

The Need for Parental Empowerment in Education: From Renee Braddy   8 comments

The comments and stories below were written by Renee Braddy (dark hair, the mom the middle of the three moms photo above)

   “Last year I was at my daughter’s elementary school when I overheard a conversation between a family and the principal.  This family’s kindergarten son had qualified for all-day kindergarten.  And, let me say that qualifying for this so called service of all-day kindergarten is a JOKE!!!  I cannot emphasize that enough.  I watched and listened carefully as my daughter was administered the same test.  I was actually asked by the teacher administering the test to wait in the hall while the test was given.  As a former teacher who is greatly opposed to parents being left in the dark and as an involved and curious parent, I requested that I be allowed to just sit in the corner.  Pathetic!

This boy was from a family that I’m assuming spoke English as their second language.  I heard the father translating questions from the mother to the principal.  The first question was, “what time will he have lunch?”

The next question was, “how long does his lunch last?”

The last question that I heard was the father asking, “Can his mother come and get him from school to bring him home to have lunch with her?”

It broke my heart.  Here were parents who wanted to have their child home and yet felt obligated to have him in school all-day based on a very poor assessment.  I could tell that they sincerely wanted to do what was best for him.

   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “don’t do it!  You DON’T HAVE TO SEND HIM TO SCHOOL ALL DAY!  You are his parents and YOU can offer him SO MUCH MORE.”

The hardest part for me was the end of the conversation when the principal answered the question about whether or not this boy’s mother would be allowed to have her son come home for lunch each day.  The principal seemed perplexed and stammered for a minute and then said, “well, ummmm, you are the first person that has EVER asked me that.”  He then thought for a bit longer and said, “I think we could probably arrange for that to happen.”

I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me?  Why do parents have to ask for permission to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child?  Do we even understand that we have choices and that we are not obligated to send our children to all-day kindergarten or to school at all?”

   Have we really come this far in society that we don’t understand that we are the parents and we as such God has given us stewardship over our children?

2.      I have a nephew that didn’t speak a word until after his fourth birthday.  He would have easily qualified for government funded preschool.  Fortunately, he was the fifth child and his parents had gained experience and wisdom.  His mother kept him home with her and taught him and worked with him and when he began to finally speak, he spoke in full sentences and is now in 4thgrade and  at the top of his class.

I have a friend who does very well financially and her daughter qualified for government funded preschool at the age of two because she didn’t speak.  I said to her,“are you kidding me, wouldn’t that be every 2 year old?”

She said, “I know, I just figured that if they were offering the service, I would take advantage of it, then I wouldn’t have to get a babysitter while I go to the gym.”

Unfortunately, this is the mentality of far too many parents.  We have come to not only accept these so-called services, but many actually expect them.

I am sure you are hearing from very qualified well-intentioned individuals who are so-called experts in educating children.  I know because many of them were my professors and colleagues when I taught school.  I was shocked when I saw Dr. Nancy Livingston, whom was one of my BYU professors at BYU testifying to the importance of the state board adopting preschool standards.

Although, I have respect for these individuals, I do not think they have a deep appreciation for freedom and liberty.  When I went to talk to my former principal in Provo about concerns that I have with Common Core, she asked me what I was really concerned about.  I told her that I believe we are heading down a path towards socialism.

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “like Canada and Australia”.  She wasn’t concerned.

I then said, “I am worried that if we can nationalize education and make all the standards common, what’s keeping us from mandating equal funding to education?”

She said, “I would love that, wouldn’t that be great!”

I asked her, “Where will the money come from?”

She said, “I don’t know, but wouldn’t that be great, I would just love to have the resources that other states have.”

I was blown away and had to excuse myself as I knew we were too philosophically unaligned to have any further meaningful discussion on the matter.

In my opinion, we need to give the responsibility of being a parent back to the parents.  I believe that this would be the best service and gift that we could give to children.

I would love to talk to you further about this.  Again, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I DO NOT believe the statement, “those that start behind, stay behind.”  THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!

Children are not machines or robots, they are individuals and their needs vary.  We cannot put them into these so-called High Quality Preschools with a ratio of 1:10 or 1:20 and expect to solve society’s problems.”

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –  –

Thank you, Renee.

What’s So Wrong About Socialism?   Leave a comment

What is so wrong about socialism, and why is it so bad that it’s being pushed and prodded into American education and all aspects of America by both sides of the political aisle?

The question is so eloquently answered from a man who knows what he is talking about– Ezra Taft Benson: (Excerpt from Benson’s 1977 speech, “A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion.”)

http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

“…Isaiah foresaw the time when a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth among men (see Isaiah 29:14). Isaiah also predicted that there would be those that “seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they [shall] say, Who seeth us?” (Isaiah 29:15)…

“Yes, Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble figures in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of communism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Today, if we are alert, we can see further fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies…

“Through the instigation of Marx and Engels, a most successful counterfeit to the united order was introduced into the world. The declaration of principles found in their Manifesto to the World advocated the overthrow of capitalism and free enterprise, the abolition of private property, the elimination of the family as a social unit, the abolition of all classes, the overthrow of all governments, and the establishment of communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society. All this was to be accomplished by revolution.

“On July 3, 1936, the First Presidency published this warning to Church members. I quote it in part; I hope you will get a copy of the full statement for your files. In part, the statement reads:

. . . Communism is not a political party, nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government. . . .

Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.

To our Church members we say, Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto. Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action. . . .

Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. . . .

Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.

We call upon all Church members completely to eschew [and shun] Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

Signed, President Heber J. Grant J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay The First Presidency

“…I have been on both sides of the Iron Curtain several times. I have talked to these godless leaders face to face. I say to you with all the sincerity of my soul that since 1933 this godless counterfeit to the gospel has made tremendous progress towards its objective of world domination, for over one-third of the human family are now under totalitarian subjugation.

“Today we are in a battle for the bodies and souls of men. It is a battle between two opposite systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and anti-Christ. The struggle today is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the conventional wisdom, so called, is that we have got to learn to live with communism, to give up our ideas about national sovereignty. You hear that repeated today. Tell that to the millions—yes, the scores of millions—who have met death or imprisonment under the tyranny of communism. Learn to live with communism? Such would be the death knell of freedom and all we hold dear.

The gospel of Jesus Christ can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. As members of his Church, we have a major responsibility to do all in our power to see that freedom is preserved and safeguarded. I pray that God will bless you to see communism for what it really is: the greatest system of human slavery that the world has ever known. May you not be deceived into believing that the communists have moderated their goal toward world domination…

“…Socialism—a Philosophy Incompatible with Man’s Liberty

“Another notable counterfeit system to the Lord’s plan is collectivized socialism. Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and Engels. Communism in practice is socialism. Its purpose is world socialism, which the communists seek to achieve by revolution, and which the socialists seek to achieve by evolution. Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty. As was said so well by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “The two are as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon our liberties.”

“Why is socialism incompatible with man’s liberty? Socialism cannot work except through an all-powerful state. The state has to be supreme in everything. When individuals begin to exert their God-given rights, the state has to suppress that freedom. So belief in God must be suppressed, and with that gone freedom of conscience and religion must also go. Those are the first of our liberties mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

“There are some among us who would confuse the united order with socialism. That is a serious misunderstanding. It is significant to me that the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism in his day, made this official entry in the Church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church6:33).

“Socialism Disguised under Welfare State Measures

“As citizens of this noble land, we have marched a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism. If you question that statement, consider the recent testimonial from the Nobel prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman. He indicated that government spending in the United States at all levels amounts to over forty percent of today’s total national income. If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved…

“…[W]e have significantly departed from the principles established by the founders of our country. James Madison opposed the proposal to put Congress in the role of promoting the general welfare according to its whims in these words:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasure; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for [and it was an issue then], it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. [quoted in Donald L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles, and National Survival,p. 342]

“That statement, given as a warning, has proved prophetic. Today Congress is doing what Madison warned about. Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism!

“…Compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s socialists—who call themselves egalitarians—are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right…

“The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this “equality” is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system. These payments are made in the form of social security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps, to name a few. Today the cost of such programs has been going in the hole at the rate of 12 billion dollars a year; and, with increased benefits and greater numbers of recipients, even though the tax base has been increased we will have larger deficits in the future.

“Today the party now in power is advocating and has support, apparently in both major parties, for a comprehensive national health insurance program—a euphemism for socialized medicine. Our major danger is that we are currently (and have been for forty years) transferring responsibility from the individual, local, and state governments to the federal government—precisely the same course that led to the economic collapse in Great Britain and New York City. We cannot long pursue the present trend without its bringing us to national insolvency.

“Edmund Burke, the great British political philosopher, warned of the threat of economic equality. He said,

A perfect equality will indeed be produced—that is to say, equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of the petitioners, a woeful, helpless, and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; and they depress high and low together beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.

“Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?

“…We stand for independence, thrift, and abolition of the dole.

“… Every individual who accepts an unearned government gratuity is just as morally culpable as the individual who takes a handout from taxpayers’ money to pay his heat, electricity, or rent. There is no difference in principle between them. You did not come… to become a welfare recipient. You came here to be a light to the world, a light to society—to save society and to help to save this nation, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days, to ameliorate man’s social conditions. You are not here to be a parasite or freeloader. The price you pay for “something for nothing” may be more than you can afford.

“Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.”

Read full speech here:  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85

   Ezra Taft Benson

Does U.N.’s Agenda 21 Education Mandate Push Common Core in USA?   33 comments

What Does Common Core Have To Do With the U.N.’s Agenda 21 ?

 —And Why Should You Care?

  There’s an interesting article about Obama’s call for the U.S. to pay for education of the world.  It’s “A Global Fund for Education: Achieving Education for All” that you can read in full here:  http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2009/08/education-gartner


Its summary states: “In order to realize the world’s commitment to ensuring education for all by 2015, important innovations and reforms will be needed in the governance and financing of global education. In 2008, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama committed to making sure that every child has the chance to learn by creating a Global Fund for Education. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently called for a new architecture of global cooperation…  A new Global Fund for Education… must be capable of mobilizing the approximately $7 billion annually still needed to achieve education for all, while holding all stakeholders accountable for achieving results with these resources. None of these objectives will be achieved without a major rethinking of the global education architecture and an evolution of current mechanisms for financing education… Achieving these two Millennium Development Goals, and the broader Education for All Goals… will require more capable international institutions.”

I have to ask three questions as I read this:

  • Since when do nations collectively finance global education?
  • Since when has the whole world agreed on what should be taught to the whole world?
  • Since when is the United States of America reduced to “accountable stakeholder” status over its own educational and financial decisionmaking?

So Obama created a global education fund, using U.S. taxpayer money.  I don’t remember voting on this.

And Hilary Clinton is misusing the word “inclusiveness” to now mean “no more independent sovereignty for anyone.”  Meanwhile, there’s a United Nations/UNESCO program called “Education For All” that involves the same ideas and the very same key people as “Common Core”.  And there’s also an “Education, Public Awareness and Training” chapter in the U.N.’s Agenda 21 goals.

Both the U.N.’s educational goals (via UNESCO and “Education for All” ) and “Common Core” do sound very appealing on the surface.  Each seeks to educate by teaching the exact same standards to all children (and adults) on a national or a global scale.  But both supercede local control over what is taught to students, and both dismiss the validity and importance of the U.S. Constitution implicitly.

Both UNESCO’s educational goals and Common Core are, coincidentally, heavily funded by activist and philanthropist Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest billionaires on earth.  http://www.eagleforum.org/links/UNESCO-MS.pdf  ( Link to Gates’ Microsoft/Unesco partnership)

Gates gave the Common Core developer/copyright holders, NGA/CCSSO, about $25 million dollars to promote his special interest, Common Core.  (See CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009— $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780 at http://www.keepeducationlocal.com .

Gates partnered with UNESCO/U.N. to fund “Education For All” as well.  See  http://bettereducationforall.org/

The “Education For All” developer is UNESCO, a branch of the United Nations.  Education For All’s key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.”  Read the full text here:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf

At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/international-cooperation/high-level-group/

In a nutshell: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”

   The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. But since much of what happens with the United Nations threatens the sovereignty of the United States and all sovereign nations, I do not recognize that these goals, or anything else for that matter, are “internationally agreed-upon.”  Do you?

For everyone on earth to totally agree, we’d have to submit to a one-world government with a one-world constitution that would override any individual country’s constitution.  There are some great thoughts on this subject here:   http://www.keepeducationlocal.com/

But in the U.N.’s own words:

“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.  Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.  The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up…” See:  http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

So Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken by everyone.  We all apparently have been signed up to agree, whether we agree or not.  I’m already getting the communist creeps.

But most of us haven’t even heard of Agenda 21 nor do we know anything about “sustainable development”.

On the linked Education and Awareness page of that same U.N. website, we learn:

Education, Public  Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable for achieving sustainable development.”   http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml

Did you get that?  Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide.  They just admitted it out loud.  They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.

So then we click on Chapter 36.  The “indispensable” implementation tool they are describing are your children’s American public schools.  Yes, really:

36.2 says they plan to “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development.  (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.)

36.3 says:  “While basic education provides the underpinning for any environmental and development education, the latter needs to be incorporated as an essential part of learning. Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their sustainable development concerns. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making. To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods

The take-away?

  • Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education globally.
  • Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change.  Current attitudes are unacceptable.
  • Environmental education will be belief-and-spirituality based.
  • Environmental education will be integrated into all disciplines, not just science.

The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” achieving “environmental and development awareness in all sectors of society on a world-wide scale as soon as possible”; and to achieve the accessibility of environmental and development education, linked to social education, from primary school age through adulthood to all groups of people; and to promote integration of environment concepts, including demography, in all educational programmes, and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”

Does that not sound like quite an agenda?

But it gets worse.

Under “Activities,” we find:

Governments should strive to update or prepare strategies aimed at integrating environment and development as a cross-cutting issue into education at all levels within the next three years. This should be done in cooperation with all sectors of society…. A thorough review of curricula should be undertaken to ensure a multidisciplinary approach, with environment and development issues and their socio-cultural and demographic aspects and linkages.”

So, if a country like the USA, for example, has a Constitution and G.E.P.A. laws that states that its federal government has absolutely no legal right to supervise or direct state school systems, then what?  How can it be done?

 I’ll tell you how!   Just get a U.S. President to circumvent Congress and the states’ right to educate.  Just use nongovernmental groups like the NGA/CCSSO to write and copyright new national educational standards.  Just pay groups to do what you are not legally authorized to do. Just create “Race to the Top” grants.  Just promote a socialist education system but call it a state-led Common Core.  Then get zillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to promote and pay for most of it.

And that is what has happened.

Enough info for today?  Oh, no.  Not even close.

They go on to say how countries should pay for all the reorientation and values/attitudes changing for all people.  And there’s even a media-to-museum rebranding blitz outline:

In 36.10:

“Countries… should promote a cooperative relationship with the media, popular theatre groups, and entertainment and advertising industries by initiating discussions to mobilize their experience in shaping public behaviour and consumption patterns and making wide use of their methods. Such cooperation would also increase the active public participation in the debate on the environment. UNICEF should make child-oriented material available to media as an educational tool, ensuring close cooperation between the out-of-school public information sector and the school curriculum, for the primary level. UNESCO, UNEP and universities should enrich pre-service curricula for journalists on environment and development topics;

    

(f) Countries, in cooperation with the scientific community, should establish ways of employing modern communication technologies for effective public outreach. National and local educational authorities and relevant United Nations agencies should expand, as appropriate, the use of audio-visual methods, especially in rural areas in mobile units, by producing television and radio programmes for developing countries, involving local participation, employing interactive multimedia methods and integrating advanced methods with folk media;

(g) Countries should promote… environmentally sound leisure and tourism activities… making suitable use of museums, heritage sites, zoos, botanical gardens, national parks…”

So, it should be pretty clear that there is a huge re-education program happening to all countries, the aim of which is to change people’s attitudes toward believing in “sustainable development” and environmental education.  If it’s picking up litter, some other innocuous program, fine; spend trillions without taking a vote to make sure we all think alike.  Stupid but harmless.  On the other hand,  what if, what IF, it’s something we DON’T all agree upon? There are hundreds of countries.  Even if it were just up to China* vs. the U.S. to define “sustainable behavior” how would we ever agree?  Paper or plastic?  Paper wastes trees; plastic creates landfills.  These “green-defining” issues are endless.

But the problem, in a nutshell, is simply:  Whose version of “sustainable” do you want to re-educate everyone to believe –assuming that you can accept massive-scale propagandizing for the promotion of one single belief system, under which people didn’t get a representative vote)

  
*Sustainable thinking includes limiting by abortion the number of babies allowed to be born, in order to have control over population growth. The Chinese “One Child Policy” was introduced by the Chinese Government in 1979 with the intention of keeping the population within sustainable limits even in the face of natural disasters and poor harvests, and improving the quality of life for the Chinese population as a whole. Under the policy, parents who have more than one child may have their wages reduced and be denied some social services.” (BBC)

The War Against Freedom is Found in the Details   Leave a comment

The war against freedom is sometimes hard to identify.  You have to look past the shiny rhetoric and see who is controlling whom and what means are being used to justify that taking of control.

Local control matters.  It REALLY matters.

If you believe in scripture, which I do…

     There was once a war in heaven.  In heaven!

One side fought for God’s glory and for liberty, while the other fought for the devil’s desire for personal glory at the expense of freedom.  The devil, who had been an esteemed child of God before, now fought God’s will and lost the war in heaven. He was banished forever.

The devil was not alone. A third of the hosts of heaven had fought on the devil’s side, and they fell with him.

They continue their war against freedom, now, on earth.

       And there was awar in heaven: bMichael and his cangels fought against the dragon; and the ddragon fought and his angels… And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in aheaven.  And the great dragon was acast out, that old serpent, called the bDevil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time… And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he apersecuted the woman which brought forth the man child….  And the adragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make bwar with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  — Rev. 12: 7-17

What did the devil want?

“[Satan] came before me, [Heavenly Father] saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will dredeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely eI will do it; wherefore fgive me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved aSon, which was my Beloved and bChosen from the beginning, said unto me—cFather, thy dwill be done, and the eglory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that aSatan brebelled against me, and sought to destroy the cagency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power” – Moses 4

Satan’s idea, to abandon free agency, was not a correct principle then and it’s still wrong now.  Without free agency, nobody would ever be able to progress, to prove loyalty, or grow voluntarily to become more like God.  God knew we needed that opportunity to choose. God’s will was that we would all have the opportunity to become like Him.  –On conditions of free will.

What happened in that war?

Lucifer rebelled against the  Only Begotten Son,      D&C 76:25–26

He sought to take the glory of the Father and to destroy the agency of man, Moses 4:1–4 (Isa. 14:12–15; Abr. 3:27–28).

Those of us who fought on God’s side, kept the first estate, came to earth, and received bodies.   Abr. 3:26“As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: ‘Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare’ or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1965.)

“The scriptures make clear that there was a great war in heaven, a struggle over the principle of freedom the right of choice. In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right—there’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom? Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying ‘Look, don’t get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1966.)

“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during ‘the war in heaven.’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Secret Combinations, Conference Report, October 1961.)

So, the war continues on the earth today.

Those who are opposed to liberty cannot openly admit it; that would scare the vast majority of people into action against them.  They want us to stay asleep.  So those who are opposed to liberty must use gentle words, stealth, deception, code words and appealing rhetoric to fool us.

I have been studying this.

Socialism is creeping into the land of liberty, and with socialism comes an end to freedom.  Many ancient and modern prophets have warned us about this.  We cannot afford to ignore their warnings.

   “[The war in heaven], so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion….His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured, Ensign, June 2007.)

  “Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of a regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship.” (David O. McKay, April 1950.)

“To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages. . . . So fundamental in man’s eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war.” (David O. McKay, Conference Repot, 1942.)

       The concept of agency was and is vital important to God.  It runs like a gold thread through scripture:

Doctrine and Covenants 93:31

Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

Moses 7:32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency

Doctrine and Covenants 29:31-39  …Adam, your father, whom I created… I gave unto him that he should be an aagent unto himself… And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the adevil—for, behold, the bdevil was before Adam, for he crebelled against me, saying, Give me thine dhonor, which is my epower; and also a fthird part of the ghosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their hagency; And they were thrust down, and thus came the adevil and his bangels; And, behold, there is a place aprepared for them from the beginning, which place is bhell. And it must needs be that the adevil should btempt the children of men, or they could not be cagents unto themselves; for if they never should have dbitter they could not know the sweet—   D&C 29

Doctrine and Covenants 58:28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.

Doctrine and Covenants 104:17  For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

The word liberty runs throughout scripture:

2 Corinthians 3:17  …Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Galatians 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

   Ezra Taft Benson also taught about the religious importance of private enterprise:

“The industrial achievements of the U. S. are the result of an economic system which is the antithesis of socialism. Our economic system is called ‘capitalism’ or ‘private enterprise’ and is based on private property rights, the profit motive and competition.

“Both communism and socialism seek to destroy our economic system and replace it with socialism; and their success, whether through evolution by socialism or through revolution by communism or a combination, will destroy not only our economic system, but our liberty, including the ‘civil’ aspects as well . . .

“. . . The ‘common ground’ of socialism and communism is a factor to which the American people should be alerted. Without a clear understanding that communism is socialism, the total threat and menace of the cold war can never be comprehended and fought to victory.”

    When socialism is understood, we will realize that many of the programs advocated, and some of those already adopted in the United States, fall clearly within the category of socialism. What is socialism? It is simply governmental ownership and management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods.

We must never forget that nations may sow the seeds of their own destruction while enjoying unprecedented prosperity.

The socialistic-communist conspiracy to weaken the United States involves attacks on many fronts. To weaken the American free-enterprise economy which outproduced both its enemies and allies during World War II is a high priority target of the communist leaders. Their press and other propaganda media are therefore constantly selling the principles of centralized or federal control of farms, railroads, electric power, schools, steel, maritime shipping, and many other aspects of the economy—but always in the name of public welfare.

This carries out the strategy laid down by the communist masters. John Strachey, a top official in the Labor Socialist party of Great Britain, in his book entitled The Theory and Practice of Socialism said:

   “It is impossible to establish communism as the immediate successor to capitalism. It is accordingly proposed to establish socialism as something which we can put in the place of our present decaying capitalism. Hence, communists work for the establishment of socialism as a necessary transition stage on the road to communism.”

The paramount issue today is liberty against creeping socialism. It is in this spirit that President McKay stated:

“Communism is antagonistic to the American way of life. Its avowed purpose is to destroy belief in God and free enterprise . . . The fostering of full economic freedom lies at the base of our liberties. Only in perpetuating economic freedom can our social, political, and religious liberties be preserved.” (Excerpt from Inaugural address for Dr. Henry A. Dixon, President of USU, delivered by President McKay at the USU fieldhouse, Logan, Utah, Monday, March 18, 1954.)

Again President McKay warned, citing the words of W. C. Mullendore, president of Southern California Edison Company:

“During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism and made strange alliances through which we have become involved in almost continuous hot and cold wars over the whole of the earth. In this retreat from freedom the voices of protesting citizens have been drowned by raucous shouts of intolerance and abuse from those who led the retreat and their millions of gullible youth, who are marching merrily to their doom, carrying banners on which are emblazoned such intriguing and misapplied labels as social justice equality, reform patriotism social welfare” (Gospel Ideals, p. 273).

   It is significant that 118 years ago this month the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism, made this official entry in church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33).

No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

What can priesthood holders do? There are many things we can do to meet the challenge of the adversary in our day.

First, we should become informed about communism, about socialism, and about Americanism. What better way can one become informed than by first studying the inspired words of the prophets and using that as a foundation; against which to test all other material. This is in keeping with the Prophet Joseph Smith’s motto, “When the Lord commands, do it.” (Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 170.)

…We should know enough about American free enterprise to be able to defend it. We should know what makes it possible for six percent of humanity—living under our free economy—to produce about one-half of the earth’s developed wealth each year.

We should know why paternalism, collectivism, or unnecessary federal supervision will hold our standard of living down and reduce productivity just as it has in every country where it has been tried. We should also know why the communist leaders consider socialism the highroad to communism.

Second, we should accept the command of the Lord and treat socialistic communism as the tool of Satan. We should follow the counsel of the President of the Church and resist the influence and policies of the   socialist-communist conspiracy wherever they are found—in the schools, in the churches, in governments, in unions, in businesses, in agriculture.

Third, we should help those who have been deceived or who are misinformed to find the truth. Unless each person who knows the truth will “stand up and speak up” it is difficult for the deceived or confused citizen to find his way back.

Fourth, we should not make the mistake of calling people “communist” just because they happen to be helping the communist cause. Thousands of patriotic Americans, including a few Latter-day Saints, have helped the communists without realizing it. Others have knowingly helped without joining the party. The remedy is to avoid name-calling, but point out clearly and persuasively how they are helping the communists…”  –Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1961

– – – – –

Common Core seems to me to be a socialist program by all the information I have pasted above.  All Common Core participants have to do the same testing, the same teaching and learning, regardless of state sovereignty under the Constitution.  Common Core does not look at individuals’ needs or abilities or desires to innovate.  Individual states cannot change it.  The federal government runs it and has put a 15% cap on changing it. The federal government has partnered with NGA and CCSSO, the groups that have copyrighted the educational program.  It limits math instruction, reduces classic literature instruction, and ends cursive instruction. It was heavily promoted and paid for by Bill Gates, one of the richest men on earth, who is also closely involved with another socialist organization, the United Nations.  It is being held under the radar so that nobody protests; today, most parents and even most teachers do not understand what Common Core is.

  We should get out before it’s too late, before we are too invested financially and educationally, to turn around.

Let Freedom Ring.

We Are Not Supposed To Sit This One Out   Leave a comment

Why do so many people avoid politics?

What do we suppose our Heavenly Father feels about politics?

What do the holy scriptures and prophets say about politics?

–A  lot.

There are detailed lessons on:

— to name a few vital political topics.

   U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, who became the President and prophet of the church, said:

“The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time. http://youtu.be/PJf9Rc78vb0

Some churches, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remain politically neutral while urging its members to be politically active.  Why?  From the church website: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org.uk/official-statement/political-neutrality

     The Church encourages members to be informed about issues and to vote in elections and expects members to engage in the political process in an informed manner.

The Church does not promote political parties or attempt to direct any government leader.

Yet, the Church reserves the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences.

So we are expected to study politics carefully.  We are expected to act on what we learn from studying.

We are not supposed to sit this one out.

Liberty depends on our ability to recognize what is going on around us.

The Truth, Mr. Secretary of Education: Fact-Checking Arne Duncan   Leave a comment

Lindsey Burke of Heritage Foundation exposes misrepresentations of the financial/educational truth.

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/09/10/fact-check-secretary-arne-duncan-on-education-cuts/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email;utm_campaign=EdReview

FACT CHECK: Secretary Arne Duncan on Education Cuts

Lindsey Burke September 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

  During remarks to attendees in Charlotte last week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan claimed that the budget passed by the House of Representatives would mean “fewer teachers in the classroom, fewer resources for poor kids and students with disabilities, [and] fewer after school programs.”

However, the House budget does not designate specific cuts to K-12 education programs; it simply calls for reductions in non-defense discretionary spending over the next decade. Duncan, as he did in testimony earlier this year, is using unspecified spending reductions suggested in the budget to assume reductions in specific education programs—something the budget proposal does not do.

But even if federal education spending were to be cut by 20 percent—a goal worth pursuing—would that mean fewer teachers, fewer resources for poor and disabled students, and fewer after-school programs, as Duncan suggests?

Since the 1970s, federal per-pupil expenditures have more than doubled (after adjusting for inflation). Those increases haven’t all gone to the classroom or toward teacher salaries. Much of that money has gone toward expanding bureaucracy and non-teaching administrative positions in our nation’s public schools.

From 1970 to 2010, student enrollment increased a modest 7.8 percent, while the number of non-teaching staff positions increased 138 percent. But the number of teachers has also been increasing steadily over the decades.

In fact, if preliminary data from the National Center for Education Statistics is accurate, the student-teacher ratio in our nation’s public schools, at 15.2 to 1, will be lower this year than at any other point in history. Since 1970, the number of public school teachers increased 60 percent, while the number of students increased by only about 7 percent.

   Duncan also claimed in his remarks that “10 million students could see their Pell Grants reduced, putting higher education further out of reach.”

What has put higher education “further out of reach” is ever-escalating college costs, which federal subsidies have exacerbated over the years. The House-approved budget aims to better target Pell funding to the low-income students it was originally designed to help while limiting the growth of the grants.

  There is ample room to trim bureaucracy at the Department of Education. And it would be bad policy to continue blindly increasing federal education spending. The Obama Administration has been on an education spending binge for the past three and a half years: a nearly $100 billion bonus to the department in 2009 through the “stimulus,” a $10 billion public education bailout the year after that, and now a proposed $70 billion education budget (up from $68 billion) with $60 billion in supplemental spending.

Taxpayers cannot afford to continue financing the federal government’s failed experiment in education intervention. Like most federal policy areas, some fiscal restraint is needed in education spending.

A better approach would be to give states more control of their share of federal education funding and allow for flexibility. Schools would get far more bang for their bucks with flexibility than by continuing to filter money through 150 bureaucratic federal education programs.

What’s Going On With Utah Parents for Educational Freedom?   Leave a comment

    What’s going on with so many Utahns joining the fight for educational freedom, the fight against a federal “Common Core”?

When we signed the petition –along with over two thousand, so far, who have signed the petition at Utahns Against Common Core– what were we asking for?

In short:  higher, more constitutionally based (state-not-federally-controlled) educational standards.

  • We have asked the Governor, State Board of Education, and State Superintendent to take the steps necessary to rescind Common Core adoption, the Race to the Top application, the No Child Left Behind waiver, the use of SBAC/PARCC federally monitored testing and data collection,  and all other requirements upon the state that are related to these, and return Utah to higher, independent, non-federal education standards.
  • We have requested the Utah Attorney General in conjunction with the Federalism Subcommittee of the Constitutional Defense Council, to review all documentation related to such applications and contracts as mentioned above to ensure our state sovereignty is held inviolate. We further requested that this review of programs, documents, and applications, include an examination to ensure no private or personal information about students is transmitted outside of local schools and districts, despite the U.S. Dept. of Education’s and Utah Data Alliance’s efforts to the contrary.
  • Because the Utah State Board of Education adopted Common Core State Standards before they were even finalized, failed to perform a cost analysis related to statewide adoption, and failed to hold public meetings where citizens could review the actual standards prior to adoption, we have asked that a liberty-minded, academically solid educational committee (not the USOE or USSB) be authorized to rewrite Utah’s current standards through a well-developed and transparent process that includes numerous public hearings and input from committees that utilizes knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level specific, measurable standards from other states (such as liberty-minded  Texas, Virginia and the impressive pre-common core Massachusetts) as models.
  • We want to give individual schools and districts full local control with the ability to adopt their own high standards, assessments, and research-based curriculum to encourage and allow for greater parental participation in the education system.
  • We aim for legislators and citizens to develop a 5-year plan to get Utah off all federal funding of education, and if the federal government threatens to pull non-education related funding away from the state as we pursue this course, that this knowledge should be made public and fought with the assistance of the state Attorney General.
  • We have asked legislators to craft laws that will strengthen privacy rights and parental consent rules, and make sharing of personal student data with any state or federal entity a crime both for the one disseminating and the recipient who requested personal information.

If you agree, you can:

Please sign the petition at http://utahnsagainstcommoncore.com .

Please write and/or call our Governor, Lt. Governor, Legislators, the USOE, UEN, and local and State School Board (Board@schools.utah.gov )

Thank you.

Christel Swasey, Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis:

Three Heber City Moms

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Core? Not American Parents.   2 comments

Great editorial from Heartland in Chicago, reposted:

http://heartland.org/editorial/2012/09/04/common-core-rollout-draws-parental-opposition-nationwide

Common Core Rollout Draws Parental Opposition Nationwide

By Robert Holland

As schools open this fall, battle lines are forming over the rollout of Common Core (CC) national standards, the specifics of which have only recently started coming to public attention.

On paper, the fight would appear to be a mismatch.

You have on the pro-CC side:

  • The Obama-led U.S. Department of Education, the agency with the fastest-growing discretionary spending in the federal government (now approaching $70 billion) and a matching itch to dictate.
  • Achieve, the corporate-led outfit that started marshaling big-business clout behind national standards in 1996, during the Clinton years.
  • Inside-the-Beltway organizations such as the Best Practices Center of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsored the handpicked Common Core writers.
  • Not least, Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pumped tens of millions of dollars over the past decade into educationist organizations, including the teachers unions, that back the Common Core agenda. Gates has gone even further by subsidizing think tanks on both sides of the education-reform divide in clear hopes of winning favor for the Common Core, which is to be linked with national tests administered online.

And on the anti-CC side of the battle, you have:

  • Moms, everyday moms.

There are some dads, too, but moms are leading the anti-Common Core charge in a growing number of states. And by no means are they all conservatives.

Never underestimate the power of moms. Common Core opponents recently celebrated a possible harbinger of victories to come when the Utah Board of Education voted 12-3 to back out of the state’s membership in a federally funded consortium that is drafting a national test that will be linked with the Common Core.

In a similar reversal, Indiana schools Superintendent Tony Bennett, who had previously crowed about the state’s being in step with Washington on Common Core, reversed course and unleashed strong criticism of the Obama administration at a recent Tea Party gathering. “This administration,” said Bennett, “has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach. The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”

Interviews with activist moms in Utah, Indiana, and Georgia–just three of several hotbeds of opposition–indicated they all abhor the federal power grab, and they have other concerns in common. These include: the way parents have been kept in the dark about radical changes in their kids’ instruction, the heavy involvement of special-interest groups that are unaccountable to the public, and the mediocre quality of the national English and math standards.

Some subject-matter specialists have pegged the reading level of CC high-school English at the 7th grade, with a drastic de-emphasis of classic literature in favor of workforce-oriented material. And they say the definition of “college-readiness” in CC math corresponds with a nonselective community college, not a university.

In Indiana, Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle are among the Hoosier parents who got an early warning last fall when their children brought home math worksheets and books they recognized as being of the “fuzzy” genre. Parental complaints resulted in a salesman for the text (Pearson’s enVision Math) coming to inform the parents “how lucky they were” to be getting one of the nation’s first Common Core-aligned textbooks.

Fired up, the two moms did their research and eventually began speaking to dozens of grassroots groups.

“We have found that most Hoosiers, including most legislators, have never heard of the Common Core until just recently,” Crossin said. “The majority of the teachers we have spoken to are just now being asked to transition to the Common Core, and they say they don’t like it. They cite the lack of clarity and quality.”

   In Utah, Alisa Ellis is actively involved in the public schools six of her seven children attend. She says she “did not hear about this new direction until a year after we had adopted the standards.” As more parents learn for the first time what’s happening, “Our numbers keep growing. We have over 2,000 signatures on a petition, plus a dozen or so organizations that have signed.”

A parent-activist in Georgia, Sherena Arrington, is not optimistic the battle will be won soon, given that “taxpayers have yet to understand that their rights to representation in the educational policies of this state are being stolen from them.”

In many respects, the current moms-versus-monolith battle resembles that of the 1990s, when forces aligned with the federal Goals 2000 movement sought to force a national School-to-Work curriculum on all schools. Moms slowed down the juggernaut then. Don’t bet against them stopping it this time.


Robert Holland (rholland@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute, and author of Not With My Child, You Don’t (1995), a book about the parents’ revolt against nationalized K-12 education.

Common Core Splits GOP?   Leave a comment

   We were watching Paul Ryan’s incredible Republican National Convention speech last night on t.v. when I got a text message that a reporter who was at the convention wanted to talk to me.  Me?

I had submitted the idea to “Eliminate Common Core Collective Education” at the GOP website when they were soliciting grassroots input a few days ago.  So the reporter was fast, and the article’s published, and here’s the link to that article: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/08/common_core_state_standards_di.html

    But the link to my educational topic for the GOP input is gone now; I guess, since the convention’s going on, they don’t want more platform input.  But here’s the text of what I wrote, which was seconded by 39 people in the one day that it was there before they took down the site:

ELIMINATE COMMON CORE COLLECTIVE EDUCATION

I. COMMON CORE IS NOT ACADEMICALLY SOUND

It is a fact that the only math professor on the official Common Core Validation Committee, Dr. James Milgram, flatly refused to sign off on the standards as being valid.  The math standards lack a coherent sequence and do the opposite of what they claim to do (make USA students more internationally competitive).  The Asian Tigers have Alg. I in 8th grade.  Common Core has it in 9th.  By junior high, Common Core places students one to two years behind what they should be. 
In the English department, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who also served on the Common Core Validation Committee, also refused to sign off on the standards being adequate.  They are not legitimate college prep because they slash narrative writing and classic, time-tested story reading to make room for info-texts.  This is almost like book burning in its refusal to make generous room for literature in American classrooms. Under mandate.

Dr. Kirst of Stanford University said his concern was that the standards call 4 year, 2 year, and vocational school preparation the same thing.  Is college prep to be dumbed down? Yes, absolutely. That is how we will make all our students common. 
This Harrison Bergeron-esque attempt to make all students equal and common is absurd. 

II. EDUCATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION:

Local educational decision-making capacity is severely reduced by Common Core.

Common Core is education without representation: the federal government incentivized its adoption by states but the public did not vote on the initiative, did not know what it was until after state school boards and governors implemented it, and has no means to amend the standards, as they are under NGA/CCSSO copyright.  (Source:   http://www.corestandards.org/terms-of-use
There is no means provided for voters to recall Common Core standards-setting administrators.  And the Dept. of Ed put a 15% cap on how much states can add.

We can do better. 

So, I hope somebody read it.  I hope the truth about Common Core comes out for all citizens, teachers, and within both parties, as more and more people study what it does and does not do.

 

What is “Communities That Care” ?   Leave a comment

A neighbor told me that Heber’s city council was considering applying for a $10,000 grant.

Accepting the money would join our city to “Communities That Care,” a federally promoted anti-youth-problems program.

Now, everyone likes money.  And everyone is opposed to youth doing drugs and crime.  So what’s not to like?

A lot.

A little research shows that “Communities​ That Care” raises serious anti-gun issues, as well as possible data privacy issues.

   So, here’s the letter I sent to city leaders:

Dear _____,

I’m writing to let you know that I’m one of those Heber residents who is now researching Communities that Care, so that we have plenty of information to make an informed decision for our city about whether it’s a good or a bad move for us.  My gut feeling already is that it’s a bad idea. Why?

I used to write grants full time. One thing I learned is that there are no free grants. It’s not just money; the grantor always has an agenda and a reason for putting his or her money where the grant is going. The grantee has a duty under contract to fulfil the obligations of the grant.  Before we apply for a grant, we need to know exactly what that agenda is. The money will be spent, but the agenda lingers.  If our residents’ values truly match those of the grantor, that’s good.  If not, it’s bad.

My preliminary research is showing me that a collectivist, socialist mentality is behind “Communities that Care,” which places the community (both local and national) above the family/parents. Why do I say this? A great portion of the program deals with data collection on teens and their families. Data will be collected through archives of the community, and also through surveys administered to young people on an ongoing basis. Who has access to this data other than our own community, and why? (Federal databases are currently being “mashed” and shared, according to sources such as Joanne Weiss, chief of staff of the Dept. of Education.  So we don’t have any guarantees that privately collected data will remain with the entity that originates that collection. And Communities that Care is a branch of the federal government.

   As you know, questions in surveys can and do present agendas. We may or may not find our values reflected in the way the questions are written. Sometimes, the way a question is asked does not give room for a response that accurately matches local reality.  We need to read the survey ahead of time, find out who writes the survey, and who has authority to change or amend the questions on that survey. We also need to make sure it’s not a mandate; some parents may not want children taking surveys for data collection that may be used for purposes other than that which was originally intended.

Communities that Care is not an unknown entitity with an unknown agenda: the Dept. of Health and Human Services runs it; it’s the federal government.  Let’s make sure we are true experts on all the possible future consequences to our city, before we consider signing on the dotted line.

Christel Swasey

Heber

P.S.  Gun Rights Alert:  I just now, while writing to you, searched and found a document online from Communities that Care called “Community Assessment Training: Collecting Archival Data” http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/Community%20Assessment%20Training/Participant%20Guide/CAT_PG_mod3.pdf

  It says, among other things, that a “risk factor” for problem behavior indicators is “community laws and norms favorable to the use of drug use, firearms and crime”.  Firearms are considered to be in the same basket of bad behavior risk factors as crime and drug use?  Not in Heber.

The same chart shows “parental attitudes” and even “constitutional factors” as possible risk factors.  Does this sound neutral, parent-friendly, gun-owner friendly or big-government friendly, to you?

Innocence Alert:  I also found a survey used for a Communities that Care program in Massachusetts.  http://esb.plymouth.k12.ma.us/attachments/2e3d9da3-cc55-4720-a79b-793eb5219c40.pdf  One question there was how often the child had “Used prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall without a doctors’s orders during the past 30 days?”  The question did not allow the child to say “What the heck is Adderall?” or “It was actually 31 days ago,” or “my doctor has no qualms about prescribing whatever I’m willing to pay for.”  There are all kinds of problems with these types of impersonal questions, including introducing innocent non-users to the idea that they could experiment with prescription drugs.

Listen to the Constitution   Leave a comment

     Here’s an audio recording of the United States Constitution, in three parts, followed by the Bill of Rights:

http://youtu.be/9X5MZFGjTa0

2 http://youtu.be/nGamhm0-vAg

3 http://youtu.be/bixQ59_22Q0

Bill of Rights:  http://youtu.be/7Y5w9gr3nl8

Dear Superintendent Larry Shumway   1 comment

I wrote this letter to our State Superintendent today.  Do you think he’ll respond this time?  He never has before.  But hope springs eternal.

Dear Superintendent Shumway,

Although I have asked for a meeting with Carol Lear, with Judy Park, and with Brenda Hales, my requests have been turned down.

As you may know, I’m a Utah teacher with an up to date level II credential and a former English professor at UVU, and am concerned about Common Core nationalized education both for academic and liberty-based reasons.

I have tried to meet with your staff to discuss this in person. I would deeply appreciate a meeting to talk about these things, or a referenced, thorough email response to the following:

1.  What proof can you offer teachers and parents that Common Core standards are not equalizing education within such narrow limits that they actually dumb down the expectations for 4-year college readiness to cater to career readiness and 2-year nonselective college readiness? People as diverse as Stanford’s Michael Kirst and Jason Zimba, Common Core architect, have addressed this issue but Utah has not done so on the USOE website or elsewhere.

2. Why is the board citing the retiring CCSSO leader Gene Wilhoit’s verbal assurances that “there’s no common core police” rather than believing what our state has committed to in writing, which is the federal government’s 15% speed limit on adding to the non-amendable standards, being copyrighted (by NGA/CCSSO) ?

Fact: We need to be able to add more than 15%.  More than a year’s worth of math is missing for most grades, according to Dr. James Milgram, the only math professor on the Common Core Validation Committee.  Speed limit on learning is set in stone at 15% in writing.  Why is that okay with the Utah school board?  Please explain.

3. It has been claimed that many teachers actually had input into the writing of the standards; yet no one I know, including myself, was ever asked to help write the national standards.  And the copyright on the standards (held by NGA/CCSSO) states: NGA/CCSSO are the “sole developers” and sole owners, and “no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

4.  Why was Common Core never piloted nor ever discussed in the public eye, with parents or teachers or legislators, before this transformative, experimental program was implemented across America?

5. How can Common Core avoid lowering standards for top-achieving students when “college and career readiness” means the exact same thing for 4-year college, 2-year college, and vocational school prep?

6. Why does Common Core diminish classic literature? What research supports this drastic change? What percentage of English Language Arts teachers and professors actually approve of this, or believe in the idea that this is increasing rigor and improving college prep?  Do you know?

7. Common Core claims to improve international competitiveness. Why then is Algebra I introduced in 9th grade under Common Core, but it was previously introduced in 8th grade in most states and is introduced in 8th grade in the amazing Asian countries?  Fact:  Massachusetts had the highest standards in the nation but dropped them to adopt mediocre Common Core.  Massachusetts even tested independently as an independent country, and ranked extremely high –but before Common Core.

8.  If it is true, as has been claimed, that Common Core is a state-led program, then why is the federal government incentivizing its adoption via grants (Race to the Top and Race to the Top for Assessments)?

9. Why is the federal government further incentivizing its adoption via No Child Left Behind waivers if there are no federal strings attached?

10. How can states afford Common Core in this economy?  Utah, like most states, hasn’t done a cost analysis.  Texas and Virginia did a cost analysis and both states rejected the offer to join Common Core.  (Texas estimated a $3 billion dollar implementation).

11.  Why can’t we have an open, referenced, well-publicized public hearing on common core with experts from both sides being heard in a non-confrontational, non-argumentative way?

The Granite District meeting was dominated by Ms. Roberts’ long speech, with only 2 minutes then given for hundreds of members of the public; and no experts were given time there from the opposition to common core side.

12. Why hasn’t the Longitudinal Database System and the P-20 student tracking system been made transparent to the public, so that parents who would prefer not to have their child and family tracked by the government, could choose to send their children to private school or homeschool?

Let’s talk openly about these issues, for the good of the students, the teachers, the taxpayers, the general public, and the cause of liberty as it applies to education under the U.S. Constitution.

Christel Swasey

Heber City

A 2012 Reading of Orwell’s 1984   Leave a comment

I borrowed 1984 and read it cover to cover this week.

It’s a well-written, totally alarming book.  A screamingly important book.

It’s a powerful warning against socialism. It’s also a graphic, atheistic, violent book that doesn’t offer any ray of hope.  So don’t read it if you haven’t.  I’ll give you the summary.

Then I’ll share the quotes that remind me of Common Core education, and quotes that point to the new data collection by our state and federal government using our schools.

Summary:

Winston Smith lives in a society that has “progressed” past individual privacy and freedom.  His job is to rewrite history regardless of what is actually true.  There are no laws in this world; there is only the will of “Big Brother,” the all-knowing, all-powerful government.

In this world, “Big Brother” screens transmit and receive information in every room and alley, everywhere, 24/7. Screens cannot be shut off.  Even unhappy facial expressions on someone’s face are cause for the “Thought Police” to come and delete an individual in the night.  Children are encouraged to view public hangings and violent films, and to turn in their parents to “Big Brother” for unorthodox statements or actions parents might commit.

Winston commits the crimes of writing in a diary, of having a love affair, and of seeking to join a group of freedom fighters that he is not sure really exists. For these crimes, he is captured and tortured, rather than killed; the aim of “Big Brother” is not just to kill but rather to convert deviants like Winston. After severe, months-long torture and brainwashing, Big Brother succeeds in the conversion of Winston Smith. The last sentence of the novel is:  “He loved Big Brother.”

Excerpts:

Excerpts that remind me of Common Core:

“Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious and even intelligent within narrow limits…” p. 158

“Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like ‘Freedom is Slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished?” -p. 47

“The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.” p. 159

“Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year…the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought. In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten… Every year fewer and fewer words and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.” p. 46

“Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” p. 220

Excerpts that remind me of the alteration of FERPA laws federally to take away parental consent over student data, and of the new free Common Core preschool system:

“Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen.” p. 220

“Nothing was illegal since there were no longer any laws.” -p. 9
“There will be no loyalty except loyalty to the party… there will be no wives and no friends… there will be no art, no literature, no science… if you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever” p. 220

“The only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism…concentration of property in far fewer hands… the new owners were a group rather than… individuals… Everything– had been taken away from them and since these things were no longer private property, it followed that they must be public property… economic inequality has been made permanent.” p. 170

Excerpts that remind me of data privacy invasion, such as our new, federally granted, “State Longitudinal Database System” and “P-20” implemented by Utah:

“The Party is concerned…how to discover against his will, what another human being in thinking” -p. 159

“The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard… How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. You had to live– did live, from habit that became instinct– in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard…every movement scrutinized” pp. 6-7.

Excerpts that remind me of the USOE and the State School Board’s turning a deaf ear to teachers and parents who oppose Common Core:

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” – p. 69

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient…” pp. 176-177.

“Researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming and their failure to show results is not important.” -p. 163

“His heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies.” p. 16

Excerpts that remind me of people who are not standing up and fighting against Common Core:

“They were like the ant, which can see small objects but not large ones.” -p. 79

“The Proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies.” – p.60

As I read and copied down these excerpts, I thought about the untruths and the trend toward collectivism that has become so popular among educators in D.C. –and I thought about the lies that have been promoted by proponents of Common Core, about its implementation without a vote, about its purposes, its history, its amendability, and its data-gathering on students without parental knowledge or consent.  What do you think? 

Elder Quentin Cook: “That Which Is Sound And Good”   Leave a comment

I got my favorite magazine, the Ensign, in the mail yesterday.  The newest issue features an article entitled, “Restoring Morality and Religious Freedom” by Elder Quentin L. Cook:  http://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/09/restoring-morality-and-religious-freedom?lang=eng

It says, “The Church respects the rule of law and constitutional government in every nation and expects Latter-day Saints to adhere to the law, to use their influence to promote and preserve their God-given rights, and “to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:286).”

“That which is sound and good” does not include Common Core education.  It diminishes classic literature in English classrooms.  It diminishes math learning, most noticeably for grades six and nine. It equalizes college and career preparation, making 4-year college, 2-year college, and vocational school preparation the very same thing for all.  It stifles innovation.  It concentrates power over education in a small group that includes the federal Dept. of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governor’s Association, rather than leaving power over educational decision-making in the hands of states and school districts. It sets an actual cap of 15% on the amount of learning above Common Core standards that is to be permitted.

And where is the liberty in that?

Title of Liberty: If You Oppose Nationalized Health Can You Support Nationalized Education?   Leave a comment

Why do so many people support Common Core, nationalized education, while they oppose ObamaCare, a nationalized medical system.  Does that make any sense?  Either you’re for independence or you’re for government control over your life.  Why the double standard?

In the Book of Mormon, book of Alma, chapter 46, there’s an interesting story.

   Captain Moroni tore a piece of his own clothing and wrote on it, calling it the “Title of Liberty.”  He  gathered freedom fighters with its slogan:  “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children– and he fastened it upon the end of pole.” (v. 12)

  • He asked people to “maintain their rights.” (v. 20)
  • He said, “Yea, let us preserve our liberty.” (v. 24)
  • He wanted “to support the cause of freedom, that they might maintain a free government” (v. 35)
  • He “caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower wich was in all the land.” (v. 36)
  • He “planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites.” (v. 36)

Can’t we do the same thing?

What are we waiting for?  What is holding us back from cutting ties to Common Core?

Is it ongoing confusion about whether or not Common Core is truly a threat to freedom? –Earlier, the state office of education said that there were “no federal strings attached” but that mantra has long been abandoned out loud.  True, the USOE’s fact v. fiction flier still makes that false claim, but if you talk to Board Members, they readily admit that the NCLB waiver has created federal pressure to either obey No Child Left Behind law, or substitute Common Core.  They also admit that the federal Dept. of Education has set a cap of 15% on learning.  That’s a written mandate denied orally by CCSSO leader Gene Wilhoit, but what’s in writing is binding on Utah.  The State Office of Education also admits that the National Governor’s Association and the CCSSO have put a copyright on the standards and there is no means for states to amend them.

Where’s the liberty in that?

The Common Core Federal Control Puzzle – from Utahns Against Common Core   1 comment

John Adams on Common Core   Leave a comment

   Let’s reason with John Adams.  In 1763, Adams didn’t know  Utah would be facing the decision to reverse adoption of Common Core and reclaim local freedom over education, or not.  But he did know this much:

  • “…[A]s we know that ignorance, vanity, excessive ambition and venality, will, in spite of all human precautions, creep into government, and will ever be aspiring at extravagant and unconstitutional emoluments to individuals, let us never relax our attention…  We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands… It becomes necessary to every subject then, to be in some degree a statesman, and to examine and judge for himself of the tendency of political principles and measures. Let us examine, then, with a sober, a manly, a British, and a Christian spirit; let us neglect all party virulence and advert to facts; let us believe no man to be infallible or impeccable in government, any more than in religion; take no man’s word against evidence, nor implicitly adopt the sentiments of others, who may be deceived themselves, or may be interested in deceiving us.”

Do some research.  Don’t assume others’ claims and promises are correct or true, when they give no verifiable references.  Even leaders (especially leaders) are subject to vanity, ignorance, ambition and unconstitutionality.  Search for facts.  Ask questions.  Look for an application of Constitutional principles on new education reforms.  Do they put the government above the parent?  Do they put federal government above local?  Do they sell something valuable for something temporarily sparkly?  Be smart.

Learn what Common Core means to local control of standards, to Constitutional issues like representation and limited government power over people, to student math standards, to English standards, to taxpayer burdens, to data privacy, to parents worried about the speed and quality of what their kids are being taught, to parental consent issues.  Common Core is much more than most realize.

Adams did speak to us directly:

  • “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”

Adams also said:

  • “There are two types of education… One should teach us how to make a living, And the other how to live.” 

Common Core Architect David Coleman’s idea was to cut classic lit and narrative writing so that schools churn out kids who can read and write computer manuals and infotext.

But how to live?  That comes from stories.  David Coleman is blind to the spiritual human need for stories.  And he just got promoted to be the College Board President.  Heaven help us all.

  • “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” 
There are those who hold Sec. of Education Arne Duncan’s letters as  if they were freedom-guaranteeing facts, as if the letters held any legal water in comparison to his mark on definitive documents states are really bound by: the Race to the Top Executive Summary, the ED website’s definitions pages, the ESEA Flexibility Waiver, the Cooperative Agreement.
I apply it to the USOE’s unreferenced lie claim that Common Core makes kids “globally competitive” and gives more “rigorous” standards while all the while it’s homogenizing 2 year, 4 year and vocational college-readiness, (common for all) and while it slows Alg. I from 8th grade to 9th grade, and while it slashes cursive and classic literature.  –Oh, and there are the little details called GEPA law and the U.S. Constitution, which Common Core kicks to the curb.  And then there’s that little fact that the only math professor (James Milgram) and the top English Language Arts professor (Sandra Stotsky) refused to sign off on the standards when they served on the Common Core Validation Committee because the standards were not high.  Truth and factuality are slung aside by Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, and the Common Core troops.
“Rigor.” Ha!
Three more John Adams quotes for Common Core debate:

1-    “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.”  AMEN.

  2-   “I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough…the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.”  Yep.

     3-   “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  

For. ever.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky to Utah: We Can Write Higher, Better Standards — Free   Leave a comment

Dear School Board, Superintendent Shumway and Governor Herbert,

I am writing to express my gratitude to those who were instrumental in yesterday’s vote to reverse Utah’s membership in the SBAC testing consortium.  It was a heroic moment and America is watching.

Early on, when I read the Cooperative Agreement between the SBAC and the Department of Education, I was horrified to see that it required  SBAC members to expose student data to the federal government “on an ongoing basis, subject to applicable privacy laws,” and I knew that the Dept. of Education had changed privacy FERPA regulations to make that data easy to access.

I had also been horrified by the micromanagement the Dept. of Education planned to do, in demanding that PARCC and SBAC synchronize tests “across consortia,” effectively nationalizing education under the triangulation of those two consortia with the Dept. of Education.  Also, in writing to WestEd, the SBAC’s test writing project manager, I had found out that “In order for this [testing] system to have a real impact within a state, the state will need to adopt the Common Core State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards.)” -April 2012 statement from WestEd Assessments and Standards Senior Research Associate Christyan Mitchell, Ph.D.

This meant that the 15% additional content which the Dept. of Education was permitting states to add to their local version of Common Core, would have been meaningless in the context of the tests.  Teachers would not have been motivated to teach that extra 15% of unique Utah content, since there would be such pressure to conform to the high-stakes, competitive tests.  Now they are freed from that pressure and can teach students, not teach for others.

I am extremely relieved to find that we have reclaimed our independence in the realm of testing and in the realm of easy federal access to student data collected via tests.  But I am still concerned that the federally paid-for state longitudinal database system (SLDS) and the P-20 student tracking systems will be available to the federal government and marketers, since our Utah Technology leader, John Brandt, who is a chair member of CCSSO and a member of NCES, the research arm of the Dept. of Education, has published the fact that our data can be shared with state agencies and at the federal level.  Also, Chief of Staff of the Dept. of Education Joanne Weiss made a statement recently that she is mashing data systems on the federal level, and is releasing reports to “help” states to use SLDS systems to mash data as well.  These things trouble me.  I hope you are aware of them and are taking steps to fortify our citizens’ privacy rights against federal intrusion which can easily invade in these other ways –other than the SBAC test data collection method, which we seem to be freed from.

–Or are we?  Attendees at yesterday’s State School Board meeting have informed me that there is school board talk of purchasing SBAC tests anyway, regardless of the conflict of interest issue.  This, even now that we’ve cut membership ties with SBAC.  If our board votes to use SBAC tests, we will hardly be better off than if we had not taken the step of cutting off membership ties.  Our childrens’ data would then still be collected by SBAC, and we know from the Cooperative Agreement that the SBAC will triangulate tests and data collected with the federal government.  We must cut all ties with SBAC, including purchasing or using SBAC or PARCC written tests.

On Sept. 6th, the ESEA flexibility waiver window ends.  I have asked a question but have not received a response:  does that Sept. 6th deadline mean that after Sept. 6th, Utah’s option to write her own standards, ends?

We need legitimately high, not spottily or for just some grades/topics, occasionally high, standards.  We need standards like those Massachusetts had before that state caved to political pressure to lower standards in adopting Common Core.  Massachusetts tested as an independent nation and was among the very top.  Massachusetts’ standards were the highest in the USA.  Then Common Core took them down to the middle of the road.  Does Utah really want that?  If so, why?  Is it Superintendent Shumway’s board membership in CCSSO and SBAC that is driving these decisions?  Or is it what’s really the highest possible standards for our children and teachers?

Political and money-making pressures are pushing Utah to stay aligned with Common Core, while attempting to obscure the truth:  that Common Core is not rigorous enough.  It does not solve our very real educational problems.

First, it blurs excellence and sub-par into a common standard that is mediocre.  Stanford University Professor Michael Kirst assessed the standards and said that “My concern is the assertion in the draft that the standards for college and career readiness are essentially the same. This implies the answer is yes to the question of whether the same standards are appropriate for 4 year universities, 2 year colleges, and technical colleges. The burden of proof for this assertion rests with CCSSO/NGA, and the case is not proven from the evidence presented”.

Dr. Bill Evers, Hoover Institute scholar and professor at Stanford, said that the “Asian Tigers” countries keep Algebra I in 8th grade, as Utah’s prior standards had them; but Common Core retards Algebra I to 9th grade.

Dr. James Milgram, the only math professor on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off that the standards were adequate.  Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the head English professor on the same committee, also refused to sign off on the standards.  She said they did not represent a coherent, legitimate pre-college program and she opposed slashing classic literature and narrative writing, as 99% of all English teachers –and parents– would surely agree.

Importantly, the NCLB/ESEA waiver allows two ways to fulfull the “college readiness” requirement.  1) States can use Common Core.  Or 2)states can write their own standards, using University approval as a benchmark.  If we choose option 2, by Sept. 6th, 2012, then we can write our own standards, using what’s best out of common core, building up to a better standard set by Massachusetts, led by the very professor who created Massachusetts’ superior standards— for free!

    Dr. Sandra Stotsky has promised Utah that if we pull out of Common Core and want help in developing our own ELA standards (better than what we used to have), she will help write them, for free.   She worked on the excellent, (Common Core-Less) Texas standards in 2007-2008, contracted with StandardsWork.

Dr. Alan Manning, of BYU, who is opposed on academic grounds and on grounds of lost liberty, to Common Core, would be a great resource for writing Utah’s standards, as well.

Please contact Dr. Stotstky and Dr. Manning about the possibilities of creating superior standards for Utah.

Thank you sincerely for your continued work on educational issues in Utah.

Christel Swasey

Heber City

Common Core Discussion at Wasatch Bagel Cafe in Park City   Leave a comment

   Democrats, Republicans and others packed the Wasatch Bagel Cafe in Park City to standing room only last night in an effort to learn the pros and cons of Utah’s membership in the Common Core Movement.  Common Core is a set of national standards and common tests that was initiated by states, is incentivized and promoted by the federal government, and is backed financially by private interest groups, largely by Bill Gates.

Wasatch Representative Kraig Powell, Senate Education Committee Chair Aaron Osmond, House Committee Chair Francis Gibbons, and Joel Briscoe, also of the Utah Legislature, led the meeting.  None of the four vocalized a strong stand for or against the Common Core Initiative.  Questions and comments by citizens generally addressed the questions of whether local autonomy and control over educational standards and good education would be available with Common Core.

Doctor and Park City citizen John Zimmerman said, “We don’t need the federal government in education,” and asked why the Common Core educational movement was involved with the federal government.  Aaron Osmond responded that the movement did not start out being federally led but the federal government has taken advantage of the movement.  Kraig Powell added that it’s as if we were headed down the road in a small car and the federal government came along with a faster car and we got in.

  Representative Kraig Powell said that raising educational standards is an important and laudable goal.  He said that he trusts people and feels that as long as there is plenty of public discussion, Utah will come up with something we can all live with.  He voiced concern about the Department of Education’s use of “shall” language in the No Child Left Behind waivers that push states toward Common Core.  He mentioned that there was a larger legislative turnout than he’d ever seen last month when four national educational experts spoke against Common Core at a legislators’ lunch and at another public forum.  He emphasized that there must be lots of input and study so people’s voices can be heard. (Currently, few citizens know what Common Core is.)  Powell also noted that just as Medicaid has put mandates on Utah which come with funding concerns many Utahns are not comfortable with, there is a concern that the same demoralization of teachers and the same costly requirements may happen with Common Core that were problematic with No Child Left Behind.

  Senate Education Committee Chair Aaron Osmond said that the Utah Constitution allows the state school board a lot of power. He voiced a concern that we must preserve state sovereignty and the right to control standards in our state, saying, “If we lose that, I concur that it’s wrong.”

  Newly appointed chair of the Utah House Education Committee, Francis Gibson, said that both the pro and con sides of the Common Core have arguments that make sense.  He liked the fact that the standards promised not to dictate curriculum and hoped there was a way to fix the low portion of the math segments of Common Core.  He did not mention whether there was a way to amend standards under the common core contractual documents.

  Representative Joel Briscoe said that his entire family, including himself, consists of teachers.  While the Common Core requires students to read less literature, he felt that fact did not represent any lowering of standards.  He addressed the fact that at the high school level, 70% of English language readings are to be informational text with only 30% being allowed to be classic literature readings.  He supports the less-literature, more-informational text shift.  He did not address Common Core’s shift away from narrative writing.  He did not address the non-amendability of the reading and writing standards.

  Heber citizen Anissa Wardell asked what the legislators’ stand was on data collection, including personally identifiable student information, to be gathered without parental consent, a concern connected to Common Core reforms.  Kraig Powell responded that we have to ask ourselves whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the P-20 systems and/or private entities track a child from before kindergarten through college and work.  He did not take a stand on the question.

All four legislators said they applauded the effort of the Utah State School Board in attempting to raise educational standards for Utah.

Can FERPA (parental consent and privacy law) and SLDS (student tracking) Coexist?   7 comments

I didn’t make up this question:  “Can FERPA and SLDS coexist?”.

It’s in a white paper written by ESP solutions group, called “Could FERPA halt your SLDS:  A Mini-Guide That Explores Potential FERPA Roadblocks Disruptive to Your SLDS Project,”directed at state leaders who are attempting to data-mash their state agencies’ systems.

http://www.espsolutionsgroup.com/espweb/assets/files/Could_FERPA_%20halt_your_LDS.pdf

(I’m guessing readers of this document are people like  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Dept. of Education Chief of Staff J. Weiss, Utah Technology Director John Brandt, Utah School Superintendent Larry Shumway, the USOE, and folks like Professor David Wiley.  I add in Wiley because he’s partnered with USOE to write Common Core books and has publically said he is FOR going behind parents’ backs to get access to student data for research purposes.)

FYI- Data systems mashing and meshing is also soon to be done with federal data systems, not just state SLDS, according to a recent statement by J. Weiss, the Chief of Staff of the Department of Education.

The ESP white paper shows the disregard the movement has for individual privacy –calling privacy law, FERPA, a “roadblock”– and it shows the conflict the data-seeking SLDS/P-20 crowd feels toward traditional privacy law, such as the Congressionally approved and created FERPA as it was originally written in the 70’s by people who actually respected parental consent law and student privacy.

Remember, though, that the Dept of Education has altered FERPA to empower the data-mashing gang i.e., Arne Duncan, President Obama, John Brandt, Shumway, Weiss and Wiley. The Dept. of ED has been sued for doing so, by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (thank heaven and hope they win.)

What meaning do I make of it?

The good news is, FERPA still has the data-hungry, big-government educrats scared.  Remember: state FERPA laws have not changed although federal regulations to FERPA did.

The bad news is, there are individuals and whole organizations like ESP or David Wiley, getting paid by our government (by us)  to think of ways of getting around family privacy law so that without our consent, they can access private information– in the guise of caring for our students and with the good intentions of any non-elected, self-appointed stakeholder/decisionmaker over other people’s children.

http://www.espsolutionsgroup.com/espweb/assets/files/Could_FERPA_%20halt_your_LDS.pdf

Soldier Hollow Charter School and Environmental Education   1 comment

Dear Principal Weber,

Thank you for giving my son and me a tour of your beautiful campus last week.  You were gracious to spend so much time with us, and we were impressed with the skiing and other wonderful programs your school offers, and with the care you show for the individual student.

Prior to the visit, we were not aware of the extent to which sustainable development is a part of the school’s educational emphasis.  The posters on the walls and the students’ artwork heavily promoted sustainable development.  Also, the information packet stated that the school’s charter is environmental education.

While studying nature is neutral, the sustainable development movement is not academically nor politically neutral. I don’t think it would be reasonable nor kind for me to have him attend the school and at the same time be critical of its main emphasis.  I am sorry we will be missing out on the other wonderful benefits of Soldier Hollow.

Thanks again very much for your kindness and time, and we wish you and your school the very best.

Christel

P.S. Here is a journal article that explained to me how environmental education is not academically neutral.

http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.php/trumpet/article/view/325/497

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ491963&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ491963

Excerpt:  “[E]ducation is concerned with enabling people to think for themselves.

Education for sustainable development, education for deep ecology (Drengson, 1991), or education “for” anything else is inconsistent with that criterion.

In all cases these phrases suggests a pre-determined mode of thinking to which the pupil is expected to prescribe.

Clearly, I would not want my children to be taught sustainable development. The very idea is contrary to the spirit of education.

I would rather have my children educated than conditioned to believe that sustainable development constitutes a constellation of correct environmental views”   – Bob Jinkins, Yukon College

The Smokescreen: Common Core State Standards Copyrighted by NGA/CCSSO for Dept. of Education   34 comments

    BYU Professor Ed Carter is an expert on copyright.  I called him to learn more about what it means to have our Utah educational standards under copyright by the NGA (National Governor’s Association) and the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers).

So, how bound are we?

Professor Carter made it clear that his was not professional legal advice, nor was it any official statement from BYU.

He said it appeared to him that the NGA/CCSSO copyright on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a smokescreen.

    Smokescreen – an action intended to obscure, conceal or confuse.

Smokescreen – a mass of dense artificial smoke used to conceal military areas or operations.

Because governments cannot copyright things (this was news to me) the Dept. of Education not only couldn’t legally write national standards under GEPA law* and the Constitution (I knew that part) but the Dept. of Education could not copyright standards, either.

So it’s getting clearer and clearer.  The only way the Dept of ED could do this nationalization of education and yank local autonomy out of our hands –and appear sort of legal about it– was to promote Common Core via other groups.  –And they have:  Achieve, NGA, CCSSO, Bill Gates– all nongovernmental groups– have written, promoted and paid for the Common Core.

    

The really odd part is that on the official Common Core website there’s a copyright page that says nobody better claim to have written these standards.  Yet, we’ve all been told that Common Core is a “state-led” initiative, with no federal strings attached, and the states themselves got together and wrote the standards.  Hmmmm.  Compare: “NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.”  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

No, the NGA/CCSSO cannot force us to obey the national standards.  They just developed them and copyrighted them, but of course, since we didn’t elect them, we have no way to change the standards nor the administrators over them.

Simultaneously, the Dept. of Education promoted the standards and even went so far as to say states can’t delete anything from the CCSS national standards, and are limited in adding anything to them beyond 15%.  The Dept. of Education can enforce this obedience to the copyright through coercion.  They fund grants and offer waivers that can only be received on conditions of accepting the Common Core standards.

But there is a loophole!

I’ve been writing letters, begging our Governor and other state leaders to use that loophole.  It’s not complicated; Virginia did it.  They chose option 2 rather than option 1.  See:

On page 8 of the ESEA Flexibility document (updated June 7, 2012)  found at  http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility, it says:   “A State’s college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education”.

Same thing appears on the official ED website: http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions.

They define “college- and career-ready standards:  Content standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that build towards college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this document) by the time of high school graduation.  A State’s college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education, which must certify that students who meet the standards will not need remedial course work at the postsecondary level.”

Here’s my question.  The ESEA flexibility request window shuts down Sept. 6, 2012.  Does this mean we have to resubmit our waiver request before then, or lose the option of doing loophole option 2 forever?  I do not know the answer to this question.  It seems incredibly important and I sure hope our state leaders are on it.

* GEPA LAW:  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…

Now that the state admits they track PII on every kid, and our feds have requested data mashing…   1 comment

Dear Lorraine,
Thank you!  I appreciate you going to the effort to find the answer to my question. I have a follow-up question.
The Associate Superintendent over data collection said that USOE does not release student level data; could you tell me how long that policy will remain in place and where I can find it in written form?  Thank you.
I am concerned with this question because Joanne Weiss, the U.S. Education Department’s chief of staff, said that information from multiple federal data systems is being “mashed together” on the federal level and will be further mashed with state data. The U.S. Department of Education’s research agency is releasing information to “help” move states toward “developing partnerships” to use the student information gathered from state longitudinal data systems. (Source: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-FB )
Another source confirms this trend:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm
It says, “Statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS’s) are a single solution to manage, disaggregate, analyze, and leverage education information within a state. In recent years, the scope of these systems has broadened from the K-12 spectrum to now encompass pre-kindergarten through higher education and workforce training (P-20W) ” and that regional and federal groups are linked clients of Choice Solutions, Utah’s data networking partner.
Added to these facts is the fact that recent changes were made by the Department of Education to FERPA (privacy laws/regulations) that remove the necessity for researchers to gather parental or student consent prior to accessing personally identifiable information (PII).
So the only thing standing between our students’ PII and interstate, intrastate and federal persual (including entrepreneurs and both governmental and nongovernmental researchers) is local policy.
That is why I’d like to see what that policy is, and when it’s due to expire.
Thank you very much.  I appreciate your time.
Sincerely,
Christel Swasey
On Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 9:27 AM, Austin, Lorraine <Lorrain.Austin@schools.utah.gov> wrote:

Christel,

I have consulted with the Associate Superintendent in the office over data collection, and have received the following answer to your question:

All students who attend public schools have their data submitted to USOE for multiple purposes including accountability and monitoring aggregate student progress.  USOE does not release student level data.  Current data systems do not allow for individual student data to be withheld from the data submission process.  Current state and federal accountability requires that a minimum of 95% of students participate in all assessment programs.

Lorraine

Lorraine Austin, Secretary to the Board

Utah State Board of Education

PO Box 144200

Salt Lake City, UT  84114-4200

(801) 538-7517

From: Christel  Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2012 1:07 PM To: Board of Education; Shumway, Larry; Park, Judy; Hales, Brenda Subject: Second Request for a Yes or No

Dear Board,

Last week, I asked a simple yes or no question.  I received one response, and that board member did not say yes or not, but said he’d forward my question to Judy Park’s secretary.  I still have no answer.

The question is simple:  Is it possible for a student in Utah to attend public school and not be tracked by the P-20 and SLDS tracking systems?

Thanks.

Christel Swasey

Heber, Utah

 

Control Over Education: More of the Debate Between Professor Wiley and Me   Leave a comment

David Wiley says:

July 21, 2012 at 2:39 am

Christel,

Let me start by saying thanks to you as well. I think this conversation has been extra-ordinarily civil, despite our obvious differences of opinion. In today’s political realm, I can think of nothing more important than civility in discourse. So much of what could be productive dialog is reduced to worse than time-wasting shouting. I am genuinely grateful for your obvious passionate – yet polite – engagement around this topic.

I would disagree that my argument has been that ‘because research is supremely helpful in making improvements to education, anything that stands in the way of gathering research is reduced to optional/unimportant.’ I have argued for the importance of research in improving education, and I have argued for the importance of the exceptions to FERPA – which are clearly limited.

The study exemption FERPA governs schools initiating research and evaluation of their own programs – in other words, a school or district that wants to study itself. If a school district doesn’t have sophisticated research expertise in-house (and given today’s budgets – how could they afford to?), under the study exemption they are permitted to engage outside expertise in the process of conducting that research. Those outside experts may be contractors, consultants, or volunteers. And they can conduct this research without having to ask parents’ permission first. That seems wholly appropriate to me.

You suggest that “researchers should shoulder the inconvenience of getting parental/individual consent” before any research can be done. If the researcher has come to the school and proposed the work, this is exactly what would have to happen. And the research rarely occurs because too few parents engage in meaningful tasks like helping their child with homework, let alone signing a research consent form. And if these researchers can’t persuade enough parents to consent the research won’t happen, which is perhaps as it should be.

But when a school asks, “We want to understand how we can serve our students better – Ms. Research Expert, will you please help us?” Then under the exception a strict written contract is executed governing what data Ms. R. E. can and cannot see and what she can and cannot do with that data. Now that she is under contract, she is treated like other employees because she is subject to similar contractual obligations. And those obligations are what make “employees” in the first place.

I agree that must act ethically. And I ask, which is more ethical – prohibiting students from achieving more of their potential by prohibiting research that would facilitate that fulfillment? Or providing all individuals who are appropriately and contractually obligated to protect PII with access to PII for the reasons specified in their contracts?

The USOE has been holding public meetings about Common Core literally for years now, asking for community feedback and listening carefully to all opinions expressed. Some of that feedback has been critical, some of it has been supportive. Regardless of which path they choose to follow, they were certain to disappoint a large portion of their constituency. I’m genuinely sorry that you feel they have made the wrong choice. If they had rejected the Common Core, I’m sure I would have felt the same overwhelming sense of frustration and disappointment that I expect you feel because of their adoption of it.

While I can’t speak on behalf of the USOE, I would guess that if they seem unexcited by the idea of holding yet another hearing on these issues, it is because they have already held so many of them and have heard the arguments for and against repeated so many times in these meetings and other settings (op-eds, blog posts, Facebook comments, etc.) that they can recite – and explain – each of the pro and con arguments from memory. This does not mean that they are anti-transparency or anti-public input. But once you’ve heard all the arguments a dozen or more times, there is simply no “gaining the public’s input” function served by convening yet another meeting. The USOE has a clear obligation to obtain and consider public input, but that obligation does not mean that meetings must continue to be held quarterly as long as a portion of the constituency disagrees with their decision.

I believe the record of open public meetings (which was reviewed at length in the most recent public meeting on Common Core) provided ample opportunity for these decisions to be made with meaningful public vetting from 100% of schoolchildrens’ parents. The fact is that – even when you and I run around the state talking to everyone we can get our hands on – people don’t engage. I agree with you, that most parents in Utah still don’t even know what Common Core is nor what FERPA is about. But it is only partly up to people like me (and you!) to right this wrong. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You and I can cry from the rooftops about how important this issue is, but parents have the agency to choose to ignore us. And they have largely exercised that agency to choose apathy. If, as you say 99% of them won’t engage over something this important, what prayer do we have of them ever signing a research consent form? =)

Finally, please do mistakenly believe that my views represent those of the David O. McKay School of Education or BYU. I am not a spokesman for either, and there are people in both the MSE and broader BYU communities who agree with your point of view (perhaps more than would agree with me). I am simply a person who supports the Common Core, and finds great pleasure in constructive dialog with people with other opinions.

Reply

  • Professor Wiley,

    It is simply not true that the state has “provided ample opportunity” for meaningful public vetting.  There has never been a single hearing on Common Core.  There has never been a public vote. The one forum held by USOE at Granite School District last spring was dominated by the pro-Common Core side with a forty-five minute intro, after which some individuals from both sides, pro and con, were given time to say a few sentences each.

    A pitiful minority of teachers and parents even know what the term fully means.  Even teachers do not know that we aren’t free to change these standards; we have given up our authority over educational standards decision making and testing as we’ve agreed to nationalize our local system.

    This was not fair public vetting.  Common Core’s implementation and purpose is education without representation– both in the disregard you and other Common Core advocates show for parental involvement and consent, and also in the fact that Common Core standards are copyrighted and can therefore never be challenged by parents or by anyone at all.  We can’t even remove the personnel and administrators of Common Core by a vote. How un-American is that?!

    A recent poll done by Achieve, Inc. (ironically) showed that overwhelmingly, a majority of Americans have no idea what Common Core means.  I didn’t know what the term meant until this April.  The USOE has not been transparent, open, or had meaningful public forums to expose and discuss all the relevant points –on control of local education, on research, on Constitutional legality, on taxpayer cost, nor on the standards’ content.

    You are openly advocating for the removal of consent. No amount of eduspeak makes up for that.

    Christel Swasey

Does Defending the Constitution Require Rejecting Common Core?   3 comments

    What Thomas Jefferson wrote matters:  government gets its power “from the consent of the governed.”

Without the consent of the people who are being told what to do, there is not a good or free government, but a system of subtle (or not-so-subtle) oppression.

Common Core is a system of oppression, by this definition.  How? Because parents, teachers, and state legislators have never given consent or been asked to vote on Common Core; in fact, the standards were set in concrete without any amendment process available, under copyright by the National Governors’ Association (a trade group that does not include all governors).  http://www.corestandards.org/public-license  Yet, we all are being made to take on Common Core, whether we know what it is, whether we like it, whether it makes legal, educational, financial sense to us –or not.

Common Core is not Constitutional.

It violates the major provisions of the Constitution, including:  the principle of representation; separation of powers with checks and balances; limited powers of the government, and sovereignty of the people (not of elites)– each of these principles is trampled by Common Core and its sister, the new FERPA student privacy law alterations.

True, adopting Common Core was voluntary for Governors and state school boards, initially, and true, it was not initiated by the Dept. of Education –but states’ adoption was strongly incentivized, financially and with the offer of NCLB waivers, by the Dept. of Education.  And it is controlled by the Department of Education, which also controls the testing consortia.

Ezra Taft Benson explained how unconstitutional agencies operate. This explanation applies precisely to the unconstitutional program of Common Core –of federalized education and tests.  He said:

“What many fail to realize is that most of these federal agencies are unconstitutional. Why are they unconstitutional? They are unconstitutional because they concentrate the functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches under one head. They have, in other words, power to make rulings, enforce rulings, and adjudicate penalties when rulings are violated. They are unconstitutional because they represent an assumption of power not delegated to the executive branch by the people. They are also unconstitutional because the people have no power to recall administrative agency personnel by their vote.”

When America created a Department of Education, it also created a law to make sure the agency didn’t overstep the reasons it was created.  This is called G.E.P.A. law, the General Educational Provisions Act.  G.E.P.A. says this:

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.”

But the Common Core Initiative ignores  this.  The Department of Education coerces (“directs, supervises and controls”) the “choice” of states’ adoption of the standards; it controls the two consortia’s testing systems micro-management style;  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf and it finances Common Core above any other educational initiative states might want to create (for example, via high-stakes grants such as Race to the Top, Race to the Top for Assessments and via the NCLB waiver/ESEA Flexibility request, etc.)

   J. Reuben Clark wrote this about the Constitution’s protective gift to us:

“It gave us, for perhaps the first time in all history, a republic with the three basic divisions of government– the Legislative, Executive, and Jucidial– mutually and completely independent, the one from the other, under which it is not possible for any branch of government legally to set up a system by which that branch can first conceive what it wants to do, then make a law ordering its doing and then, itself, judge its own enforcement of its own law, a system that has always brougth extortion, oppression, intimidation, tyranny, despotism– a system that every dictator has employed and must employ.” (Improvement Era, July 1940, p. 443; qtd in The Constitution, a Heavenly Banner, by Ezra T. Benson)

Thus, the Executive Branch (The Department of Education) has illegally set up Common Core, according to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.  Also, the Department of Education illegally broke G.E.P.A. law.  Not only that, the Department of Education went behind Congress’ back to change FERPA privacy regulations six months ago, to enable Common Core tests to be accessed without parental consent, creating the very system described as illegal in the quote by J. Reuben Clark above.

BYU Professor David Wiley: Parents Don’t Need to Know   3 comments

  Professor David Wiley is to be applauded for engaging in actual debate on the Common Core/FERPA issue with people like me.  I appreciate it.  He is rare for being willing to discuss these things without resorting to dismissive name calling as others have done.  Here is what he posted today, along with what Kristen Chevrier and I had to say back, below:

July 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

Christel,

Thanks for this ongoing conversation. I apologize for the choppy nature of my response, but I’m trying to reply point by point to your last post without copying your entire post into the body of mine.

You need PII to conduct the district / university study because you can’t learn anything meaningful by asking, “60% of the people in our district passed algebra – what percentage of our students tested into remedial math at the university?” and getting the answer “49%.” Are all 40% of people who didn’t pass algebra included in that 49%? Clearly some people who passed algebra still tested into remedial math. But what percentage? How well *are* we preparing our kids for college math? To get a meaningful answer you have to ask this question for each individual – did this person pass algebra in the district? Did they then test into developmental math at the university? And you need PII to connect the grade in the high school to the placement exam at the university level. I would guess somewhere between 1 and 3 researchers would see PII as this question was answered.

The exceptions to FERPA are important, but not because they make researchers’ jobs easier. The exceptions are important because some critical forms of large scale research are literally impossible without them. Everyone parent says that they want the teachers and staff in their schools to use research-based practices proven to be effective, but no one seems to want their child’s data to be collected or analyzed so that we can understand what is effective. I will nickname this issue the “freerider problem.” While it is possible to ask some meaningful questions without disclosing PII – and many of these questions have been asked and are well studied – the freerider problem prevents us from answering the important questions that require PII.

The idea that a random person on the street could acquire PII for their neighbor’s child with a persuasive verbal argument – and all due to the exceptions in FERPA – is hyperbole. Please reread the mandatory elements of the written agreements required to govern the un-consented disclosure of PII (in the documents you linked to previously) if you really thought this was possible. But I don’t suspect you did. Hyperbole of this kind does not productively advance the conversation.

For every quote from a prophet or general authority that purportedly proves one non-religious point, you can easily identify another quote that supports the opposing non-religious point. I don’t know that this type of dialogue is particularly productive. You offer Ezra Taft Benson’s quote, “An important test I use in passing judgment upon an act of government is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so?” (I find ellipses often hide important detail, so I’ve listed the complete quote.)

I will offer you Thomas S. Monson’s statement “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of performance accelerates” as a counter to your Ezra Taft Benson quote. I don’t believe Thomas S. Monson was talking about measuring and reporting the aggregate performance of nameless thousands of people. But I’m sure you’ve already thought of another religious leader’s quote that supposedly counters this quote of Thomas S Monson’s, but this game can be played ad infinitum and is, consequently, uninteresting in the grand argument.

Your brief history lesson re: Orwell and Communism comes tantalizingly close to fulfilling Godwin’s Law.

You say, “Public schools sit as a golden grape of opportunity for the data-hungry feds.” A large collection of educational data will be interesting to anyone who cares about using rigorous scientific techniques to improve American schools – but it doesn’t mean they can access it without conforming to the law.

How large a role would you hypothesize parents play in the academic success of their children? If you believe they play a large role, then you already know why researchers would be interested in understanding more about students’ parents.

If the new interpretation of FERPA is so clearly unconstitutional, as you or EPIC (it was unclear) suggest it is, I’m sure the Supreme Court will let us know. Based on my current understanding, I don’t believe it is unconstitutional. However, I am always open to being persuaded by data. As my favorite saying goes, “The facts are always friendly.”

While I won’t go so far as to use your “flabbergasted” language, I guess I just don’t understand the paranoia. The idea that someone would proactively fight to *not* know how to improve their local school’s math instruction – in order to insure that their child’s PII aren’t seen by a couple of researchers – confuses me. That is the scale of un-consented disclosure we’re talking about, and that is the scale of benefit we’re talking about.

 Kristen Chevrier says:
  • Mr. Wiley: Could you please explain why it is necessary to connect student names with data? If you are measuring school, district or state performance, you don’t need to identify individual students. Monitoring the progress of individual students should be the job of the local teachers and parents. I don’t think anyone has a problem with data collection that is not connected with names.

    Kristen Chevrier says:
  • Please note, again, that the FERPA laws have been changed to allow the sharing of PII with the federal government. Please do not deflect this question, again, by saying that “the random person on the street” does not have access to the information. The random hacker does have access and neither the state nor the federal government needs or should have access. All the stats you need can be gathered without PII. So, please explain why anyone wants names.

    Also, the fact that a researcher has an interest in someone does not mean that they should have access to that person’s personal information at will. Researchers should be subject to Constitutional restraints.

  • Dear Professor Wiley,

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    I see your line of reasoning similar to Arne Duncan’s, boiling down to this: research is supremely helpful in making improvements to education; therefore, anything that stands in the way of gathering research– such as researchers having to get parental consent before accessing student’s PII, or such as the executive branch technically not being Constitutionally permitted to make regulatory changes to FERPA without Congressional approval– is reduced to optional/unimportant.

    So I ask: Could instructional research possibly be improved  in other, more excellent ways, without resorting to going behind parents’ or Congress’ backs to get access to kids’ data?

    I have no argument with your “needing PII to connect the grade in the high school to the placement exam at the university level” –but researchers should shoulder the inconvenience of getting parental/individual  consent first.  Access by researchers to data, while wonderfully enriching, will never trump families’ and individuals’ authority over personal student data. Not even President Monson  (in the context of his quote that you shared, about measuring performance) would  approve of a policy of going around parents’ backs to measure student performance.

    You identified researchers’  “freerider problem” as not being able to do “critical forms of large scale research” because parents  don’t  “seem to want their child’s data to be collected or analyzed so that we can understand what is effective.”  That is tough; too bad.  If parents are unwilling to have their child’s data collected, we are out of researching luck.  We can not ethically “redistribute the data” any more than we can ethically “redistribute the wealth” against the will of parents and citizens. It amounts to a push for secretiveness that overrides  individual and parental agency and authority.  It may have begun with good intentions as a push for educational improvements via research– but that good is not more good than individual agency, parental authority, transparency and adult student consent.

    We can conduct any large or small scale research in the world, as long as we do so ethically, and that has to include taking the time to do a consent form– inconvenient or not.

    The idea that a random person on the street could acquire PII for their neighbor’s child due to the exceptions in FERPA  is not hyperbole.  While neither you nor I nor any human being has read the entire verbiage of all FERPA documents, I have read the recent exceptions page thoroughly.  It says that anyone who is determined to have “legitimate educational interests,” including a “contractor,” “consultant,” even a school “volunteer” can access this information, being “considered a school official”.  Full text: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1a7070ed933117bedbac3ab9e0c7458f&rgn=div8&view=text&node=34:1.1.1.1.33.4.132.2&idno=34 “99.31 Under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information? (a) An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record of a student without the consent required by §99.30 if the disclosure meets one or more of the following conditions:  (1)(i)(A) The disclosure is to other school officials, including teachers, within the agency or institution whom the agency or institution has determined to have legitimate educational interests.(B) A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions may be considered a school official under this paragraph provided that the outside party— ( 1 ) Performs an institutional service or function for which the agency or institution would otherwise use employees…”

    There it is, in black and white.

    So, I am glad that your favorite saying is, “facts are always friendly.”  I agree.  I would welcome a formal hearing on Common Core and FERPA, so that all facts can be vetted by the good people of Utah and not just by you and I.  Would you agree to help make that happen?

    I hope you are able and willing because of your partnership with the USOE to influence that office to have a hearing. http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Accountability-School-Performance/Utah-ESEA-Flexibility-Request.aspx  See page 25 for your name.

    I doubt the USOE will agree, however, because that office seems to despise transparency.  It published an unreferenced, half-true “fact v. fiction” flier, it won’t answer questions or return emails, it won’t rebut rebuttals of their facts, and it continues to publish statements without verifiability, wherein it just redelivers claims of the Dept. of Education, the SBAC, NGA, NCES, and CCSSO.

    So I thank you again for taking the time to communicate with me.  I have never had such great feedback from anyone on the pro-Common Core side as I’ve had with you.

    Lastly, thanks for bringing up Godwin’s Law (that, given enough time, any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope— inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler and the Nazis.)  There is more than a small spark of truth in Godwin’s Law.  Why? If a discussion is important enough to continue at length, it will inevitably come to the issue that the Nazis vividly illustrated: power to control others at will, versus free agency.

    Though that issue’s been illustrated by WW2, fresh in our collective conscious, it’s been illustrated through time by many power-hungry regimes. In reality, “Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than one percent of the human family”  (President Benson).  The freedoms we enjoy were set up via the Constitution by wise people extremely concerned –maybe you would prefer the word  “paranoid” — about losing freedom and rights in the future, or having their descendants lose hold of that rare bird, freedom.

    Freedoms are not un-alterable.  The choices we make, and that you are making, affect others’ freedoms, especially as a top-level educator who affects political decisions concerning education in this state.

    The USOE continues to aid and abet what Bill Evers of Stanford’s Hoover Institute aptly called the “Department of Education’s Immaculate Deception” –meaning Common Core, and its sister, the congressionally unauthorized FERPA regulatory changes.  These decisions were made without meaningful public vetting and 99% of schoolchildrens’ parents in this state still don’t even know what Common Core is nor what FERPA is about. It is up to people like you to right this wrong.

    I hope you will reconsider with gravity the aligning of Utah’s children and BYU’s Education Department with the philosophies and programs of Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Bill Gates, and the whole elitist group of Anti-American education reform activists.

    Christel Swasey

David Wiley and the Utah State Office of Education Partnership   1 comment

A friend just sent me this link.  It’s sad. 

http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Accountability-School-Performance/Utah-ESEA-Flexibility-Request.aspx

    But it explains a lot.  It explains why Professor David Wiley is so passionately pro-common core, so defensive of the USOE and of the Dept. of Education’s terrible FERPA alterations that empowered the Common Core Initiative, and why he does not want to read past the first link on my rebuttal to the USOE’s statement written last week by Brenda Hales.

So, on page 25 of Utah’s ESEA Flexibility Request (the No Child Left Behind waiver) it talks about Professor D. Wiley.  It says:

“Utah is a leader in developing and utilizing digital resources. For example, the USOE has entered into a partnership with Dr. David Wiley, an associate professor at Brigham Young University and a Senior Fellow for Open Education with Digital Promise, to research, develop and implement technologies that transform reaching and learning. The USOE staff, LEA and Higher Ed experts, and Dr. Wiley are working to develop online digital e-books that will be based on open-source materials. They will be available in a hybrid format for all Utah students. Teachers can use the digital or inexpensive print format (five dollars per book or less) to deliver instructional material to learners. Dr. Wiley is leading a successful pilot of open-sources science textbooks in Utah classrooms. By next fall, e-books based on Utah Core Standards [Common Core National Standards] will be available for secondary language arts and mathematics. The mathematics e-books will facilitate our transition to an integrated high school math model while the language arts e-books will contain heavier emphasis on content literacy and oral argumentative writing. [Notice, no classic literature or narrative writing because it’s slashed under Common Core rules.] Digital resources are a key to designing and using highly relevant and responsive curriculum to Utah’s students. We also have a working relationship with Apple, use ITunes U and work with the Utah Education Network to provide resources aligned with the Standards. All of this can be found on the various content websites and linked to our CCSS website http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/. ”

…I still do not think badly of Professor Wiley.

Nor of Brenda Hales.  Nor of my own local school board.  Why?

I don’t think they get it.  I do not believe they are deliberately, knowingly selling out our kids and our privacy rights.  They lack motivation to study it out and think about all the possible repercussions because their jobs and their egos hinge on their work for Common Core implementation in Utah.

Also, I am pretty sure these people don’t know what the Constitution’s about.  They take for granted that it will be there to protect us, even while they act against its principles, by each step they take for Utah/America, toward more and more socialist/communist styled programs. 

In case you forgot:  The Constitution says that the people are the sovereign; not a consortium, and not a federal Department of anything.  It says that separation of powers, that checks & balances idea, is the safeguard of rights; allowing the feds so much power over us is abusing the Constitution. It says the powers granted to the 3 branches are LIMITED, on purpose to never concentrate or centralize power but to keep it spread out in each locality; it outlines the principle of representation, which Common Core laughs at. There is no representation where there is no amendability of standards or of tests.)

And because these people, our Utah education system leaders, have not been valiant in detecting the problems brought by Common Core, such as detecting the subtle, powerful seeping away of control over education, and parental consent, and lost privacy rights; because they have not recognized it, and therefore have not stood up to it, the encroachments of Arne Duncan and his gang at the Department of Education increase. 

Yes, we are in a terrible place, teetering on the verge of not being able to get out.  We have lost many and are losing more and more liberties and rights of education and of privacy.

And David Wiley and the Utah State Office of Education are fine with it.

South Carolina: Governor Nikki Haley’s Letter of Support to Senator Mike Fair on Reversing Common Core   1 comment

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina

Today I’m thinking about the long list of heroes and freedom fighters whose names I didn’t even know five months ago, when I became introduced to the words “Common Core.” Topping the list are Senator Mike Fair of South Carolina, who, together with Governor Nikki Haley, took a valiant stand against Common Core, a move I pray Governor Herbert will follow.

Senator Fair said that by adopting Common Core, his state had “sold our educational birthright without getting the mess of pottage,” and because of this, he wrote a bill to reverse his state’s adoption of the common movement.

S.C. State Senator Mike Fair

S. 604 was Fair’s bill, which would have prevented the Common Core State Standards from being imposed on the state.  The bill was not passed.  It said:

The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio.

Even though Fair and Haley’s efforts to reclaim educational freedom for South Carolina didn’t succeed right away, these efforts serve as an inspiration to those of us in other states who want to reclaim the same freedom.  Nikki Haley wrote an open letter to Senator Fair, supporting his efforts, that explains so much:

Dear Senator Fair

South Carolina’s educational system has at times faced challenges of equity, quality and leadership – challenges that cannot be solved by increasing our dependence on federal dollars and the mandates that come with them.

Just as we should not relinquish control of education to the Federal government, neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states.

Confirming my commitment to finding South Carolina solutions to South Carolina challenges, I am pleased to support your efforts to reverse the 2010 decision to adopt common core standards.

While I understand and agree with looking outside South Carolina for ideas to improve educational outcomes, I firmly believe that our government and our people should retain as much local control over programs as possible.

The solution to many of South Carolina’s educational challenges will be found by sending more of our limited resources to the classroom and offering educational choices to meet the needs of South Carolina’s students. Our children deserve swift action and the passage of a clean resolution that will allow our State to reclaim control of and responsibility for educating South Carolinians.

Thank you for the important work you have done on this issue; please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Alisa Ellis: To Wasatch School Board July 2012   Leave a comment

Mr. Judd,

Thank you for taking the time last month to sit down with us as concerned citizens and listen to our concerns.  As I told you last month I would not be expending a lot of energy pushing for public comment about this policy. It’s unfortunate that the board decided to write a “non-policy” when confronted with voices from their constituents.  We are not misinformed nor ignorant.  Many of the parents questioning these decisions are parents of some of your highest performing students.  We value education, we value teachers, we value children, and we value freedom.

It is for these  reasons that we are making your life and the board’s life a little more difficult.  Being challenged is good because it causes one to think.  Is there any merit to what we are saying?  You and the board may not think so but there are voices all over the Country that share my concerns and no they are not all of the same political spectrum.  This comment made me think: (from a Facebook discussion)

 ‎Alisa Olsen Ellis, what I find interesting and at the crux of your question is that right wing conservatives think socialism is behind CCSS, and left wing liberals think fascism (corporatism) is behind Ed Reform.

Is it a socialist movement? Is it “Common Core” as in “Communism”…which is extreme socialism? Is this part of Obama’s great socialist plan for the US: Obamacare and Obamacore? Will Common Core stifle innovation and the drive to succeed?

Or is this a Fascist movement? Is dismantling teacher unions and eliminating seniority the means to allow a nationalistic, authoritarian government? Is CCSS and the illusion of choice and vouchers an outward sign of intolerance. Do we keep hearing about rigor and skills as part of the need to discipline our nation’s children?

Which leads to me wonder, does it matter? The end result of either is slavery to an undemocratic system.

 

Please take the time to listen to concerned parents.  We aren’t asking for much, really.  Everyone from the district keeps telling us that they “would NEVER give out our children’s personally identifiable information”.  All we’re asking is that Wasatch School District has a policy in place that reflects the above sentiments.

Wasatch School District will never give out personally identifiable information without the prior consent of the parents.

This pretty much covers everything.  The medical form can have a check box on it where the parent gives permission for that information to be released in cases of emergency.  Maybe this is too simplistic but you guys tried it so I thought why not, I should too.

Please take the time to read my comments from last month — they still apply and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Thank you,

Alisa Ellis

P.S. Parents keep telling me that they are being told that if they don’t like this or that they can always pull their kids out of school and homeschool or put them in a private school, etc.  Is this really how we’re going to treat parents who have questions?  Tell them to go away — regardless of where our children go to school, we are still tax paying citizens who have a voice in what happens in the public school system.

Previous 30-day comment period’s letter to the Wasatch School Board from Alisa:

From: Alisa Ellis <alisa.ellis@gmail.com> Date: Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM Subject: FERPA comment To: vicci.gappmayer@wasatch.edu

To Whom It May Concern –

I want to first thank you for answering our request to put the FERPA policy revisions up for a thirty-day review.  I want to make it clear that the intentions of my heart are far from contentious.  I understand that you may not see it that way.  I’ve avoided e-mail conversations because it is very hard to interpret tone and meaning through an email message.  I would much prefer an open dialect.  In this case that is not possible so I will do my best to put my thoughts down on paper.

A citizen asked me what I’m afraid of.  Do I think a black car will start following my kids?  This was tongue in cheek but an appropriate question.  The answer is NO.  I also believe the local administrators and board have the best of intentions and truly want to protect our children.  What I ask of you today is to make sure that the policies that our district votes to adopt truly reflect the intent of your hearts.

It has been said that the FERPA revision was to protect our children.  I recognize that as a citizen I cannot see the full scope of what was behind these changes but I can read the changes themselves.  (Wasatch FERPA old & new)

The changes put into place in our local policy give more exceptions to the rule.  In 9.2 it gives permission for “organizations conducting studies for specific purposes on behalf of schools.”  I am not opposed to all studies but my children are not guinea pigs.  Why on earth do organizations need my children’s personally identifiable information without my parental consent?  It is my right as a parent to decide what studies I’d like my children to be a part of.

Further at the April 19th meeting the changes to number 3 were not mentioned.  If I may make a suggestion I’d like to suggest that we as a district be more specific in our policy.

Who is an authorized representative?  As defined in the Federal Register the term is somewhat vague.  They state that they are doing this to streamline and protect children’s data but at the same time they are opening up our children’s personally identifiable data to just about anyone, as I see it.  Please clearly define this term.

I spoke with Carol Lear who is the in-house attorney at the State Office of Education.  She told me to just put a note in each of my children’s files stating that I do not allow Personally Identifiable Information to be released.  That is not good enough for many reasons one of which is that in Appendix B of the Federal Register it lays out “certain rights” as a parent “with respect to the student’s education records.”  In number 3 it then says “The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent”.  As you can see I have no power as a parent.  The policy overrides that authority.

You may be thinking that we won’t let anything happen that is not in the best interest of our children here in Wasatch County.  What I’m saying is that if the policy doesn’t clearly state your intentions you too may have no power just as my parental authority has been stripped.  We need to stand together to protect our children as parents, citizens, and educational representatives.

Thank you,

Alisa Ellis

Heber City Resident

Further items to Consider:

Race to the Top for the District

This was just announced in May and the Executive Summary is out for review.

Page 13

Program Requirements

5.  Work with the Department to develop a FERPA-compliant strategy to make all

implementation and student-level data (FERPA compliant) available to the Department or

its designated monitors, technical assistance providers, or research partners.

As I see this it is now circumventing the State office of Education and our district, if we apply, would be beholden to the Federal Department of Education be required to send them whatever information they ask for.

Recovery Plans from 2010 – i.e. Stimulus Bill

STATEWIDE DATA SYSTEMS RECOVERY PLAN

1. Program Purpose:

The purpose of assistance under this program is to enable State educational agencies to design, develop, and implement

statewide, longitudinal data systems to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, disaggregate, and use individual student

data. In addition, the program may support awards to organizations to improve data coordination.

Book Recommendations and Links to Full Texts Free Online: “The Book of Mormon and the Constitution,” “None Dare Call It Conspiracy,” and “The Deliberate Dumbing Down”   Leave a comment

Over the past three months, I’ve learned so much about education reforms in America and what they are doing to our freedoms.  It is not pretty.  It makes me very sad.  But I would not want to go back to my ignorance about Common Core.  Now I’m reading more and more about freedom and the Constitution on issues connected to education reforms either directly or indirectly.

I’m going to give three links to free online books that I am reading right now, in case anyone out there wants to join me on the learning curve. I think of this as a self-directed, no credit class called on “How to Save American Freedom of Education Via the United States Constitution and Faith in God 101”.

First, THE BOOK OF MORMON    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne?lang=eng 

and the HOLY BIBLE: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bible?lang=eng.

Both of these books have lots to say about history, about liberty, about the end of the world, the control efforts of wicked forces upon good forces, and the battles for freedom.

Second, THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE CONSTITUTION – by H. Verlan Andersen

http://www.inspiredconstitution.org/bofmc/index.html                               

H. Verlan Andersen, a general authority and a close friend of President Ezra Taft Benson, is the author of “The Book of Mormon and the Constitution,” which I just started reading last week and am in love with.  It explains so clearly what is going on in America today (including in education reforms) from the angle of faith in Christ and His prophets.

I never knew it was available online for free until today.  Happy reading!

Third book:  NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY  by Gary Allen

   Another book that I want to read, and haven’t yet, is “None Dare Call it Conspiracy,” by Gary Allen.  This book was recommended by my father, by many other smart and patriotic people I’ve known.

President Ezra Taft Benson, a prophet, recommended this book. (See clip below)

Click for the book:   http://www.whale.to/b/allen_b1.html –and it is online, free.

Click for the recommendation by President Ezra Taft Benson:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJNMcD2IY_k   This is a YouTube video of Ezra Taft Benson speaking in a 1972 conference and recommending this book.  In the same talk, President Benson says that there is no Book of Mormon Conspiracy Theory.  It is a Book of Mormon Conspiracy Fact.

Nations were extinguished, the Book of Mormon history shows, because of secret combinations that the good people upheld because they were deceived by them, and/or they profited from them.

Fourth book:   THE DELIBERATE DUMBING DOWN by Charlotte Iserbyt

Even though I have only scanned the first few pages of this book and seen half of the hour-long YouTube interview, I want to share the links to her interview and to the book.  I sense its importance.  I have seen Charlotte Iserbyt interviewed about her life story –incredible story you can see on YouTube (an hour long).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezTIYd5UFRY&noredirect=1

   So, this a must-read for me, for sure. Charlotte Iserbyt was a whistle blower who realized there really is an agenda of power and money that damages and controls public education, that overrides what’s best for children and American freedom in treacherous ways.  http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/MomsPDFs/DDDoA.sml.pdf  (Link to her free book PDF online.)

Iserbyt served as the head of policy at the Department of Education during the first administration of Ronald Reagan. While working there, she discovered a long term strategic plan by the tax exempt foundations to transform America from a nation of rugged individualists and problem solvers to a country of servile, brainwashed simpletons, easy to control, who regurgitate whatever they’re told.

Sound like Common Core?  Of course.

If the Founding Fathers Came to Heber City   Leave a comment

There is wisdom in acknowledging the inspiration of our Founding Fathers and in supporting political candidates who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.

Likewise, we should support school boards who show by their actions that they are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.

I do not think our Founding Fathers would stand up for the side that is fighting to give away FERPA parental consent law and states’ constitutional rights.  They would not favor stripping FERPA law and would not approve of the  Common Core Initiative, which promotes many things, including federal government access to children’s data without parental consent.

But the “feds-trump-all” side is the side our local school board appears to be standing with, whether they realize it or not.  We must kindly but firmly hold our school board accountable for overturning parental rights last Thursday night.  We must hold our governor and state school board accountable for overturning Utah’s sovereignty over education to the Common Core Initiative and its testing system and tight federal controls. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

A great American civic and governmental leader who also served as a prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ezra Taft Benson, wrote, “Civic Standards For The Faithful Saints.”  http://www.lds.org/ensign/1972/07/civic-standards-for-the-faithful-saints?lang=eng

He said:

“… Our wise founders seemed to understand, better than most of us, our own scripture, which states that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority … they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39.)

“To help prevent this, the founders knew that our elected leaders should be bound by certain fixed principles. Said Thomas Jefferson: ‘In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.’

“These wise founders, our patriotic partners, seemed to appreciate more than most of us the blessings of the boundaries that the Lord set within the Constitution… In God the founders trusted, and in his Constitution…

“President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., put it well when he said:

“God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they may be. Under His plan our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens or denizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God himself set up. So runs the oath of office of those who participate in government. A certain loyalty we do owe to the office which a man holds, but even here we owe just by reason of our citizenship, no loyalty to the man himself. In other countries it is to the individual that allegiance runs. This principle of allegiance to the Constitution is basic to our freedom. It is one of the great principles that distinguishes this ‘land of liberty’ from other countries.” (Improvement Era, July 1940, p. 444.)

“’Patriotism,’ said Theodore Roosevelt, ‘means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. …

“’Every man,’ said President Roosevelt, ‘who parrots the cry of ‘stand by the President’ without adding the proviso ‘so far as he serves the Republic’ takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the King could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude.’ (Theodore Roosevelt, Works, vol. 21, pp. 316, 321.)

“And the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “… let the people of the whole Union, like the inflexible Romans, whenever they find a promise made by a candidate that is not practiced as an officer, hurl the miserable sycophant from his exaltation. …” (DHC, vol. 6, p. 207.)

“…’I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth,’ said the Prophet Joseph Smith. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.)

“The warning of President Joseph Fielding Smith is most timely: ‘Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don’t save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government.’ (Conference Report, April 1950, p. 159.)

Another guideline given by the First Presidency was ‘to support good and conscientious candidates, of either party, who are aware of the great dangers’ facing the free world. (Deseret News, November 2, 1964.)

Fortunately we have materials to help us face these threatening dangers in the writings of President David O. McKay and other church leaders…But the greatest handbook for freedom in this fight against evil is the Book of Mormon.

This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. “And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking,” says Moroni, “and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.” (Ether 8:21.)

“Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon —it is a conspiracy fact.

“Then Moroni speaks to us in this day and says, “Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you” (Ether 8:14.)

The Book of Mormon further warns that “whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold they shall be destroyed. …” (Ether 8:22.)

“… By court edict godless conspirators can run for government office, teach in our schools, hold office in labor unions, work in our defense plants, serve in our merchant marines, etc. As a nation, we are helping to underwrite many evil revolutionaries in our country.

“Now we are assured that the Church will remain on the earth until the Lord comes again—but at what price? The Saints in the early days were assured that Zion would be established in Jackson County, but look at what their unfaithfulness cost them in bloodshed and delay.

“President Clark warned us that ‘we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the Church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known. …’ (CR, April 1944, p. 116.) And he stated that if the conspiracy “comes here it will probably come in its full vigor and there will be a lot of vacant places among those who guide and direct, not only this government, but also this Church of ours.” (CR, April 1952.)

“Now the third great civic standard for the Saints is the inspired word of the prophets—particularly the living president, God’s mouthpiece on the earth today. Keep your eye on the captain and judge the words of all lesser authority by his inspired counsel.

“The story is told how Brigham Young, driving through a community, saw a man building a house and simply told him to double the thickness of his walls. Accepting President Young as a prophet, the man changed his plans and doubled the walls. Shortly afterward a flood came through that town, resulting in much destruction, but this man’s walls stood. While putting the roof on his house, he was heard singing, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet!”

“Joseph Smith taught “that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.” (DHC, vol. 5, p. 265.)

Suppose a leader of the Church were to tell you that you were supporting the wrong side of a particular issue. Some might immediately resist this leader and his counsel or ignore it, but I would suggest that you first apply the fourth great civic standard for the faithful Saints. That standard is to live for, to get, and then to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Said Brigham Young: “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. … Let every man and woman know, by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.” (JD, vol. 9, p. 150.)

“A number of years ago, because of a statement that appeared to represent the policy of the Church, a faithful member feared he was supporting the wrong candidate for public office. Humbly he took the matter up with the Lord. Through the Spirit of the Lord he gained the conviction of the course he should follow, and he dropped his support of this particular candidate.

“This good brother, by fervent prayer, got the answer that in time proved to be the right course.

“We need the constant guidance of that Spirit. We live in an age of deceit. “O my people,” said Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, “they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.” (2 Ne. 13:12.) Even within the Church we have been warned that “the ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep’s clothing…” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR, April 1949, p. 163.)

“The Lord holds us accountable if we are not wise and are deceived. “For they that are wise,” he said, “and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45:57.)

“And so four great civic standards for the faithful Saints are, first, the Constitution ordained by God through wise men; second, the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon; third, the inspired counsel of the prophets, especially the living president, and fourth, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

“God bless us all that we may use these standards and by so doing bless ourselves, our families, our community, our nation, and the world, I humbly pray, as I bear my witness to the truth of this great latter-day work, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Amen, President Benson.

%d bloggers like this: