Archive for the ‘education’ Tag

Federal HR5 Down: Ten Things to Watch for in New ESEA Reauthorization Bill and SETRA   1 comment

american mom

 

Last week bipartisan grassroots Americans saw a miracle.

That wolf in sheep’s clothing, the (supposed) shoo-in bill called federal HR5 or The Student Success Act, which was to reauthorize No Child Left Behind/ESEA, was thrown aside  by Congress instead of becoming law.  Thanks to a bipartisan effort by grassroots citizens and vigilant Congressmen who studied the language inside the bill’s 600+ pages –not just buying Speaker Boehner’s gilded talking points— the dangers of HR5 surfaced into Congressional consciousness.

A whirlwind of amendment-writing began on both sides of the aisle.  By the time Congress gave up on trying to pass HR5 last week, there were so many amendments from both Democratic and Republican members of Congress that everybody seemed to dislike the bill and Obama was threatening to veto.

That was a very unexpected turn of events.  –But proper!  Emmett McGroarty of American Principles in Action summarized the problems of NCLB and HR5: “HR5 demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the Constitution and our constitutional structure. Although it relieves the states from some NCLB burdens, it then adds others and overall sets the stage for an expanded federal footprint in our lives.

Additionally, a powerful open letter from a bipartisan group of over 2,000 educational researchers (See letter here) last month informed Congress that  “testing should not be driving reform.

The 2000 educational researchers who signed  last month’s letter saw as harmful the federal aim “to use students’ test scores as a lever to drive educational improvement.” They explained: “This use of testing is ill-advised because… it has demonstrably failed to achieve its intended goal and has potent negative, unintended consequences.”  Under No Child Left Behind/ESEA, they said, the federal government had trusted “an unproven but ambitious belief that if we test children and hold educators responsible for improving test scores we would have almost everyone scoring as “proficient” by 2014.”  The researchers said: “there is no evidence that any test score increases represent the broader learning increases…  While testing advocates proclaim that testing drives student learning, they resist evidence-based explanations for why, after two decades of test-driven accountability, these reforms have yielded such unimpressive results.”

For many, the bottom line problem with both ESEA and HR5 was the ongoing, evidence-less promotion of student high-stakes testing as the solution for education problems.  For others, the bottom line problem (in HR5) was language implying conditionality of parental rights, possible waiving of states’ rights, and federal/state intrusion into private schools, particularly into private schools’ free exercise of religious freedom.  

With so many heavy, bipartisan issues rolled into ESEA, we can expect that the upcoming bipartisan version of the bill will be plagued with the same struggles we saw in last week’s HR5.  These must be identified and fought:

 

 

#1 Clarity problems: deliberately lengthy language that scatters definitions across hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages and convoluted language that confuses most readers;

#2 A continued push for testing and data mining that pushes away from local (school or district) accountability toward centralized power; multi-state alignment (de facto national) high stakes testing and data collection that enriches corporations partnered with or funded by Bill Gates/Microsoft and Pearson.

#3  A push for centralization of power –with the elites comprised of corporate and governmental partnerships to exclude voters, teachers, parents and duly elected representatives;

#4 No privacy protections beyond the lame and wilted FERPA for our children; instead, increased data collecting powers to corporate-governmental partnerships;

#5  A continued push for more unelected boards to have increased control of greater numbers of schools via charter school expansions;

#6 A continued push for federal-corporate intrusion into private schools;

#7 A continued bartering for parental and states’ rights in trade for federal money;

#8 An assumption of federal-corporate “research” authority –devoid of parental consent and devoid of evidence-based, peer-reviewed validity;

#9  Expansion of centralized authority over specified groups, such as “migratory students” or “Alaskan Natives”; in sum:

#10 A continued disregard for Constitutional rights.

 

Please watch not only the ESEA/NCLB reauthorization, but also the S.227 SETRA bill.  They go hand in hand.

Federal SETRA  hurts student data privacy, allows emotional testing in increased student data mining, and reassigns grant-making (funding) control to REL regions, not states.  Read SETRA bill text here.

It appeared to me that HR5 got away with its marketing (saying it was restoring local control) because it transmitted federally-desired, test-driven reforms and other expansions to state authority and to state enforcement, perhaps to appease local control activists.  But this was just passing the abuse baton.  I imagine the corporate-regional power grabbers singing the “Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo” song:  “You don’t get the steering wheel.  Constitution Constasmooshen. Who’s got your taxes?”

(Important note: in the coming SETRA bill, fund-approving power is siphoned past the states to REL regional authorities, making Constitutional state-rights less and less relevant.)

These power-reassignments are not appealing to those who want true local control.

Pray that our Congressmen find time, energy and wisdom to see through it all and that they will have the courage to protect children’s rights, teacher’s rights, voters’ rights, and parent’s rights.

 

american mom field

 

 

 

“Student Success Act” to Crush Religious Freedom, Private School Autonomy, Parental Rights: #NO on HR5   107 comments

 

 

ssa

 

This one is such a betrayal.

I’ve never been so shocked and angry over a proposed Congressional bill that I burst into tears.  Not until tonight.

I’d been quietly reading and taking notes on H.R. 5, “Student Success Act” (SSA) when my husband simply, offhandedly asked me how I was doing.   Though I’d been quiet, I was boiling over as I read tucked-away portions of this 600+ page bill which,  despite the local-control-touting, anti-Common Core-sounding words (on page 10 and elsewhere), is terrible. When my husband asked how I was doing, I stood up, walked to the couch and explained through my hot, angry tears what destruction and reduction of vital freedoms will take place if this bill passes:

It ends private schools’ religious freedom from government control.  It harms funding freedom in private schools.  It puts into question parental rights and control over education.  It pushes sameness of testing.  Those are just a few things.  There are more.

We have conscious deceivers in D.C. pushing this bill:  its damages are so painfully ironic.  The bill is touted specifically to “reduce the federal footprint and restore local control while empowering parents“. What a poignant lie.

If H.R. 5 passes this week, in exchange for billions in federal funding, we will be crushed in the following ways.  The federal Department of Education aims to take over:

1.  STATE AUTHORITIES AND RIGHTS 

2.  PARENTAL RIGHTS TO DIRECT EDUCATION OF A CHILD

3.  RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – NO MORE RELIGIOUS COUNSELING, MENTORING OR TECHNOLOGIES ALLOWED IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS

4.  PRIVATE SCHOOL AUTONOMY: GOVERNMENT-APPOINTED OMBUDSMEN WILL MONITOR COMPLIANCE  

5.  PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING – PRIVATE SCHOOLS MUST CONSULT WITH PUBLIC DISTRICTS WHICH ENFORCE EQUALITY

 

H.R. 5  the “Student Success Act” won’t be enforced for five years– plenty of time for its promoters to plan implementation, and for the opposition to burn out, give up, to feel there’s no way to rein it in.

The bill is 600-plus-pages long but was just barely introduced this month; and it’s being fast-tracked for a vote this week.  Those whose lives will be changed by it have likely never heard of it and elected reps haven’t had time to debate intended and unintended consequences.

Would our representatives vote to pass this bill if they knew that it included such hidden away, serious damages to Americans’ freedoms?

I want to thank Ann Marie Banfield of Stop Common Core in New Hampshire, who  sent me her summary and pointed to specific paragraphs and pages in this huge bill, to focus attention on where vital freedoms are being slashed.   I have included her notes following mine.  I  invite you to verify for yourself.

 

 If you read no further, here’s the bottom line:  

H.R. 5  is not a viable alternative to the terrible “Every Child Ready for College and Career” bill

Please call reps and senators: 

Vote NO on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act.  

 

Here are highlights with pages, sections and direct quotes:

1.  FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF STATE AUTHORITIES AND RIGHTS

Subpart 4, Section 6561 (page 564 on the pdf) says:

STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE” –How will a state “expressly waive” its authorities and rights?  –Answer from the bill: simply by having a state legislature accept federal money.

A state that acts “inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance” will waive its authority because the legislature of that state would have “expressly approved that [federal] program”.  If a state’s or a parent’s rights conflicted with a requirement, too bad: the federal bill claims authority to enforce obedience from states because the states take the money.

Read: “…nor shall any authority of a State have any obligation to obey… unless the legislature…. approved that program and in so doing, have waived the state’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary...”  So states have no obligation to obey unless they approved federally promoted programs (which the states have done in multiple ways).

As Ann Marie Banfield wrote: “What is going on here? The Secretary of Education can’t enforce any requirements under the program that would violate states’ rights UNLESS the state legislature gives its consent to participate in the ESEA, which encompasses around $25 Billion in aid to states.  Essentially, participating in the program to receive funds requires states to waive their states’ rights and those of the parent over their child if they conflict with ANY requirements of the program.”

2.  FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

On page 567, Section 6564, we read that “…Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart,  control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.”

By tying inalienable parental rights to the receipt of funds and federal “obligations,” the bill just claimed authority to take parental rights away, under conditions it has just defined.

Even in the statement of purpose on page 11, the bill minimizes parents and maximizes itself, by “affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”.

To reduce parents to a recipient of government-granted “opportunities to participate in” the education of a child is de-parenting.  It’s far, far different from Utah’s  legal code, which states in multiple places that: “A student’s parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or guardian.”

3.  GOVERNMENT CONTROL IN PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS  –  NEUTRALIZATION OF RELIGION 

Read pages 78-82.  It mandates that private schools:  “ensure that teachers and families of the children participate, on an equitable basis, in services and activities…  SECULAR, NEUTRAL, NONIDEOLOGICAL.—  Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and nonideological.

What’s a private Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Baptist, or any other private religious school to do?  –Alter its beliefs to match mandates for altered materials, equipment and services?

This is the price we pay for “school choice”  and “backpack funding,” folks.  It’s not what they make it out to be.  Where federal money goes, federal chokeholds follow.

The federal government has no right to mandate that private schools must give services  that are secular and non-religious.  (See page 79: it includes in its definition of services: one on one counseling, mentoring, educational television, computer technology and more).

 

4.  GOVERNMENT APPOINTED MONITORS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS

An ombudsman, if you haven’t heard the term, is a paid position, a role in which a person investigates and mediates official complaints for a living.  This bill mandates that private schools will be assigned a state-appointed ombudsman to monitor private schools:  “The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.”

On page 82 the bill states that the LEA (school district) must consult with private school officials and must transmit results of their “agreement” to a state-appointed ombudsman.  On page 86 the federal bill allows a private school to complain to the government:  “private school official shall have the right to file a complaint with the State educational agency that the local educational agency did not engage in consultation that was meaningful and timely”.  These are private schools.  They  never, ever have had any legal mandate to report to, complain to, speak to, or even think about state or federal governments.  These are private schools; private means not public, not under government mandates.

 

5.  FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING AND BENEFITS

On page 535, the bill slashes freedom by mandating equity for private and public schools.  “Benefits provided under this section for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children, teachers, and other educational personnel”.  The government has no right to command a private school to give more benefits, nor to withhold benefits, from private school teachers, staff or children.  The same page states: “Expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other service personnel shall be equal to the expenditures for participating public school children.”  The ombudsman’s job, according to page 80, is to “monitor and enforce” such “equity for private school children”.

 

 

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ann marie banfield

 

Additional Information, provided below, comes from Ann Marie Banfield of Stop Common Core in New Hampshire:

 

Kline/ Rokita Student Success Act

 

Funding:

Title 1 Part A- 16,245,163,000

Title 1 Part B- $710,000

Title 11 $2,766,356,000

Title 111 Part A (1)- $300,000,000

Title 111 Part A (2)- $91,647,000

Title 111 Part A (3) $25,000,000

Title 111 Part B $2,302,287,000

Title 4 (1) $66,813,000

Title 4 (2) Basic Payments for Impacted LEAs- $1,151,233,000

Title 4(3) Payments for children with disabilities- $48,316,000

Title4 (4) Construction $17,406,000

Title 4 (5) Facilities Maintenance $4,835,000

 

Sec. 7 Sense of the Congress:

(a)(1) This paragraphs details how the ESEA prohibits the fed. Government from “mandating, directing, or controlling a State, a local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of state and local resources, and from mandating a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under such Act.”

Problem: Language doesn’t include standards

(b) Sense of the Congress: It is the sense of the Congress that States and local educational agencies should maintain the rights and responsibilities of determining educational curriculum, programs of instruction, and assessments for elementary and secondary education.”

Problem: Language doesn’t include standards.

Sec. 1001. Statement of Purpose

“The purpose of this title is to provide all children the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce. -“

Problem:  To fulfill the purpose of this Act, or submit a plan that meets the intended purpose of this Act, a state technically would have to align their standards and assessments to the Common Core. In the state applications for Race to the Top and in NCLB waivers, state post-secondary institutions made assurances that the Common Core standards and assessments would be used to place students into entry-level courses without remediation, thus prepared for college or careers.

  • Many states have already completed the alignment of postsecondary institutions to the Common Core. For example, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington are all participating states in a grant (Rockefeller) called Core to College, which states its goal as: “Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success, aimed to foster long-term collaborations between state higher education and K-12 entities that will improve student achievement and college readiness and ultimately, increased rates of enrollment and graduation. One key to this success was using the Common Core State Standards and assessments to establish a statewide common definition of college readiness to signal a student’s preparedness for credit-bearing college courses. Having such a baseline informed processes to transition students successfully between high school and higher education environments.”

 

Core to College is only one of many similar programs establishing alignment of postsecondary institutions to Common Core, and they have been well underway since 2011. If the expectations for postsecondary institutions are the Common Core, how would a state prepare students for it without aligning their entire system to it?

 

  • There are general educational expectations of knowledge and skills that high schools provide to students who choose to join the workforce after high school, such as basic math, reading skills, etc., but “to provide all children the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for ….the workforce” could mean something more than this and could vary dramatically between states.

As used in the Statement of Purpose above, does “prepared” mean a student acquiring an industry certification, a license for a trade, or industry specific training and classes? If so, that would prescribe a great deal to the state regarding the organization, funding, and structure of their entire education system beyond the programs served under this Act.

  • While the Act authorizes the Secretary to “disapprove a State plan for not meeting the requirements of this subpart’” he does “not have the authority to require a State, as a condition of approval of the State plan, to include in, or delete from, such plan one or more specific elements of the State’s academic standards or State accountability system, or to use specific academic assessments or other indicators.” Would the Secretary have to authority to deny a State plan if through the peer review process, which he controls, determines that the state standards, assessments, or accountability system isn’t aligned to college and career established benchmarks and fails to “prepare students for post-secondary education or careers?” He wouldn’t have to condition his approval on including or deleting items concerning standards, assessments or accountability systems, he could simply deny it for failure to meet the purpose of the Act and send them back to the drawing board for the required revisions.

 

 

 

This section is on page 552, towards the very end, but it needs to be addressed first, as it negates so much of the entire Act.

‘Subpart 4—Restoration of State Sovereignty Over Public Education and Parental Rights Over the Education of Their Children

12 ‘‘SEC. 6561. STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE.

‘‘(a) RETENTION OF RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES.— No officer, employee, or other authority of the Secretary shall enforce against an authority of a State, nor shall  any authority of a State have any obligation to obey, any  requirement imposed as a condition of receiving assistance under a grant program established under this Act, nor shall such program operate within a State, unless the legislature of that State shall have by law expressly approved that program and, in doing so, have waived the State’s  rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.

‘‘(b) AMENDMENT OF TERMS OF RECEIPT OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.—An officer, employee, or other authority of the Secretary may release assistance under a grant program established under this Act to a  State only after the legislature of the State has by law  expressly approved the program (as described in subsection (a)). This approval may be accomplished by a vote to affirm a State budget that includes the use of such Federal funds and any such State budget must expressly include any requirement imposed as a condition of receiving assistance under a grant program established under this  Act so that by approving the budget, the State legislature  is expressly approving the grant program and, in doing  so, waiving the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.

Subpart 4, section 6561 What is going on here? It states that the Secretary of Education can’t enforce any requirements under the program that would violate states’ rights unless the state legislature gives its consent to participate in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which encompasses around $25 BILLION dollars in aid to states. Essentially, participating in the program to receive funds requires states to waive their state’s rights and those of the parent over their child if they conflict with ANY requirements of the program.

“[The US Department of Education may not violate states’ rights] unless the legislature of that State shall have by law expressly approved that program and, in doing so, have waived the State’s  rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance. “

The state will not be able to act inconsistently with ANY requirement that the Secretary of Education MAY impose through this program if they want to receive funding. Geez, I thought the NCLB waivers and Race to the Top grants were coercive!

“This approval may be accomplished by a vote to affirm a State budget that includes the use of such Federal funds……….. by approving the budget, the State legislature  is expressly approving the grant program and, in doing  so, waiving the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by  the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.”

This is sneaky. They want states to be able to pass this without any fanfare, sort of like how Common Core was adopted- under the radar.

(e) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This section applies in each  State beginning on the 90th day after the end of the first regular session of the legislature of that State that begins 5 years after the date of the enactment of the Student Success Act and shall continue to apply in subsequent years until otherwise provided by law.

Why is it not effective until 5 years after SSA is enacted? Seems like Obamacare- let the nightmare unravel slowly….

‘‘SEC. 6564. INTENT OF CONGRESS.

‘‘It is the intent of Congress that other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their  children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.

After the bill details how your states’ rights over education will be violated, they include this weak assurance that unless the rights were waived by participation in the program,  “state control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone  of independent authority reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution.

Gosh, thanks, guys. It’s so kind of you to have the “intent” to let me keep any constitutional and inalienable rights over parental control that you didn’t illegally revoke by tying them to the receipt of federal funding. This is laughable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sec1003(a)

Replaces the school improvement section under NCLB, yet still requires school choice transportation services and SES. The new language calls these two services “direct student services.”

 

“Part A- Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantage”

“Subpart 1- Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies”

Chapter B- Allocations

Sec.1111. State Plans:

  • (A) “In General. Each State plan shall demonstrate that the State has adopted academic content standards and academic achievement standards aligned with such content standards that comply with such content standards that comply with the requirements of this paragraph.”

(C) Requirements, The standards described in subparagraph (A) shall:

  1. apply to all public schools and public school students in the State; and
  2. with respect to academic achievement standards, include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.
  • Academic Assessments-

(B) REQUIREMENTS- Such assessments shall-

(ii) be the same academic assessments used to measure the academic achievement of all public school students in the State:

I think this should be amended to allow LEAs to use a comparable test, or nationally norm-referenced test that can be compared for accountability purposes, this allows for greater local control and freedom in testing necessary to prevent a one-size-fits-all curriculum, enforced by a single test as we witnessed with Common Core tests.

(viii) “include measures that assess higher-order thinking skill and understanding”

This language should be struck. It was also included in original NCLB text and has led to the incorporation of testing thinking skills and process of thought, which in younger grades is not developmentally appropriate. Young children’s brains, until age 11 or 12, have yet to fully develop the brain structures (pre-frontal cortex) needed to think abstractly which is required for high-order thinking- their thinking is still too concrete at this stage.

Additionally, assessing “high-order thinking” has been the impetus for mandating state assessments measure students’ thinking and process skills at the expense of measuring knowledge. The higher-order thinking skills are very difficult to accurately measure on a standardized test, and require test items like open-ended responses, constructed performance items, and technology-enhanced items that are expensive to develop and score, and don’t provide valid or reliable measurements of student knowledge. High-order skills are more accurately assessed by teachers in the classroom.

(xiv) where practicable, be developed using the principles of universal design for learning as defined in section 103(24) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 USC 1003(24) which describes an assessment that provides for multiple ways answering questions

What is Universal Design? In education circles in means “Embedding continuous assessment in instructional materials and methods themselves through the kind of technology-rich, UDL-based curriculum recommended by the National Educational Technology Plan would make it possible to assess not only students and their teachers but the curriculum itself. This would allow the collection of voluminous and timely data on the effectiveness of every element in the curriculum: what works, what doesn’t work, and what works for whom. The result: comprehensive accountability systems and instructional reforms that could support robust learning opportunities for all.”

This language should be struck. It is too prescriptive to states and prevents them from having full control over the type of assessments they develop.

(e)  PEER REVIEW AND SECRETARIAL APPROVAL

(1) ESTABLISHMENT- Notwithstanding section 6543, the Secretary shall-

(A) establish a peer-review process to assist in the review of State plans; and

If the Secretary shall establish the process the peer-reviewers use it allows him to set the criteria for how a State plan must meet the requirements of this section. This is an overreach of federal authority and negates all the language which prohibits the Secretary from mandating the states to use particular standards, assessments, and accountability systems. This is how the criteria will be set to evaluate whether State plans are approved or not approved.

(D) have the authority to disapprove a State plan for not meeting the requirements of this subpart, but shall not have the authority to require a State, as a condition of approval of the State plan, to include in, or delete from, such plan one or more specific elements of the State’s academic standards or State accountability system, or to use specific academic assessments or other indicators.

This sounds great, but as long as the Secretary sets up the process to judge whether the State plan meets the requirements it is weakened.

(g) FAILURE TO MEET REQUIREMENTS.- If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section then the Secretary shall withhold funds for State administration under this subpart until the Secretary determines that the State has fulfilled those requirements.

This make it clear that there is no financial penalty directly incurred by LEAs or individual schools. The financial loss is strictly at SEA level. The State administration funds are noted in SEC 1004. STATE ADMINISTRATION. (a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), to carry out administrative duties assigned under subparts 1,2, and 3 of part A if this title, each State may reserve the greater of

  • 1 percent of the amounts received under such subparts; or
  • $400,000 ($50,000 in the case of each outlying area)

 

Section1112. LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY PLANS.

(b) PLAN PROVISIONS Each local educational agency plan shall describe

(12) if appropriate, how the local educational agency will use funds under this subpart to support preschool programs for children, particularly children participating in Head Start program, which services may be provided directly by the local educational agency or through a subcontract with the local Head Start agency designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 641 of the Hard Start Act, or another comparable early childhood development program;

This section allows funds to be used for preschool programs and preferences Head Start instead of for the disadvantaged students the Act is intended to serve in K-12 public education. There is finite amount of money allotted to schools, to give to preschool programs reduces the amount available for K-12.

(13) how the lea through incentive for voluntary transfers, the provision of professional development, recruitment programs, incentive pay, performance pay, or other effective strategies, will address disparities in the rates of low-income and minority students and other students being taught by ineffective teachers.

Why should the federal government dictate how the lea will manage its personnel?

(14) if appropriate, how the lea will use funds under this subpart to support programs that coordinate and integrate-

(A) career and technical education aligned with State technical standards that promote skills attainment important to in-demand occupations or industries in the State and the State’s acadmic standards under section 1111(b)(1); AND

(B) Work-based learning opportunities that provide students in-depth interaction with industry professionals; AND

(15) if appropriate, how the lea will use funds under this subpart to support dual enrollment programs, early high schools, and AP or IB programs.

While it says “if appropriate” leas should not have to use funds to support anything besides the basic education of students. This clause doesn’t stipulate high school, thus it would include K-8 schools. This dilutes the purpose and intended use of Title 1 funds away from supplementing the education of disadvantaged students.

(c) ASSURANCES Each lea plan shall provide assurances that the local lea will-

(3) provide technical assistance to schoolwide programs

Why not to targeted? Does this create an incentive for targeted schools to implement schoolwide programs?

(5) In the case of a lea that chooses to use funds under this subpart to provide early childhood development services to low-income children below the age of compulsory school attendance, ensure that such services comply with the performance standards established under section 641 (a) of Head Start Act

Again, why would title 1 funds be used for children outside the K-12 system, further, why would they choose to align with the performance standards of Head Start which has a failed record to improve student long term achievement?

(6) inform eligible schools of the lea’s authority to request waivers on the school’s behalf under Title VI and

 

Part B of Title 1 (sec141) NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF TITLE I

 Amendments to section 1301(which use to be section 1501) to do the following:

  • In subsection (a)
  • In paragraph (1) , by inserting “acting through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (in this section and section 1302 referred to as the ‘Director’) after “The Secretary”’
  • In paragraph (A) strike “reaching the proficient level” and all that follows and insert “graduating high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce.”

It would read as follows: A) The implementation of programs assisted under this title and the impact of such implementation on increasing student academic achievement (particularly in schools with high concentrations of children living in poverty), relative to the goal of all students reaching the proficient level of achievement based on State academic assessments, challenging State academic content standards, and challenging State student academic achievement standards under section 1111.graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education of the workforce.

They have been very careful to switch the expectation and the goal of the Act from being proficient on assessments that measure the State standards to attaining the necessary preparation of entering college or the workforce- which is already defined through the waivers and RttT as being the end expectations of CC. Even if the reauthorization voids those agreements, the end result of them remains- public universities are, or have already, aligned their expectations to the CC. Those who wrote this had to have a measurable way to judge if in mind to measure whether or not the new goal would be met by states. What other measure will the IES Director use to see if students are prepared for postsecondary schools or workforce?

  • The types of programs and services that have demonstrated the greatest likelihood of helping students reach the proficient and advanced levels of achievement based on State student academic achievement standards and State academic content standards. meet State academic standards.

 

If the Director of IES is no longer using the measures of proficient, advanced, what will he use to gauge if the standard is met? Will he use the 1,2,3,4 score from CC aligned tests?

(v) used State educational agency and local educational agency funds and resources to help schools in which 50 percent or more of the students are from families with incomes below the poverty line meet the requirement described in section 1119 of having all teachers highly qualified not later than the end of the 2005-2006 school year. address disparities in the percentages of effective teachers teaching in low-income schools.

 

GENERAL CONCERNS ABOUT THE DIRECTOR OF IES AS ARBITRATOR OF WHAT IS EFFECTIVE AND INCREASES STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: What happens to the approval process of State plans that don’t address issues in accordance with the analyses of the Director of IES based on his analyses the data collected from schools and students? It is very likely that the Secretary could say the State plan doesn’t fulfill the requirements of the Act because the methods they choose are ones that the IES data report as “ineffective.” IT will become reversed- the Director of the IES will tell states what the data says regarding effective standards, school improvement efforts, assessments, etc. and the State plan will be formed accordingly, instead of the State presenting a fresh plan and the Secretary evaluating it.

 

(c) NATIONAL LONGITUDINAL STUDY-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary Director shall conduct a longitudinal study of schools receiving assistance under part A. subpart 1 of Part A

(2) ISSUES TO BE EXAMINED- In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary Director shall ensure that the study referred to in paragraph (1) provides Congress and educators with each of the following:

(A) An accurate description and analysis of the short- and long-term effect of the assistance made available under this title on academic achievement.

(B) Information that can be used to improve the effectiveness of the assistance made available under this title in enabling students to meet challenging academic achievement standards. State academic standards.

(C) An analysis of educational practices or model programs that are effective in improving the achievement of disadvantaged children.

(D) An analysis of the costs as compared to the benefits of the assistance made available under this title in improving the achievement of disadvantaged children.

(E) An analysis of the effects of the availability of school choice options under section 1116 on the academic achievement of disadvantaged students, on schools in school improvement, and on schools from which students have transferred under such options. extent to which actions authorized under section 1111(b) (3)(B)(iii) improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students and low-performing schools.

(F) Such other information as the Secretary Director considers appropriate.

(3) SCOPE- In conducting the study referred to in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that the study —

(A) bases its analysis on a nationally representative sample of schools participating in programs under this title;

(B) to the extent practicable, includes in its analysis students who transfer to different schools during the course of the study; and

(C) analyzes varying models or strategies for delivering school services, including —

(i) schoolwide and targeted services; and

(ii) comprehensive school reform models

  • Analyses varying models or strategies for delivering school services, including schoolwide and targeted services.

 

 

SEC. 1503. ASSESSMENT EVALUATION.

(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall conduct an independent study of assessments used for State accountability purposes and for making decisions about the promotion and graduation of students. Such research shall be conducted over a period not to exceed 5 years and shall address the components described in subsection (d).

(b) CONTRACT AUTHORIZED- The Secretary is authorized to award a contract, through a peer review process process consistent with section 1206, to an organization or entity capable of conducting rigorous, independent research. The Assistant Secretary of Educational Research and Improvement Director shall appoint peer reviewers to evaluate the applications for this contract.

(c) STUDY- The study shall —

(1) synthesize and analyze existing research that meets standards of quality and scientific rigor; and

(2) evaluate academic assessment and accountability systems in State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and schools; and

(3) make recommendations to the Department and to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the United States Senate, based on the findings of the study.

(d) COMPONENTS OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM- The study described in subsection (a) shall examine —

(1) the effect of the assessment and accountability systems described in section (c) on students, teachers, parents, families, schools, school districts, and States, including correlations between such systems and —

(A) student academic achievement, progress to the State-defined level of proficiency, toward meeting the State academic standards and progress toward closing achievement gaps, based on independent measures;

(B) changes in course offerings, teaching practices, course content, and instructional material;

(C) changes in turnover rates among teachers, principals, and pupil-services personnel; specialized instructional support services.

(D) changes in dropout, grade-retention, and graduation rates for students; and

(E) such other effects as may be appropriate;

(2) the effect of the academic assessments on students with disabilities;

(3) the effect of the academic assessments on low, middle, and high socioeconomic status students, limited and nonlimited English proficient students, racial and ethnic minority students, and nonracial or nonethnic minority students;

(4) guidelines for assessing the validity, reliability, and consistency of those systems using nationally recognized professional and technical standards;

(5) the relationship between accountability systems and the inclusion or exclusion of students from the assessment system; and

(6) such other factors as the Secretary finds appropriate.

(e) REPORTING- Not later than 3 years after the contract described in subsection (b) is awarded, the organization or entity conducting the study shall submit an interim report to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions of the United States Senate, and to the President and the States, and shall make the report widely available to the public. The organization or entity shall submit a final report to the same recipients as soon as possible after the completion of the study. Additional reports may be periodically prepared and released as necessary.

(f) RESERVATION OF FUNDS- The Secretary may reserve up to 15 percent of the funds authorized to be appropriated for this part appropriated under section 3(a)(2) to carry out the study, except such reservation of funds shall not exceed $1,500,000.

 

Sec 1403 STATE ADMINISTRATION

  • In general, Each state that receives funds under this title shall:
  • Ensure that any State rules, regulations, and policies relating to this title conform to the purposes of this title and provide any such proposed rules, regulations, and policies to the committee of practioners created under subsection (b) for review and comment.
  • Minimize such rules, regs, and policies to which the State’s local educational agencies and school are subject;
  • Eliminate or modify State and local fiscal accounting requirements in ,,,,,,,
  • Identify any such rule as State imposed
  1. Identify any duplicative or contrasting requirements between State and Federal rules or regulations
  2. Eliminate the rules and regulations that are duplicative of Federal requirements
  • Report any conflicting requirements to the Secretary and determine which Fed or State rule or regulation shall be followed.

How is it ensuring the rights of states and local school districts to govern education policy if all rules and regulations required under this act are to be evaluated by a committee that the USDOE picks the types of people who will sit on it, and further that they recommend which state rules will be followed if the conflict with fed rules or regs under this title. This is an attempt to have one set of federal rules and regs that govern all aspects of the state in relation to programs under this Act.

The Act requires the state to appoint the majority of the committee from representative of local education agencies. It must include administrators of other federal programs under the Title, this would include IDEA, Head Start, Health and Human Services, etc; teachers from public charter schools, traditional public, and career and technical educators; parents; members of local school boards; reps form charter school authorizers, public charter school leaders, reps of private school children, and specialized instructional support personnel ( this category includes people who are school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, and other qualified professional personnel involved in providing assessment, diagnosis, counseling, educational, therapeutic, and other necessary services, including related services as that term is defined in section 602 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as part of a comprehensive program to meet  student needs.)

In an emergency situation where such rules or regs must be issued within a very short period of time, the State education agency can issue a regulation without prior consultation, but shall immediately thereafter convene the State committee of practioners to review it before issuance in final form. Great, if the State educ, agency needs to it can act unilaterally, without the consent of the non-elected committee of practioners required to be formed by the Secretary of Education under this title.

 

TITLE II TEACHER PREPARATION AND EFFECTIVENESS

Part A

Section 2113. the state must make available 95% of the funds received under this section as grants to LEAs to do the following:

Section 2122: If state doesn’t have a statewide teacher and school leader evaluation system, the funds must be used to create and implement one. (1)(B) The LEA must show how the “activities to be carried out by the lea under this subpart will be evidence-based, improve student academic achievement, and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.”

Section 2132: The teacher evaluation system may (1)(A)“use student achievement data derived frk a variety of sources as a significant factor in determining a teacher’s evaluation, with the weight given to such data defined by the lea.;(1)(B) use multiple measures(1)(C) have more than 2 categories for rating the performance of teachers(1)(D) be used to make personnel decisions,

Really? State autonomy is restored or enhanced by a grant telling the State how the leas may constitute their evaluation systems? Also, it is worth mentioning that the extensive rulemaking authority of the Secretary allows for him to decide what are “evidence-based,” and what data shows it has “imporved teacher and school leader effectiveness.” This is also related to the new authority granted under this Act to the Director of the Institute for Educational Sciences to access data through a cariety of sources, including state and local reporting, to conduct studies to show which practices are effective and have positive impacts. This will become a loop, where schools must report data, that data will be analyzed and recommendations will be made, through the rulemaking authority, those recommendations will become necessary for approval of state plans, etc.

The funds may also be used to under (6) for professional development for teachers and school leaders that is “evidence based, job embedded, and continuous” such as

(B) aligned to State’s academic standards

(E) professional development based on the current science of learning, which includes research on positive brain change and cognitive skill development

(G) professional development on intergrated, interdisciplinary, and project-based teaching strategies, ..

 

Section 2131 REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The lea must report to the state education agency on an annual basis the following:

(a)(1) how the lea is meeting the purpose of this part described in sect 2101

(2) how the lea is using the funds

(3) if the lea is implementing a teacher evaluation system, the results of of such evaluation system, except if individually identifiable

(4) any such other information as the State educ. Agency may require

This takes complete authority away from local school districts and will require them to report any student or teacher information/data that is required by the state.

Section 2132 NATIONAL ACTIVITIES

“From the funds reserved to the Secretary under section 2111(b)(1)(A) the Secretary shall, directly or through grants and contracts-

  • Provide technical assistance to States and local educational agencies in carrying out these activities under this Act; and
  • Acting through the Director of IES, conduct national evaluations of activities carries out by the state educational agency and local educational agency under this part

RED FLAG: This gives the director of IES authority to request any data from both the State and LEA to “evaluate” the program. Remember that under FERPA, personally identifiable information is allowed to be shared- without consent- for an audit or evaluation – to authorized representatives of Federal, State, and local educational agencies. FERPA 99.31- authorities conducting an audit, evaluation, or enforcement of education programs.

 

 

‘‘PART F—EVALUATIONS

18 ‘‘SEC. 6601. EVALUATIONS.

19 ‘‘(a) RESERVATION OF FUNDS.—Except as provided  in subsections (c) and (d), the Secretary may reserve not  more than 0.5 percent of the amount appropriated to  carry out each categorical program authorized under this Act.

The reserved amounts shall be used by the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences to 1. Conduct an evaluation of the program of the effectiveness of the and long and short term impact to local schools and state, and performance of grant recipients.

 

Title 1 funds can’t be reserved for sec 6601 or other programs under this act where funds have already been reserved for an evaluation

 

 

‘‘Subpart 2—Education of Migratory Children

12 ‘‘SEC. 1131. PROGRAM PURPOSES.

13 ‘‘The purposes of this subpart are as follows:

14 ‘‘(1) To assist States in supporting high-quality

15 and comprehensive educational programs and serv-

16 ices during the school year, and as applicable, during

17 summer or intercession periods, that address the

18 unique educational needs of migratory children

 

Will they propose to offer year-round school for these kids or provide free child care when school is not in session?

 

‘‘(4) To help such children overcome edu-

5 cational disruption, cultural and language barriers,

6 social isolation, various health-related problems, and

7 other factors that inhibit the ability of such children

8 to succeed in school.

9 ‘‘(5) To help such children benefit from State

10 and local systemic reforms.

(4) allows the federal funding to establish “wrap around services for mental and physical medical treatment through the schools, and (5) requires schools to help the children, and I suppose their families, to access public assistance programs offered through the State and localities.

 

 

In Section 1001 the Statement of Purpose is to provide “all” children with the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce. Of course this must be done by 1) meeting the needs of low income children, 2) closing achievement gaps, 3) affording parents meaningful participation, 4) “challenging states to local educational agenices to embrace meaningful, evidence based education reform, while encouraging state and local innovation.”

 

 

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

 

I take issue with the purpose of the title to be for “all” children and that it will be accomplished by, among other things, number 4, -“challenging states to embrace reform policies” that will affect all schools.  This means all students, regardless of benefitting or qualifying for the program, will be stuck with statewide reforms necessary for federal compliance.

 

Private schools are eligible to receive a “direct student service” provided by the LEA to offer choice transportation and tutoring services on an equal basis to children in public schools.

 

Section 1120 PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN ENROLLED IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS

  • GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

(1)(A) an lea shall “provide such service on an equitable basis and individually or in combination, as requested by the officials or representatives to best meet the needs of such children, special education services, instructional services, counseling, mentoring, one-on-one tutoring, or other benefits under this subpart (such as dual enrollment, educational radio and television, computer equipment and materials, other technology, and mobile educational services and equipment) that address their needs and

(B) “To help ensure equity for such private school children, teachers and other educational personnel, the SEA involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements of this subpart.

(5) PROVISION OF SERVICES- The local educational agency or, in a case described in subsection (b)(6)(C), the State educational agency involved, may provide services under this section directly or through contracts with public or private agencies, organiztions, and institutions.

 

Any provision that comes with the assignment of an ombudsman to monitor and enforece compliance of private school’s adherence is problematic.

 

(b) IN GENERAL- “…….the lea shall consult with appropriate private school officials during the design and development of such agency’s programs under this subpart to reach agreement about equitable and effective programs for private school children……the results will be transmitted to the omsbudsman….

 

I’m not sure whether or not there many provisions that stop Title 1 money from following the child into private schools. The range of services is the same and it is to be on an equitable monetary amount. IT is concerning that the provision of these services must be delivered to the children in a manner prescribed by the lea in “consultation with the private school.”

 

The consultation must discuss:

“how children’s needs are identified (will they be assessed and data collected)

What services are offered (Can a private school reject certain services or will lea have the say)

How, where, and by whom the services are provided (School can’t provide it themselves- must be done by a third party or the lea, or Sea if lea can’t provide)

How the services will be academically assessed and how the results of that assessment will be used to improve those services. (Assessment, data collection, changes made based on that data)

 

The provision of services must be from a secular provider:

(d) PUBLIC CONTROL OF FUNDS (2)(B) REQUIREMENTS- In the provision of such services, such employee, individual, association, agency or organization shall be independent of such private school and of any religious organization, and such employment or contract shall be under the control and supervision of such public agency.

(e) If a local educational agency is prohibited by law from providing for participation on an equitable basis to children enrolled in private schools…….or determines the lea has failed or is unwilling, the Secretary waives the requirement and shall arrange for the provision of services to such children

The Secretary will take over the provision of equitable services to private schools if the lea refuses?

 

 

 

 

 

‘‘SEC. 6302. OPTIONAL CONSOLIDATED STATE PLANS OR APPLICATIONS.

(b) COLLABORATION.—

  • IN GENERAL.—In establishing criteria and procedures under this section, the Secretary shall collaborate with State educational agencies and, as appropriate, with other State agencies, local educational agencies, public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions, private schools, and parents, students, and teachers.

Looks like private school children, not just teachers, are part of this Act in such a substantial way that the Secretary would want to consult them on forming the State plan? I think Title 1 funds are portable to private schools, regardless of the lack of language stating it. There is nothing that prevents it.

 

  • —Through the collaborative process described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall establish, for each program under this Act to which this section applies, the descriptions, information, assurances, and other material required to be included in a consolidated State plan or consolidated State application.

This seems to allow the Secretary broad discretion to require additional assurances, information, and “other material” in a consolidated State plan. Why should this be different than a State plan where it is submitted for each program?

 

  • NECESSARY MATERIALS.—The Secretary shall require only descriptions, information, assurances (including assurances of compliance with applicable provisions regarding participation by private school children and teachers), and other materials that are absolutely necessary for the consideration of the consolidated State plan or consolidated State application.

Again, here is the private school children language.

 

———————————————————————

 

Thank you, Ann Marie Banfield and Stop Common Core New Hampshire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah Should Vote No on Federal NCLB/ESEA Flexibility Waiver Renewal   1 comment

gulliver

 

Tomorrow morning, the Utah State School Board will vote on whether or not to renew the federal No Child Left Behind ESEA Flexibility Waiver.

Governor Herbert will address the board in person prior to this vote, at the USOE offices at 250 E 500 S in Salt Lake City.

It’s an open meeting.  Many of us will be there, and you are wanted and needed there.  If you can’t come, please write to the board.  Here’s the board’s email address.  Board@schools.utah.gov

Here’s my letter.

 

——————–

Dear Board,
Please vote no on the ESEA/NCLB renewal of waiver tomorrow.
No Child Left Behind was bad; but the waiver from it (meaning that we consent to continue with Common Core) is far worse, because of the suffocating strings attached. A million tiny strings took Gulliver down.
I am referring to:
1- The CCSSO-created CEDS data collection aligned to the Common Core standards.
2- Teacher handcuffing via teacher grading related to Common Core testing.
3-  No amendment process for the Common Core (copyrighted) standards.  (We could alter our previous Utah Core; we can’t alter ELA or Math under Common Core’s copyright.)
Bottom line: we owe no accountability to the federal government Constitutionally and it returns very little money, percentage wise, of our education budget –of which Utah wastes much on bloated administrative salaries and on the common core tech ed sales cartel, not giving much to truly benefit children or teachers.
We have constitutional rights and we are shredding them, voluntarily, by tying our school system down under Common Core and Common Data.
Please vote NO on renewing NCLB.
Christel Swasey
Utah Credentialed Teacher

Dr. Gary Thompson: SAGE/Common Core Tests Break Basic Codes of Test Ethics   19 comments

dr-thompson

I sat in the Early Life Child Psychology and Education center this week, watching Dr. Gary Thompson’s presentation about Common Core testing, thinking that Dr. Thompson is the fearless kid in the tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Dr. Thompson stands armed with honesty, science and evidence, pointing out that the Emperor of SAGE/Common Core tests is stark raving naked.  All around Salt Lake City, meanwhile, people play along with the wealthy emperor, pretending that nothing’s wrong with what the whole world seems to have been paid to agree are such smashing, new  –dare we call them rigorous— clothes.

What does Dr. Thompson see as he analyzes the Common Core SAGE test in its birthday suit?

He points out foremost that there is such a thing as a code of ethics for the psychological testing of children.

“Wait, wait–” says the State Office of Education– “We’re not doing psychological testing on your kids.”  But this does not placate Utahns who fact check for themselves. SAGE/Common Core tests –in addition to being tests of academic subjects– are psychological tests. We know this because:

1) Utah law demands it.  HB15, passed in 2012, required Utah’s public and charter schools to administer computer adaptive tests aligned with Common Core.  It specified “the use of behavior indicators in assessing student performance.”  Behavior indicators are not math, science or language arts data points.  They are psychological data points.

2) The SAGE tests are created by Utah’s test contractor, American Institutes for Research (AIR) which is primarily “one of the world’s largest behavioral and social science  research organizations.”  Its stated mission is “to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation.”

3) The federal Department of Education –which shouldn’t, but does, call shots for the Utah State Office of Education– openly encourages psychological profiling of students via tests, calling it “data-driven decision making,” “a data quality campaign” and other positive-sounding terms.  See any of its initiativesreports and recommendations  which do depend on/openly promote psychological profiling of children by testing.

Here’s how Dr. Thompson says that SAGE violates the code of ethics for psychological testing:

Standard 9.03 from the Ethical Principles of Psychologists states that “psychologists obtain informed consent for assessments.  SAGE does not do this.  The ethics for informed consent include telling the client (in SAGE’s case, the student and parents) what the nature, purpose and anticipated course of services will be; using clear language; allowing the client  (student and parents) to ask questions; telling them about involvement of any third parties who may have access to the information gathered via the test; disclosing whether experimentation will be used; informing the client whether the test administrator is a trainee or fully qualified to administer psychological testing; obtaining consent in advance of recording or observing; potential risks; potential limitations; and more.

Each of these codes of conduct were broken by the USOE in implementing SAGE tests on Utah schools.

Standard 9.02 states that “Psychologists use assessment instruments whose validity and reliability have been established…when such validity or reliability has not been established, psychologists describe the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation.”

There have been no independent validity and reliability studies done on SAGE tests, whatsoever, as Dr. Thompson pointed out.  Another enormous principal of all scientific forms of testing– broken.

While it is clear that SAGE tests are psychological in nature, and that the tests do not adhere to the code of ethical conduct for psychological testing, there’s even more at stake.

Dr. Thompson pointed out that the future is very close to already here:  Game-based assessment, also known as Stealth Assessments, are secret tests embedded in video games for schools that are further eclipsing parental rights and knowledge about what data is being collected while children are at school.  Even teachers would not know what exactly is being collected or analyzed when stealth assessments are used in classroom settings.

In a scholarly journal entitled “District Administration” Dr. Thompson read, and shared, that now, in an attempt to lessen student stress, Gates-funded groups are telling us that video games are the education of the future. “District Administration” journal writes that because “complex thinking skills can’t be measured by traditional standardized tests, educators are turning to stealth assessments hidden in video games.” The article continues, “stealth assessments are seamless, so the distinction between learning and assessment is completely blurred.  Kids are playing, they are learning, and they are being assessed all at the same time.”  Further:  “testing companies are working on ways to integrate formative assessments into daily instruction.”  Children will be tested all of the time.  How does a person opt out of that?

 

 

what-is-stealth-assessment-1-728

Dr. Thompson’s presentation also touched on many other issues of great importance.  He spoke about the vulnerable populations that are forced to take Common Core SAGE tests (unless parents opt them out).  These include children with any of a host of learning disabilities, children with depression and anxiety, children with autism and Asberger’s,  children with  historically poor test taking scores due to cultural bias in testing including African-American and Latino children, children with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, children from high-stress poverty homes, children with psychotic disorders, ADHD, and dual exceptional (gifted and learning disordered) to name a few.

He shared from academic journals many ethical considerations associated with Common Core’s pushing of the very young into “rigorous” and age-inappropriate standards.  He shared research he’s collected, too, about the use of children’s data for marketing purposes, (quoting from the academic journal article, “Children as Consumers.”  This is relevant and troubling because the SAGE test creator, AIR, has open partnerships (and data sharing policies) with numerous corporations that have no restraint on accessing SAGE-collected student information.

Thompson further discussed harm to the brain of a child using Common Core testing practices on every type of child, and using Common Core styled math on every type of learner.  He spoke of the brain’s disorganization response to Common Core-styled math pedagogy and to high-stakes tests like SAGE.

nn.3788-F3

This brain-analyzing portion of the presentation must be explained in detail in a separate post.  Briefly: the neurological (brain-affecting) Common Core issues raised by Dr. Thompson’s research are extremely important in light of the fact that both Bill Gates (Common Core funder) and our federal government are highly focused on studying and applying research about the neurology of children, right now.  The federally approved Fattah Neuroscience Initiative, also known as the White House Neuroscience Initiative, was granted federal funds to invest in brain research and drug development, and not just to prevent Alzheimer’s.  Its stated aims: “optimizing interactions between the environment and the brain across the lifespan,” “applying the brain’s information processing capabilities” and “enhancing communication among federal agencies”.  Congressman Fattah  wrote that he is “a major proponent of brain mapping…  understand…the role of individual neurons in controlling our thoughts, movements…”.  –Recall that Secretary Duncan mocked  the idea that the federal government was involved in this, when it was accused of collecting student data using Common Educational Data Standards. He said, “Let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping.” Yet that is exactly what the federal Fattah Neuroscience Initiative aims to do.  Congressman Fattah has made it clear that brain mapping is the aim of the White House Neuroscience Initiative.  Now, let’s use our brains.  Who is the only huge, captive group of guinea pigs they have under their control upon whom they can do brain mapping research (call it education) for hours and hours every single day?  

Dr. Thompson’s full presentation:

 You’ll want to see the whole presentation and discuss it with your local and state representatives on the school boards in detail.  Each of the issues touched on in Dr. Thompson’s presentation deserves a chapter or a book written on it.

But to keep it simple, digestible, and close to home, let’s focus on one thing:  the thing Dr. Thompson focuses on; the SAGE test. You’ll want to opt your children out of every type of SAGE test:  summative (end of year), formative and interim (year round SAGE tests.)

It is the enforcer of Utah’s Common Core and the primary vehicle for massive student data collection right now.  We need to get rid of it, or opt individual children –by the thousands and thousands– out of it, so that its data collectors cannot do what they aim to do, and so that Common Core experimental standards cannot take deep root in our schools, cannot dictate teacher salaries, cannot narrowly define and narrowly present what is “education” to our children.

Somebody will look out for students’ mental health, privacy, and happiness, even in this age of politically motivated high-stakes SAGE testing –and soon, in this age of stealth testing.  Somebody will look out for the parents’ rights to know about and to guide psychological treatment or analysis of children.  Someone  will pound on the door of the USOE, the governor, and the legislators’ offices, demanding the end of SAGE tests in Utah schools, demanding answers to the questions that Dr. Thompson and other child psychologists, such as Joan Landes and Dr. Megan Koschnick (video below) have raised.

That someone is that person in your bathroom mirror or it’s nobody, because everybody’s so busy.

Legislators are busy.  Teachers are busy. Board members are busy. Reporters are busy.  Common Core technological implementers and teacher development conference producers are busy. Everyone is so busy being busy that the busy-ness that matters most of all— our children and our liberty-– have lost precious ground.

It is not too late.

 

Leaked Letter: Utah Teachers’ Evaluations (Pay) Will Depend On Common Core Test Scores in 2015   8 comments

An email sent to schools by the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) this week was forwarded to me.

It’s gross evidence of a gross circumstance.   The USOE decided that teacher evaluations (read: salaries) will be directly tied to Common Core/SAGE student results starting at the latest next fall (2015-2016 school year).

If teachers didn’t “teach to the Common Core test” before, they will now.

Their  value as a teacher is, by USOE policy, to be determined by SGP –Student Growth Percentile, meaning: the amount of Common Core -based “improvement” that students showed on their Common Core SAGE tests.

It’s a heavy, disrespectful blow to teachers.

I have learned of some teachers who outwardly nod their heads “yes” to administrations and boards but in fact ignore the Common Core standards, continuing to teach the children in their better way, in the same way they always had, prior to Common Core.

How will independent minded teachers survive this new blow?

I don’t know.

I want to remind everyone that many times the USOE has proclaimed that teachers and schools may teach in the manner that in the local, professional judgment, the schools and teachers deem best.  They say Common Core and its tests do not micromanage teachers.

How untrue that claim has been.

Actions speak louder than words.  The state-level threat of teachers losing pay or status, if a particular teacher’s students don’t speed along the Common Core/SAGE test chain, is an almost insurmountable, powerful micromanagement of Utah’s teachers by its government.

Why did Utah allow the USOE to evolve this much power over us?   The USOE, so monstrously staffed, so stuffed full of bureaucrats, consumes many of our precious education dollars but runs un-accountably –to anyone.  And the USOE has zero authority under the Utah Constitution!

Only the State School Board holds constitutional authority of Utah’s education, checked and balanced by the legislature which hold the power of the purse.   The USOE is a deformed, runaway growth, much bigger and heavier than its stem.  Think about it: corrupt though the state board’s election system has been, still, the electing of State Board members has been at least theoretically representative; taxpayers can vote board members out of office.

Not so for the USOE and it’s leadership and staff.  Taxpayers and teachers and parents have zero say in who gets to run our educational show at the USOE level.  We can’t un-elect the writers of that letter, nor can we vote out the vast number of fat-salaried appointees who boss around the teachers, principals and students of this state.

Just as the federal U.S. Department of Education has no Constitutional validity, neither does the USOE have any state-constitutional validity.

I wish school administrators, school boards, the legislature and especially the state board would respond to the USOE with a little spit and vinegar– in defense of teachers and in non-acknowledgement of the assumed authority of the USOE and its policies, schmollisees.

Here’s that letter.

 

======================================

 

Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2014

From: “Estrada, Christelle” <Christelle.Estrada@schools.utah.gov>

To: “ALL ”

Subject: [Secondary ELA] Clarification – SAGE and SGPs

Colleagues:  I am forwarding this clarification from both the Assessment and the Educator Effectiveness departments at USOE so that you can disseminate it to your fellow teachers.

 

 

Dear LEAs,

 

This E-mail is to clarify possible misunderstandings and up-to-date information in regards to SAGE and Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs), and SLOs. The SAGE results for the 2013-14 school year that were released to the public on October 27, 2014 are valid and reliable assessment results.  The results create a new baseline for student achievement.   Educators and parents should seriously review these results and use the results with all of the other educational information and data to support students and assist them in improving their academic achievement.

 

We would like to clarify the relationship of SAGE results to Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) and to Educator Evaluation in general. The SAGE results you have recently received may be used in all of the ways you have typically used test results to make instructional decisions, inform the school improvement process,  inform professional development, and evaluate programs; however, the 2013-14 SGPs are not calculated for the purposes of educator evaluation, nor to identify schools for focus and priority status under the ESEA waiver.

 

Business rules for calculating SGPs for educator evaluations are currently being developed by the USOE Educator Effectiveness section in cooperation with the USOE Assessment section. District representatives including Superintendents, HR Directors, Curriculum Directors, Educator Evaluation Liaisons and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to give input to these business rules prior to their implementation in June of 2015. These business rules will be used to generate teacher-level SGPs that may be used for calculation of a portion of the  educator evaluation as early as August 2015, although their use will not be required until the 2015-2016 school year.

 

Meanwhile, districts should continue to provide professional development and continue to build rater reliability in relation to teacher and leader observations. They should continue to implement their SLO development plans and make choices about how stakeholder input will be gathered and calculated. The Educator Effectiveness team continues to recommend that teachers of both tested and non-tested subjects learn how to develop and use SLOs to provide additional measurement information about student growth.  SGPs will be available for calculating student growth for the 2014-15 school year (they are also available this year), and they will be available to apply to educator evaluation in 2015-16.

 

If you have additional questions about these topics, please continue to contact any of the following for additional clarification as needed: Linda Alder atlinda.alder@schools.utah.gov<mailto:linda.alder@schools.utah.gov> or 801-538-7923;  Kerrie Naylor at kerrie.naylor@schools.utah.gov<mailto:kerrie.naylor@schools.utah.gov>  or 801-538-7950;   Jo Ellen Shaeffer, joellen.shaeffer@schools.utah.gov<mailto:joellen.shaeffer@schools.utah.gov> or 801-538-7811.

 

Please note Utah has a very broad public records law.  Most written communication to or from our state employees regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your email communication may be subject to public disclosure.

 

 —————————————————————————————————-

app

 

Legislative Meeting: Utah Discussing Adopting Founderless Version of U.S. History   4 comments

Today, right now, the unmaking of history is happening at the Utah State Capitol. I just found out now, via email.

Listen at this link: http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&event_id=83651

So the Utah Legislature’s education committee is meeting now, listening to (among other things) the Utah State Office of Education’s reasoning for adopting the David Coleman-pushed, awful, transformed U.S. History standards for A.P. History.  These standards have come under extreme criticism for promoting a negative view of American accomplishments.  They deleted the necessity for teachers to even mention –at all– Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Martin Luther King, the Gettysburg Address, Hitler, and much, much more that is crucial to understanding American history.  The noble portions of history and vital facts simply won’t  be on the test.

It seems truly too bad to be true.

I wish some mom, grandpa, teacher, or professor were there, testifying, as this Texas mother did, that the state must absolutely fight, not adopt, these new history standards!

I wish that Sydnee Dickson, Diana Suddreth, and Robert Austin ( USOE officials responsible for promoting the new history standards) were elected officials –so that we could vote them out.  But they are plain state employees, so they stay in, reel in fat taxpayer funded salaries, and they are unstopped by the legislators, parents or administrators who have the power to stop them –if enough would just stand up.

So much is happening, so fast, to transform and deform our educational system now that it feels impossible to keep up with or try to rein in.

We have to try.  We have to educate and activate the necessary numbers of citizens to push our elected representatives to say no.

Please write to your representatives and  school boards.  Let them know that you oppose the transformed AP U.S. History Standards for our schools.

 

Here is the link to find your Representative:   http://www.le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp

Here is the link to find your Senator: http://www.utahsenate.org/#

————————————————

USA Today published an opinion editorial— today– by Jane Robbins of American Principles Project on this subject.  I’m reposting:

AP EXAM ERASES U.S. EXCEPTIONALISM

Defenses of the College Board’s revised Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) Curriculum Framework have ranged from “it’s a balanced document” to “teachers will have flexibility” to “what’s wrong with a leftist slant?” None of these defenses should be acceptable.

To the “balanced document” argument, we say: Read it. A Pioneer Institute study by experts, including renowned Madisonian scholar Ralph Ketcham, describes the framework as “a portrait of America as a dystopian society — one riddled with racism, violence, hypocrisy, greed, imperialism and injustice.”

The origins of the framework have been traced to the philosophy that the U. S. is only one nation among many, and not a particularly admirable one at that. Every trace of American exceptionalism has been scrubbed; seminal documents such as the Gettysburg Address have vanished.

What about teachers’ flexibility? Will APUSH teachers still teach the vital content in their state history standards? Although the College Board (under duress) is erasing its warning that none of this state material will be tested, the practical reality remains that teachers won’t waste time on it.

The exam’s structure will encourage students and teachers to stick to the leftist framework. We’ll have a national history curriculum rather than state flexibility and control.

The College Board’s recent release of the previously secret sample exam confirms this conclusion. All sample questions are anchored firmly in the framework, even the pejorative language used to describe President Reagan. The sample exam makes it clear that if teachers want their students to score well on the APUSH exam, they will teach the framework.

So we’re left with the argument that the APUSH course rightly veers off into progressive territory (diminishing content knowledge in favor of “historical skills” and “themes” and embracing identity politics) because accurate history is disfavored in some university programs. If so, parents will want their children to avoid APUSH. The unelected College Board may decide to impose revisionist history, but its customers need not buy it.

Jane Robbins is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a conservative advocacy group.

Passed: Utah County Republican Resolution Against Common Core   3 comments

Below is the full text of the resolution that Utah County Republicans voted to pass, in opposition to Common Core this week. 

It will be interesting to see what Governor Herbert does with the mounting evidence that Utahns oppose Common Core.  Despite publically taking a second look at the academics, he has not taken any steps to get a second look at state  and federal data mining done in Utah, nor has he taken a second look at the actual governance structure of Common Core which seems far, far more important than the academic snapshot.  The governor’s still moving full steam on with the Common Core-promoting Prosperity 2020 and SLDS systems in this state, and has not resigned from his Common Core-promoting role in the  National Governors Association (that unelected, private trade group which created and copyrighted the Common Core.) 

Governor, is it time to start listening more closely to voters?

Utah County Republican Resolution

 utahns against Common Core
WHEREAS, The Common Core State Standards Initiative (“Common Core”), adopted as part of the “Utah
Core,” is not a Utah state standards initiative, but rather a set of nationally-based standards and tests
developed through a collaboration between two NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) and
unelected boards and consortia from outside the state of Utah; and,
 
utahns against Common Core
WHEREAS, Common Core binds us to an established copyright over standards, limiting our ability to
create or improve education standards that we deem best for our own children; and,
 
utahns against Common Core
 
WHEREAS, the General Educational Provisions Act prohibits federal authority over curriculum and
testing, yet the U.S. Department of Education’s “Cooperative Agreements” confirm Common Core’s test-
building and data collection is federally managed; and,
 
utahns against Common Core
WHEREAS, “student behavior indicators” – which include testing for mental health, social and cultural
(i.e. religious) habits and attitudes and family status – are now being used for Common Core tests and
assessments; and,
 
utahns against Common Core
WHEREAS, Common Core promotes the storage and sharing of private student and family data without
consent; using a pre-school through post-graduate (P-20) tracking system and a federally-funded State
Longitudinal Database (SLDS), creating substantial opportunities for invasion of privacy; and,
 
utahns against Common Core
WHEREAS, Common Core intrudes on the constitutional authority of the states over education by
pressuring states to adopt the standards with financial incentives tied to President Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’, and if not adopted, penalties include loss of funds and, just as Oklahoma experienced a loss of
their ESEA waiver; and
 utahns against Common Core
WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee and Utah State Republican Convention recently passed a
resolution opposing Common Core State Standards;
utahns against Common Core
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we call on the Governor and the Utah State School Board to withdraw
from, and we ask the Utah State Legislature to discontinue funding programs in association with, the
Common Core State Standards Initiative/Utah’s Core and any other similar alliance, and;
utahns against Common Core
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution shall be delivered to the Governor
and the State legislature requesting executive and legislative action.
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