Archive for the ‘Evidence’ Tag

Anissa Wardell and Tami Pyfer’s Email Exchange   1 comment

  A Heber citizen, Anissa Wardell, contacted the Utah State School board to ask whether Utah can still get out of Common Core (and write our own standards, using University input, an option also known as ESEA option #2) –after the waiver deadline of September 6, 2012.

  Rather than answering the question, state school board member Tami Pyfer told her constituent that there was no chance our state would get out of Common Core and then proceeded say that evidence proving that Common Core  was free of federal strings had “been presented in a variety of public forums numerous times.”  This is simply not true.

1.  Most people don’t even know what the term Common Core even means, according to a recent poll by Achieve, Inc.  (Do you?  Does your neighbor?  Do your teachers know– other than knowing there are different standards this year– do they know that the standards are under copyright, can’t be amended, dumb down college readiness to a lowest common denominator that matches vocational/tech schools, and they were never validated by the only math professor and were also rejected by the English professor on the official Common Core validation committee?  Nobody knows these things.  Why? Because the Dept. of Education doesn’t want them to know.  They think that if they say “these standards are good” often enough, they’ll be good.)

2. The one and only public forum put on by the USOE about Common Core was held two years after the state school board signed us up for Common Core.  That forum was at the Granite School District last spring.  The first 45 minute speech, praising Common Core (without any documentation or evidence) was given by the USOE, followed by 2 minute testimonials from impassioned parents and teachers and politicians from both sides of the issue:  hardly fair or thorough or timely.  And nope, evidence was not shared there, to prove federal strings were not attached.  (Incidentally, Professor David Wiley told this exact same lie, just as publically, when he was debating FERPA regulatory changes done illegally by the Dept. of Education this year.)  The bypassing of the public and of legislators in pushing Common Core on us all, is something the proponents of Common Core are willing to lie about. Or do they really not understand?  Have they really not seen the documentation of lost autonomy?

3.  The statement:  “Common Core is federal strings-free” is not true.  The Department of Education is micromanaging the common tests, the testing consortia, and forcing consortia to synchronize their efforts and give the Dept of Education access to data collected thereby.  Evidence:  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf   Even if we get out of the SBAC, which we might, tomorrow, if the school board votes that way, we are still federally controlled by Common Core.  Look at this definitions page from the Dept. of Education’s website: http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions .  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, which must certify that students who meet the standards will not need remedial course work at the postsecondary level.”  So you either have to do common core, or write your own university approved standards.  But the deadline is ending Sept. 6th, so perhaps after that, the only option will be common core.  Wish I livd in Virginia or Texas right now.  They are the only states with educational freedom.  And Utah not only doesn’t have educational freedom anymore, but we collectively don’t even seem to realize it’s gone.

And the Dept. of Education has mandated in the waiver, in the original RTTT application which our Governor and board signed, and in the assessments RTTT that Washington state, our contracted fiscal agent, signed us up for and which we are responsible to obey as long as we are in the SBAC, that we can’t take anything away–nothing– and we can not add anything beyond 15% to the national standards.  How can anyone call this federally string free?  How?  It is an absolute falsehood.

With that introduction, here are the emails:

Dear Governor & Board,

It is my understanding that there is a way for Utah to get out of Common Core  so that we are free of any strings attached. 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?

Is the Board considering this? Now would be the time to decide. Please discuss this at this Friday’s meeting. Please respond to me with more information.

Thanks!

Anissa Wardell

Tami Pyfer [mailto:tami.pyfer@usu.edu]

Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 3:26 PM

Personally, I have no intention of unadopting the new math and ELA common core standards. We are already “string free” and it’s unfortunate that some groups feel otherwise.

Tami Pyfer

Tami,

If we really are string free, would you kindly show proof of that? I have done a great deal of research on my own, outside of those you refer to and from what I can see, we are not string free. The math standards are horrible! I am going to have to pay hundreds of dollars this year alone for my 6th grader so that she will be ready for Algebra. Utah’s math standards were already better and were more understandable than what we have just adopted.

While I have this audience, I also want the Board (and everyone else on the list) to know that as a parent I want cursive writing to stay in our state curriculum.

Please provide all of us evidence to back up your understanding.

Thank you,

Anissa

From: Tami Pyfer [mailto:tami.pyfer@usu.edu]

Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 5:53 PM

I appreciate your passion, but the “evidence” has been presented in a variety of public forums numerous times. Your disagreement with the facts does not change them. I will continue to respond to my constituents who are truly looking for answers to their questions regarding our core standards.

Tami Pyfer

Tami,

Well thank you Tami. You have not answered my question, and if there is proof I honestly would like to see it. You incorrectly assume that I do not want true answers. If there is this information and it has been provided many times, please tell me where I can find it.

It is answers like yours that are frustrating for constituents. I will continue to ask for answers. I never said we have to agree, I am searching for answers and because you are a board member and you have been entrusted with the mantle to ensure high quality curriculum standards and instruction, and because you are supposed to represent your constituents, I expect you to live up to that.

Anissa

Let Freedom Ring In Education!   1 comment

  We have to get rid of the Common Core Initiative  –if we actually care about quality education and freedom over education.

Why?

I’ll start with a little intro– why I care:

I  hold an up-to-date Utah Level II teaching license and I have nine years of experience in classrooms. I’m currently a stay-home-mother.  My most recent teaching position was Adjunct Professor of English at Utah Valley University, where I taught Freshman English and remedial Basic Composition.  Teaching remedial English showed me that the educators’ cry for better prepared students is a real concern, not to be lightly dismissed.

Having studied the Common Core Initiative closely, however, I have come to the conclusion that Common Core is not the answer to the real educational problems we face. The Common Core educational standards present a sobering danger to quality education.  They are unproven, at best.  They are a dumbing down, at worst.

    As an English teacher, my concern is that by mandating the removal of narrative writing and greatly reducing the amount of classic literature that is permitted in Utah English classrooms, we have robbed our students of literary history, culture and the intangible values that cannot be imparted through informational texts and informational writing.  Is the slashing of time allotted for English literature much different from actual book burning, in its effect on students’ thoughts?

Common Core seems to take from, rather than give to students.  Professor Michael Kirst of Stanford University noted 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.”  This is one of the most sobering criticisms of the damage and dumbing down Common Core standards may do.

Regardless of who wins the argument about whether the national standards will be better or worse than Utah’s previous standards, the fact remains that the national educational standards are, to Utah, utterly meaningless:  there is no local political power over them; they can be changed at any time, but not by us.

Reclaiming Educational Freedom:

It seems that reversing the adoption of Common Core is both an educational and a Constitutional imperative.

    Reclaiming educational freedom and educational quality for Utah will meanwe have to : 1) withdraw from the SBAC testing consortium, 2) withdraw from Common Core national standards, 3) resubmit Utah’s ESEA Flexibility waiver request to choose state-unique standards, option 2, “standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education”  and 4) creating legitimate, freed standards.

Toward those ends, this post will give evidence that the Department of Education’s reforms harm local freedom and education, all spearheaded by the Common Core Initiative.  These reforms have reduced Utah’s educational decision-making capacity without public knowledge or a vote;  have reduced, rather than improving, educational quality; and will expose students and families to unprecedented privacy intrusions by state, federal and nongovernmental entities, to be accessed without parental consent.

This post will also look at  efforts other states have made to reclaim local control of education.

 

Unconstitutionality of Common Core

The unconstitutionality of Common Core is clear because the initiative offers education without representation: the public did not vote on the transformative initiative and has no means to amend these national standards, as they are under copyright.  (Source:   http://www.corestandards.org/terms-of-use )

There is no means for voters to recall any Common Core test-creating administrators or standards-setting personnel.  No matter how radiant the claims of Common Core proponents sound, the standards are unproven, untested, and unfunded.  Voters deserve to know about, and vote upon, the board’s unauthorized decision that traded state control of quality education for an unvalidated, un-amendable national educational experiment.

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/three-exit-strategies-from-the-common-core-for-state-leadership/

 Local decision-making capacity reduced

The following documents show that local decision making has been severely reduced:

  1. Race to the      Top (RTTT) Grant Application – on the definitions page, we learn      that states are restricted from adding to standards for local use. The application hooked Utah to Common Core, even      though we didn’t win the grant. It states:       A State may supplement the common standards with      additional standards, provided that theadditional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State’s total      standards for that content area.” This      speed limit on learning is problematic; one example is the fact that 9th      graders will be repeating most of their 8th grade year (Alg. I moved from      8th to 9th grade for CCSS implementation) and the state will not be able      to add more than 15% to what they would be learning in 9th grade over      again.
  1. Copyright on CCSS National Standards  – Despite the fact that proponents of Common Core claim the initiative was state-led and was written by educators’ input nationwide, the copyright states:  “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
  1. ESEA      Flexibility Waiver Request – This document, like the RTTT      grant application, shows that Utah is not      able to delete anything from the national standards and can only add a      maximum of 15% to them.  State      and local school boards do not understand or agree upon how this problem      is to be faced.  While the local      district says it is bound by top-down decision making and must adapt to      Common Core, the state school board says that “local districts and schools are clearly responsible for accommodating      individual students.” A Utah State School Board member confessed      that, seeing this math retardation problem ahead of time, she pulled her      grandchildren out of public school and homeschooled them before Common      Core was imposed on them.   https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/state-and-local-school-board-perceptions-of-common-core-differ-13-2/
  2. Cooperative      Agreement      – The Department of Education’s cooperative agreement with the SBAC      testing consortium, to which Utah is still bound, states that tests must      be synchronized “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.”  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf

This Department of Education arrangement appears to be flatly illegal.  Under the Constitution and under the General Educational Provisions Act, the federal government is restricted from supervising education of 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…”  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a

  1. Letter From      WestEd      –      “In      order for this system to have a real impact within a statethe state will need to adopt the Common Core      State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards).”  This email      response from the SBAC test writers shows that the up-to-15% difference      between Utah Core Standards and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will be      a 0% difference as soon as      testing begins in 2014-2015. Nothing but the national standards will be      tested.  (Source:  https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-wested-and-why-should-you-care/      ) Also, teacher and principal employment will soon depend upon student      performance on the nationalized tests.       (http://www.nea.org/home/proposed-policy-on-evaluation-and-accountability.html      ) Thus, there will be strong motivation to teach only to the test and skip      unique 15% additions to the local version of the national standards.

Educational quality reduced

The following educational testimonials illustrate that under Common Core, educational quality is reduced:

  1. 6.       The expert opinion of BYU Professor Alan Manning of the Department of Linguistics and English Language:  that Common Core is not a good idea.  “…Core standards just set in concrete approaches to reading/writing that we already know don’t work very well. Having the Core standards set in concrete means that any attempts to innovate and improve reading/writing instruction will certainly be crushed. Actual learning outcomes will stagnate at best… An argument can be made that any improvement in reading/writing instruction should include more rather than less attention the reading/analysis of stories known to effective in terms of structure (i.e. “classic” time-tested stories). An argument can be made that any improvement in reading/writing instruction should include more rather than fewer exercises where students write stories themselves that are modeled on the classics. This creates a more stable foundation on which students can build skills for other kinds of writing. The Core standards would prevent public schools from testing these kinds of approaches.” https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/byu-professor-alan-manning-expresses-concerns-about-common-core-slashing-story-writing-and-classic-story-reading/
  1. The expert      opinion of Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core      Validation Committee and refused to sign off on the adequacy of the      English Language Arts standards: “…Despite claims to the contrary,      they are not internationally benchmarked. States adopting Common Core’s      standards will damage the academic integrity of both their post-secondary      institutions and their high schools precisely because Common Core’s      standards do not strengthen the high school curriculum and cannot reduce      the current amount of post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate      way.”      http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/sandra-stotsky-on-the-mediocrity-of-the-common-core-ela-standards/  and         http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf
  2. The expert      opinion of Dr. James Milgram, who served on the Common Core      Validation Committee and refused to sign off on the adequacy of the math      standards:  that Common Core math puts      students about two years behind other countries, rather than creating a      competitive set of standards.       http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf
  3. The expert      opinion of Ze’ev Wurman, who served on the California      Committee to assess the CCSS math standards:  that Common Core deletes or slows      important elements of math education.       http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf
  4. Testimony      of Wasatch School District and Parents – Common Core was      implemented this year in Wasatch County, Utah.   Parents can testify that James Judd,      Wasatch District Administrator, coined the phrase “math bubble”      to refer to the 6th and 9th grade repetition forced by Common Core      implementation, which district administrators and math teachers are trying      to work around.  Students can      testify that in regular common core math classes this year, they repeated      what they’d learned in 8th grade.  Wasatch      County students are among signers of the Utahns Against Common Core      petition. https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/working-around-the-fact-that-common-core-math-dumbs-down-our-kids/   and       http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/

Department of Education FERPA alterations hurt privacy rights while empowering ED data collecting

The following documents and links show that a network of intrastate and interstate data collecting has been created, financially incentivized by the federal government’s ARRA stimulus money, and has been illegally empowered by Dept. of Education FERPA regulatory changes, made without Congressional approval.

This data gathering network meshes student data collection locally and then nationally,  including accessibility to personally identifiable information,  and is on track to be federal perused, as well as being available for non-educational, entrepreneurial, and even “school volunteer” perusal– without parental consent.

  1. ARRA Stiumulus Money bought Utah’s $9.6 million State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS):  http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=UT  to be used for student tracking.
  2. Press Release Shows Utah is P-20 Tracking with UEN/Utah Data Alliance –  “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. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9201404.htm
  3. 2012 Statement by  J. Weiss, U.S. Education Department’s Chief of Staff: 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 )
  4. Schools/states being asked by NCES –federal government– to collect personal information along with academic information, including unique identifiers including names, nicknames, residences, immunization history, family income, extracurricular programs, city of birth, email address, bus stop times, parental marital status and parental educational levels, to name a few. View the National Data Collection Model database attributes (data categories) at http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentPostsecondary
  5. EPIC lawsuit against Dept. of Education – A lawyer at E.P.I.C., Khalia Barnes, stated that FERPA regulatory loosening will affect anyone who ever attended a university (if that university archives records and received federal scholarships).  Not just children will have their data perused without parental consent– nobody will be asked for consent to be tracked and studied.  The lawsuit is ongoing from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Department of Education. It suit is filed under the  under the Administrative Procedure Act against the Department of Education.  EPIC’s lawsuit argues that the agency’s December 2011 regulations amending the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act exceed the agency’s statutory authority, and are contrary to law., including: a)  reducing parental consent requirements over student data to optional, a “best practice,” rather than a mandate and b) manipulating privacy laws by redefining terms and stretching the concepts of “authorized representative” and “educational program” past the breaking point so that even a school volunteer could access personally identifiable information.    http://epic.org/apa/ferpa/default.html
  6. BYU Professor David Wiley partnered financially with USOE in NCLB Waiver Request –  Professor Wiley is financially partnered with USOE and Common Core implementation.  Is he getting rich?  No clue.  But he has been so outspoken in defending the USOE’s adoption of Common Core as well as defending the Department of Education’s FERPA alterations that exclude parents being consented before student data is used for educational research.  (Source for partnership evidence:  Page 25 at:   http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Accountability-School-Performance/Utah-ESEA-Flexibility-Request.aspx  )  Source for Wiley pro-Common Core and anti-parental consent debate:

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/christel-swasey-responds-to-brenda-hales/#comment-1456

  1. Powerpoint by John Brandt, USOE Technology Director, showing federal access to Utah student transcripts and other data;  Brandt is a federal NCES member and a CCSSO (Common Core creator) member.  His online powerpoint states:

Where student records and eTranscripts can be used:

  • LEA   <—->  LEA (local education agency)
  • LEA   <—->  USOE (Utah State Office of Education)
  • LEA     —->  USHE (Utah System of Higher Education, and beyond)
  • USOE  —->  USED (US Department of Education

 

So, What should Utah do?

Rather than choosing the option of using national, common standards, Utah leaders can create Utah’s own standards, using local universities’ expertise.

On page 8 of the ESEA Flexibility document (updated June 7, 2012) found at http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility,  it is stated: “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”.  This option 2 was recently chosen by Virginia, a state that also wisely rejected Common Core national standards in the first place.

Case Study of Virginia:

Virginia rejected Common Core.  Common Core would be an unwise financial investment, the state said, and the standards would have left teachers stripped of the curricular SOL frameworks Virginia valued.

The Virginia Board of Education said “Virginia’s accountability program is built on a validated assessment system aligned with the Standards of Learning (SOL); validated assessments aligned with the Common Core do not exist.”  The Board also said, “Virginia’s investment in the Standards of Learning since 1995 far exceeds the $250 million Virginia potentially could have received by abandoning the SOL and competing in phase two of Race to the Top,” and the Board “opposes the use of federal rulemaking and the peer review process as leverage to compel word-for-word adoption of the Common Core State Standards.” http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2010/jun24.shtml

Option 2, using “standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education”was chosen by Virginia, and that state did receive its NCLB waiver this year.  Utah can do the same. http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2012/jun29.shtml

Case Study of Texas:

Texas rejected Common Core based on an estimated $3 billion implementation cost and the fact that Texas’ educational standards were already better than Common Core.  “I will not commit Texas taxpayers to unfunded federal obligations or to the adoption of unproven, cost-prohibitive national standards and tests,” Gov. Rick Perry wrote in a January 13 letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-DuncanArne201001130344.pdf

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott explained: The standards were “originally sold to states as voluntary, [but] states have now been told that participating in national standards and national testing would be required as a condition of receiving federal discretionary grant funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),” Scott wrote. “Texas has chosen to preserve its sovereign authority to determine what is appropriate for Texas children to learn in its public schools…”   http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120208_RoadNationalCurriculum.pdf

Texas, along with 11 other states, has not made a NCLB waiver request. The Texas Education Agency explained that it was concerned the federal government might impose a national curriculum and a national system to test students’ abilities and evaluate teacher performance, and prefers state control.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/some-states-stay-with-edu_0_n_1267859.html

Case Study of South Carolina

Utah has much in common with South Carolina.  Unlike Virginia and Texas, both Utah and South Carolina did adopt the Common Core standards and both joined testing consortia.  South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Michael Fair are now working to withdraw the state from the national standards and assessments, against great political pressure to remain bound.

AccountabilityWorks  estimated the costs for South Carolina over the next seven years to be over $75 million for professional development, $42 million for textbooks and 115 million for technology.  To do adequate assessments, South Carolina would need a 4 to 1 ratio of students to computers, totaling 162,500 computers. 62,128 computers were still needed. South Carolina faced an estimated price tag of at least $232 million, over seven years, not including assessments, but just to implement the common core.  The number didn’t include the operational costs the state already paid for.

South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley explained in a public letter:

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 [Senator Fair’s] efforts to reverse the 2010 decision to adopt common core standards…

South Carolina Senator Mike Fair ‘s bill (S.604) simply stated:

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.

Senator Fair explained in the Greenville News: 

“…If the federal government didn’t create Common Core, how is this a federal takeover?  Simple– the Department of Education is funding the development of the national tests aligned with Common Core.  Even Common Core proponents admit that whoever controls the test will, for all practical purposes, control what must be taught in the classroom.  And once Common Core is implemented, no one in this state will have the power to change any standard…  The Legislature never had a chance to review Common Core because the feds timed their deadlines for adopting them to fall when the Legislature wasn’t in session. So, to qualify for a shot at Race to the Top money in 2010, the (previous) state superintendent and the (previous) governor had to agree to adopt Common Core– standards that had not even been published yet… By the way, South Carolina wasn’t awarded Race to the Top money, so we sold our education birthright without even getting the mess of pottage.”

Conclusion

The Constitution is still the supreme law of the land.  Education reforms, including Common Core, go completely in the opposite direction of the spirit and letter of the Constitution.

Federal agencies and state consortia are not stakeholders in Utah.  They should not determine our choices.  Truly, the Utah School Board was never authorized to give away authority over local decision making and the state should reverse their decision immediately.

It appears that the way reclaim Utah’s educational freedom and educational quality is to: 1) withdraw from the SBAC testing consortium, 2) withdraw from Common Core national standards,  and 3) resubmit Utah’s ESEA Flexibility waiver request to choose state-unique standards, option 2, “standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education,” and 4) write our own standards and tests to be controlled by Utahns and set privacy policies that abide by protective state, rather than un-protective federal  FERPA policy.

Having reclaimed our freedom, we can then look to legitimate good examples to create new standards for Utah. For example, we can look to (pre-Common Core) Massachusetts.  The state tested as an independent country and was still among the highest ranking educational systems worldwide, up until Common Core. Because Massachusetts had the highest standards in the nation before they discarded their standards and adopted Common Core, we could use those standards as a template for our own.

Utah can regain local control over the quality and type of education, can reclaim Utah’s local ability to vote educational leaders in or out of office, can reclaim Utah’s ability to add to her own standards without restraint; and can take a strong stand against the federal push that aims to expose students and families to unprecedented privacy intrusions.

Let’s do it.

Cooperative Agreement Between the U.S. Department of Education and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the State of Washington (Fiscal Agent for Utah)   6 comments

 

  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Cooperative Agreement with Utah and the other SBAC exposes itself in the fact that Common Core is an educational movement masterminded not by a group of state Governors, but by federal forces (and, FYI, pushed and approved by internationalist forces.)  http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_25.shtml 

The full text, minus my commentaries in brackets, can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf  Below, my [comments] are in brackets.

Common Core State Standards and these assessments pave the path for teaching children a nationalized curriculum and values and taking away, incrementally, pieces of our local educational freedom, local control and personal privacy.

It is a very slow, boiling-the-hapless-froggie-program, and was adopted by Utah in 2009/2010, with full Common Core testing implementation not to be completed until 2015 in Utah.  The assessments are key to controlling what gets taught.  And the assessments are written to federal standards, not to any unique set of standards for which Utah wanted to test kids.  Just ask WestEd.  I did.  https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-wested-and-why-should-you-care/

  Utah’s Superintendent Larry Shumway received a letter from Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.

Arne Duncan’s letter:  http://utahpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Secretary-Arne-Duncan-March-7-2012-Letter_edited-1.jpg  stated, “Utah has complete control of Utah’s learning standards” and “States have the sole right to set learning standards.”

–Which is so important and should be true, but under Common Core, is not so. The tests take away most of the control over Utah’s standards because teachers will teach to the test, and the test (WestEd, the test writer verifies) is written to federal, not individual states’, standards and values.  https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/what-is-wested-and-why-should-you-care/

Utah might still legally have the right to determine her own learning standards, but by joining the testing system Duncan incentivized, to be tested on national CCSS standards, which standards and test Utah has no liberty to amend, Utah’s lost her educational sovereignty– maybe forever. 

  SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR NIKKI HALEY

Keep it mind that it’s difficult to navigate an annulment with Common Core, as South Carolina has found out. http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/sc-gov-nikki-haley-backs-bill-to-block-common-core-standards/  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/04/south_carolina_anti-common-sta.html http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-1

So, here it is:

COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT Between the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  and the

SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT CONSORTIUM

and the

STATE OF WASHINGTON  (fiscal agent)

 [WA is the lead state for SBAC; Utah’s agent under Common Core testing system]

Date: January 7, 2011. PR/Award #: S395B100003 and S395B100003A

In accordance with 34 CFR 75.200(b)(4), [refers to a grant I.D., not to a law] this award is a cooperative agreement because the Secretary of Education (Secretary) has determined [ONE MAN DETERMINED IT –WITHOUT AUTHORITY] that substantial communication, coordination, and involvement between the U.S. Department of Education (Department or ED) and the recipient is necessary to carry out a successful project. Consistent with 34 CFR 75.234(b),[not a legal reference, but a grant I.D. number]  the terms and conditions identified in this cooperative agreement set out the explicit character and extent of the anticipated collaboration between ED and the award recipient.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this agreement is to support the consortium recipient in developing new, common assessment systems that are valid, reliable and fair for their intended purposes and for all student subgroups, and that measure student knowledge and skills against a common set of college- and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language arts. In light of the technical nature of this grant and the fact that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will likely be reauthorized during the course of this project, the Department will provide necessary flexibility to respond to changing circumstances, technology, and laws by working collaboratively with the recipient through this agreement. The objective is to assist the consortium in fulfilling, at minimum, the goals articulated in the consortium’s approved Race to the Top Assessment (RTTA) application, requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 that was published in the

Federal Register on April 9, 2010, and any subsequent additions detailed through this agreement.

SCOPE OF WORK

The work to be performed under this agreement shall be that described in the consortium’s approved RTTA application, requirements established in the RTTA NIA, conditions on the grant award, and any subsequent additions detailed through this agreement (e.g., plans for development and delivery of the technology platform for assessment), along with any modifications or specifications ED and the consortium determine to be necessary to carry out this work in accordance with the approved application and requirements. Any subsequent changes in the scope of work must be communicated by the grantee to the Program Officer in writing and approved by the Officer in writing. 2

ARTICLE I STATEMENT OF JOINT OBJECTIVES

A. OBJECTIVES TO BE ACHIEVED

The recipient, with the Department’s support, will use RTTA grant funds to develop assessment systems that are valid, reliable, and fair for their intended purposes and for all student subgroups; support and inform instruction; [that just said that Utah, with the federal government holding our hand, will support and inform instruction.  That’s our sovereign instructional system they are talking about.]  provide accurate information about what students know and can do; and measure student achievement against standards designed to ensure that all students gain the knowledge and skills needed for successful entry to college and the workplace. These assessments are intended to play a critical role in educational systems; provide administrators, educators, parents, and students with the data and information needed [This is key; the feds want our data and they want easy access to it, and educational reasons are only part of the reasons they want that data]  to continuously improve teaching and learning; and help meet the President’s goal of restoring, by 2020, the nation’s position as the world leader in college graduates.

B. RESULTS EXPECTED

Specifically, the recipient will develop an assessment system that measures student knowledge and skills against a common set of college and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language arts in a way that covers the full range of those standards, elicits complex student demonstrations or applications of knowledge and skills as appropriate, and provides an accurate measure of student achievement across the full performance continuum and an accurate measure of student growth over a full academic year or course. This assessment systems will include one or more summative assessment components in mathematics and in English language arts that are administered at least once during the academic year in grades 3 through 8 and at least once in high school and that produce student achievement data and student growth data that can be used to determine whether individual students are college- and career-ready or on track to being college- and career-ready. [By the way, they’ve redefined “college and career ready” to make it the lowest common denominator, effectively dumbing us down. http://collegepuzzle.stanford.edu/?p=466  ]   Additionally, the recipient’s assessment systems developed with the RTTA grants will assess all students, including English learners and students with disabilities (as defined in the NIA). Finally, the assessment systems will produce data (including student achievement data and student growth data) that can be used to inform (a) determinations of school effectiveness; (b) determinations of individual principal and teacher effectiveness for purposes of evaluation; (c) determinations of principal and teacher professional development and support needs; and (d) teaching, learning, and program improvement.  [Do you notice that all this effectiveness accountability is toward the federal government, rather than to local parents or administrators? This is not good.]

ARTICLE II PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

A. RECIPIENT’S RESPONSIBILITIES

In addition to carrying out the tasks and activities described in the recipient’s application, as indicated in the Scope of Work section of this agreement, the recipient will:

1) Perform tasks identified in Article I of this agreement.

3

2) Provide updated, detailed work plans and budgets for all major activities identified in the recipient’s application, including but not limited to: • development, quality control, use and validation of artificial intelligence for scoring;

• selection of a uniform growth model consistent with test purpose, structure, and intended uses;

• development of performance tasks (addressing items such as technical challenges of scoring, reliability, and large-scale administration of performance-based items);

• development of a research and evaluation agenda (addressing items such as validity, reliability, and fairness);

• development and delivery of the technology platform for assessment.

3) Actively participate in any meetings and telephone conferences with ED staff to discuss (a) progress of the project, (b) potential dissemination of resulting non-proprietary products and lessons learned, (c) plans for subsequent years of the project, and (d) other relevant information, including applicable technical assistance activities conducted or facilitated by ED or its designees, including periodic expert reviews, and collaboration with the other RTTA recipient. [This triangulates testing and data collection with the other consortium, nationalizing our educational systems which used to be sovereign for each state, now under the supervisory nose of the federal government, our nanny dictator of Common Core.]

4) Be responsive to requests from ED for information [of course] about the status of the project, project implementation and updated plans, outcomes, any problems anticipated or encountered, and future plans for the assessment system, including by providing such information in writing when requested.

5) Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications and the conditions on the grant award, as well as to this agreement, including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.  [Even though Utah got no money from the RTTT grant application, the fiscal agent did, so Utah is bound to these grant requirements and compliance mandates.]

B. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITIES

The Program Officer is responsible for supporting the recipient’s compliance [love the language– supporting compliance is the same thing as forcing us]  with Federal requirements and is the liaison with the recipient. The Program Officer will ensure project consistency with the recipient’s approved application, Department goals and objectives, as well as to assist the recipient in meeting its benchmarks and objectives by providing necessary support and flexibility. The following are, at a minimum, the activities that the Program Officer may be involved in to exercise his or her responsibilities on behalf of the Department:

1) The Program Officer will work collaboratively with the recipient as it carries out tasks identified in this agreement.  [Thank you, federal government, for the grant that you gave the SBAC but we really don’t want to work with you because, you see, we are SOVEREIGN over our own educational system.  –Or used to be.]

2) The Program Officer will provide feedback on the recipient’s status updates, annual reports, any interim reports, and project work plans and products, including, for example, selection of key personnel, and review of provisions of proposed subcontracts by recipient.

3) The Program Officer will help identify sources of technical assistance for the project to the extent these are available.

4) The Program Officer will facilitate interaction with other offices of the Department [Oh, this just means our data will also be shared with other controlling federal Departments, besides the Dept of Education.] as needed to assist the recipient in the execution of its plan, as well as interaction across consortia when necessary. [interaction across consortia means nationalizing education under one D.C. hub called the Dept. of Ed.]

5) The Program Officer will review and approve modifications to the design of activities proposed under this Agreement. Any recipient requests for changes shall be submitted in writing directly to the Program Officer. Requests are not approved until the grantee has received authorization and notification in writing from the Program Officer.

6) The Program Officer will maintain the Department’s communication and coordination with the project, by, for example, providing leadership in identifying issues to be addressed by the project; stopping or redirecting proposed activities if the methodology proposed appears vague [love it.  redirect = boss. mandate. control.]  [“appears vague”– kind of like how they called Common Core “state-led” and “voluntary” in a non-academically threatening, non-financially binding, vague kind of way?]  or requires further justification or the projected outcomes are inconsistent with the intended project outcomes.

7) Except as provided elsewhere in this agreement, the Program Officer is not solely authorized to make any commitments or otherwise obligate the Government or authorize any changes that affect the agreement amount, terms, or conditions.

C. JOINT RESPONSIBILITIES

1) The Program Officer and Project Director will maintain frequent communication [will = compulsory language] to facilitate cooperation under this agreement.

2) The Program Officer will work with the Project Director to determine a timeline for project updates that will be provided by the Project Director through the course of each project year.

3) The Program Officers for the RTTA and the General Supervision Enhancement Grants consortia to develop Alternate Assessments based upon Alternate Academic Achievement Standards ( GSEG AA-AAAS) projects and the respective Project Directors for RTTA and GSEG AA-AAAS will collaborate to coordinate appropriate tasks and timelines to foster synchronized development of assessment systems supported by these grants. [sychronize assessments= nationalized educationcare]

4) The Program Officer for the RTTA grantees will work with the Project Directors for both RTTA grantees to coordinate and facilitate coordination across consortia.  [coordination across consortia under federal direction = nationalized educationcare]

ARTICLE III FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND BUDGET MODIFICATIONS

A. The estimated cost for the work to be performed under this Agreement is $159,976,843 and $15,872,696 for the supplemental award.

B. The detailed budget for the implementation of this project is the budget contained in the application; and for the supplemental award for this project, the budget submitted by the recipient and approved by the Program Officer, attached to this agreement. The work of the project will be performed according the budget negotiated and approved in the application and confirmed by this cooperative agreement. With respect to 34 CFR section 80.30(c) “Budget changes” provisions, the Grantee and sub-recipients must obtain prior written approval from ED for transfers among direct cost categories and among separately budgeted programs, projects, functions, or activities that exceed $100,000 of the current total approved budget.

ARTICLE IV COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS

The recipient will undertake communications and submit reports in the quantities and frequencies shown below:

Required Communications/Reports Quantity/Transmittal

Frequency

Monthly Project UpdateBrief update submitted electronically to the Program Officer followed by callMonthlyMinutes from regularly-scheduled Consortium Executive Committee Meetings, maintained by the PMPSubmitted electronically to the Project Officer, as requestedMonthly, for previous monthSemi-annual Performance check-in against timeline and benchmarksUpdate submitted electronically to the Program OfficerSemi-annualReporting Required by Sec. 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)Submitted via the http://www.federalreporting.gov websiteQuarterly, schedule available at: http://www.recovery.gov/FAQ/Pages/ RecipientReporting.aspx#schedule

  SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN:

 A MAN WHO WORKS HARD TO DELETE STATE SOVEREIGNTY OVER EDUCATION

AND TO CREATE NATIONALIZED EDUCATION WITHOUT PRIVACY OR PARENTAL RIGHTS

 — WHO STANDS UP TO HIM?

 ONLY TEXAS, VIRGINIA and SOUTH CAROLINA –SO FAR.

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