Archive for the ‘Good News’ Tag

A Million Alternatives to Common Core and Regular Public School   19 comments

 

Some people think that unless you have large wads of cash for insanely expensive private schools, you are limited to two choices:  public school, or home school at the kitchen table.  Today I’m going to describe a handful of alternatives and there are probably many, many more.  (Add links in the comment section if you know of some.)

But first:  DO NOT FEAR.  Whatever you choose can work.   If your family’s circumstances mean that you have to send your child to public school, still do not fear.

As I teach my children, they can pretty easily discern the p.c. indoctrination at school and do come home reporting the silly propaganda.

You and your child can and will roll your eyes together, after you’ve taught him/her:

  • That your child is a child of God, not just “human capital” meant to serve the collective economy and compete in a global economy.
  • That there’s a world of difference between voluntary sharing (God’s way) and forced sharing (social justice or socialism.)
  • That your child is an American (or Canadian or Swedish or Bolivian) citizen, not a global citizen– because global citizenship does not guarantee sacred, sacred American rights.
  • How to use traditional math tools (algorithms, multiplication tables, formulas) if all he/she’s getting in school is fuzzy math and silly ways of wasting time to find solutions.
  • How to read and write in cursive, even if it looks like chicken scratch.
  • To love imagination and reading and learning –by having really, really interesting books on your home library shelf.  Really, really great books.
  • To be anchored in truth.  Read at the very least one verse of scripture at the breakfast table as he/she gets ready for school.  Talk about why it matters.
  • To politely refuse school surveys and standardized testing unless the school has parental, written consent.  Teach them to excuse themselves and call you if they ever feel “not okay” about something even if they can’t explain why to the school.
  • That you, the parent, are the resident expert on your child and nobody but God can claim to be a “stakeholder” over a child –ever.

 

Here are the schooling alternatives that I have found and have liked:

 

Traditional Home School –  From the myriad of home school helps, here are just a few:  Thomas Jefferson Education,  American Heritage Prep,  Ron Paul CurriculumKimber Academy, Easy Peasy All In One Home School.

Aspire Scholar Academy – This is a remarkable face to face home school co-op that caters to teenagers, located in Orem, Utah.  No one under age 12 may attend.  In addition to traditional classes based on classic principles of education and morality, this school offers a speech and debate program with teams that compete statewide against public school debate teams.  They also offer a “socializing only” option, where your student can attend many social events without attending classes at Aspire.  (The classes have filled up for this year, but the social-only option is still available.)

 

freedeom-project-logo-2

 

Freedom Project Education (FPE) – This private, online, Common Core-free school is free of any government influence — so there’s no standardized testing, no U.N. or “sustainability” worship, no anti-American or anti-religious agenda hiding in the assignments, no “human capital” here.

I’m excited that I’ll be joining FPE this year, teaching three filmed and live sections of tenth grade English at this wonderful school. We’re learning how to write clearly. We’re reading imaginative literature: Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne… Details below.  There are still openings if you know a tenth grader in need of an online English class and an enthusiastic teacher. They have classes for every age.   And for a private school, it’s inexpensive.

George Mueller Academy –  This remarkable school is in person, not online.  It’s in Lehi, Utah, and I’m sharing it here because it’s a great model for those in other places who are aiming to build something that goes way beyond a home schooling co-op and becomes much like a traditional private school (but cheaper) with a physical building, face-to-face classes, specialists in advanced subjects, field trips and parties.   There is no state oversight of this school, either, so like FPE above,  there’s no political agenda and no standardized testing required.   It’s called the George Mueller Academy Center for Educational Liberty.  See the incredible list of classes– biology, coding, martial arts, U.S. history, logic, languages– with prices set by individual teachers and varying greatly.

I’m teaching an English class at GMA for twelve-and-up (year olds) that meets for two hours, once a week.  It’s called “I Love My English Class”.  I’m also co-teaching a kindergarten-first grade class that meets for two hours, twice a week, for four hours total per week, called “Little Red School House.”

My Tech High – This is both an online school for students in any location, and a Utah-specific program that can reimburse homeschoolers who take classes outside the home with certain conditions (the class can’t be religious, must be offered to a group of students, etc.)

Home School Support Group – For those pursuing hybrid schools or home schools, Marlene Fletcher offers a home school support group both on Facebook and in mini conferences where people can learn about the myriad of ways that parents and co-ops are creating the kind of education they want for their children.

On Data Mining:

The schools I’ve listed above are data-mining free!  Your child won’t be hooked into the Big Brother SLDS at all, with one partial exception:  MyTechHigh is connected to the data collection system of the government, but data mining there is minimal there since students can choose the “custom built” class option, thus attending classes that do not report to the government SLDS databases.  My Tech High does require students to report periodically about what they are accomplishing in their classes, but SAGE opt outs are available and there is no daily SIS data upload about your child there (which you will find in all public and charter schools, including most online charter schools.)

 

george

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Louisiana Senator’s Bill to Free States From Common Core   8 comments

Vitter

 

The Daily Signal reported yesterday that Louisiana Senator David Vitter has filed a bill that would help ease the way for any state to opt out of Common Core.

Breitbart News reported that Vitters used to be a Common Core supporter, but is now opposed.

Vitter’s new bill intends to enable states to more easily exit the national Common Core standards, which so many parents and educators now oppose, by voiding requirements attached to issued waivers from federal law. The Daily Signal reports: “States likely could retain their waivers from the law, called No Child Left Behind, even if they chose to pull out of Common Core.”

Breitbart News reported that Vitters explained why he changed his stance on Common Core:  “After listening to literally thousands of parents, teachers, and others…I don’t believe that we can achieve that Louisiana control, buy-in, and success I’m committed to if we stay in Common Core…

“First, Common Core is controlled by national groups and interests outside Louisiana… many Louisianans legitimately fear that it will become a federal government takeover of education under President Obama and his far-left allies.

“Second, Common Core is causing deep frustration and worse in many classrooms and homes, and not because of greater rigor… “It’s preventing lots of involved parents and teachers — our most important education leaders — from being effective and helping kids learn.”

Vitter added that a third reason for his change of heart is his view that “an entrenched few in public education are trying very hard to manipulate the Common Core controversy to greatly weaken or reverse accountability measures.”

Senator Vitters proposed that his home state:

  • Exit the Common Core PARRC testing consortium immediately and adopt a rigorous interim test that is not aligned with Common Core.

  • Have the Governor, Legislature, and BESE convene a blue-ribbon panel of Louisiana parents, teachers, experts from higher education, and business leaders to develop an updated system of rigorous Louisiana standards and testing outside of Common Core/PARCC.

  • Require that this new system be developed, debated, and adopted in a fully inclusive, transparent, and democratic way.

  • Implement it in a careful, methodical manner, unlike the roll-out of Common Core.

Thank you, Senator Vitter.

Missouri Common Core Test Use Altered by Restraining Order   4 comments

missouri

A judge has issued a restraining order in Missouri that says that Missouri is “restrained from making any payments in the form of membership fees to the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium… including but not limited to disbursements pursuant to “Invoice #1″ issued to the State.”  The restraining order is, at least temporarily, halting [some aspects of] Common Core SBAC tests in the state.

According to the Missouri Education Watchdog, “the Solicitor General, in arguing for the state defendant, argued that  if the fees were not paid, there would be no assessments available in Missouri schools this year at all.  This contradicts what an SBAC spokesperson said on the phone to legal counsel for the plaintiff when she said  that the membership fees are separate and distinct from the charge for using the assessments.  It also seems to contradict provisions of federal regulations that require the assessments developed by the consortia to be generally available to non-member states…  if other states were to withdraw their membership based on the same grounds, this would require a significant reorganization of the test supplier into a commercial venture as opposed to a testing consortia…  it would weaken the federal government’s requirement that states use the consortia tests in order to comply with federal regulation or waivers, because then the federal government would be granting a monopoly to a particular private company.

This ruling is a sign that the court sees some merit in the case, that SBAC may be an illegal interstate compact and thus the state’s membership in it should be null and void.

Update:  Missouri Education Watchdog has asked to make the following clarification/correction.  Here it is:

The TRO does not stop the state from implementing the SBAC test. It simply stops the state from paying any money to SBAC in the form of membership payments. The state will continue with its plans to administer the SBAC test in spring 2015, but the recently passed HB1490 prohibits the student scores from that test from being used in teacher evaluations or district accreditation determinations. They call it a “Pilot” test. The money we pay them would have to be classified as a purchase of SBAC… 

We were stuck in an odd situation where the company that serviced our previous test (we called it MAP) stopped providing that test in 2014 so continuing with that for another year while we develop new standards was not even an option. The legislature went for the easier temporary fix of allowing the state to use SBAC for our NCLB accountability while the new standards are being developed. They didn’t have the guts of KY to simply say we won’t be providing test data for a year. “

 

SOUTH CAROLINA REJECTS COMMON CORE   9 comments

South Carolina Rejects Common Core

 

(Although Indiana was the first state to drop Common Core, it appears the new Indiana standards are simply a rebranding; Oklahoma’s and South Carolina’s new laws have language designed to prevent the drop-retrieve-rebrand trick.)

This is wonderful news for South Carolina and Oklahoma.

God Bless (the rest of) America.

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