Archive for the ‘high quality education’ Tag

Texas #CANiSEE Conference to Push Back During Duncan’s PTA Common Core Meeting   1 comment

#CANiSEE ™© SOLUTIONS CONFERENCE – COUNTERING COMMON CORE – JUNE 20 – 21, 2014 – AUSTIN, TEXAS

 

http://www.educationviews.org/canisee-solutions-conference-countering-common-core/

 

Because the pro-Common Core National PTA planned to have its convention in Austin, Texas, a group of educators and parents decided to hold a counter event. It is called #CANiSEE ™© Solutions Conference and will be held in Austin on June 20 – 21, 2014 in the downtown area close to the convention center.

 

The #CANiSEE hashtag means:

#CanISee™© WHAT you are teaching my child? 


#CANISEE™© HOW you are teaching my child?


#CANISEE™© WHO is financially benefiting from the curriculum on which my child’s teacher is being evaluated?

 

 

 For information and to make reservations:

http://womenonthewall.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/At-the-Core-CanISee-Sponsor-a-Mom.pdf

 

To give a donation:  https://secure.piryx.com/donate/zS27Wsi7/WomenOnTheWall-Org/

 

The Heritage Foundation is one #CANiSEE ™© Solutions Conference sponsor.

 

Lined up to speak are many of the nation’s best anti-Common Core voices to speak at our #CANiSEE ™© Solutions Conference,  to speak at the same time as the National PTA is bringing #FedLedEd Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to town.


SPEAKERS

 

Dr. Sandra Stotsky – Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas

 

Dr. James Milgram — Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Stanford University 

 

Jane Robbins – Attorney and senior fellow with American Principles Project

 

Dr. Peg Luksik – Founded on Truth

 

 

WORKSHOPS

 

Alice Linahan – Moderator, Women on the Wall

 

MerryLynn Gerstenschlager – Texas Eagle Forum

 

Mary Bowen – Current Texas classroom teacher

 

Jeanine MacGregor – Writer, researcher, cognitive learning expert

 

Nakonia (Niki) Hayes – “The Story of John Saxon” – Saxon Math

 

Henry W. Burke — EducationViews.org Contributor

 

Jenni White – ROPE – Oklahoma

 

Anita Moncrief – True the Vote

 

Lisa Benson — National Security Radio

 

Karen Schroeder – President of Advocates for Academic Freedom 

 

 

NOTABLE LEADERS WITH VIDEO MESSAGES TO SHARE WITH AMERICA

 

Dr. Terrence Moore — Author of “The Story Killers: A Common Sense Case Against the Common Core”

 

Dr. Chris Tienken – Co-author of “The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies”

 

Dr. Duke Pesta — Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and the Academic Director of FreedomProject Education


The #CANiSEE ™© Solutions Conference will be highly attended, videotaped, and shared widely across this nation through DVD’s, MP3’s, On Demand, and Pay-Per View.

 

“Arne Duncan does not own our children; we do; and we are not ready to surrender their hearts and souls to the dumbing down and indoctrination of #FedLedEd.  We believe that with the ever-growing backlash all across the country against Common Core that our COUNTER EVENT will draw more interest from grassroots moms, pops, grandparents, and citizens than Arne Duncan can generate. Even people attending the PTA convention across the street may come to our event to find out what is really happening in our nation’s schools,” organizers wrote.

 

If you wish to volunteer to help at the #CANiSEE ™© Solutions Conference,  please contact Rebecca Forest who can  arrange for your 2-day admission ticket to be paid:  Rebecca@womenonthewall.org

 ————————————

 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

*Subject to Change

Friday, June 20, 2014

Day 1 — #CANiSEE the Reality on the Ground

TIME TOPIC SPEAKER
9:00 – 9:05 Prayer, Pledge, Opening Remarks Alice LinahanRebecca Forest
9:05 – 10:00 The Battles Fought and Won, The Story Called Common Core Begins (Video Message) Dr. Peg LuksikPhyllis Schlafly
10:10 – 11:10 Common Core Validation Committee Dr. Sandra StotskyDr. James Milgram
11:20 – 12:00 Common Core Implementation Costs, Type #1 vs. Type #2 Education Henry W. Burke
12:00 – 1:00 LUNCH
12:00 – 1:00 Vendor Booths and Exhibits Open
1:00 – 1:20 (Video Message) Dr. Terrence Moore
1:30 – 2:30 The Story Behind Saxon Math Nakonia Hayes
2:40 – 3:50 Reality on the Ground: Panel of Teachers

Panel of Parents

Panel of Students

Mary BowenDr. Stan Hartzler

Jeanine MacGregor

Andrew Bennett

Paul Swartz

Students

4:00 – 5:00 Reality on the Ground – Is Fed Led Ed a National Security Threat? Frank Gaffney
5:10 – 6:10 The Big Picture – From Fed Led Ed to the Reality for Our Children’s Data Collection, Questions and Answers Jane Robbins

#CAN I SEE SOLUTIONS CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 2 — #CANiSEE What Is Your Role?

TIME TOPIC SPEAKER
9:00 – 9:05 Prayer, Pledge, Opening Remarks Alice LinahanRebecca Forest
9:05 – 9:40 Special Audio Messages from Experts Dr. Duke PestaDr. Chris Tienken
9:50 – 10:40 Questions and Answers with Experts Jane RobbinsDr. Sandra Stotsky

Dr. James Milgram

10:50 – 11:30 Huge Success in Oklahoma – Repeal of Common Core Jenni White
11:40 – 12:30 Policy Think-Tank Panel Jane RobbinsLori Mashburn

Glyn Wright

Sarah Perry

12:30 – 1:30 LUNCH
12:30 – 1:30 Vendor Booths and Exhibits Open
1:30 – 2:30 Creating Change by Asking Questions Mary BowenJeanine MacGregor
2:40 – 3:40 Creating a Local Initiative – Building the Ground Troops Anita MontcriefAlice Linahan
3:50 – 4:50 Taking It Local, Parental Rights LegislationKeys to Testifying at Your State Capital Karen SchroederMerryLynn Gerstenschlager
5:00 – 6:00 Where Do We Go from Here?How Do We Take It Local? Mary BowenNakonia Hayes

Carole Haynes

 

 

Utah Mom: My Goals Are Not the Board of Education’s Goals   4 comments

Good news for education and for freedom:  the Utah Senate today passed SB 39 – a homeschool-friendly bill.  I want to post these words, written by another Utah mom, Rhonda Hair, because her point is an important one:  that her high educational goals for her children are not the same as the goals of the board of education, nor of the new national dictators of education in Washington D.C. (Common Core copyright holders NGA/CCSSO).
This mother’s goals are higher, not lower; but being subjected to state-set or D.C.-set standards and testing could disrupt what she, the educational director (and ultimate authority over her children) has set out to do.

(Write to the senators and thank them for upholding liberty and education in this state, please!)

———————–

My Goals Are Not the Board of Education’s Goals

By Rhonda Hair

“I began homeschooling three of my children this school year. My understanding of what education really means continues to deepen. As of now, I’m convinced that my children will be well-educated if they obtain the following:

-a love of reading and of good books, -the ability to understand and express themselves well through writing, -enough math to manage their own affairs, -an understanding of what their God-given rights are, and what their duties are towards God, family, country, and neighbor, -the ability to discern between truth and error, which requires qualifying for and listening to the Holy Ghost, which requires obedience to God’s commandments, -high appreciation for virtue, good character, and self-control, and to apply these to themselves, -a strong work ethic, -gratitude, -understanding of human nature, -understanding of history- how we got to be where we are, and what great people have learned and written along the way, -an understanding of their unique abilities, gifts, and talents and how to use them for good.

Few of these are taught in the public schools, and particularly not encouraged in Common Core.

If they do the things above, they will naturally learn about the world around them, serve the Lord faithfully, and be a benefit to others in whatever they choose to focus on.

Some people think that homeschooled children should be subject to yearly testing to  be sure they’re ‘on track’.

The problem with this is that my goals are not the Board of Education’s goals.  The testing is to see if I’m on board with their objectives.   I’m not.  My goals far exceed theirs, but each subject taught might not be taught at the same time as they dictate.”

New York Parents Coach Students Not to Take Common Core Tests   5 comments

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/14/do-not-pick-up-the-pencil-new-york-parents-coach-kids-to-refuse-common-core-tests/?utm_source=googleplus&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=Share%20Buttons

Just Like Stalin’s 5-Year Plan   3 comments

There’s a term too few people know about:  “The Stalinization of Education.”   I learned this from page 68 of the book by Professors Christopher Tienken and Don Orlich, “The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth, and Lies.”

The Stalinization of Education is a term that describes how America’s “No Child Left Behind,” “Common Core” and national testing are eerily similar to Stalin’s 5 year plan of over 70 years ago. How?

  • There was the complete politicization of schools (today it’s form is “teaching for social justice”).
  • There was the transformation of teachers from caretaker-nurturer to technician-like soldier, from child centered to test- or curriculum-centered.
  • There was the conversion of teachers to a new party line (today it’s  “environmental sustainability”)
  • There was the altering of loose-tight to tight-loose controls over  education. Secretary Arne Duncan used those exact words in his speech to the inter-american-development-bank (Ed secretary speech to a bank!?!) –recently.
  • There was the removal of teachers’ use of intellectual skepticism,  benevolence, spontaneity, and openness to an emphasis on militaristic strength,   effectiveness and being political and curriculum-centered.
  • Pay-for-performance transformed the definition of what a high quality  teacher would be.
Academia has been bought by the Common Core pushers (Gates, Soros, Pearson).
And academia not questioning the lack of empirical evidence behind the push the Common Core experiment is the promotion of educational malpractice.  Common Core is absolutely intellectually dishonest. It’s academic fraud.  But the highest ranking academics in our nation will not say so.
No one can explain this problem better than these guys do in this book (it’s the book I mentioned on Glenn Beck.)
Still, it’s true that countless educators believe our educational system was so awful that it is worth giving up local constitutional control of standards, for the cure-all of supposedly much better standards.
In South Carolina’s Senator Mike Fair’s words, we need to show them that Common Core is a case of trading our birthright for a mess of pottage –but not even getting the pottage.
The real trade was actual education and actual local control, for one size fits all progressive education and no control.

Videos: Meet Some Educational Freedom Fighters   3 comments

Indiana Senate Votes to Halt Common Core   Leave a comment

man at common core rally

Indiana Senate Votes To Halt Common Core Standards

By Brandon Smith, IPBS

Reposted:   http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/house-senate-halts-common-core-standards-45398/

Indiana is a step closer to taking a momentary break from implementation of the Common Core educational standards. The state Senate Thursday passed legislation halting the nationally-developed set of academic standards adopted in 45 states.

The bill’s author, Indianapolis Republican Senator Scott Schneider, says he was initially approached by two parents concerned about the Common Core. His legislation originally eliminated the education standards; now, it halts implementation until the state Board of Education conducts public hearings in each of the state’s nine congressional districts.

Gary Democratic Senator Earline Rogers says not only has the state already spent money beginning to implement the standards*, but a wide variety of organizations, such as the Parent Teacher Association**, support Common Core.

—  —-  —

 *THE STATE ALREADY SPENT MONEY.   –SHOULD YOU CONTINUE TO TAKE EXPENSIVE MEDICINE AFTER IT IS KNOWN TO BE UNHEALTHY?

**THE NATIONAL PTA ACCEPTED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PROMOTE COMMON CORE.

 

THIS IS ONE SMALL STEP FOR INDIANA; BUT ONE GIANT LEAP OF HOPE FOR AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL LIBERTY. 

THANK YOU, SENATOR SCHNEIDER.

 

Which States Aim to Reclaim Educational Liberty?   57 comments

RECLAIM EDUCATIONAL LIBERTY

Many people –including bipartisan U.S. groups  and freedom fighters   in other nations— are working to save educational liberty.  We are waking up to shake off the chains that have settled over education.

Please leave a comment if you know of updates to this chart. 

United States Against Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

and Washington, D.C.

State  Websites Videos Other
1. Alabama http://www.auee.org/ http://vimeo.com/60017609
2. Alaska
3. Arizona http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com
4. Arkansas http://www.uaedreform.org/sandra-stotsky/
5. California http://cuacc.org/ http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/
6. Colorado www.parentledreform.org

http://nepc.colorado.edu/author/ohanian-susan

www.bobschaffer.org

http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Mathis_NationalStandards.pdf

7. Connecticut http://vimeo.com/60214843 https://blogush.edublogs.org/
8. Delaware http://education.nationaljournal.com/2012/05/common-core-makes-waves.php
9. Florida https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Florida/516780045031362 http://truthabouteducation.wordpress.com/
10. Georgia http://stopcommoncore.com/ http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4 http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com

http://www.dissidentprof.com/

11. Hawaii
12. Idaho http://idahoansforlocaleducation.com/
13. Illinois https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Illinois/388021897963618 StopcommoncoreIllinois@yahoo.com

jphjuly12@yahoo.com

14. Indiana  http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/ http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/house-senate-halts-common-core-standards-45398/
15. Iowa   http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com
16. Kansas http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/hb2289/
17. Kentucky  scholarmom@gmail.com
18. Louisiana http://soitgoesinshreveport.blogspot.com/
19. Maine
20. Maryland
21. Massachusetts http://pioneerinstitute.org/
22. Michigan  www.SCCinMichigan.com http://improvek-12schools.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Michigan/303312003109291

23. Minnesota  http://edlibertywatch.org/
24. Mississippi
25. Missouri http://moagainstcommoncore.webs.com/ http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com
26. Montana
27. Nebraska
28. Nevada
29. New Hampshire http://nhcornerstone.org

thomas.newkirk@unh.edu

http://networkforeducation.org/
http://nhfamiliesforeducation.org/
https://www.facebook.com/NHSchoolChoice

30. New Jersey http://youtu.be/rSEVsEa9XEg

http://youtu.be/wEkN8Sgca0I

http://www.aasa.org
31. New Mexico
32. New York http://gothamschools.org
33. North Carolina http://mgmfocus.com

http://www.nceducationalliance.org

34. North Dakota https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-North-Dakota/431076243650481
35. Ohio Ohio Common Core – Roots and Reality of Education Standards
36. Oklahoma http://www.restoreokpubliceducation.com/
37. Oregon http://zhaolearning.com/2009/08/06/96/
38. Pennsylvania  http://www.ceopa.org/education-standards.aspx reedmom54@gmail.com
39. Rhode Island http://youtu.be/sBSgchJe2Z0
40. South Carolina https://www.facebook.com/StopCommonCoreInSouthCarolina?ref=stream http://www.electmikefair.com/?p=220
41. South Dakota http://legiscan.com/SD/bill/HB1204/2013
42. Tennessee http://tnacc.weebly.com
43. Texas http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/03/15/how-common-core-is-dumbing-down-america%E2%80%99s-schoolchildren/

http://educatefortexas.wordpress.com

44. Utah http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/ http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4

http://youtu.be/5XBsbxYJHms?t=11s

http://sutherlandinstitute.org/
45. Vermont
46. Virginia http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/
47. Washington http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/
48. West Virginia
49. Wisconsin
50. Wyoming cruisebrok@aol.com

Developing Algebraic Habits of Mind (Not Gonna Happen with Common Core)   Leave a comment

“Giving students problems to solve for which they have little or no prior knowledge or mastery of algebraic skills is not likely to develop the habit of mind of algebraic thinking. But the purveyors of this practice believe that continually exposing children to unfamiliar and confusing problems will result in a problem-solving “schema” and that students are being trained to adapt in this way. In my opinion, it is the wrong assumption. A more accurate assumption is that after the necessary math is learned, one is equipped with the prerequisites to solve problems that may be unfamiliar but which rely on what has been learned and mastered. I hope research in this area is indeed conducted.”

Full text posted at Education News:  http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/developing-the-habits-of-mind-for-algebraic-thinking/

Developing the Habits of Mind for Algebraic Thinking

by Barry Garelick

The idea of whether algebraic thinking can be taught outside of the context of algebra has attracted much attention over the past two decades. Interestingly, the idea has recently been raised as a question and a subject for further research in a recent article appearing in American Mathematical Society Notices which asks, “Is there evidence that teaching sense making without algebra is more or less effective than teaching the same concepts with algebra?” I sincerely hope this request is followed up on.

The term “habits of mind” comes up repeatedly in discussions about education — and math education in particular. The idea that teaching the “habits of mind” that make up algebraic thinking in advance of learning algebra has attracted its share of followers. Teaching algebraic habits of mind has been tried in various incarnations in classrooms across the U.S.

Habits of mind are important and necessary to instill in students. They make sense when the habits taught arise naturally out of the context of the material being learned. Thus, a habit such as “Say in your head what you are doing whenever you are doing math” will have different forms depending on what is being taught. In elementary math it might be “One third of six is two”; in algebra “Combining like terms 3x and 4x gives me 7x”; in geometry “Linear pairs add to 180, therefore 2x + (x +30) = 180”; in calculus “Composite function, chain rule, derivative of outside function times derivative of inside function”.

Similarly, in fourth or fifth grade students can learn to use the distributive property to multiply 57 x 3 as 3 x (50 + 7). In algebra, that is extended to a more formal expression: a(b + c) = ab + ac.

But what I see being promoted as “habits of mind” in math are all too often the teaching of particular thinking skills without the content to support it. For example, a friend of mine who lives in Spokane directed me to the website of the Spokane school district, where they posted a math problem at a meeting for teachers regarding best practices for teaching math.

The teachers were shown the following problem which was given to fifth graders. They were to discuss the problem and assess what different levels of “understanding” were demonstrated by student answers to the problem:

Not only have students in fifth grade not yet learned how to represent equations using algebra, the problem is more of an IQ test than an exercise in math ability. Where’s the math? The “habit of mind” is apparently to see a pattern and then to represent it mathematically.

Such problems are reliant on intuition — i.e., the student must be able to recognize a mathematical pattern — and ignore the deductive nature of mathematics. An unintended habit of mind from such inductive type reasoning is that students learn the habit of inductively jumping to conclusions. This develops a habit of mind in which once a person thinks they have the pattern, then there is nothing further to be done. Such thinking becomes a problem later when working on more complex problems.

Presentating problems like the button problem above prior to a pre-algebra or algebra course will likely result in clumsy attempts at solutions that may or may not lead to algebraic thinking. Since the students do not have the experience or mathematical maturity to express mathematical ideas algebraically, algebraic thinking is not inherent at such a stage.

Specifically, one student answered the problem as 1 x (11 x 3) + 1, which would be taken as evidence by some that the child is learning the “habit” of identifying patterns and expressing them algebraically. Another student answered it as 4 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 34.

Rather than establishing an algebraic habit of mind, such problems may result in bad habits. It is not unusual, for example, to see students in algebra classes making charts for problems similar to the one above, even though they may be working on identifying linear relationships, and making connections to algebraic equations. By making algebraic habits of mind part of the 5th-grade curriculum in advance of any algebra, students are being told “You are now doing algebra.” By the time they get to an actual algebra class, they revert back to their 5th grade understanding of what algebra is.

In addition, the above type of problem (no matter when it is given) is better presented so as to allow deductive rather than inductive reasoning to occur.

“Gita makes a sequence of patterns with her grandmother’s buttons. For each pattern she uses one black button and several white buttons as follows: For the first pattern she takes 1 black button and places 1 white button on three sides of the black button as shown. For the second pattern she places 2 white buttons on each of three sides of one black button; for the third 3 white buttons, and continues this pattern. Write an expression that tells how many buttons will be in the nth pattern.”

The purveyors of providing students problems that require algebraic solutions outside of algebra courses sometimes justify such techniques by stating that the methods follow the recommendations of Polya’s problem solving techniques. Polya, in his classic book “How to Solve It”, advises students to “work backwards” or “solve a similar and simpler problem”.

But Polya was not addressing students in lower grades; he was addressing students who are well on their way to developing problem solving expertise by virtue of having an extensive problem solving repertoire — something that students in lower grades lack. For lower grade students, Polya’s advice is not self-executing and has about the same effect as providing advice on safe bicycle riding by telling a child to “be careful”. For younger students to find simpler problems, they must receive explicit guidance from a teacher.

As an example, consider a student who stares blankly at a problem requiring them to calculate how many 2/15 mile intervals there are in a stretch of highway that is 7/10 of a mile long. The teacher can provide the student with a simpler problem such as “How many 2 mile intervals are there in a stretch of highway that is 10 miles long?” The student should readily see this is solved by division: 10 divided by 2. The teacher then asks the student to apply that to the original problem. The student will likely say in a hesitant voice: “Uhh, 7/10 divided by 2/15?”, and the student will be on his way. Note that in this example, the problem is set in the context of what the student has learned — not based on skills or concepts to be learned later.

Giving students problems to solve for which they have little or no prior knowledge or mastery of algebraic skills is not likely to develop the habit of mind of algebraic thinking. But the purveyors of this practice believe that continually exposing children to unfamiliar and confusing problems will result in a problem-solving “schema” and that students are being trained to adapt in this way. In my opinion, it is the wrong assumption. A more accurate assumption is that after the necessary math is learned, one is equipped with the prerequisites to solve problems that may be unfamiliar but which rely on what has been learned and mastered. I hope research in this area is indeed conducted. I hope it proves me right.

Barry Garelick has written extensively about math education in various publications including The Atlantic, Education Next, Educational Leadership, and Education News. He recently retired from the U.S. EPA and is teaching middle and high school math in California.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

Thanks to Barry Garelick for permission to post his article here.

Missouri Legislator Kurt Bahr to Introduce Common Core Withdrawal Bill   1 comment

Kurt Bahr

http://beforeitsnews.com/tea-party/2013/01/indiana-legislation-opposing-common-core-gets-a-hearing-2473980.html

The Before It’s News website states that Missouri Legislator Kurt Bahr is to introduce a withdrawal bill that will free Missouri from Common Core as Senator Scott Schneider has done in Indiana.  Heroes, heroes!

 

Scott Schneider

 

Before It’s News states:

“…The point is that… Missouri [is] no longer in charge of … state education standards. They must now negotiate them with a number of other states. If you as a parent or a school district want something different in your schools you cannot have it.

This is the core issue (if you’ll pardon the pun) that we have with Common Core State Standards. There is zero local control. Teachers may not deviate from or alter the standards in any way. They are trademarked. There is no path for correction, even for obvious mistakes like a simple math error that was identified early on in the draft phases, but was still not corrected three drafts later.

There is no path identified for this because the roll out of these standards has been so fast there has been no time to consider everything that is needed for them to operate. That means that an error on the assessment will be repeated in 45 states and count against teachers in those states whose performance reviews now take into account how their students score on these assessments.

Contrast that to the way Missouri DESE has handled our GLE’s in the past. Yearly, teachers and districts were able to submit complaints or suggestions to DESE for ways to add clarity to our standards or identify errors that needed to be fixed. DESE had been reasonably responsive to this input and made most changes in a timely manner. That process will be completely gone by 2014 when Common Core is supposed to be fully implemented.

The one thing each district, and ultimately tax payer, will be accountable for is the cost of implementing the Common Core standards and assessments. No one really know what this cost is going to be for a number of reasons. Missouri’s DESE was not required to estimate this cost to each district, nor inform them that such costs were coming. If you ask your local shcool board or superintendent what their cost will be to implement Common Core, most of them will not know. More shocking will be the number of them who do not even know what Common Core is or that it is coming.

… There is currently only one approved vendor for textbooks, Pearson. One teacher has looked into buying a replacement ELA book for the new CCSS in her fourth grade class and found the new book to be two and half times as expensive as the one she had been using for the last several years. Districts will have little control over these costs, because they have virtually no control over the standards or assessments.

The assessments are an even larger portion of these costs as they are supposed to be done on line, which not only requires input devices like comptuers or tablets, but also sufficient broadband to accommodate all the students taking them at once. Once you add technology, you must also add a host of support staff to maintain and troubleshoot that technology, adding further cost to a district. In Missouri, we have no room in our state budget for these extra costs. That means local districts will have to find the money because the foundation formula is not going to give it to them.

Representative Kurt Bahr will be introducing legislation again this year to get Missouri out of Common Core.

If Indiana’s experience this week was any indication, he ought to find tremendous support for his bill here in Missouri, not only from public school families, but also from private school and homeschool families. Common Core is reaching in to all these education venues.

As the realities of Common Core, which is being rolled out in various districts right now, come to light, our representatives in Jefferson City should start hearing a lot more from their constituents who want us out of this federally pushed national standards program.”

— — — — — — — — —

What I really want to know is, which Utah legislator will be leading the charge that Senators Schneider and Bahr have led in Indiana and in Missouri?

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

Stop Common Core

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this is changing dramatically.

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMMON CORE HISTORY:

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

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

In addition to the Constitution’s and the tenth amendment’s giving states sole authority to direct education, another law called the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gulliver’s First String: No cost analysis

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

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

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

   Gulliver’s Second String:

    The myth: that Common Core solves educational problems

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

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gulliver’s Fourth String: Problems with national testing

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

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

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

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

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

Gulliver’s Fifth String: Common Core English:

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

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

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

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

Does this differ from actual book burning?

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

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

Gulliver’s Sixth String: Weakening Math

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


Gulliver’s Seventh String:

Neither Local Education Leaders Nor Federal Educational Leaders Value American Rights

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

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


Gulliver’s Eighth String: Invading Citizen Privacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Closing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

—–  —–  —–

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Education Committee members – (801) 538-1035

Stuart C.  Reid screid@le.utah.gov

Patricia W. Jones pjones@le.utah.gov

Mark B. Madsen  mmadsen@le.utah.gov

Wayne L. Niederhauser wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

Aaron Osmond – aosmond@le.utah.gov

Howard A. Stephenson hstephenson@le.utah.gov

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

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

Dear Principal   3 comments

I wrote a letter to the principal who heads the school that my non-homeschooled child attends.  It’s posted below.   What got me thinking enough to write it was Sue Schmidt’s letter, posted by Oak Norton on Utahns Against Common Core, today.  It is posted under my letter.
Shawn,
Regardless of what political views you hold, you likely agree that educators should recognize and get rid of Anti-American bias that poses as modern “fact”.  Freedom of thought and expression demand that bias be exposed, not promoted, especially in schools.
I am forwarding this email below, hoping you will double check before ordering any history or social studies texts that minimize teaching a reverence for American history and citizenship, in favor of anti-American, collectivist “global citizenship”.
I see an aggressive “progressive” move in education today, away from traditional loyalty to the Constitution and toward global citizenry and U.N. reverence.  I noticed this slant in last year’s WHS  A.P. Geography text, for example.
Two years ago, Texas kicked out the liberal bias from their textbooks.  Could Wasatch schools identify and remove bias similarly? http://www.creators.com/opinion/phyllis-schlafly/texas-kicks-out-liberal-bias-from-textbooks.html
I have taken the time to study actual speeches (posted on YouTube) given by Michael Barber, the CEA of educational text corporation PEARSON.  We use Pearson in Wasatch, as you know.  But you may not know where they come from politically.

This British CEA, Michael Barber, also regularly “tweets” about American politics needing to veer left.  I heard things in Barber’s speeches that I don’t think parents here want to push students toward.  I assume Barber’s philosophies trickle down into Pearson’s instructional materials.
Just asking you to read extra carefully.
Christel
———- Forwarded message ———-

Post: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/whats-in-your-childs-textbook/

I received this email yesterday and (with permission from Sue to post) thought I would pose the question to parents, do you know what’s in your child’s school books?

Oak,

I just thought you would be interested and I want to let as many parents as possible aware of my experience.   I have been a homeschooling mom mostly since my now 17 year olds were in 3rd grade.  We recently moved to Springville and that combined with other circumstances led me to try public school for all my 7 kids who are of school age (I have 2 younger ones still at home.)

It has a positive experience so far in many ways but I continue to dislike common core on many levels and I have really been concerned  about what is and isn’t being taught in history.   So concerned that I decided to ask my 6th grade child’s teacher if I could borrow a copy of the history books he is teaching out of.

Appalled is the ONLY word I can think of to describe what I found there!  It’s a world history book and the section on the US is maybe 4 pages long.  It has no mention of our founding fathers but teaches abundantly about Karl Marx and his “wonderful ideas”.

The section on Christianity is a joke but the section on Islam is lengthy.   It’s just ridiculous! !

Needless to say my kids will either be transferring to the local charter school that does not use common core and teaches much about our founding fathers or it’s back to homeschooling.

I think the media needs to hear about this!  Just thought you’d be interested.

Thanks,

Sue Schmidt

_____

Oak Norton, a Utah parent who heads Utahns Against Common Core, recently filed a GRAMA request with the state.  In correspondence with the legal counsel for the Utah State Office of Education, he was told the request was going to be charged to him because they felt it was primarily of private interest instead of public, since state board members had not received a single complaint on the subject of the selection of the new superintendent.

Oak happened to know this was false.

A few years ago, in the course of a single month, Oak was contacted by 4 separate families who went to Alpine School District to complain about Investigations math, and the very same administrator at the district office told each one of them that they were the only parent to ever complain about the math program.

Each one left wondering if they were the only one to speak up. Unless many more people speak up about the problems and work to get neighbors informed and speak up as well, our school system will continue the downward slide into politically-controlled curriculum and indoctrination.

I am asking you to do the same: contact your local school board, principal and political representative by phone or email if these things matter to you.

 

David Coleman: Dropping All Things Beautiful From American Schools   1 comment

How Did David Coleman Persuade a Nation

To Drop All Things Beautiful From Schools?

I imagine if David Coleman were to value a diamond, he would base its worth solely on the fact that it’s the hardest substance in nature.  The diamond’s beauty,  its way of bringing people joy, or its history as the symbol of eternal romance, would not matter to Coleman.  Just so long as the darn rock can drill through some stuff.  That’s how he thinks about reading and writing.

This is why he has gotten rid of all things beautiful in education:

  • No more cursive.
  • No more traditional math.
  • Very little classic literature, to make room for mostly informational text.
  • Informational texts to include insulation manuals and Executive Orders, in the English classroom.

That’s Common Core.  The perfect lockstep methodology for delivering whatever the person or people at the top consider to be appropriate for the rest of the nation.  A potential propaganda machine with no amendability by local voices.  It’s under copyright by the “sole developers,” the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

And the Common Core English standards were produced under the direction of David Coleman, who moved from being the national standards leader to being president of the College Board in one fell swoop.

Is this the man you want leading a nation’s educational standards?

Not me.  In fact, I don’t want any one man having that much power over so many.

Remember back in B.C.C.?  Before Common Core?  We used to determine standards locally, not top-down from Washington.  We were free to soar as high as Massachusetts, or to fail as badly as the worst of the worst.  It was up to us.

It seemed almost that we remembered the spirit of the Constitution, the spirit of independence and local power, once upon that pre-common core time.  The promoters of Common Core continue to claim it’s a grass-roots, state-led initiative.  But who can honestly see it that way, when nobody even knew about Common Core until the elite groups that produced it, had already sold it to governors and state school boards without a public vote or any kind of vetting by the average teacher, parent or principal?  It was an under-the-radar sneaky move that nationalized American education just like any other socialist nation’s educational system.  And we are stuck with it, until enough people tell their school boards and governors NO.

As for David Coleman, he’s not a teacher and never has been.  Somehow he still managed to acquire the job of central architect of the now mostly-national Common Core English Standards –and also, to repeat, to drill the fact into our collective conscious– he became president of the College Board and he is now aligning the Common Core standards with college entrance exams.  Yes, the SAT.

My purpose for writing today is not to figure out how he wormed his way to such positions of power without any teaching experience.  My purpose is to ponder the unlovely place he’s taking us, to shake us up and help us to see that he’s wrecking the beauty and effectiveness of real education.

The absolutely least lovely comment I’ve ever heard from any educator, ever, came from David Coleman:

As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’ That is rare”

It’s on this very short video clip:

 

What kind of legitimate educator would speak so narrowly about the purposes and benefits of writing narratively?  Such a dreary-minded, utilitarian philosopher should not be honored with the leading of our nation’s K-12 –and now, also, our nation’s university– environment.

No way.

Will Common Core Rescue or Worsen American Illiteracy Rates?   Leave a comment

     The New American magazine ran an article this week entitled “How to Eradicate Illiteracy in America,” by Sam Blumenfeld.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/13752-how-to-eradicate-illiteracy-in-america

Blumenfeld writes that according to the National Center for Education Statistics 2003 report,  43 percent of American adults are virtually illiterate.  But nobody seems to have noticed.

Blumenfeld writes that “The socialist curriculum is so deeply entrenched in the education system, that there is no possibility that the illiteracy-producing machine can be stopped. Such reform efforts as Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education can’t even begin to address the issue of illiteracy. They espouse the thinking of all previous establishment reformers: set standards and spend more money.”

Blumenfeld blames John Dewey for much of the illiteracy in America today.

“Today many children not only can’t read the Bible, they can’t read a newspaper. They can’t read, period. How did this situation come about? It all started in 1898 when socialist John Dewey proclaimed that the traditional primary school subjects that emphasized literacy, spelling, and arithmetic for the development of independent thinking, must be replaced by a new curriculum that emphasized socialization and group think.

Blumenfeld calls Dewey’s sales pitch baloney.  Dewey had written: “It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years.  The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activities at this time. ”

Blumenfeld explains, “The illiterate student doesn’t make rapid progress later. He becomes stuck in his illiteracy.”

Blumenfeld concludes that the only way to eradicate illiteracy is to go directly to the people affected by the programs that create illiteracy.

“This means creating a massive campaign for universal literacy that can only be successfully undertaken by conservative leaders who sincerely believe in the cause. They must want to help those who have been academically damaged and handicapped by the schools. And they must embark on a program to teach these people to read.”

Agency-Based Education: Conference Highlights   Leave a comment

http://www.agencybasededucation.org/ending-compulsory-education/

For those who were not able to attend the Conference on “Agency-Based Education” I’ve provided a link to the speeches (videos) and website of the Agency Based Education group.

Substantive. Worth watching.

Mark Davis or Wilma Cowley? Shad Sorenson or Jen Kelson? Wasatch School Board   Leave a comment

Wasatch County School Board: Cowley, Kelson in front; Jones, Baird, Horner in back.

I would be happy to sit by them at the Heber rodeo or say hello at the grocery store, but I would not cast a vote for a single one of these nice people.  Sorry.

I’d put up a yard sign for Mark Davis and Shad Sorenson, though.

The old school board might be good people.  But part of that goodness does not include studying what the heck is going on in American education today.

There’s been a national betrayal in public education and they don’t even know about it. Not studying it and not informing the local citizens, teachers and parents of students of both sides of the issue is irresponsible.

They let the state board call the shots without listening to parents or teachers.  The state board defines Common Core for all. But the state board is guided by the Common Core-promoting philosophies of Sir Michael Barber, CEA of Pearson; the SBAC’s socialist Linda Darling-Hammond, bomber-and-education reformer Bill Ayers, federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama. Extremists.

These local incumbents don’t seem to perceive how the state board’s tolerance of Common Core is damaging.  Their unwillingness to study these issues deeply and diligently will hurt us.

The district website still sings the praises of the highly controversial Common Core.

Check it out. Compare what they say, below, to what Utah’s Sutherland Institute, Heritage Foundation, Boston’s Pioneer Institute, Bill Evers at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, or thousands of other patriotic, education-loving, anti-Common Core parents, teachers and intellectuals have to say:

Here’s the local board’s side of it: http://www.wasatch.edu/cms/lib/UT01000315/Centricity/Domain/27/Common%20Core%20FACTS%20revised.pdf

vs.

NPR news:  http://stateimpact.npr.org/indiana/2012/09/26/why-common-core-academic-standards-are-dividing-republicans-on-education/

Education Week and Romney’s stand on Common Core: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/09/mitt_romney_doesnt_think_the.html

Here’s Sutherland’s several: http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/article_detail.php?id=3276&type=Press+Releases

http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/news/2012/07/18/fact-checking-usoe-claims-on-common-core/

Pioneer Institute’s several:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/Controlling-Education-From-the-Top%5B1%5D.pdf

http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/blog/news/handwaving-away-opposition-to-the-national-standards/

Heritage Foundation’s:  http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/03/indiana-superintendent-obama-administration-nationalized-common-core-standards/ and http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/12/a-national-education-standards-exit-strategy-for-states

Thousands of Utahns who signed the petition: http://utahnsagainstcommoncore.com

 

— and there are so many more who have pointed out that “facts” about Common Core, as they are being presented by our school board on our local district website, are simply not true, or are only half-truths.   It is quite sobering.

So, why do they do it?  Why not show the facts and the national dialogue about Common Core, to be transparent about the pros and cons and real concerns of teachers, students, and parents?  I do not know.  But I have a solution.

Solution: vote them out. Vote for people who will study the issues, and who won’t rubber stamp everything Arne Duncan’s troops and the state board push as “good for” the local people.

Vote for Mark Davis and Shad Sorenson.

Wilma Cowley, nice and grandmotherly though she is, simply does not return emails.  It is not acceptable to ignore the community that voted for you in the first place and to disregard serious concerns.

She refuses to study the pros and cons of Common Core and refuses to explain why.  She never says anything during the school board meetings and just allows others to talk.  Kind, adorable, but not tough and not diligent in researching enough.

It matters.

Her opponent, Mark Davis was willing to meet with concerned citizens and was willing to listen to our concerns about the dramatic changes in the way our state collects student data (via the Utah Data Alliance, the State Longitudinal Database, and the P-20 child tracking systems.)

He was also open to hearing the truth about Common Core.  He was not automatically buying all the drooly praise that Obama and his educational elites offer concerning the Common Core without seeing some references.  He is no wimp.  He stands up for what he believes in, which I know only because he told us some stories that I don’t have permission to share here.

Vote Mark Davis.

Shad Sorenson said, in the “Meet the Candidates” forum, that he was glad Utah had backed out of the SBAC testing consortium.  So he gets it.  He understands that Common Core hurts local control.

I prefer Shad Sorenson to Jen Kelson because Shad has done some homework on Common Core, which Jen has not.  Kelson (like Wilma Cowley) never returns an email.  She talks, talks, talks at board meetings and never listens to concerned teachers and citizens like me.  We don’t even get a return email–nothing.

School board members should study the facts and the scary contracts and academic limitations of Common Core.  Our current board simply doesn’t address anything that the USOE  and Arne Duncan aren’t selling.  I can’t respect that.  I want new people in there.

There are serious issues in American education today, and we need local school board members who know it and who study it so they can be in a position to protect our children and the quality of their education and their data privacy.

Vote Shad Sorenson.

Lastly, I have no comment about whether anyone votes for Blaik Baird or his opponent; they both, at the Meet the Candidates event, seemed to be unconcerned in any way that Common Core might be harming our educational system.  They believe it’s all Arne Duncan and Obama and Larry Shumway have said. Even though it ain’t the truth.

After all this time, they still haven’t cracked the books on it.  So it’s probably not going to matter which one of those two gets elected.

But Sorenson and Davis are better, I think; I hope.

I’d give them my vote anyway.

Keeping Kids Safe: Radio Show   Leave a comment

Listen to internet radio with Keeping Our Kids Safe on Blog Talk Radio

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/keeping-our-kids-safe/2012/10/04/common-core-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-affect-your-family

Keeping Kids Safe is Bill Wardell’s radio show. He invited Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and I on his show today to discuss data privacy issues, Common Core national education, and what most parents do not know about Common Core.

Romney v. Obama on Common Core   1 comment

Education News Piece: How Common Core Math Dumbs Down Students   Leave a comment

In today’s op-ed piece from Education News, Barry Garelick explains specifically how Common Core math will dumb down American students. Garelick writes that process is trumping content while teachers are not being allowed to teach or to demand memorization, but must be  just “guides” while students teach themselves.  Garelick writes:

“..The final math standards released in June, 2010 appear to some as if they are thorough and rigorous. Although they have the “look and feel” of math standards, their adoption in my opinion will not only continue the status quo in this country, but will be a mandate for reform math — a method of teaching math that eschews memorization, favors group work and student-centered learning, puts the teacher in the role of “guide” rather than “teacher” and insists on students being able to explain the reasons why procedures and methods work for procedures and methods that they may not be able to perform.

“I base my opinion on what I see being discussed at seminars on how to implement the Common Core…[M]aking sense of mathematics” sounds great on paper.  But what it means to those of the thoughtworld of the education establishment is what is also called “habits of mind” in which students are taught habits of analyzing problems long before they have learned the procedural knowledge and content that allows such habits to develop naturally.  They are called upon to think critically before acquiring the analytic tools with which to do so.

“… Such a process while eliminating what the edu-establishment views as tedious “drill and kill” exercises, results in poor learning and lack of mastery.”

Full article here: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-pedagogical-agenda-of-common-core-math-standards/#comment-17598

Also, here are two youtube videos that explain the same issue with the “fuzzy” math teaching movement:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YLlX61o8fg
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI
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