Archive for the ‘legislators’ Tag

Utah Unhappily Bound by Common Core Standards   Leave a comment

menlove

SUPERINTENDENT MENLOVE

martell.menlove@schools.utah.gov

I like Superintendent Martell Menlove.  He’s approachable, pleasant, polite; has a warm smile and even responds to emails.
But there is a problem.  Dr. Menlove is not just any Utahn; he’s the State Superintendent.  He supports Common Core and he’s a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers,  which created and copyrighted Common Core (with the NGA).
ccsso
CCSSO is an organization that aims to destroy (“disaggregate”) student privacy and thus, student liberty.
Dr. Menlove is also on the Board of Directors of WestEd, an organization with a key role in the creation of the Common Core tests.  I don’t know why he remains a member of these groups.  Maybe he thinks he can influence them for good instead of having them drag him (and our state) down. Maybe.  But Dr. Menlove told me once that the reason he supports Common Core is that the ACT and SAT do.  He thinks that our students have to align with whatever ACT/SAT do because of college entrance traditions.  (I suggested to Dr. Menlove that now that David Coleman has corrupted the college entrance exams  (here and here)  down to Common Core standards, we should flee ACT/SAT and find alternative testing for Utah students.)  He did not agree.
oak
Yesterday, my friend Oak Norton wrote a letter to Dr. Menlove.  He asked him to publically clarify whether Utah Core Standards are the same thing as Common Core Standards because some people are of the false belief that Utah has independent math and English standards.   Dr. Menlove wrote back and clarified.  Utah does Common Core standards.  He wrote: “The Utah State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards as Utah Core Standards in Math and English/Language Arts.  I do not believe I have said anything contrary to this.  If I have, I apologize.”  (See?  He is nice.)
But there’s still a problem.   It’s never been made clear by him nor other leaders  that because we do Common Core, we cannot control our own standards anymore.  Whether our leaders don’t understand this, or choose not to understand this, or don’t want the people to understand this, is no matter.  What matters is that people are confused.
menlove 2
Let’s not be confused.  We can fact-check our leaders who say,  “Utah isn’t obligated to Common Core and we can easily alter “our” standards while still belonging to the Common Core Initiative”.  It’s wishful thinking at best; lies at worst.   Here’s why:
Look at 7 basic facts:
1.   The Department of Education’s official website explains the conditions of getting ARRA money. It says:
“As part of its application for initial funding, the state must assure that it will take actions to: (a) increase teacher effectiveness and address inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers; (b) establish and use pre-K-through-college and career data systems to track progress and foster continuous improvement; (c) make progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments; and (d) support targeted, intensive support and effective interventions to turn around schools identified for corrective action and restructuring.”
F.Y.I. – “College and Career Ready Standards and high-quality assessments” means only ONE thing to the federal government:  COMMON CORE.  Read their definitions page.
Yes, we traded our educational freedom for federal ARRA money.   Sad choice, Governor Huntsman.  That’s where it all started: there were four assurances in that signup (which included common standards and assessments and data collection) that Governor Huntsman signed us up for in that State Fiscal Stabilization Fund; the standards were one of the conditions.  Data collection and testing were also included.
Maybe Dr. Menlove doesn’t know this.  He really should.
2.   BUT THERE IS MORE:  the MOU  (Memorandum of Understanding) that the school board signed got us started further down the path of Common Core –this MOU, which was used in other federal funding applications, proved we were on the Common Core commitment train.
3.  BUT THERE IS MORE:  the NCLB temporary waiver application (see page 18) binds Utah to COMMON STANDARDS.
4. BUT THERE IS  MORE:  the Common Core copyright page itself binds users to precisely what’s written and offers no amendment process for states governed by the standards;
5.  BUT THERE IS MORE:  there is a  15% clause in the Achieve implementation manuals (see page 23) and in the NCLB waiver and elsewhere, that is a “ceiling rule”, stifling what Utah can add to the Utah Core, and ensuring that anything Utah adds to the Common standards, including or beyond that 15%, won’t be tested or recognized by the national testers nor written into the “acceptable” Common Core aligned curriculums
6.  BUT THERE IS MORE.  The lack of any amendment process for the states to alter the common standards should be a red flag to our leaders– whose duty is to protect us from the tyranny of corporate copyrights as well as to protect us from the tyranny of the federal Department of Education.
7.  BUT THERE IS MORE.   Even if we stand firm and reject the coming science and social studies standards, which Dr. Menlove told us he would do, we are still standing without control over what our students will learn about history and science!  We’ve been duped by David Coleman, lead Common Core creator and now College Board President.
jakell
This duping is clearly explained in a letter from another friend of mine, Jakell Sullivan, on the subject:
———————————
Dear Legislators,
Oak Norton published Superintendent Menlove’s reply to his email where Dr. Menlove admits that we have indeed adopted Common Core; however, he does not make any effort to address the places where Utah is bound to the federal mandates—this is, in my opinion, a consistent effort by him and Board members to never address the actual reality of the situation.  Please see Dr. Menlove’s response, and please keep in mind that the Common Core Standards creators were clever in their approach to telling states they were only adopting Math and English. The actual cover of the English Language Arts standards reads:
“English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
This was a sleight of hand by the Standards creators, and why parents around the country are beginning to see such wordy math problems. All subjects will be enmeshed under Common Core standards, providing an easier framework to slip ideas and beliefs into all subjects.
Here is video of CC architect, David Coleman, talking about how he threatened to resign from writing the standards unless “teachers in history and social studies, and tech subjects bear the responsibility of bringing their kids to literacy.”
But, it is not about bringing English into all subjects, it is about bringing all subjects together so that states, who would never accept the anti-American history standards, would be getting those standards through the back door through the recommended curricula.
Watch from about the 6 min.-7.5 min. point.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLba9mBFmbY#t=471
I hope legislators will find a way to vet what has actually occurred.
JaKell
make your voice heard
Please make your voice heard.  Call or write to your local and state leaders.  Let them know that this loss of local control is NOT OKAY with you.  Speak up or you will lose your window of opportunity to defend freedom and your children’s rights.  Silence is acquiescence.
Here’s contact information:

GOVERNOR HERBERT:  constituentservices@utah.gov

 SUPERINTENDENT MENLOVE: 

martell.menlove@schools.utah.gov

STATE SCHOOL BOARD:   board@schools.utah.gov

EDUCATION COMMITTEE: (SENATE)

Stuart Reid screid@le.utah.gov

Patricia W. Jones pjones@le.utah.gov

Mark B. Madsen mmadsen@le.utah.gov

wniederhauser@le.utah.gov

Aaron Osmond aosmond@le.utah.gov

Howard Stephenson hstephenson@le.utah.gov

Jerry W. Stevenson  jwstevenson@le.utah.gov

Stephen H. Urquhart  surquhart@le.utah.gov

EDUCATION COMMITTEE: (HOUSE)

fgibson@le.utah.gov

vlsnow@le.utah.gov

parent@le.utah.gov

rcunningham@le.utah.gov

seliason@le.utah.gov

greghughes@le.utah.gov

blast@le..utah.gov

dlifferth@le.utah.gov

dmccay@le.utah.gov

csmoss@le.utah.gov

jimnielson@le.utah.gov

vpeterson@le.utah.gov

mariepoulson@le.utah.gov

kraigpowell@le.utah.gov

dsanpei@le.utah.gov

kstratton@le.utah.gov

UTAH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(It promotes Common Core via “Prosperity 2020”):

revans@slchamber.com

MANY OTHER UTAH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE:

info@westjordanchamber.com

info@sslchamber.com

sandychamber@sandychamber.com

chamber@tooelechamber.com

russ@stgeorgechamber.com

semile@cachechamber.net

 

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Former Teacher Speaks Out: The Red Flags of Common Core   5 comments

Utahn Laureen Simper, a former school teacher, gave the following speech at the State Capitol last week to an audience of 500-600 people, including dozens of legislators as well as teachers, parents, students, and other citizens concerned about Common Core. She has given permission to publish it here.

I am a former school teacher, I currently teach privately, and as a mother, I battled Common Core in the 90’s under its former name: outcome-based education. There are a number of red flags I have seen as I have studied and learned about Common Core.

When parents can’t get anything more concrete from a teacher than to call Common Core standards “more rigorous,” this is a red flag.

When teachers are afraid to speak against the Common Core standards for fear of losing their jobs, this is a red flag.

When university students studying in the education department are told that their professors don’t know what to teach them to qualify them as certified teachers because of Common Core, this is a red flag.

When teachers skulkingly hand a parent a text book to help their child at home, as if that text book is contraband, this is a red flag.

When the federal government is spending the money of taxpayers who have not yet been born to fund the untested Common Core and bribe states to receive waivers for No Child Left Behind or money from Race to the Top, this is a red flag.

When educrats advocate funneling a child into an educational system that will determine what that child will grow up to be for the good of a global job market, which undermines the true self-determination that has been a prized value of liberty since this country’s beginnings, THIS IS A RED FLAG!

When someone wants to run for the Utah State Board of Education fills out an application and one of the first questions is, “Do you support the Common Core”, essentially eliminating him for consideration if he answers “NO”, this is a red flag.

That is a succinct fact that is absolutely appalling.

There is good news across the country about states taking a closer look, pulling out, and defunding Common Core – exhibiting true leadership on this issue, rather than sheep-like group think.

I ask Utah legislators to put Utah on that list.

Michigan, Florida to Stop Common Core   1 comment

By defunding or in other ways pausing/stopping Common Core, legislators in a growing number of states aim to take back local control of education, redirecting the state’s educational focus and funds toward more legitimate educational endeavors that do not include the full Common Core agenda.

A guest post at The Washington Post, on Valerie Strauss’ blog, (the post by Michael McShane) shows how easily Michigan is stopping Common Core. McShane writes:

“Michigan state senator Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) doesn’t like the Common Core.

It is, according to [Sen. McMillin], “An obvious overreach by the federal government into our classrooms.” He believes that “The federal government should not dictate what is taught in every classroom in the nation, especially in Michigan.”

Agree with him or not, he has a perspective that is shared by numerous legislators in states all across the country, from Kansas to Louisiana to Indiana to Georgia to Pennsylvania which is causing headaches for Common Core advocates.

To try and stop the Common Core, McMillin introduced, along with several other senators, HB 4276, which specifically states that “The state board model core academic curriculum content standards shall not be based upon the Common Core Standards.”

Now, trying to pass a bill to openly thwart the Common Core — which, it should be stated, Republican Governor Tom Snyder supports — is probably a bridge too far. To date, it appears that the bill, like several others throughout the nation, has stalled in the Senate Education Committee.

So what is a Senator like McMillin to do? Well, all he needs to do to stop the Common Core is make sure that it doesn’t get funded… House Republicans were able to use the 11th hour conference committee that gets the state budget passed to slip in a provision that prohibited the Michigan Department of Education from funding Common Core implementation. Before folks knew what hit them, the budget was approved, and the die was cast.

In doing so, he knowingly or not created a playbook for Common Core opponents in state houses nationwide. Trying to openly oppose the Common Core by amending state code is extremely difficult. Cutting the legs out from under it in the budget does not appear to be…”

——–
Read the full Michigan defunding Common Core article by Michael McShane at the Washington Post here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/05/is-it-really-this-easy-to-block-the-common-core/
——–

Democrats against Common Core seem mostly to oppose the privatization of public education (Bill Gates-Pearson style) and Republicans against Common Core seem mostly to oppose Common Core’s socialist-styled centralization of power.

But for a growing number of Americans, Independence Day will be redefined when Common Core goes away.

Look around.

Indiana has passed a Common-Core-on-time-out bill, rather than a defunding bill. Kansas, Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Florida* and other states are moving, each in slightly different ways, to throw off the chains.

The voices are growing.

——

*Watch Florida lawmakers questioning Common Core at a recently filmed hearing here:

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