Archive for the ‘News’ Tag

Three Anti-Common Core State School Board Members Elected in Utah Last Night   3 comments

 

happy dance dog

Miracles do happen.

Utah’s liberty-loving, anti-common core community did a lot of happy dancing last night when candidates Alisa Ellis, Michelle Boulter and Lisa Cummins won three seats on the state school board. This election showed what can happen when people actually get to vote, instead of having the governor appoint board members, as had happened for so many years in the past.

Utah’s board finally has vibrant voices and votes for parent-and-teacher directed, not federal-corporate directed control of curriculum, testing, and student data.

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Although the Utah anti-common core community was saddened that the heroic Dr. Gary Thompson (pictured above with Senator Mike Lee and Lisa Cummins) did not win his bid for a seat on the state school board, his campaign had an undeniable impact in raising awareness about student mental health, student data privacy, and the supremacy of family /parental rights.  How often Dr. Thompson repeated this truth: “Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their children”.

The spirit of what Dr. Thompson’s all about thrives in Alisa, Michelle and Lisa.

The news of three of our strongest freedom-fighter parents taking three seats on the state school board is nothing short of miraculous.

Celebrate!

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Video: Florida Senators Lee and Hayes: Why They are Done With Common Core Testing   3 comments

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Florida’s Senators Tom Lee and Alan Hayes

This week in Florida, senators are speaking up against the Common Core testing and “accountability” systems.

In the video below, Florida’s Senator Lee’s states:

“I’m done with the testing program in the state of Florida; I’m done with the “accountability” system.  Whoever those people are out there from whatever foundation they may be from, whatever testing groups they may be supporting:  I’m over you.  You’ve lost my confidence… You’re so married to this system, you don’t have a shred of common sense left…. As this has progressed, it has become a behemoth… We are now complicit in this problem…  I hear the people supporting this system telling me that it’s so important to them that we maintain the bureaucracy that we hold this system up as so sacrosanct and so inflexible…

I just want to send a message… go find somebody else to talk to ’cause I’m done with you.  

And I hope the folks over at the Dept. of Education understand that it takes a good long while to get me fed up, but I’m there.  “

Senator Alan Hayes also stood up and spoke against the ed reform machine that’s hurting children. Senator Hayes’ admission here is that he realizes that he has been part of the problem, and now he regrets the mess that’s been made.  He said that the intentions of ed reforms were honorable but the results are not good.

These short videos should be widely shared.

Update: High-Stakes Testing Pushback News   Leave a comment

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Once again, we are indebted to Colorado Principal Bob Schaeffer who has collected this list of national news articles about pushback concerning high-stakes tests in the U.S.

Before I post the list of news articles, I want to share a concern recently raised by Utah Dr. Gary Thompson: that perhaps the heated, national testing pushback could result in public acceptance of another nascent trend called stealth assessments. What do you think?  Stealth Assessments are tests that are so deeply embedded into the curriculum and into video-game-based assignments that students do not suffer from test anxiety, not knowing they are being tested; but parents cannot easily opt children out of the tests; and in fact, teachers may be unaware that any testing/data mining is going on during stealth assessment. The tests blur the lines between assessment and curriculum. Is that to be the solution to all the test trouble?  Which is worse? View Dr. Thompson’s full lecture on SAGE testing (Utah’s Common Core testing) here.  See minute 35 for information on stealth assessments.

Now, here is the testing pushback news list:

2015 Will Be “Crunch Time” for New Common Core Assessments
http://www.districtadministration.com/article/outlook-assessments-crunch-time-common-core

Republican U.S. Senate Aides Drafting Bill to Overhaul “No Child” Law; May Eliminate Annual Testing Rule
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2014/12/gop_senate_aides_working_on_dr.html

Los Angeles Superintendent Seeks Suspension of California’s Test-Based School Rating System
http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2014/12/15/17683/lausd-superintendent-seeks-state-testing-relief/

Annual Testing Not Beneficial to Colorado Parents, Teachers Says New Survey
http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101987812292-130/DAPE+survey+money+results+pdf+executive+summary.pdf
Opt-Outs Reduce Colorado’s 12th Grade Test Participation Rate to 83%
http://co.chalkbeat.org/2014/12/10/cde-participation-rate-only-83-percent-for-12th-grade-tests/#.VIihrC7vcZw

Is This the “Mean Season” for Educating Connecticut Children
http://ctmirror.org/op-ed-is-this-the-mean-season-for-educating-our-children/

Delaware’s Test-Data Fetishism Doesn’t Work
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/12/13/education-departments-solution-work/20331407/#.

Backlash Against Testing Overkill Finds Home in Florida, Where It All Began
http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/testing/national-backlash-against-school-testing-finds-an-audience-in-florida/2209931

 

More Florida Families Opting Out of Standardized Exams
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/more-and-more-parents-opting-out-standardized-test/njRTd/
Many Florida Teachers Resign Over Common Core Testing Demands
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/osceola-co-teachers-resigning-en-masse-over-common/njPXY/?nmredir=true

Idaho Board of Ed Appoints Parent, Teacher, Community Committee to Review Test Items for Bias
http://magicvalley.com/news/local/state-committee-to-review-standardized-test-questions/article_325c5da6-6c21-534f-8cb8-407d86f06e2b.html

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Wants to Slash Illinois’ School Testing Requirements
http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/garcia-unveils-education-plan-vows-cut-back-testing/thu-12112014-345pm

Indiana Education Dean: Test-Based Teacher Measures Are Not Fair
http://in.chalkbeat.org/2014/12/09/indiana-education-dean-teacher-measures-arent-fair/#.VIhcfy7vcZw

PARCC Test Creates New Hurdle for Maryland English Language Learners
http://news.wypr.org/post/new-state-standardized-tests-pose-unique-challenges-new-english-speakers
The Rising Tide of Maryland Opt Outs
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/education/the-rising-tide-of-opting-out/article_f4d38eeb-83f8-5703-baa6-bd7692ac726f.html

Michigan Test Changes Frustrate Educators
http://www.cadillacnews.com/news_story/?story_id=1823394&year=2014&issue=20141213

New Jersey Parents: Students Take Too Many Standardized Exams
http://www.app.com/story/news/education/in-our-schools/2014/12/09/marlboro-tests/20136527/

New Mexico Teachers Think Online PARCC Test Will Confuse Students
http://www.abqjournal.com/512077

North Carolina Parents Worry About Schools Testing Too Much
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/12/13/buncombe-parents-worry-schools-testing-much/20381487/

Growing Support Across Ohio to Limit High-Stakes Tests
http://www.local12.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/growing-support-limit-highstakes-tests-schools-21949.shtml

Telling the Truth About Oklahoma Standardized Testing
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/you-just-heard-it-we-must_b_6319886.html

Philadelphia City Council Resolution on Pennsylvania State Testing — as Adopted
http://www.workingeducators.org/call_city_council_support_the_standardized_testing_resolution
Impact of Philadelphia City Council Resolution on Opt-Outs and State Ratings
http://thenotebook.org/blog/148033/effect-student-opt-outs-schools

Tennessee Gov. Proposes Temporary Roll Back in Student-Test Weight in Teacher Evaluations
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2014/12/push_to_reduce_test_scores_weight_in_evaluations_announced_by_tenn_governor.html

Texas Advocates for Meaningful Student Assessment Posts Reform Agenda
http://www.tamsatx.org/

What Arne Duncan Says vs What Arne Duncan Does
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/12/10/what-arne-duncan-says-vs-what-arne-duncan-does/

Duncan Brings the Sham of VAM to Teacher Evaluation
http://www.livingindialogue.com/duncan-brings-sham-vam-teacher-education/

School “Reform” Flunks the Test
https://theamericanscholar.org/school-reform-fails-the-test/

Thirty Years of Failed “Accountability” Policies
http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/2014-ncuea-fall-conference-thirty-years-of-accountability-deserves-an-f/

What (Besides Tests) Should Count?
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_california/2014/12/paul_tough_on_what_besides_tests_should_count.html

Who Is Really Failing Students
http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/whos-really-failing-students/

Season of Protest: Interview with Jesse Hagopian
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-berkshire/high-stakes-testing-protests_b_6295622.html

Bad Ass Teachers Call on Sec. Duncan to Investigate Civil Rights Abuses From Testing
http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2014/12/bats-send-open-letter-to-secretary.html

The Testing Camera: A Cartoon Allegory
http://fablevisionlearning.com/blog/2014/12/the-testing-camera/

United Opt Out National Conference — Jan. 1618, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale
http://unitedoptout.com/2014/11/30/united-opt-out-stand-up-for-action-florida-schedule/

National Update on Common Core Testing Pushback   Leave a comment

By Bob Schaeffer

 

If the issues were not so serious, watching test-and-punish advocates backpedal in the face of the rapidly growing testing resistance movement would be great entertainment. From U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan crying crocodile tears about the impacts of the very policies he advocated, to Rhode Island Commissioner Deborah Grist’s sudden embrace of an even longer suspension of the graduation testing requirements she long defended, to Florida Governor Rick Scott promising a commission to review the testing overkill his political allies imposed (a stalling tactic also adopted by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie), politicians are beginning to wake up to the power of grassroots activism.  At the same time, courageous local leaders — such as a Colorado Superintendent, several Florida school committees and the Vermont State Board of Education — are pushing the envelope by calling for a moratorium on standardized testing to allow for development of better assessments.

No question that 2014-2015 is going to be a most exciting school year for assessment reformers as PBS education reporter John Merrow makes clear in his predictions!

Colorado District Superintendent Wants to End Standardized Testing
http://gazette.com/superintendent-wants-to-end-standardized-testing-in-d-11/article/1536136

Feds Tell Florida: Test English Language Learners in English ASAP
http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/state-and-feds-in-a-showdown-over-when-to-test-students-still-learning/2193627
Palm Beach School Board Considers Opting Out From Florida State Testing
http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/palm-beach-county-school-board-wants-opt-out-standardized-testing
Hundreds Endorse Lee County Opt-Out Petition (now almost 1000 signers)
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/education/2014/08/20/opt-out-petition-gathering-signatures/14357851/
Florida Lags on ACT . . . Again
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/education/2014/08/20/florida-lags-on-act-scores-again/14329565/
Governor Calls for Review of Florida Standardized Testing Policies
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/politics/gov-rick-scott-calls-for-review-of-florida-standardized-tests_34082712

Undermining Kindergarten in Illinois, One Test at a Time
http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/29358972-452/undermining-kindergarten-one-test-at-a-time.html#.U_VEH15a-hM
Chicago Teachers Report on How to Organize a Test Boycott
http://www.livingindialogue.com/starve-testing-beast-chicago-teachers-show-us-organize-test-boycott/
Illinois Super Tells Parents What Matters Most in Education
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/25/superintendent-tells-parents-what-matters-most-and-its-not-common-core/

New Massachusetts Teachers Union Head: How Tests Are Failing Our Schools
http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2014/08/26/barbara-madeloni-massachusetts-teachers-association-president/

Concerns Grow as New Mexico Shifts to Computerized Testing
http://www.ruidosonews.com/ruidoso-news/ci_26367421/state-testing-public-schools-goes-digital
New Mexico Teachers Say State Evaluation System Does Not Effectively Measure Performance
http://krwg.org/post/teachers-say-state-evaluation-system-does-not-effectively-measure-performance

Why New York State Common Core Test Scores Should Be Ignored
http://www.alternet.org/education/why-new-york-states-common-core-test-scores-should-be-ignored
Final Opt-Out Numbers Show Movement Jumped in New York City
http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2014/08/19/final-opt-out-numbers-show-movement-jumped-in-city/#.U_SWkBYXNrs
Wanted: The Whole Truth About New York State Exams
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/wanted-truth-state-tests-article-1.1910722

Rhode Island Commissioner Back Tracks: Now Supports Longer Delay in Grad Test Requirement
http://www.providencejournal.com/news/education/20140825-r.i.-education-commissioner-gist-recommends-delay-in-test-based-graduation-requirement-poll.ece

Texas Suspends Math Grade Promotion Test Requirement
http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local-education/state-suspends-staar-math-requirement-for-grades-3/ng7YR/

Vermont Calls on Feds to Overhaul NCLB Testing Policy
http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20140822/NEWS03/708229936
See Vermont State Board of Education Resolution
http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-SBE_AssmntAcct_Adpted081914.pdf
Vermont Secretary of Education Speaks Out Against Standardized Testing
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2014/08/23/vermont-education-secretary-pushes-back-testing/14469139/

Federal Stubbornness Falsely Labels Washington Schools as “Failing”
http://www.maplevalleyreporter.com/news/272344131.html#

Parents Want an End to the Testing Obsession
http://neatoday.org/2014/08/20/poll-parents-want-an-end-to-the-testing-obsession/

Kindergarten “Sweat Shop” Testing Frenzy Comes Under Fire
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/22/kindergarten-sweat-shop-testing-frenzy-comes-under/

Predictions for the New School Year: Growing Resistance to High-Stakes Testing Tops the List
http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=7151

Duncan Offers States One-Year Postponement on Test-Based Teacher Evaluation
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/22/education/education-secretary-allows-reprieve-on-test-based-teacher-ratings.html
See FairTest News Release
http://fairtest.org/fairtest%E2%80%99s-reaction-proposal-postpone-testbased-te

Administrators Pledge Ethical Treatment of Children Whose Families Choose to Opt Out
http://www.livingindialogue.com/administrators-pledge-ethical-treatment-students-opt/

Report Urges Fewer Tests, More Peer Review
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2014/08/accountability_report_urges_fe.html

Education News: Groundhog Day All Over Again?
http://www.reformer.com/opinion/ci_26390022/groundhog-day-all-over-again

Standardized Testing Is Really Great: Two Poems
http://www.examiner.com/article/standardized-testing-is-really-great-2-poems

Public TV Airs Two Videos Showing Excellent Schools Using Healthy Assessment (check websites for dates, times and channels)
http://augusttojune.com/
http://www.goodmorningmissionhill.com/

——————————————–
Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
web-  http://www.fairtest.org

Video and Photos: Utah Protesters Outside State School Board Meeting   3 comments

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Yesterday, Utah’s Stop Common Core folks followed the example of Oklahoma and Maine, wearing grass-green T-shirts for a protest held in Salt Lake City outside the offices of the Utah State School Board.

Trucks honked, kids danced, families waved signs. Honestly, it was fun.   A teenage protester (who was dancing with his “My Education is Not Your Experiment” sign) said he thought we were “pretty amateur protesters”.  We are!  Next time, we need soap boxes, megaphones for the cheerleaders, and a lot more people.

Two thousand people had signed the letter asking the board not to renew the federal waiver, in just 24 hours.  But they didn’t all show up in person at the protest.  Neither did the almost 12,000 people who have signed the Utahns Against Common Core petition.

Still, so many green shirts packed the public meeting of the board after the protest  that two hallways outside the meeting were filled with green shirts, as well as the whole board room being filled and encircled by standing green shirts who could not find seats.  The testimonies were incredible.  Anyone without an already hardened heart would have been moved.  I wish I could give you a link to hear what was spoken.

The vote didn’t go our way.   The board signed the federal waiver that further cemented Utah to Common Core and continued the  illusion (a bluff by the federal Dept. of Ed) that there is any authority for D.C. to tell Utah what to do in our schools.

Continuing Utah’s relationship with the federal waiver means that we are two steps away from removing Common Core, rather than just one.  (This is because in order to get the federal waiver, Utah had to promise to do option A (common core) or option B (the also-unacceptable, unconstitutional  delegation  of state board authority to higher ed authorities).

A few board members had tried to sway the vote:  Jeff Moss and Heather Groom, and possibly one or two others.  We appreciate their efforts.  But except for adding some language that affirmed the board’s wish to be sovereign over Utah’s standards, the waiver application got signed and sent to D.C. without hearing the parents and teachers who pleaded and testified against this move.

If you still don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong on this issue, consider the motivations and rewards of those who are asking for renewal of the federal waiver and Common Core, verus those who are asking for cessation of the federal waiver and Common Core.  It’s pretty revealing to note that the letter to the board from Utah’s Chamber of Commerce members, favoring federal waiver renewal, was authored by Rich Kendall (the governor’s appointee to supposedly study whether Common Core is good or not) –who is a Gates grant recipient as an Education First member, and who is also a Common Core advocate as a Prosperity 2020 leading member.  Remember that Gates is THE main financier of the whole Common Core and Common Data agenda.   How can Rich Kendall be both an advocate for, and an impartial judge of Common Core?  How can business people, directly making money from the implementation of Common Core, pretend to be objective in this discussion?  How can the state school board take these people as credible witnesses?

There’s always the chance that D.C. will reject Utah’s waiver application as it did Washington’s.  Then we’ll only be one step away from the possible removal of Common Core.

 

 

 

More articles, videos and photos of yesterday’s protest and the school board’s vote:

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58276195-78/utah-waiver-board-state.html.csp

FOX NEWS – http://fox13now.com/2014/08/08/common-core-under-fire-at-utah-state-board-of-education-meeting/

DESERET NEWS – http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865608431/State-School-Board-approves-extension-of-NCLB-waiver.html

Governors of Louisiana and Mississippi Reject Common Core   6 comments

The Domino effect is happening.  States are getting free of Common Core.

First was Indiana.  South Carolina and Oklahoma officially dropped out next.  Now, here are two more immediately dropping dominoes,  Louisiana and Mississippi:

 

Domino one:  Mercedes Schneider provided details on Louisiana Governor Jindal’s Common Core and PARCC exit here.  Fascinating conflict of powers in Louisiana.  (Thank you, Mercedes Schneider!)

 

Domino two:  The Clarion-Ledger reports that Governor Bryant of Mississipi wants to be free of Common Core.

“I think Common Core is a failed program, and the United States is beginning to realize that,” Bryant said. “Governors all across America are realizing states can do it better.”

Yes!

Hope that Utah’s Governor Herbert is next.

Oklahoma Miracle: Common Core Officially Repealed   9 comments

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The hoped-for miracle happened.

After a long, remarkable effort led by Oklahoma parents and legislators, Governor Mary Fallin has signed Oklahoma’s  HB 3399 “Stop Common Core bill into law.

Governor Fallin stated:

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core   What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded as the president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.

We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools… 

“For that reason I am signing HB 3399 to repeal and replace Common Core with Oklahoma designed and implemented education standards…  They must raise the bar – beyond what Common Core offers…  I also ‘get it’ that Oklahoma standards must be exceptional, so when businesses and military families move to Oklahoma they can rest assured knowing their children will get a great education.

… While those new standards are being written, the state standards for English and math will revert to the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards used from 2003 to 2010. “

oklahoma green

 

How I wish I could be a fly on the wall, listening to conversations in Oklahoma now!   What is the local Oklahoma PTA saying?  What are Oklahoma state and local school boards thinking?  And what are Oklahoma’s chambers of commerce saying now to their members?  All these figureheads have pushed pro-Common Core marketing on parents and teachers and businesses for several years, and now they are having to change their whole story.

What are the students in Oklahoma saying?  What about the teachers!?  Are they having big bonfires, using the worthless pro-common core pamphlets, professional development handouts and books?

This is truly an historic moment.

The withdrawal from Common Core by Governor Fallin  –not only a member, but the chair of the National Governors Association –the same NGA to which Bill Gates has given millions upon millions of dollars to create and implement Common Core–  is a very big deal.

And the elephant that’s been crowding the room for years now –Common Core’s pretense of academic excellence– has taken a serious hit with Governor Fallin’s acknowledgement that Oklahoma’s soon-to-be-written NEW standards “must raise the bar beyond what Common Core offers.

Questions that will keep me up tonight:

Will Oklahoma’s new standards reintroduce Oklahoma’s children to mountains of stories and literature in unlimited amounts, re-igniting the love of language and reading?

Will Oklahoma’s new standards reinstate the traditional Algebra standards, and add higher math –beyond Common Core’s Algebra II?   Will they drop the absurd constructivist math methodology and teach math in clear, classical ways?

Will Oklahoma’s new standards require creation of an alternate college entrance exam, since the ACT, SAT, GED and AP have become Common Core aligned (corrupted)?

Will Oklahoma drop the common educational data standards (CEDS) and the common database that tracks children (SLDS) as well?

Will Oklahoma’s precedent of saying “no” to the unconstitutional moves of Secretary Duncan and President Obama also extend itself to dismiss the federally partnered, solely Common Core-aligned,  Pearson-Microsoft ed sales monstrosity?

How many thousands of not-from-Oklahoma teachers  plan to move from other states to Oklahoma –solely based on this turn of educational events?  How many parents in other states, who are exhausted from the effort of being endlessly dismissed by their state school boards and governors, are thinking what I’m thinking?

If the rest of our U.S. governors, legislators and school boards don’t see the light –and fast– it’s going to be wahoo, pack your bags and let’s move to Oklahoma.

 

 

 

oklahoma green too

 

 

 

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