Archive for the ‘nga’ Tag

Executive Order on Education: Why DeVos Is Saying There’s No Such Thing as Common Core, and Why There’s Still Hope   3 comments

 

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order to reclaim local control of education, and then handed his pen to a school teacher who was watching the event.  Watch her at minute 10:00.  She is tearful.  This executive order meant something to her. Teachers are weary of being micromanaged, standards-whipped, undermined and data-mined.  They want peace.

But it isn’t the federal government alone that has stunted teachers’ and students’ freedoms, and this executive order alone does not have the power to fix what’s broken in American education.  What local control advocates are fighting is the mighty, wealthy partnership of government to corporate ed-tech.   It’s the marriage of enforceable power to greed.

Possibly, an executive order might get the feds out of teacher’s laps, but guess what?  Business interests will still be sitting there.  Most of them think that there’s  nothing wrong with businesses influencing policy– but there is. We can’t un-elect a corporation.  We can’t attend their private meetings.  We can’t vote for what will be put into the educational computer programs that our children are to be fed.  We can’t get rid of the influence of businesses if we do not like what they’re doing; that’s why the business industry must be kept out of public education.  The voice of the voter and of the mom and dad and teacher and student must never be quashed under the brute strength that industry plus government can become.

The federal government is neither the main nor the sole entity undermining local control –nor is this a left/right argument. On both the left and the right, at both federal and state levels, watch the monied partnerships combining.  The huge combinations are what we’re fighting, and their huge influence are why we’re losing.

The U.S. Dept. of Education is partnered with CCSSO.  Microsoft is partnered with Pearson.  States are partnered with the feds in student database building and reporting. And the federal CEP is trying to centrally house all the data for everyone.

All of these combinations rely on common data standards.  They must have standardization –or out of their hands slips the golden goose.

 

What most people don’t know, and what DeVos won’t say, is that the Common Core movement was never just a set of academic standards; it was a set of data standards from day one.

Global data-standardization of all things in education, from tests to curriculum to teacher evaluations to student pathway setting to school grading, is much more controlling than a little old set of math and English standards could ever be!

Know this:  a private group partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to create Common Educational Data Standards (CEDS).

That private group was called the CCSSO.  The very same CCSSO partnered with the National Governors’ Association to create the Common Core academic standards. 

Both CEDS and CCSS form the heart of the Common Core movement.  Neither are gone.

Those data standards and education standards are embedded into the vast ed-tech reform market and school systems.  Few people outside the tech elite know this.  So we fall for the rebranding efforts of lobbyists, legislatures, and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, over and over again.

States rename their academic standards (as Utah did with Utah Core Standards) but the truth is that we still use the common core academic tests and common data standards.  These are not locally controlled.

Because the federal government is only a co-creator of the monster known as the Common Educational Data Standards (CEDS), I don’t see how reducing federal overreach into local academic decision making will help us all that much; the other co-creator, CCSSO/NGA, promoting a centrally planned standardization movement itself –which feeds on investors and has trillions to play with— will thrive on.

(For those who think centrally planned standardization of education data is faulty conspiracy theory, I repeat:  check the CCSSO’s official statement: “Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.”)

This is something that Trump’s executive order does not mention.  Neither does DeVos.

I can’t trust DeVos to obey the spirit of this executive order.  Sweet as she may come across, DeVos embodies the problem that arises when half-truths become acceptable to society.  Listen to the Michigan Moms against Common Core.  They have history, losing Devos when she fought against parental empowerment and against the repeal of Common Core in Michigan.  DeVos’ interests were better served by Common Core’s continuation.

 

It seems impossible that DeVos is unaware of the inaccuracy of her statement this week: “there really isn’t any Common Core anymore.”  (See video clip, minute 3:00)   https://video.foxnews.com/v/5409228473001/?#sp=show-clips

Ask anyone who works in education, or in the education publishing or tech industries, if Common Core is gone.  They live it every day.

How can DeVos say that?

DeVos leans on the latest version of No Child Left Behind/ESEA, called ESSA, as evidence that Common Core is gone, saying that states are in the driver’s seat.  She’s wrong.

ESSA does not use the term “common core” as a requirement, sure; but it requires states to demonstrate to the feds that they’ve adopted standards aligned to the same definition that the feds have promoted (common core).

Under ESSA, the feds can withhold funding and can veto  states’ educational decision making agendas!  (“You can have any color as long as it’s black.”)

ESSA pushes everything Obama wanted:  the tsunami of nonconsensual data mining requirements; federally set moral/social values in schools (social emotional learning, or SEL); federally defined preschools and social services; and “college and career ready standards” which is code for Common Core.

For more on how ESSA/ESEA does not end Common Core nor create local control, read more:  here  and here and  here. 

Short on time?  Skip straight to this quote from Obama’s Secretary Duncan, who gloated when Congress passed ESSA: “I’m stunned at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it… if you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in [ESSA] are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards…”

If ESSA was such a win for local control, why was Duncan calling it a miracle for his agenda?  More to the point, can anyone honestly say that DeVos’ push for ESSA isn’t promoting the Obama agenda?

Trump’s executive order aims to be a local control enforcement mechanism, but because it relies on ESSA, it can never really achieve its stated purpose, “to ensure strict compliance with statutes that prohibit Federal interference with State and local control over education“.

The order aims “to protect and preserve State and local control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, and personnel of educational institutions, schools, and school systems” which is wonderful, but the next few phrases are where I get stuck.  They add: “…consistent with applicable law, including ESEA, as amended by ESSA, and ESEA’s restrictions related to the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative.”

This seems self-contradicting.

I will admit that I have been doing some laughing this week.  I  laughed hardest (probably inappropriately) when I saw DeVos say on Fox News, while standing stylishly in front of the White House, that there’s no such thing as Common Core anymore.

Realize that Secretary DeVos has been directed to examine the overreaching actions of her department, while she’s in complete denial that Common Core is a problem and in denial about any partnership between her own department and the creators of Common Core/Common Data Standards, even existing.  She’s also promoting the same agenda that GSV and Obama promoted (see below).

Isn’t this like asking the arsonist to serve as fire chief?

 

 

A few weeks ago I wrote that this year’s host for the mega education tech conference was Salt Lake City, and that the conference’s co-sponsors, Global Silicon Valley and Arizona State University, had posted a white paper describing their vision and agenda.  I was pretty mad that they were taking $2,795 per person to attend this ed tech conference.  I was even madder that their real agenda, found in their white paper, was full of pro-Common Core and anti-local control plotting.

But now I’m madder.

The 300-plus page, foundational white paper has been deleted from the internet.

If you go to the GSV website, or to the conference website, or to my own blog’s links to that document, vamoosh!  Gone.

This, just a few days before the conference is to begin?  Why doesn’t GSV want its agenda widely known anymore?  Why not?

I thought I’d post a screen shot of that document’s key page:  page 302.

 

 

This “Strategic Battle Plan” of Global Silicon Valley and Arizona State University (and Bill Gates and everyone, pawns or knaves, on the ed-tech bandwagon) began with Common Core.

It continued with universal preschool vouchers and No Child Left Behind 2.0 (which is ESSA.)  It goes on to school choice, knowledge as currency, tax credits for employee training, and the elimination of locally elected school boards.

The elimination of locally elected school boards.

This is not something that we should take lightly.

Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats in actively destroying local control by worshiping ed tech.  Pay attention to this battle plan.

UPDATE 4-28-17:  A friend found an online copy of that deleted document.  Here is the link to the full document:  http://www.educationindustry.org/assets/documents/KnowledgeCenterDocs/2012%20american_revolution%202.0%20gsv%20advisors.pdf

 

ON SCHOOL CHOICE:

One of the steps on that page 302 agenda (above) is school choice.

I know that many good people have been taken in by the “school choice” idea, so I want to address that briefly.

School choice is no long-term choice!  The words sound good, and of course in a free country we need choices– but what do these words mean to ed reformers, and in context of government dollars?

Tax dollars will flow  from government coffers to private schools, instead of parents’ dollars flowing to private schools.  With government money comes government accountability; in 2017, accountability is spelled D-A-T-A.  If you value student data privacy, if you value a private school being allowed to set its own academic, religious, social and moral values, then don’t be sucked in to the school choice movement.  In the long run, this movement is taking away what autonomy means, or meant, to a school.

 

 

Lastly.  And yes, this is related.

Do you know that there is a federal Commission on Evidence-based Policy (CEP) that exists to argue about how and where to house citizens’ personally identifiable data centrally?  No one’s suing.  They should be.

Data that has been nonconsensually gathered by federally designed school systems called “State Longitudinal Database Systems” (SLDS) plus data that has been gathered by a multitude of other state and federal agencies and organizations is now to be housed either in one federal repository or in a few consortia of repositories, if the CEP gets its way.

The arguments of the CEP members remind me of that line in The Princess Bride:  “You’re trying to kidnap what I’ve rightfully stolen!”

Laughter is not always my response to the crazy, crazy stuff that is going on in education reform.  But for today, it is.

 

I’m still an optimist.

Angels greatly outnumber devils.  I see greatness in individuals who are doing their best, still thinking outside the box as much as they are able–  teachers, principals, parents, grandparents, and yes, even legislators.  I see individuals doing what they can, wherever they stand and they are making a difference. The incredible liveliness and buoyant spirit in children is not going to be permanently crushed, not even by the robotic idiocy of tech worship that is plaguing education systems today.

I absolutely believe that the oppression of standardization is less than a fleck of dust in God’s huge wind.

 

 

Truth is Truth, Whether People Believe it or Not: Video Confessions   4 comments

My husband often says, “Truth is truth, whether people believe it or not.”

Here’s the truth that even the Common Core’s lead architect, David Coleman, and its main funder, Bill Gates openly admitted in the videos below:

  1.  The Common Core was never state led.  If it had been, it would have been constitutionally legitimate.  It would have represented voters’ informed consent and desires.  It  would have a built-in a states’ amending process.  It would have represented and standardized something vetted, not this untested theory, this not parentally authorized, not teacher-authorized, not voter-authorized, experiment on, and tracking of, children.
  2.  The Common Core is greed-led.  It was not an educator but a businessman, David Coleman, who wrote his ideas on a napkin, and brought them to the second richest man on earth, Bill Gates. Gates saw the potential: using standardized data systems, educational standards and tests (and tax dollars) they’d forge what he called, in the video below, a “uniform base of customers” nationally.  While Coleman pitched the idea to a partial club of governors and a partial club of state superintendents ( who bought it, and claimed it, and copyrighted it after hiring Coleman’s company, Achieve Inc., to produce it). Gates paid anyone who would take his millions, to promote it.

To this day, the private trade groups NGA and CCSSO claim that they are the “state” originators of the Common Core.  That defies common sense and the structure of U.S. government. We have legislatures to represent voters; NGA and CCSSO are not legislative bodies.

I believe in capitalism and I cheer for entrepreneurs who make money legitimately; but Common Core is not legitimate business.  It took over political processes. It represents the takeover of voters’ rights.  It is collusion: between businessmen who have no authority to determine educational processes, and the federal government.  Think that’s just some wacky theory?

Look at this link  from the CCSSO’s website. It’s clear evidence of the collusion which went behind constitutional rights of states and which destroyed checks and balances, by  setting education policy centrally.  Only the feds, married to these nonlegislative and private organizations, call the shots here:

Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)

The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.

So the same superintendents’ club (CCSSO) that partnered with the partial governors’ club (NGA) to copyright a Common Core for math and English, also partnered with the feds to standardize a common data mining program with CEDS standards, nationally.

 

 

Video One:  Bill Gates

Bill Gates telling legislators to “unleash” the forces of a “uniform customer base” by using Common Core

Video Two:  David Coleman

Businessman David Coleman explaining that he personally persuaded governors to sign on to Common Core, a business idea he plotted on a napkin

 

 

Despite the fact that the #StopFedEd / Stop Common Core movement has become politically huge, and that many people know the truth about Common Core, many people still believe that it’s a harmless initiative, and that the Common Core was “state-led”.

Who could blame them for believing so? The promoted “talking points” said so.  These were marketed by power-wielders: Bill Gates, the U.S. Dept. of Education, the paid-off National P.T.A., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce –and were passed along by state boards of education and local boards of education to teachers and parents who trusted those lines.  Few fact-checked. The lie got passed along and believed.

 

Common Core is not primarily an academic argument; it’s a takeover of local authority.

A good friend recently asked, “What’s so bad about the federal government controlling local education?”

If you know socialist/communist countries’ educational malpractices and propaganda machines; their lack of creativity,  lack of joy,  condemnation of faith, and lack of truth, you will not ask this question.

If you know that there is zero constitutional authority for the federal government to make decisions about education for American schools, you will not ask this question.

But if you don’t know or believe that, just think about your own desires for your children and grandchildren.

If you desire to have an ongoing voice of authority in your child’s education, his/her testing, and his/her data privacy, you cannot support federal education nor Common Core.

The Common Core allows nobody but its copyrighters to amend it.  Its tests are held secret, even after the tests are over.  The SLDS databases collect data on your child according to federal designs, and it is only a matter of time before this aggregated data will be legalized in disaggregated form. These are questions of personal power and personal conscience.  Over time, it is ultimately a question of religious liberty, because the freedoms of conscience and of action are freedom of religion.

Who has God-given authority over what goes into your child’s open mind?  Business sectors and federal government? –Or parents, with the consented-to assistance of teachers and perhaps a local school board?

If programs (such as Common Core and Common Educational Data Standards) do not allow for user amendability,  for personal conscience to input change, then they are on day one, already corrupt.  They are, or will be, tyrannical.

Remember the founders’ words: “consent by the governed“.

Because businesses and federal agencies have centralized education power, local and state input has been rendered increasingly powerless.  Where was consent?  I can’t even opt out my own child out of the CEDS/ SLDS child-inventorying machine, my state tells me.

herbert

This is why the chairman of the National Governors’ Association (NGA), Utah Governor Gary Herbert, failed to secure the nomination in last week’s state GOP convention.  This is why that same governor was so loudly booed at the Utah County GOP convention by most of the 1,500 delegates in the audience, every time he said that Utah had control of education standards locally.  They knew the truth.

The governor/NGA chair either didn’t know it, or didn’t believe it.

Suggestion:  Don’t call Common Core “state-led” anymore, because millions of Americans realize that –even though well-meaning people were duped and then promoted it in good faith– Common Core has always been a solely greed-led collusion between the business sector and the federal government.


WHAT COMMON CORE REALLY DOES TO EDUCATION

Let me share my recent experience with you.

While I teach 10th grade English, part time, at a non-common core, classical, traditional, private school called Freedom Project Academy (FPA) I also tutor, for free, neighbors and friends.

The comparison between my private, not-common core school, and the local public school, in English Language Arts, is stunning.

Background:  FPA is an online school that recognizes no governmentally-set educational standards.  It recognizes  time-tested books as standards: the Bible, the classic works of literature, and the classic works of math, etc.  It does not promote “informational text” articles, as Common Core does.   FPA tenth graders read the following works of literature cover to cover, and wrote about them this year:  The Old Man and the Sea; Romeo and Juliet; Murder on the Orient Express; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn;  The Scarlet Letter.  Fantastic!

Meanwhile, local public school teenagers who have come for help with their essays let me know that they were assigned “mostly articles” and very few books.  Their essay assignments were based on articles about “gender-based toys” and “green cars of the future” –clearly, these young people were being fed the progressive agenda under the banner of “English Language Arts”.

I told them that they are being robbed of real education, and that they should get some real books, especially classics, on their own, and read all that they can.

How can students who are being made to read “informational articles” ever gain the depth of perspective, the insight and humanity found in the rich characters and stories of Hawthorne and Shakespeare and Hemingway?

Common Core apologists are quick to point out that there’s no prohibition against Hawthorne, Shakespeare and Hemingway in Common Core.  But Common Core businessmen have made curriculum that is sold and bought nationwide, which is “informational article” heavy, not classics-heavy.  The businesses are thus driving what goes on in the classroom, as imagined by noneducator David Coleman, who openly mocks the teaching of traditional, narrative writing.  This is not representative governing of education policy!

Talk to your local public high school students.  Ask to see what they are being asked to read and write about.  I would love to know if my town is an isolated case of losing classic literature.

Video Three:   Here’s Coleman, mocking traditional narrative writing, in an effort to  promote his notion of reading and writing mostly informational text in English classrooms.


Lastly–  NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY STANDARDS – aka “Amorality for All”

The centralization/nationalization  is not just about English and Math.  It is clear in the push for national science standards (Next-Generation Science Standards) which Utah has tragically now accepted.  It is clear in the common alignment of tests and data mining to the illegitimate Common Core and CEDS– whether tests are the Utah SAGE, other states’ PARCC, the College Board’s SAT and AP, or other tests.

Centralization of power away from localities is clear, and most dangerous, in the push for national sexality (amoral) standards, CSE, Comprehensive Sexuality Standards  (which Utah considered and rejected for now).  The video below explains why it is not true that Comprehensive Sexuality Standards are simply about “medically accurate information” but are instead teaching children amorality, which is so important to the progressives’ anti-family, anti-God agenda.

Don’t watch it with children in the room.

 

Video Four:  The War on Children–  The Comprehensive Sexuality National Standards:

 

 

We are not a communist country. Why are we acting like one, in centralizing so many matters of children’s education?  There is nothing secretive about what’s going on; no conspiracy theory here, but conspiracy fact:  progressives proclaim that government, not family, owns the children and defines for children what is true, good, moral, healthy, or allowed.

 

Video Five:  Progressives’ announcement that government, not parents, own children:

 

 

We need the fire of Patrick Henry to wake America.

Give me liberty or give me death!”Patrick Henry  spoke those words, as if to us.

Many today seem to fear taking a stand for parental control, state control, local school board control.  Do not fear the pretentious monster! It has no constitutional, no authoritative, legitimacy. Our rights, given by God and protected by the Constitution, are legitimate.   Your authority over your own children is legitimate.  Own it.  Act like it.  It is only when each person stands in his or her place, firmly, against encroachment, that a free country remains free.

Patrick Henry’s words  apply today to the takeover of authority, which is Common Core and Common Data Mining, which is in the process of stealing our God-ordained duty to determine what our children will be taught:

“[W]e are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.

…There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.  The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election [choice]. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery.”

 

 

 

 

Stop the Herbert Charade: Vote Johnathan Johnson for Governor   2 comments

jj

Please vote for Johnathan Johnson  for Governor of Utah.  Gary Herbert’s pretend-a-thon about Common Core has been growing increasingly desperate and despicable.  Johnson doesn’t pretend that the nationalization and standardization of all things educational is acceptable, or that it’s not happening.

I actually keep the campaign mailers that Governor Herbert sends out, rather than sending them to the bird cage, because I see them as evidence in a crime scene.

“LOCAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION,” crows one flier, “Governor Herbert played a key role in supporting Congress passing a law to prohibit federally mandated education standards– including Common Core”.

(I ran around my kitchen and shrieked and burned the pancakes the first time I read this mailer.)

ESSA, a fed ed monster bill that Herbert championed, certainly did claim that it would end fed ed in its talking points, but– since no one actually was allowed time to read it–  Congress found out after the vote, in reading the over-a-thousand-pages-long language, that it did no such thing.  Those of us who had been studying its predecessors knew what was in the crock pot.

Federal ESSA passed into law last Christmastime, when nobody had time to read or debate the 1,000+ page bill.  (To make doubly sure no one would have time to read or debate the bill, the writers gave it to the voters in Congress TWO DAYS before the vote).  Senator Lee protested loudly while Herbert promoted ESSA– just as he had so long openly promoted Common Core.

herbert

Despite what Governor Herbert or the Wall Street Journal may have said, ESSA didn’t end fed ed.  It cemented the entire Common Core / common data standards / common tests / federally aligned preschool system.  It just deleted the term “Common Core” so that millions who despised that term might be fooled.  All the federal and corporate strings were still there.

Even Federal Education Arne Duncan admitted that.

Duncan, who gloated over the deception of so many Republicans,  said,  “[I]f you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law [ESSA] are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e., Common Core]… For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.”

In that interview with Politico Pro, posted by Pulse2016, Duncan said, “I’m stunned at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it.”

Duncan also said:

We had many, many conversations behind the scenes . . . . And I said for us to support [ESSA] they’d have to shed their far, far right [constituents who support the Constitution] . . . . I honestly didn’t know if they’d have the political courage to do that. But they both said they would and they did. I give them tremendous credit for that.

Duncan described an intentional betrayal by silence about the real agenda of ESSA:

We were intentionally quiet on the bill – they asked us specifically not to praise it – and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed – intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill . . . [W]e were very strategically quiet on good stuff . . .

With such praise for ESSA coming from Duncan (and from Herbert) and with such condemnation of ESSA coming from Lee, Chaffetz, Love, Bishop, and Stewart, one can easily see who’s aligned with progressive, Obama Administration ideology. 

Utah’s Congressional delegation very correctly cited local control being taken away as the reason for voting against ESSA.  Senator Mike Lee  was very clear on why ESSA should never pass.  The governor must have heard the ear candy of the bill’s prominent promoters, notably LaMar Alexander and Paul Ryan– but did he dismiss the words of Senator Mike Lee about ESSA?

Did Governor Herbert believe that he alone recognized ESSA as cutting fed ed, while the famously conservative Lee, Stewart, Bishop, Love and Chaffetz saw it as growing fed ed?  Did these Utah Congressmen vote against local control, and for federal control? Of course not; that’s why Herbert was vague on the mailer and did not actually use the term “ESSA”.

Herbert’s mailer also brags about Herbert being top dog at the National Governors Association (NGA).  True, he is its chair, but that is not something to impress an actual conservative.

The NGA is not a constitutional congress of governors.  It’s a trade group. Not all governors want to be in NGA.  Some governors boldly criticize it.  NGA is a closed-door, private club, not subject to sunshine laws, so no voter can influence (or even listen in on) what happens there.  –And what does happen there?  A lot of grant-taking from the likes of Bill Gates to push Common Core on the states, for one thing;  copyrighting and attempting to sell America on the Common Core, for another.  One non-NGA governor, LePage of Maine, said, “I get no value out of those [NGA] meetings. They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey.”

maine

If NGA Chair Governor Herbert wasn’t flabbily playing both sides of the campaign fence, appearing to be pro-Common Core to D.C. and to the ed sales lobby, while appearing to be anti-common core in his mailer to conservative delegates like me, he might come out with a clear and unmistakable statement, like Governor LePage’s of Maine, who said, in addition to the quote above: “I don’t believe in Common Core.  I believe in raising standards in education.”

But that wouldn’t fly with the Governor’s friends in his favorite, unconstitutionally recognized, high places:  NGA, CCSSO, Prosperity 2020, the Education First lobby, and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Parents and teachers in Utah have endured intense, years-long frustration as we have listened to the charade led by the governor, echoed by those friends in unconstitutionally recognized, high places.  Herbert once said he aimed to “get to the truth”  about Common Core.  But the narrow, controlled “conversation” that Governor Herbert then led about Common Core, was light years away from the spirit of the scripture that the governor quoted at his public meeting about Common Core: “Come and let us reason together.”  There was no listening happening.  Yes, he got his attorney general to say that Common Core was a locally controlled initiative, but that report was easily, factually rebutted.

If you want to see the governor’s four-year hypocrisy on Common Core newly documented, with links to the nuts and bolts of when and where Herbert promoted and defended Common Core, please read this week’s Herbert’s Common Core history  article on Utahns Against Common Core by Oak Norton.  It will knock your socks off.

Lastly:  there’s more to object to than just Herbert’s federal rubber-stamping of nationalized education standards and tests and data gathering without consent.  Look at other issues, just as important as education:

  • Why did Herbert veto Constitutional Carry?  Aren’t gun rights on the top of conservatives’ priority lists?
  • Why did Herbert support the expansion of Obama’s ideas for “healthcare” here in Utah?  Aren’t conservatives supposed to stand for fiscal realism and self-reliance and charity (as opposed to forcery –not a misspelling–)?
  • Why did Herbert not refuse the SLDS data mining movement, the federally-built and paid-for “State Longitudinal Database System”–from which no child or parent or teacher may opt out— a system that inventories and profiles students without consent?

I will never forget that day, four years ago, in the governor’s office: it was just the governor, his bodyguard, and we three teachers and moms:  my friends, Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy, and me.

Although we explained our documented research about Common Core and common data collection (CEDS/SLDS) and gave Governor Herbert a thick binder that documented our research and our alarms; although we begged him to recognize the error and to steer away from these federally-promoted systems; although we pointed out that the State Office of Education was using zero documentation to support their pro-common core ear candy– the governor didn’t hear us.

then

 

He didn’t keep his promise to have us back in one month, after he and his legal staff had reviewed the issues, either.

He stayed his Common Core-promoting course and entrenched Utah further, using Prosperity 2020 and Education First as financial and political vehicles.

It was never about improving education.

Read Johnathan Johnson’s campaign site.  It is a breath of fresh air.

 

 

Stop the Bleeding: Governor Herbert’s and Rep. Bramble’s Expanding Roles Rob Voters of Any Influence   6 comments

herbert

 

Some of us have been asking Utah’s Governor Herbert to get Utah out of the NGA –National Governors Association– for years, on grounds of NGA’s unconstitutional national governing policies. But Herbert didn’t listen, nor did he quit NGA; in fact, he will ascend to its top throne –as Chairman of the National Governors Association— this summer.

People might think it could not possibly matter one way or another.  But think about it.

We didn’t elect NGA’s huge membership or staff.  We can’t fire anyone at NGA.  NGA is not a representative Congress.  NGA is not a public institution– it’s a private trade group that happens to have an official-sounding name.  That name confuses people.

So, as a private club, it’s not subject to transparency laws.  It doesn’t even have to allow investigators or media in to the closed-door meetings.  No citizen can vote to change what NGA does.  Governors can not even vote to change NGA, if they aren’t NGA members, which some very smart governors choose not to be.   Last time I checked, the governors of South Carolina, Texas, Maine, Alabama, and Indiana were staunchly determined never to join the NGA, or had joined and quit.  Yet NGA aims to make binding national policies without due process of representation — and it has already done so, in the case of Common Core, for example.

NGA is free to exist, as a private group, just like anyone.  But as a national governing body, no.  That’s unconstitutional.

Ask yourself:  will the Governor be representing Utah’s interests to the NGA, or the NGA’s interests to Utah?  In all the years he’s been a member of NGA, he’s always chosen to do what NGA asks of him.  What does that mean to us?  What happens when the goals and hopes of so many Utahns– for  greater educational liberty and local autonomy— stand in direct conflict with the history and goals of the National Governors Association?  Where is any recourse?  Where’s citizen access to NGA?

And that’s not all.  Yesterday, we saw our governor fighting to expand his job description here in Utah, too.  As the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune each discussed or reported yesterday, the Governor’s plan was (thankfully) rejected by the Utah State Board of Education after the Governor’s invited the board to join him in his call for FEDERAL legislation identifying the governor as a “key” partner in education.  Thank you, State Board, for having a spine and saying no.

The Utah Constitution says that the elected school board should hold the reins, but the NGA wants to change that situation– here and in every state– so that the NGA can assume a role as a national governing body over education.  This is bad.  This is serious.

Just as bad:  Utah Representative Curt Bramble, this year, becomes president of the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) another unaccountable-to-voters private club that, like NGA, we can accurately describe as another “aiming-to-sit-in-the-Congressional-driver’s-seat” club. In fact, Bramble admitted that his private NCSL group aims to take over the role of Congress:

“Congress has been totally ineffective. They can’t seem to find agreements on both sides of the aisle to do anything, from budget to deficit reduction, immigration, marketplace fairness. You can look down a litany of issues where the states, the 50 laboratories of democracy, are finding ways to come forward with strong, bipartisan support for various polices.”

These organizations distort voters’ rights in our Constitutionally-built nation.  The Constitution gives individual states the right to govern education.  It also gives a few Utahns, elected to represent us in D.C., strong federal roles; so voters can have real influence at both the state and national decision-making levels, if we maintain the roles of the Constitution.  This new blurring trend, pushing Governors or state legislators into pseudo-federal roles, robs us of true representation and has no business in America.

 

Dr. Gary Thompson’s Open Letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond on her Common Core Tests   11 comments

dr-thompson

 

Utah’s Dr. Gary Thompson wrote an open letter to Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond tonight.

 

Dear Dr. Hammond:

How does placing students in front of an experimental test that has yet to undergo extensive validity measures equate to accountability in the traditional manner in which you speak?

Let me answer that question for you in three simple words:

It.  Does.  Not.

Regards,

Dr. Gary Thompson

 

 

I want to give context so that you can fully appreciate the letter’s significance.

Darling-Hammond, of Stanford University, is on the list of “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” for good reasons.  She works for private organizations that crush  Constitutional control of education; she promotes and writes books about socialist redistribution of wealth, and she plays key roles in the Obama administration’s fed ed goals.  She’s been an advisor and/or board member for:

1.  The Obama Administration’s Equity and Excellence Commission

2.  The CCSSO – Common Core co-creator

3.  The NGA – Common Core co-creator

4.  The CSCOPE of Texas

5. American Institutes for Research (AIR, Utah’s and Florida’s Common Core tester)

5. WestED (SBAC’s Common Core test partner)

6.  National Academy of Education

7. American Educational Research Association

8. Alliance for Excellent Education

–and more.

 

linda d

 

Dr. Thompson pointed out to his Facebook friends that Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has been very busily publishing this month.

Her sudden articles in the Huffington Post, The Hill, Stanford University,  NEA, ECE and elsewhere show that now, while Congress heatedly debates the ESEA/No Child Left Behind disaster, she’s  desperate to persuade Congress to use Common Core and its tests as “an engine to drive better educational practice.

Darling-Hammond paints a pretty, distracting frame around her ugly baby, the Common Core.  She pretends that the whole reason parents are pushing back is only high stakes testing and she mentions nothing else that parents are screeching about.  Apparently to her, the Constitution has nothing to do with it; experimentation on children has nothing to do with it;  data mining has nothing to do with it; unpiloted and shaky standards have nothing to do with it; validity-report-lacking tests have nothing to do with it.  She keeps the “conversation” on the clearly obvious: that  basing teachers’ entire value on a test students take is stupid; that stressing those test results rather than a child’s whole education is even more stupid. (Yes, the sky is blue and the grass is green.)

But what she’s really pushing for is NOT what parents want.  In “The Hill” blog post, she pressed for federal enforcement of Common Core tests: “urge the federal government to make sure districts provide annual assessments of student progress, while allowing states to develop systems of assessment”.  She added, “The Feds should continue to require states to flag districts that require improvement”  and “the Feds need to treat accountability as an ongoing process…”

Her article in HuffPo praises California for allocating $1.25 BILLION for Common Core and for eliminating “all the old tests while bringing in new and better Common Core assessments” and concludes: “the Common Core standards in California are an engine to drive better educational practice“.

Her strategy seems to be to get readers to start nodding with her about the high stakes tests, and then forget to stop nodding when she crosses the line and promotes a unicorn:  a gentler, kinder version of the same darn Common Core tests.  She uses the term “we agreed” seven times to make her point in one article, as she claims that reformers from a wide spectrum of political camps agree with her.  Dr. Darling-Hammond, please know the wide spectrum of political camps is loaded with those who disagree with you.  Case in point:  Dr. Thompson (an Obama voter in the last election) and me (long ago lovingly and correctly labeled a “right wing nut case” –by Dr. Thompson.)

Dr. Thompson put it this way to his Facebook friends tonight:

“Advocacy should never be used as a means to effect change in ethics,” –but because Darling-Hammond is doing so– “it makes it real easy for small-town Utah doctors like myself who do not hold positions of import at Stanford University to effectively ‘slam’ the Dr. Hammonds of the world… Not once did she mention the words ‘valid testing‘.  Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their own children.  I will always challenge those in positions of power who use pseudo science to back their claims. It is an affront to my profession.”

Then he posted his pointed letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond.

May his letter go far and wide.  May Darling-Hammond enjoy the mountains of money she’s made $erving the institution$ that aim to $tandardize education and data so that they can control citizens more effectively.  –And may Congress see right through her words.

Congress just might.

This month we saw Senator Vitter’s Local Control of Education Act  pass the U.S. Senate.  (Read it here.)  It doesn’t end Common Core, but it spanks the Department of Education for ramming it down our throats, and prevents conditional-on-common-standards-grants.

We also saw key members of the Senate and the House sign powerful  letters  (here’s the other) that demand an end to the funding and pushing of Common Core.

So there is definitely, definitely hope.

 

 

 

Submit Questions: Governor Herbert to Answer Questions Tonight on KBYU TV   2 comments

herbert

 

 

Tonight, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert will take questions on KBYU TV.   The public may submit questions via Twitter, Facebook, phone or email.  askeleven@byu.edu is the email address.  Click here for additional ways to submit questions.

Feel free to use my questions in your own words if you like.

 

1.  Will you veto SB 235 the school turnaround bill now that you’ve received so much input, including official open letters asking you to do so from the unanimous boards of some Utah school districts, from the UEA and from Utahns Against Common Core? Why or why not?

2. We know that your initiative, Prosperity 2020 is aimed at improving the economy of Utah. Can you explain how it differs from China’s economic centralization of schools linked with the economy?

3. Why are you supporting the ban on citizens being allowed to burn wood in the their homes?

4. What influence do Utah citizens have in the National Governor’s Association; in other words, how does the Governor’s membership in NGA benefit Utah citizens’ constitutional rights to local autonomy?

5. Last year, you led a study of the new national standards used in Utah known as Common Core; critics said your study failed to address the governance and local control of the standards. Would you be willing to revisit this issue in more depth? Why or why not?

6. What is Utah’s State Longitudinal Database System, and how does it benefit individuals and families?

7. Some parents are calling for an opt out for the State Longitudinal Database System. Would you support giving parents this liberty? Why or why not?

8. Would you consider following the example of many other states in eliminating the income tax? Why or why not?

The Governor’s Charade   6 comments

Last Friday, my children and I were on an educational field trip to see Governor Herbert address the state school board in Salt Lake City.  We were learning how to use civic rights to free speech and expression.  I had hoped to influence the establishment to not renew the federal waiver (NCLB/ESEA) and hoped to influence them to consider withdrawing from Common Core and all its data-and-teacher-control-tentacles.  We also wanted to spread the good news:  that Mia Love’s H.R. 524, if it passed, might help enforce states’ constitutional rights to control education locally.

There we stood holding signs outside the door of the state school board meeting, my children and I:  “Vote No on NCLB Waiver” and “We Support Mia Love’s H.R. 524  (the anti-common core bill).

We couldn’t go inside the meeting because 1) one of my children is very young and noisy,  and 2) there was no room.

We had even been discouraged by USOE officials and by the governor’s bodyguard (!) from standing in that hall outside the board meeting; they said the handful of us posed a fire hazard.

Yet we were standing there when Governor Herbert made his exit alongside Tami Pyfer.  The Governor read our signs and he said, “I support Mia Love’s H.R. 524.”

Explain that quote.

Governor Herbert —Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, which created and copyrighted Common Core —  now supports the anti-common core bill?!

I immediately felt the same sick way I’d felt when President Obama came out with his  student data review  saying he was concerned about privacy, after his administration had done everything in its power to destroy student privacy: from decreasing privacy rights in federal FERPA,  to paying each state to build matching, interoperable SLDS databases, to hosting “Datapalooza” and pushing inter-agency “data-mashing.”

Obama (and Herbert) get away with blatant hypocrisy because most of us are, sadly, low-information voters.  People don’t know.  And they don’t know who to trust.

I prefer it when everyone gives each other plates of warm cookies instead of headaches.  I don’t like thinking of –or labeling– my country’s president or my state’s governor as hypocrites.

But I am not going to pretend that I don’t see what I clearly see:  repressed real conversation under a pretense of reasoning things out,  strict topic-control and topic-narrowing; no debate.

The governor has only asked Utah to comment about the standards, not the governance of them, and he never asked for comments about the data  mining nor testing nor lack of parental and teacher freedom.  Although months ago  Governor Herbert said, “we will not cede that responsibility [of local education] to anyone else,” we know that Utah had already given that responsibility away years ago (control of tests, data sharing and of standards-amending).  That power left when Utah adopted standards from private groups NGA/CCSSO who created and copyrighted Common Core, groups in which Governor Herbert holds top leadership positions. Governor Herbert’s words about standing up to federal encroachment are either feigned or very, very fractional.

We all heard the Governor quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaiah in his speech to the board that day, “Come now, and let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18) But there is no “reasoning together” happening!  Where is the real discussion, the real debate?  I see a top-down dispensing of “politically correct” marketing lines about Common Core, a one-sided “conversation”. Under the public radar–  in emails and blogs and social media, discussion percolates, sans Governor.

We don’t see our Governor (nor Common Core financier Bill Gates nor Common Core architect David Coleman nor Common Core test grant-giver Arne Duncan) ever participating in debates on this subject.  These top promoters/creators of Common Core are actively hiding, as is clear from Kathleen Jasper’s Conversation ED and countless others.   They don’t want to thoroughly, honestly, honorably reason.  They don’t have a leg to stand on.  Common Core, when you scratch beneath the surface, is utterly indefensible and unconstitutional.

The Utah public is only allowed ten minutes (divided by five citizens, with two minutes each) per month at state school board meetings.  Per month!  Some reasoning together!  Meanwhile, the state school board is appointed via a very biased, committee-to-the-governor selection process.  And yet taxpayers fund this charade, these one sided flyers, mailers and the USOE website itself, all debate-free, marketing the Common Core product without intellectual discussion of any kind.

It’s maddening to those of us who are paying close attention.

Know these facts (and fact check me, so you really actually know it for yourself.)

1.  Only NGA/CCSSO can amend the shared Common Core.  And they will.  (The “living document” will change, the Common Core declares on page 3.)

In Friday’s meeting, presentation after presentation pretended that Utah could amend the shared Common Core.

2.  Common Core states like Utah can’t delete from the standards, and can only add 15% max.  

In Friday’s meeting, no mention was made of the 15% limit that says no state may add much to the standards (to keep the tests all aligned nationally).

3.  Speaking about standards-tweaking is a charade.

In Friday’s meeting, no mention was made of the fact that if Utah adds the permitted 15%, the addition will never be seen on the nationally aligned test questions. So what’s motivating the teachers to teach the addition?  And it won’t be in the shared textbooks anyway.

4.  Common Core ELA and math standards are under copyright.  

In Friday’s meeting no mention was made of the Common Core copyright.

5.  Common Core was rammed down Utah’s throats without proper discussion,  and a parent and teacher led  lawsuit is underway because of that fact.

In Friday’s meeting, no mention was made of the fact that no teachers or administrators were ever asked for input prior to the state adopting Common Core.

6.  The Attorney General and the Governor are not correct in saying that we retain local control under the Common Core standards, tests and aligned data standards.

In Friday’s meeting, no mention was made of any rebuttals to the Attorney General’s blanket statement (that Common Core in no way harms Utah autonomy over education).  It was just: “Tell us which particular standard did Utahns find troubling?”

 

 

titanic chairs meme

 

The narrow, controlled “conversation” about Common Core in our state is light years away from the spirit of the scripture that the governor quoted, “Come and let us reason together.”

I am really, really tired of the hypocrisy.

 

 

 

 

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