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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.

 

 

 

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United States Starting To Rebel Against Common Core Standards   2 comments

States Starting To Rebel Against Common Core Standards

   –Reposted Sept. 27, 2012 from Donna Garner, Texas Educator, at http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/

Although the Common Core national standards have been accepted in 46-1/2 states,    implementation is going slower than advocates had hoped.  One group of  states actually introduced legislation to withdraw from the Common Core or  disapprove the standards, others have failed or refused to pass the  legislation necessary to fund or align them with state tests, higher education or professional development and still others are doing more  formal reviews of either cost or curriculum.  In all, nearly  three-fifths of the states that have accepted the Common Core fall into one  of these groups. Please read on to find out what you can do both to stop the further implementation of the Common Core in your state as well as what you   can do to stop the nationalization of education.

Although education has not been a front burner issue in this election cycle, there is some evidence that word about the dangers of and problems with the Common Core national standards, about which we have warned you for a long  time, is slowly getting out.  In addition to Education Liberty Watch,  the group of academics, policy makers and individuals that developed and gained over 100 original signatures on a counter-manifesto against the Common Core, The Cato Institute,  The Heritage FoundationTruth in American Education, teachers, parents, and policy makers are working hard to educate and to  protest this loss of autonomy, local control and academic rigor.  Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in      interviews on Fox News and the Mike Huckabee show      pointed out the constitutional and academic dangers of the Common Core in  his new book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to  Pay for the Cities. In it, he said:

The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama, Ayers, and      Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum that  promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and 3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban schools. Achieving these goals on a broad scale requires the federal government to usurp local control of K-12 schooling. 

Obama is half-way there.

   How did he do it?  Instead of submitting his controversial education proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly marked  $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress  with barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama      never had to go public with his plans.

By coordinating with outside groups not accountable to the voters, like the  deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White House then orchestrated the   creation of a national Common Core of education standards, with an  accompanying curriculum and tests.

Supposedly,  these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states. In      fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top grants  on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced economically pinched states to surrender control of their school  curricula to the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed  to sign on to the Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably  both illegal and unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually nothing about it.

In addition, state legislators and governors are also starting to respond to this unconstitutional federal takeover of  education curriculum. According to the states listed or not listed on  this comprehensive review table by  Daniel Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the  breakdown of how states are dealing with the Common Core is as follows:

  • Twelve of the 46-1/2  states and Washington DC (Minnesota has accepted the English and reading  standards) or almost 25% have actively sought through legislation to           withdraw from, disapprove, require legislative input or other  negative measures regarding the Common Core.  Four of these  measures were enacted. 
    • The strongest of the  four measures that passed was enacted in Utah which allows the  state to withdraw from any kind of arrangement that cedes Utah’s            control over its own standards and curriculum. 
    • Indiana enacted  a  resolution to urge a state board review of the CCSS.
    • Kansas requires a cost  analysis and formal review before implementation 
    • South Dakota implemented a requirement of four public hearings before enactment of the  standards. 
    • Other states had bills disapproving or rejecting the Common Core or future adoption fail in the legislature (Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri,            Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington) 
    • Minnesota’s bill to  require legislative approval of new standards passed both chambers of the legislature but was vetoed by the liberal governor. 
  • Four other states have  required a formal review of the curriculum or cost analysis.        (California, Iowa, Maryland, and New Mexico).  
  • Twelve states (Alabama*,  Arizona, California*, Hawaii, Indiana*, Kansas*, Minnesota*,  Missouri*, New Jersey, New Mexico*, Pennsylvania, and Vermont),           including seven on one of these other lists (*), have rejected, either by failure in the legislature,  by gubernatorial veto,  or by failure to introduce a bill, any legislative implementation of  the appropriation, enabling, or alignment of the Common Core in      their states.
  • Five other states  (Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) and    Washington DC were not listed in the review as having even introduced any kind of Common Core related legislation at all in 2012.  

That brings the total to twenty-six out of forty-six and  one half states that have accepted them or 56% who are rejecting or  showing some kind of hesitancy or concern with implementing these  unconstitutional, illegal and dumbed down, politically correct standards    and their accompanying tests.  This is very important good news  for state and local autonomy, academic excellence, constitutionality and  state budgets  It is also very important for the the maintenance of  private and home schooling as viable alternatives to government      education. (More new details on the dangers to private school autonomy  via the Common Core and how the Romney education plan affects this issue  will come next week. In the meantime, please see Imposing a Federal Curriculum      on Private Schools – Why Voucher Programs that Require State Tests Are So      Dangerous)

After speaking at Phyllis Schlafley’s Eagle Council along      with Education Liberty Watch’s Dr. Karen Effrem, The American Principles      Project’s Emmett McGroarty, and Heather Crossin, the Indiana mom who led      the rebellion against the Common Core in that state, Kurtz wrote more      about the problems with the Common Core and the coming parental revolt in      National Review Online:

  

Crossin has  successfully galvanized Indiana’s tea-party groups into fighting the Common Core. It’s a taste of what’s going to happen across the country  once Obama’s new national school curriculum hits the ground. Angry  parents like Crossin will be multiplied many times over, and they won’t  just be making funny protest videos. They’ll be marching on state      legislatures and giving the federal government an earful as well. 

The resistance to the Common Core seems to be following  the same state level resistance or inertia that is happening with the health insurance exchanges that unless stopped will serve as the implementation portals for the life robbing, health endangering, tax  increasing and economy wrecking mandates of Obamacare.

     It is therefore critical to make education freedom part of  the consideration as we choose not only a new president, but members of Congress, governors, and state legislators.  Please do not be shy about asking candidates where they stand on the implementation of the  Common Core and what they will do to stop it at both the state and federal levels.  If officials or candidates are not interested in  discussing the lack of constitutionality or terrible quality of the  standards, remind them that Common Core implementation cost estimates vary between $16 and $60 BILLION dollars that will not be available from  the federal government given current debt levels of $16 TRILLION dollars  and the state deficits that many states have accumulated. Please also consider a generous donation to Education Liberty Watch as we join with  groups and individuals across the nation to try to stop this other major usurpation of rights.  The future ability of our children to be the  thinking, reasoning citizens that will know how to maintain our heritage  of freedom depends on being able to stop this Obamacare for education gambit.   -Donna Garner

 

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