Archive for the ‘petition’ Tag

Concerned Citizens of Southern New Jersey Continue to Try for a Meeting With Governor Christie   5 comments

CONCERNED CITIZENS OF SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY - AKA "THE COMMON CORE FOUR"

CONCERNED CITIZENS OF SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY – AKA “THE COMMON CORE FOUR”

In the photo:  Jan Lenox, Lynne Shirk, Deb Yoa and Michelle Mellon, four unstoppable grandmothers of New Jersey who spearhead a group called Concerned Citizens of Southern New Jersey

Jan Lenox wrote a letter that was published this week at the Cape May County Herald in New Jersey.

 

To the Editor:

Concerned Citizens of South N.J. made the two hour+ trip to Trenton April 28 to deliver our petitions on Common Core/PARCC to the governor.

We attended the Senate budget hearing on education with Commissioner David Hespe’s testimony. It was just one more dog and pony show in a long list of same old, same old educratical nonsense. The only glimmer of light was brought from Senator Jeff Van Drew when he asked a few pointed questions about the never-voted-on legislation, presented last year.

After three long hours of waiting for a reason to be there, we decided to leave the chamber and continue on to what we came to Trenton to do. We were met by a state police officer when we entered the governor’s ante-office; we were told we couldn’t enter. We explained that we wanted to present our petition to Governor Christie. We then were sent to the security office, checked in and waited for the governor’s aide-de-camp to greet us there. Kia, the aide, a very young woman and her even younger assistant came through the door and stood before us.

“What do you want,” she asked without introducing herself. I asked, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am the governor’s aide and this is my assistant.”

I introduced our group by name and stated that we came to deliver our petition. I stated to her that we had previously sent formal requests to the governor’s scheduler and followed with emails, and were denied a meeting. I continued to explain that we had carried these signatures with us for over two years and attached to the package was a personal letter signed by our group.

Her response was less than polite or professional. To paraphrase her response: “I cannot guarantee he will get these. He gets thousands of letters. I am not his scheduler.”

Then she went on to say that the governor’s schedule was full until June 30. She told us to attend his upcoming town hall meetings that were being planned throughout the state. We heard that if you attend six town halls, you can request a meeting with the governor. This is ludicrous at best. She was very curt and annoyed that we came to bother her. Kia offered no information to help us.

She took our package and said she would deliver it to his office without any other information or response. According to Kia, Governor Christie was very well aware of people’s angst over the Common Core and PARCC.

Well then, why won’t he meet with concerned citizens and alleviate our angst?

At the very least, we should have been met with a smile and a courteous attitude.

It was a very long day. We left the State House and started our journey home. Thank God, we have copies and thank Him for keeping our tempers in check. After all, we had two state troopers right behind us.

Did I mention that we’re all grandmothers?

 

The petition letter, which was stapled to many pages of signatures from the citizens of New Jersey:

 

Dear Governor Christie,

We are here today on behalf of the citizens of the state of New Jersey.  On March 23, 2013 a letter was sent to you regarding our urgent request for information and support regarding the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  Forty letters were sent to representatives of our state, Commissioner Cerf, county superintendents and local school principals.  Our requests were never answered.

For over 25 months, Concerned Citizens of Southern New Jersey has partnered with many other groups north, south, east and west, and have shared our message.  Parents, grandparents, guardians, as well as teachers and many legislators believe as we do, that Common Core is an unjust, unnecessary and unwanted commodity.  New Jersey had good standards.  We want them back!

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita of the University of Arkansas, and one of only two experts on the original CCSS validation committee, said that the standards were inferior and refused to sign off on them.  She has since offered to write new standards, at no cost to the US DOE, however, that most generous offer was flatly negated.

Your office has twice denied CCSNJ a scheduled visit with you to explain our position; however, our children’s educational future hangs in the balance.  So, we are here to present you with our petitions to end this agenda now.  We hope you will stand with the voters, parents and most importantly the children of our great state and repeal   Common Core.

God bless you and may He guide your course going forward.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Janice Lenox__________________________     Carolyn B. Shirk___________________________

Michelle Mellon_______________________     Deborah Yoa_______________________________

 

 

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It is remarkable that this scenario is replaying itself in state after state across this great nation.  Citizens who stand up and speak up for their rights and their children’s best interests in education and are being ignored, maligned, or threatened by the new ruling elite.  The new education elite is comprised of the members of the private trade organizations with the presumptuous sounding names like “National Governors’ Association,” or the equally unelected and equally presumptuous State Superintendents’ Club, the “Council of Chief State School Officers,” hand in hand with the federal Department of Education, the  corporations such as the British-owned education sales conglomerate Pearson Inc., and the philanthropists whose heavy handed generosity sets policy that governs millions, notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Call me crazy but I like liberty and self-government; I like the style of Americanism that the founders envisioned and set into the Declaration and the Constitution.  This new education-by-elite ain’t that.

Should Voters or the Governor Hold Power Over Schools? SIGN OUR PETITION   1 comment

herbert

 

 

 

Utahns Against Common Core is asking Utahns to sign a transparency in voting petition immediately.  It will be seen on Capitol Hill tomorrow morning.

Sign it here.   Read SB104,  the bill that needs to pass, here.

The issue is one of power.  Should the Governor hold the power over who gets to sit on the state school board, or should Utah’s voters get to decide?  This is such a foundational measure.  If the people themselves cannot possibly get decision makers elected who think differently from the powerful elites who marry corporate and federal aims and remove local control, then we have no hope of ever getting free of things like Common Core or the forced use on children of the State Longitudinal Database System.

There are competing bills right now that push for more or less voter control of decision making; either the Governor gets even more power than he already has, in appointing the board; or else, voters get increased power because voting will be totally transparent, partisan, and run just like the elections for other elected representatives in our state.

Please sign the petition now.  The opposition is circulating a petition to bring to the Capitol tomorrow as well.

It is so a no-brainer to those of us who believe in representative government and the voice of the people.  But it’s not a sure thing at all.

Although it seems almost unthinkable that there are so many people in our supposedly conservative state who want the Governor to be able to appoint people rather than to have open, transparent, partisan elections, that is what is happening.

Even if you happen to like the current governor’s line of thinking, what happens years from now when you don’t?

Decision making power over our schools and our children’s lives should not be concentrated in one man.  It’s unAmerican, dangerous, and stupid to allow the centralization of power.  We have a greater likelihood of not corrupting our state when we allow the people to choose, and to debate, and to vote transparently.

For those who didn’t know– our current process for getting new state school board members is not okay.  It is centralized and corrupt, already.  But the opposition wants to make it more easily controlled by the elites.

This is how it currently works:  a governor-appointed committee interviews candidates for state school board, giving them, among other things, a questionnaire that is biased to the governor’s aims.  (It asks, among other things, if the candidate supports the Utah Core/Common Core).  So people who think independently will never even make it to the interview.  Then the committee interviews a narrowed group, further narrows it to three people; the governor chooses two of them, and passes those two names on to voters.  Utah voters never get any transparency, and only get choice a or b.  (This reminds me of the old Ford ads:  You can have any color, as long as it’s black.)

Please help us make this process fair and transparent.  Sign the petition.  Tell your representatives that you support Al Jackson’s bill for transparency in school board elections.

Thank you.

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Petition language –  from Utahns Against Common Core:

We, the undersigned, support SB 104, Education Elections and Reporting Amendments, which uses partisan elections to vet candidates and allow locally elected delegates to narrow the voting field of candidates who appear on the ballot. Partisan elections are used with great success in all other major elections in Utah and it makes perfect sense to allow the same process to function in large scale elections for school board members. The Salt Lake Tribune editorial of 10-30-2014 stated that there is no reason to come up with a new method of electing school board members. They stated:

“Actually, they don’t need to invent a thing. All they have to do use the same system we use to choose other state office holders. The process that is good enough to elect governors, attorneys general and members of the Legislature… People who want to be on the state school board should go through the same process as people who want to serve in the Legislature… It’s good enough for legislators. It should be good enough for school board members.”

The current system is broken. It guarantees that a single political party comprised of the UEA, USBA, and other educator organizations, dominate the election of the people on school boards.

Other facts

  • Locally elected delegates vet candidates most effectively
  • Increased transparency by highly effective caucus delegates
  • Lower cost to run for office
  • More people engaged in the issues important to education
  • Board members still represent all the people, just like you represent all your constituents
  • Partisan elections are constitutional
  • Party affiliation just lets you know where their core principles stand
  • State GOP Resolution strongly requested the legislature pass partisan elections
  • Utah County GOP Resolution strongly requested the legislature pass partisan elections
  • Not passing SB 104 would be hypocritical since it is the same system used to elect you

I further request that no bill be passed that involves empowering the governor to appoint board members. The 15 state school board members have control of half of the state’s budget. Empowering them to be appointed by the governor instead of through the caucus system that has produced the “best managed state” in the union would be folly and give too much power to one individual.

Sign here.

 

herbert

Wyoming to Stop Common Core   9 comments

This week Alisa and I spoke in Star Valley, Wyoming at the Afton Civic Center.   The event was filmed and I’ll post it when  receive it.

What I learned:

Wyoming is in great shape to reclaim educational liberty and control.   I’m almost jealous of the state’s position.  Why?

1)  Wyoming could walk away from the temptation of federal monies easily because it has strong education funding through state royalties. 

“Each biennium, Wyoming gets about $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in federal mineral royalty payments (FMRs), which account for a sizable portion of the state’s entire two-year $8.9 billion budget. More FMRs flow to Wyoming than any other state, largely because of extensive coal mining on federal land” – WyoFile.

2) Wyoming only recently (1 year ago) formally adopted Common Core.  The amount of wasted money, time, teacher development and other Common Core-related waste that is happening in other states, has not happened there yet.   It will be so easy to cut bait and walk away, because there’s not a lot of bait to cut.

3)  Wyoming has an enviable state school board.

The Wyoming state school board only voted 8 to 4 to adopt Common Core.  That means that a good chunk of the school board was opposed to it from day one.  Enviable!  (In supposedly conservative Utah each of the board members adore the Obama-pushed Common Core.)

Perhaps best of all, the Wyoming state superintendent, Cindy Hill, really gets it– she fights for local control of educational quality and liberty.  She recently gave a speech to her state legislature about the foolishness of being federal-compliance-focused rather than having a “laser-like focus” on academic excellence.

Hill had refused to throw her state under the national testing bus and was severely punished for her wisdom.  She  was recently pushed aside and relieved of virtually all her powers and duties except for ceremonial and paperwork duties, because she opposed the federal-compliance mentality of the majority of the Wyoming School Board.  Hill’s powers were reassigned –not by a vote, but by an appointment–  to the new position:  Director of Education, one who would dance the dance of federal compliance more cheerfully.

But Wyoming citizens rose up in protest, getting thousands and thousands of citizens to sign a petition to vote on the issue and to get Cindy Hill reinstated with her full powers.

4) Wyoming has strong, devoted people who value local control and are not willing to give it away.

 

Wyoming, we love you.  Go, Fight, Win!

 

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Sign the Wyoming Petition to STOP COMMON CORE here.

Dump Duncan: Grandfathers Lead Petition   2 comments

Many people are upset about federally imposed “education reforms” that leave teachers and parents out of decision making.  There’s now  a nationwide “Dump Duncan” movement that’s petitioning President Obama to fire the Secretary of Education.

Dump Duncan was started by two grandfathers, one in Washington State and one in New York, who are upset about what is happening to the public schools of the nation.  Those who have signed the Letter to Obama include parents, teachers, college professors, and other citizens.

The petition asks the President for: a Secretary of Education who is a lifetime educator; a meaningful voice for teachers, parents and administrators in Dept. of Education decision making that affect them; an end to the compelling of municipalities to use student test data as a basis for evaluating teachers, and more.

“Dump Duncan” has a Facebook page, a “Dump Duncan” website and a petition at http://dumpduncan.org/ .  It even put on an “Occupy the Department of Education” event this year.

There’s a collection of teacher-written poetry on the “Dump Duncan” poetry contest page,  and a lot of creative graphics uploaded by various petition signers.  So far, there are about 6,000 Dump Duncan petition signers.  This is what the full petition requests:

Dear President Obama,

We, the undersigned, a cross section of the nation’s teachers and their supporters, wish to express our extreme displeasure with the policies implemented during your administration by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Although many of us campaigned enthusiastically for you in 2008, it is unlikely that you will receive continued support unless the following three dimensions of your administration’s education initiatives are changed:

  1. The exclusion of teachers from policy discussions in the US Department of Education and from Education Summits called under your leadership.
  2. The use of rhetoric which blames failing schools on “bad teachers” rather than poverty and neighborhood distress.
  3. The use of federal funds to compel states and municipalities to use student test scores in the evaluation of teachers and as the basis for closing low performing schools.

Because of these policies, teachers throughout the nation have become discouraged and demoralized, undermining your own stated goals of improving teacher quality, upgrading the nation’s educational performance, and encouraging creative pedagogy rather than “teaching to the test.”

We therefore submit the following measures to put your administration’s education policy back on the right track and to bring teachers in as full partners in this effort:

  1. The removal of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education and his replacement by a lifetime educator who has the confidence of the nation’s teachers.
  2. The incorporation of parents, teachers, and school administrators in all policy discussion taking place in your administration, inside and outside the Department of Education.
  3. An immediate end to the use of incentives or penalties to compel states and municipalities to use student test scores as a basis for evaluating teachers, preferring charter schools to existing public schools, and requiring closure of low performing schools.
  4. Create a National Commission, in which teachers and parent representatives play a primary role, which explores how to best improve the quality of America’s schools.

We believe such policies will create an outpouring of good will on the part of teachers, parents and students which will promote creative teaching and educational innovation, leading to far greater improvements in the nation’s schools than policies which encourage a proliferation of student testing could ever hope to do.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Heber City Residents Petition Governor to Get Utah Out of the Common Core Initiative   1 comment

Heber City Residents Petition Governor to Get Utah Out of the Common Core Initiative

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