Archive for the ‘PTA’ Tag

Video: Arkansas Teen Scholar Against Common Core   6 comments

My jaw is on the ground.

Not only is teen Patrick Richardson’s powerpoint presentation excellent, but as a kid –free of the parental panic that is quite paralyzing to many adults– he finds humor in the horror story of the takeover of U.S. education!

For example, at minute 16:48 Patrick says:

“How will student data be collected? This is another funny topic when you start asking people who are supposed to know the answers, because they swear up and down that they aren’t collecting this data, they never will, they never have. They tell you no. Bottom line is, they’re sort of being bypassed too.

Then he goes on to show exactly how it’s happening.

I LOVE THIS BOY!

Patrick Richardson is the 2013 version of the boy in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who dares say out loud, that the darn emperor is stark naked. And he’s right.

At the Arkansas Against Common Core site, you will find this video, and an introduction to the remarkable Patrick Richardson. The site explains:

“Grace Lewis, founder and organizer of Arkansas Against Common Core, did not know the power she would unleash when she asked a technologically savvy local youth to help her create a website for Arkansas Against Common Core. Patrick Richardson, a then 15 year old youth with high personal standards and a vast interest in technology, answered that request when he presented Mrs. Lewis with an organized, well researched, fact based website… shocked and elated, Mrs. Lewis asked Richardson if he would also like to speak at the upcoming House and Senate Joint Education Committee Interim Study on Common Core. He was up to the challenge and showed up at the hearing with a presentation that completely amazed everyone including the Joint Education Committee and the State Department of Education. No one was prepared for Patrick’s well researched power point presentation on the money trail behind Common Core. He left many with dropped jaws and stunned faces.”

Read the rest.

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Most people don’t know the difference between a P.T.A. and a P.T.O.

Main difference: PTA is a national group, while PTOs are locally controlled and don’t have to pay national leadership.

In this Wall Street Journal article, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444549204578022683272864910.html

we find out the differences.  We also find out why one parent-teacher organization (PTA) is suing the other (PTO)!

I decided not to join my child’s school’s PTA this year.  I’ll give money directly to the school or the classroom, but not to the PTA.  Why?  Only one reason:  because the National PTA is pushing Common Core. 

They’ve taken huge donations from Bill Gates to promote Common Core, which is not good for our kids.  And they don’t even admit Common Core is far from a politically neutral movement.  But anyway…

Here’s this week’s article on the subject, reposted from the Wall Street Journal:

By STEPHANIE BANCHERO    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444549204578022683272864910.html

CHICAGO—The national PTA sued a rival parent group in court here, claiming the group is infringing on its trademark and poaching members, in the latest controversy involving parents’ role in public education.

The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, the umbrella organization of the PTA, sued the parent company of PTO Today on Wednesday in U.S. District Court, accusing the for-profit company of using “false and misleading statements encouraging members to leave the National PTA” and opt, instead, to form a local parent-teacher organization, or PTO.

The 115-year-old, nonprofit PTA is a membership organization with about 25,000 chapters and roughly five million parents who pay annual dues of between $5 and $10. Donations made up nearly $10 million of the organization’s $14 million in annual revenue in 2011, according to its annual report. PTA officials say membership has dropped steadily for at least 10 years, but declined to provide exact figures.

The PTA provides resources and advice to parents, and it also lobbies local and national lawmakers on behalf of public schools. It supports “adequate and equitable” funding for schools, and opposes vouchers.

PTO Today, founded in 1999 and a unit of School Family Media Inc., provides resources to thousands of independent parent groups, many known as PTOs, and to local PTAs, according to PTO Today, which was founded by Tim Sullivan, who estimates there are about 55,000 PTOs.

The company’s revenue primarily comes from advertising in the monthly magazine it produces for elementary schools. PTO Today doesn’t lobby.

The suit claims that PTO Today has traded on the venerable PTA trademark and used false advertising to imply an association between the two groups. As a result, the suit claims, the PTA has suffered irreparable harm.

In the suit, the PTA asks the court to prohibit PTO Today from encouraging local PTA groups to leave the national chapter. It also asks the court to bar PTO Today from using the PTA name on its website, magazine or ads.

The two sides say they have spent the last few years trying to settle the matter before the suit was filed.

“They have made a number of false statements about the PTA and have laid out a road map for parents to leave the PTA,” said Betsy Landers, president of the national PTA, in a phone interview.

Mr. Sullivan denied the charges. He noted that the PTA has been losing membership since its heyday in the 1960s, when it claimed 12 million parents. “It is not the fault of PTO that the PTA is struggling,” he said in an interview.

Heber PTA President Janette Hall’s Letter to Utah State School Board   3 comments

July 15, 2012

Utah State School Board Members,

My name is Janette Hall and I have five children enrolled in the public school system in Utah. I am also the PTA president of Timpanogos Intermediate School. I have spent many years volunteering in schools and working closely with teachers and administrators. I appreciate the work that is conducted by the USOE for my children and their education, but I feel compelled to write this letter after reading a recent posting on your official blog by Brenda Hales regarding Utah’s Core Standards, Assessments and Privacy Regulations on July 10th, 2012.

It seems that the intent of the statement was to assuage the public instead of seeking to be factual. I was surprised at the definitive tone of Brenda Hale’s statement, when a study of the legal documents would lead one to the opposite conclusion.

As the public becomes more educated, our ability to see through statements like these increases at the cost of your board’s credibility. An organization that can admit that other points of view have credence is to be admired, not looked down upon. We are treading into uncharted territory and no one knows the exact outcome of the board’s actions to adopt the Common Core standards and join the SBAC, not even the USOE.

After reading her official blog I was shocked at the many misleading, and in my opinion, incorrect statements, such as the following:

2. The State Board of Education has control over the standards and assessments for Utah.

3. Utah has not lost its autonomy over standards and assessments.

4. The Utah core standards:
May be changed by the State Board at any time.
Were not developed, funded or mandated by the federal government.
Are not federal or national standards.
Were not obligatory because of Utah’s Race to the Top application.
Are not under the control or manipulation of special interest groups.
Are not obligatory because of Utah’s NCLB flexibility request application.

In a letter dated March 7, 2012, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of the United States Department of Education affirmed that “states have the sole right to set learning standards.” In Utah’s flexibility request we informed the Department of Education that we have chosen to use our Utah core standards. If and when the State Board decides to change or revise Utah’s standards they will do so.

The USOE has never, prior to Common Core, signed legal documents that have bound Utah’s ability to control standards and assessments; because of this we need to proceed carefully to fully understand our legal obligations. I have studied the issues related to Common Core and the SBAC for the past few months. I have also personally talked with Norman Jackson, a retired Judge from Utah, who analyzed the legally binding documents signed by Utah. You can see a copy of his analysis at https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/judge-norman-jackson-the-two-schools-of-thought-of-citizens-versus-the-utah-state-office-of-education/. I have also discussed the topic with three attorneys, one of which was my congressman, that have reviewed the legally binding documents related to the SBAC and No child Left Behind waiver. Their mutual consensus is contrary to Brenda Hale’s statements above. The documents clearly state that Utah cannot take anything away from the standards and can only add up to 15% additional material and the additional material will not be assessed. There is no amendment process associated with the standards. They are copyrighted by a private entity. They are not owned by Utah. The following link to Utah’s NCLB waiver application states that our adoption of the Common Core standards satisfies the requirements of waiver. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/ut.pdf (please see page 18 and 84.)

Bill Evers, a research fellow from Hoover Institute and a member of former Governor Romney’s educational advisory committee, recently informed Governor Herbert on July 9, 2012, in my presence, that he had personally discovered a minor error in the language arts standards, dealing with vowels. He contacted the authors, whom he knew, and they acknowledged that he was correct in his discovery, but informed him that the standards had already been printed and adopted in 35 states so they could not be changed; it was too late. If one person could not change an agreed-upon, blatant error in the standards, do you think Utah will have the ability to make changes to the standards? Mr. Evers’ expert opinion was that we will not have that freedom. Is our educational freedom worth giving up for an experimental common core?

I have seen a copy of the letter written by Arne Duncan. I asked Kent Talbert, an attorney focused on K-12 education, for his expert opinion and his initial thoughts were that it might be a political letter and not a legally binding letter. Have you had the letter reviewed by your attorneys to see if it would hold up in court or has any teeth in it to counter your signatures on legally binding documents? The letter is not a carte blanche for Utah to disregard legal obligations. Please seek legal advice before you make statements to the contrary.

Recently Mr. Evers compared Utah’s previous mathematical standards with Common Core’s and stated that the new common core math standards are lower than our previous standards. Do you have an educational analysis of the standards that you can release? What criteria did the validation committee use to judge the standards? After postings like Brenda Hales’ on your blog, I can no longer accept your word at face value. You are in a position of trust and you cannot throw statements around without documentation. It will ultimately hurt your cause and not strengthen it. I urge you to be cautious on the statements that you choose to release to the public. I hope that the blog represents Ms. Hales’ opinion and not the opinions of the entire USOE.

I listened to the Rod Arquette show last week with Joel Coleman and Craig Coleman. I felt like they were sincere in their desire to help educate our children. But again, they provided no references for their beliefs that Common Core would raise, rather than lower standards in Utah. I was also pleased to hear that the USOE will vote on the possibility of exiting the SBAC in August. I would like to lend my support and encouragement for the USOE to withdraw from the SBAC.

I do not usually write letters of this nature but when I read Ms. Hales’ blog I could no longer sit idly by. I feel that it is important that the USOE know how their words are perceived by the public. Obviously, I have a vested interest in the education of my children. There are few things that will move a parent more than the wellbeing of their children.

Thank you for taking the time to read over this. I have attached below a letter that I gave to Governor Herbert on July 9, 2012.

Sincerely ,

Janette Hall

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