Archive for the ‘real education’ Tag

A Million Alternatives to Common Core and Regular Public School   19 comments

 

Some people think that unless you have large wads of cash for insanely expensive private schools, you are limited to two choices:  public school, or home school at the kitchen table.  Today I’m going to describe a handful of alternatives and there are probably many, many more.  (Add links in the comment section if you know of some.)

But first:  DO NOT FEAR.  Whatever you choose can work.   If your family’s circumstances mean that you have to send your child to public school, still do not fear.

As I teach my children, they can pretty easily discern the p.c. indoctrination at school and do come home reporting the silly propaganda.

You and your child can and will roll your eyes together, after you’ve taught him/her:

  • That your child is a child of God, not just “human capital” meant to serve the collective economy and compete in a global economy.
  • That there’s a world of difference between voluntary sharing (God’s way) and forced sharing (social justice or socialism.)
  • That your child is an American (or Canadian or Swedish or Bolivian) citizen, not a global citizen– because global citizenship does not guarantee sacred, sacred American rights.
  • How to use traditional math tools (algorithms, multiplication tables, formulas) if all he/she’s getting in school is fuzzy math and silly ways of wasting time to find solutions.
  • How to read and write in cursive, even if it looks like chicken scratch.
  • To love imagination and reading and learning –by having really, really interesting books on your home library shelf.  Really, really great books.
  • To be anchored in truth.  Read at the very least one verse of scripture at the breakfast table as he/she gets ready for school.  Talk about why it matters.
  • To politely refuse school surveys and standardized testing unless the school has parental, written consent.  Teach them to excuse themselves and call you if they ever feel “not okay” about something even if they can’t explain why to the school.
  • That you, the parent, are the resident expert on your child and nobody but God can claim to be a “stakeholder” over a child –ever.

 

Here are the schooling alternatives that I have found and have liked:

 

Traditional Home School –  From the myriad of home school helps, here are just a few:  Thomas Jefferson Education,  American Heritage Prep,  Ron Paul CurriculumKimber Academy, Easy Peasy All In One Home School.

Aspire Scholar Academy – This is a remarkable face to face home school co-op that caters to teenagers, located in Orem, Utah.  No one under age 12 may attend.  In addition to traditional classes based on classic principles of education and morality, this school offers a speech and debate program with teams that compete statewide against public school debate teams.  They also offer a “socializing only” option, where your student can attend many social events without attending classes at Aspire.  (The classes have filled up for this year, but the social-only option is still available.)

 

freedeom-project-logo-2

 

Freedom Project Education (FPE) – This private, online, Common Core-free school is free of any government influence — so there’s no standardized testing, no U.N. or “sustainability” worship, no anti-American or anti-religious agenda hiding in the assignments, no “human capital” here.

I’m excited that I’ll be joining FPE this year, teaching three filmed and live sections of tenth grade English at this wonderful school. We’re learning how to write clearly. We’re reading imaginative literature: Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne… Details below.  There are still openings if you know a tenth grader in need of an online English class and an enthusiastic teacher. They have classes for every age.   And for a private school, it’s inexpensive.

George Mueller Academy –  This remarkable school is in person, not online.  It’s in Lehi, Utah, and I’m sharing it here because it’s a great model for those in other places who are aiming to build something that goes way beyond a home schooling co-op and becomes much like a traditional private school (but cheaper) with a physical building, face-to-face classes, specialists in advanced subjects, field trips and parties.   There is no state oversight of this school, either, so like FPE above,  there’s no political agenda and no standardized testing required.   It’s called the George Mueller Academy Center for Educational Liberty.  See the incredible list of classes– biology, coding, martial arts, U.S. history, logic, languages– with prices set by individual teachers and varying greatly.

I’m teaching an English class at GMA for twelve-and-up (year olds) that meets for two hours, once a week.  It’s called “I Love My English Class”.  I’m also co-teaching a kindergarten-first grade class that meets for two hours, twice a week, for four hours total per week, called “Little Red School House.”

My Tech High – This is both an online school for students in any location, and a Utah-specific program that can reimburse homeschoolers who take classes outside the home with certain conditions (the class can’t be religious, must be offered to a group of students, etc.)

Home School Support Group – For those pursuing hybrid schools or home schools, Marlene Fletcher offers a home school support group both on Facebook and in mini conferences where people can learn about the myriad of ways that parents and co-ops are creating the kind of education they want for their children.

On Data Mining:

The schools I’ve listed above are data-mining free!  Your child won’t be hooked into the Big Brother SLDS at all, with one partial exception:  MyTechHigh is connected to the data collection system of the government, but data mining there is minimal there since students can choose the “custom built” class option, thus attending classes that do not report to the government SLDS databases.  My Tech High does require students to report periodically about what they are accomplishing in their classes, but SAGE opt outs are available and there is no daily SIS data upload about your child there (which you will find in all public and charter schools, including most online charter schools.)

 

george

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Peter Greene: Common Core is a Bad Boyfriend   Leave a comment

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His  latest:  detecting a bad boyfriend is like seeing through Common Core.

“…The crying kids. When your boyfriend makes your kids miserable, that’s a sign that he’s toxic. When your educational reform problem sucks the joy of learning out of children, something is wrong.

The addictions. If bad boyfriend is an alcoholic, you can argue that he’s not the problem—it’s just the alcohol. But the truth is you can’t separate the two. The common core has a bad addiction to high-stakes testing, lesson micro-management, and invalid teacher evaluations. It’s technically true that CCSS and these other reform ideas are separate, but they come as a package.

The lies. If you catch bad boyfriend lying about his job, his age, and his family, all the charm in the world can’t keep you from wondering what else he has lied about. Common-core boosters claimed it was written by teachers, internationally benchmarked, and research based. Turns out none of that is true

The money. Money is not inherently evil. But when it turns out bad boyfriend has been taking money out of your purse, that doesn’t help the romance. Common-core-based reform keeps revealing new ways to suck money out of schools and deliver it to corporate interests.

The blaming. Bad boyfriend is sorry that he yells at you, but you shouldn’t have made it necessary. The common-core narrative asked teachers to see themselves as failures, regardless of what they could see with their own eyes…”

(Read the rest!)

Common Core Lawsuit: Teachers and Parents v. Utah State School Board   2 comments

 

aaa

So many Utahns have become so hopping mad* about Common Core in our schools that a few weeks ago, Governor Herbert publically announced that the state Attorney General will now conduct a “thorough legal review” of the rapidly adopted, unvetted education and testing standards.  He’s got a public input website  on the academic aspects of the Common Core.  But his main question is:  do the standards represent “federal entanglement”?

Well, that seems like an easy question  for the Attorney General!  Just read Utah’s Race to the Top application, with its federal points system based, in large part, on a state agreeing to take on the Common Core.  Or check out Obama’s four pillars of education reform.  Or check out Obama’s and Secretary Duncan’s speeches on the subject.  Or read the federal definition of “college and career ready standards.”  Not hard.

But federal entanglement’s not the only question.  A new Libertas Institute lawsuit  asks this key question:  Did the Board violate state law in rushing through Common Core’s adoption without legally required input from parents, teachers, employers, superintendents and school boards?  At least one public school has openly declared that not even slightly were they consulted.  And they’re not happy about it.

The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment, saying that the Board failed to consult with local school boards, superintendents, teachers, employers and parents as required by law (53A-1-402.6).  It asks for an order enjoining the Board from further implementing Common Core, from requiring schools to implement Common Core, and from enforcing Common Core.

I am happy to be one of the parents/educators who are the plaintiffs in this case, and grateful to Libertas Institute for footing the bill.

Go, fight, win.

 

libertas

 

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* Remember to attend  if at all possible this month’s public state school board meeting and the big protest THIS WEEK at the State Board of Education offices in downtown Salt Lake City:  August 8th, at 9 a.m.  Many Utahns against Common Core will be protesting with signs outside the building while others will be making public comment later, during the public comment segment around 10:30 inside the building.  See you there.

Utah T-shirt Design Contest   Leave a comment

Click here to participate in Utah’s Stop Common Core T-shirt Design Contest and to get information about how to vote on the winning design.

We plan to wear these shirts at upcoming state school board meetings and at the State Capitol to help raise awareness about Common Core.

The shirts will be available in a week or two!

Thank you, Senator Mike Lee   2 comments

Senator Mike Lee of Utah joined other senators — Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Inhofe  (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Jeff  Sessions (R-Ala.) in signing Iowa Senator Grassely’s letter that points out that the Dept. of Education must be restrained from funding and promoting nationalized standards and must not be allowed to continue the illegal implementation of Common Core with federal tax monies.

The letter said:  “”While the Common Core State Standards Initiative was initially billed as a  voluntary effort between states, federal incentives have clouded the picture.  Current federal law makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education may not be  involved in setting specific content standards or determining the content of  state assessments. Nevertheless, the selection criteria designed by the U.S.  Department of Education for the Race to the Top Program provided that for a  state to have any chance to compete for funding, it must commit to adopting a  ‘common set of K-12 standards’ matching the description of the Common Core. The  U.S. Department of Education also made adoption of ‘college- and career-ready  standards’ meeting the description of the Common Core a condition to receive a  state waiver under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Race to the Top  funds were also used to fund two consortiums to develop assessments aligned to  the Common Core and the Department is now in the process of evaluating these  assessments.”

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/eight-senators-join-fight-against-common-core-94876/#DUmSios6cdzc1Orf.99  and http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/04/eight-senators-join-chuck-grassley-fight-to-defund-common-core/

Utah’s D.C. Senator, Mike Lee, also wrote yesterday at his official website:

Common Core Polluted by Federal Guidelines and Mandates

“The first principle of education, and therefore of education policymaking, is that parents are the primary educators of their children. And because responsibility for children’s education lies primarily with parents, to the greatest extent possible so should decision-making authority over Pre-K to secondary education. The further such decisions are removed from the parents and guardians of children, the further they are removed from those who will promote the best interests of students. Therefore federal influence over pre-K, elementary, and secondary education should be limited. Neither members of Congress nor Department of Education bureaucrats can be expected to promote the interests of individual students – with unique talents, interests, and learning styles – more than those students’ own parents, teachers or principals.

While the Common Core Standard Initiative was initially promoted as an effort to move in this direction, it has become polluted with Federal guidelines and mandates that interfere with the ability of parents, teachers and principals to deliver the education our children deserve.”  Read More Here

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Thank you, Senators Lee, Grassley, Coburn, Cruz, Fischer, Inhofe, Paul, Roberts, and Sessions.

As a teacher, as a parent, and as a believer in the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution, I can not thank you enough.

Freedom Project Education   9 comments

I just saw this today in an email and wanted to share the fact that there are alternatives to common core aligned curricula.

 

Official Policy of FPE Curriculum on Common Core

In mid-March of 2013, FreedomProject Education was made aware that many homeschool publishers planned to adapt their textbooks to align with Common Core mandates, those national standards developed by Washington D.C. insiders, lobby- ists, and liberal special interest groups, all subsidized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Upon learning that some of the textbooks currently used in FPE classes were slated for Common Core adaptation, FPE immediately reiterated our staunch commitment to removing any textbook from our curriculum that migrated to Common Core standards. We began an extensive review of our booklists and contacted many publishers and presses directly to ascertain first-hand their posi- tion and plans vis a vis Common Core. FPE also inaugurated a series of free and public Webcasts designed to explain and expose the insidious governmental power grab that is Common Core.

Among the things we discovered in researching our booklists is that a number of our current publishers do indeed plan to adapt their textbooks to Common Core requirements. In many cases this adaptation is in the works for future editions and has yet to manifest itself in the textbooks we currently use. In other instances, certain textbooks have already included elements in preparation for the coming move to Common Core. Further complicating the issue, some of our publishers have been designated by government agencies asCommon Core compliant” without—they claim—having asked for that designation or having taken any steps to adapt their curriculum to Common Core Standards. Our research has found a good deal of dishonesty in these claims, with representatives telling us there will be no incorporation of Common Core, while their very websites tout compliance. These are the realities as we currently find them since our investigation com- mencing in Mid-March 2013.

FPE decided on booklists for the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year in October of 2012, and those lists went out to faculty, current FPE families, and prospective students in early March 2013, two weeks before we learned that some homeschool publishers were adapting to Common Core standards. Given that 1) most of our current textbooks have yet to be altered to reflect specific Common Core guidelines; 2) that we have mailed out hundreds of program guides and distributed thou- sands of fliers listing as required the textbook list established in October 2012; 3) that many current FPE students, as well as new-enrollees for 2013-2014, have already purchased books based on the October 2012 list and will not easily be able to return them; and 4) that many of our teachers need time to adapt their courses to new textbooks that are free of any taint of Common Core ideology; we feel it is in the best interest of all concerned to proceed in the 2013-2014 academic year with the booklists established in October 2012.

Keeping the current roster of books will allow us to avoid the considerable confusion and expense that would occur if we made immediate and precipitous changes. It will also allow FPE to be careful and judicious in selecting alternative Common Core free textbooks for the 2014-2015 academic year. Further, the extra year will allow teachers to both monitor current books for Common Core problems and begin the process of transitioning from current texts to new ones in a methodical and pedagogically sound way. We plan to make each and every FPE teacher aware of any perceived Common Core bias in our current textbooks, to assist them in circumventing these standards, and to encourage them to bring to our attention any instances of infiltration they discover on their own.

We at FPE remain adamantly opposed to the implementation of Common Core in public schools, and under no circum- stances will we tolerate Common Core in our own classrooms moving forward. As we work through the upcoming 2013- 2014 school year, we encourage FPE faculty, families, and students to share with us their opinions about current textbooks and partner with us in being vigilant in opposing all such examples of gross government overreach. We also intend to host a new series of Webcasts in May 2013 that address FPE’s specific plans to counter Common Core and provide an online, homeschool education for America’s children that is free of spin, indoctrination, and cynical government manipulation.

FPEUSA.ORG

1 (800) 807 7292 750 N. Hickory Farm Lane, Appleton, WI 54914

Sincerely,

FreedomProject Education

Georgia Doing “Everything in its Power to Release Itself” From Common Core   1 comment

Senator William Ligon of Georgia led a recent press conference to discuss the reasons Georgia will do  “everything in its power to release itself from the commitment of the Common Core and the P.A.R.C.C”.

Jane Robbins,  Tish Strange, Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman and others also spoke at this press conference.

 

Senator William Ligon explained more about SB 167 in his Facebook update from last week: “Capitol Update: Feb. 25 – March 5”

Review of Action on SB 167 (Legislation to Withdraw from Common Core)

Prior to last week’s hearing on SB 167 before the Senate Education Committee, Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) told members of the press that it was time to withdraw Georgia from its participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) were adopted on July 8, 2010 under Governor Sonny Perdue‚s administration as part of the state’s efforts to comply with the Federal Race to the Top (RTTT) grant. The Common Core represents the first attempt at nationalized curriculum standards in math and English language arts (ELA) for grades K – 12. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is responsible for the development of assessments that will be aligned to the Common Core.

“Though I am sure the previous administration had the best of intentions when deciding to apply for Race to the Top, the lack of accountability to the parents and taxpayers of this state is stunning,” said Sen. Ligon. “First of all, there has been no thorough cost analysis of what the unfunded mandates will cost Georgia’s taxpayers at either the state or the local level to implement and maintain the terms of the grant.”

“Secondly, allowing a consortium of states to work with non-profits and other unaccountable parties to develop our standards without open public oversight is untenable in a country of free people, especially considering that Georgia’s taxpayers support K-12 education with approximately $13 billion of hard-earned dollars every year,” Sen. Ligon explained. “Georgia needs to have a transparent, democratic process of developing curriculum standards and a means to ensure more direct accountability at the local level. Our educational system should not be accountable to Washington bureaucrats, but to the people of this state who pay the taxes and to the parents who have children in our public schools.”

Lending his voice of support to the effort, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle stated, “The most important task we face each Legislative Session is finding ways to strengthen and reform the education of Georgia’s children. I believe that Georgians know best how to educate our children, not Washington, D.C. bureaucrats. I look forward to working with Sen. Ligon on this important issue to ensure that we‚re able to continue making decisions about the education of our children right here in Georgia rather than having curriculum standards enforced from Washington, D.C.”

During the press conference and at the hearing, Sen. Ligon was joined by Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core Validation Committee and as senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education; Ze‚ev Wurman, a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and former Senior Adviser at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education; Jane Robbins, a Harvard-trained attorney and Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project; and Dr. Jim Arnold, Superintendent of Pelham City Schools, GA.

In addition, a number of grassroots organizations, parents, citizens, and K-12 as well as collegiate educators offered testimony in support of SB 167 at the hearing which took place before a standing-room only crowd. Groups included organizations such as Concerned Women for America, Americans for Prosperity, American Principles Project, Georgia Conservatives in Action, Citizen Impact, the Conservative Leadership Coalition, the Georgia Republican Assembly, the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders, among others.

Action has been deferred on the legislation due to the fact that time constraints and the dynamics of the Senate would prevent the bill from reaching the House this session even if it had passed the committee.

Sen. Ligon will take up the bill next January, as well as SB 203, the companion legislation to establish a transparent, democratic process for the adoption of curriculum standards.

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