Archive for the ‘research’ Tag

Report on Jenni White’s Utah Speech   4 comments


Jenni  White of Oklahoma’s Restore Oklahoma Public Education spoke  last night in Midvale, Utah, to a clapping, cheering, energized crowd that included two  legislators from the Utah House of Representatives, Kay Christofferson and LaVar Christiansen, both of whom stood and spoke after Jenni’s speech to voice their support.

Feisty, hilarious, sassy and smart, Jenni White’s presentation explained that she and her group have been working for many, many years (longer than the majority of us have in Utah) to stop Common Core.  The bills that were written there never got heard, or only made it through one committee hearing, year after year.  It took hard work and dogged persistence to work the miracle that Oklahoma finally saw this year.  Her speech was filmed and will be posted soon.  Here are highlights:

What Oklahoma moms did:

1.  They didn’t just work with one or two legislators.  They emailed all the legislators, every week, with short, vital pieces of information to help educate them about just what the Common Core Initiative has done to schools, to student privacy, to teacher autonomy, to the voice of parents, to the power of local control of education.

2.  They showed up by the hundreds during the legislative session, wearing the green Stop Common Core t-shirts, and made it impossible during rallies for legislators to walk down the halls without swerving around green t-shirted parents and teachers and students.  They would not be ignored or dismissed.

3.  They sent legislative baseball cards, stop common core cookie bouquets, postcards, notes, legislator memos, tweets, emails.

4.  They held a “Hear the Bills!” rally to persuade legislators to at least listen, to at least let this issue have a fair hearing.

5. They did photo ops with Governor Fallin, wearing the green t-shirts, even before she had decided to stand against Common Core.

6. They had meetings statewide, educating the public, asking the public to call their legislators and tell them they wanted Common Core to be repealed and replaced with better standards like Massachusetts had prior to the Common Core-ing of America.

7. They stuck together, not allowing infighting or small disagreements to break apart their coalition of parents, teachers and citizens who wanted Common Core to go away.

Since the Oklahoma miracle, some pro-Core advocates such as Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrelli, (a financial beneficiary of Bill Gates, of course) have tried to spin the Oklahoma miracle of repealing Common Core as a disaster, saying that Oklahoma teachers have no idea what to teach right now.

The indomitable Jenni White, rather than shrink under his arrogance and criticism, happily invited Petrelli to Oklahoma for an open debate and discussion on this subject.

Petrelli has accepted, according to his Twitter feed.

Thank you, Oklahoma!  We love you!




Department of Education Website Down   13 comments

By Susie Schnell
Education Week  reports that hackers got into the Department of Education’s site and so they shut their site down indefinitely.
Baloney! No hackers got into the system. I’ll tell you what’s going on.
Researchers from around the nation have been gathering research from US  Dept of Ed documents so we can get them to you directly from the source  to prove everything we say. Because everyone is now linking to this site and because now we have so many national groups joining the fight, they pulled the curtain closed and are hiding behind it.
The Dept of Ed is  hiding from US citizens! Not only do we have huge groups in  every state looking daily at these documents now, but we also have the  research crews of Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Freedom Works, Fox NewsUnited Families International and many others  all across the nation for  the FIRST TIME this week paying attention to what is going on with our  education system and realizing we’re being lied to.
The same  thing happened a few days after Agenda 21 was exposed nationally. After a year of researching the U.N. site easily, all of a sudden they went dark and no one can access their pages anymore. How dare they blame their lack of transparency on hackers. You know you are onto something really big when the entire U.S. Department of Education website closes down because you have exposed them.  What a smokescreen!

— — — — — — —

Thank you, Susie Schnell, for researching and writing this post.  I agree with Susie.  Time will prove it to everyone, one way or another.  In a reasonable amount of time, if the Department reposts what was there before, we’ll be proven wrong.  Then there really were hackers desperate to get to the educational secrets that hadn’t been posted openly.  Hmm.

But if time passes and the documents and speeches never resurface, then the Dept. of Ed really is deliberately hiding from the American citizen-researcher.  Can you believe it?

Either way, we are not shut down, because we’ve saved the important documents and speeches offline.

The show will go on.

Professor William Mathis and NEPC: Common Core Unlikely to Improve Learning or Close Achievement Gap   Leave a comment

In case you don’t read the whole thing, I’m starting off with a bullet point list from a recent academic article from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) by Dr. William Mathis, entitled “Research-based Options for Education Policymaking,” available here, which among other things, gives advice for educators and policymakers, including these facts:

The nation’s “international economic competitiveness” is unlikely to be affected by  the presence or absence of national standards.

Common Core standards and assessments are unlikely to  improve learning, increase test scores, or close the achievement gap.

• As testbased  penalties have increased, the instructional attention given to non-tested areas has decreased.

Policymakers need to be aware of the significant costs in  instructional materials, training and computerized testing platforms the CCSS  requires as it is unlikely the federal or state governments will adequately cover these  costs.

For schools and districts with weak or non-existent curriculum articulation, the  CCSS may adequately serve as a basic curriculum.

• Schools must take proactive steps to  protect vital purposes of education such as maximizing individual student talents 


Here is the rest of the article:

Common Core State Standards
William Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder
October 2012

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have ardent supporters and strong critics.1 The actual effect of the CCSS, however, will depend much less on the standards themselves than on
how they are used. Two factors are particularly crucial. The first is whether states invest in the  necessary curricular and instructional resources and supports, and the second concerns the
nature and use of CCSS assessments developed by the two national testing consortia.

The movement toward nationwide curriculum standards began in 2009 and has been led  by the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers,
accompanied by the Gates Foundation’s fiscal support. The CCSS goal is to assure a highlevel  “internationally competitive” set of standards, help teachers organize their lessons,
and assure educational continuity for mobile students.2 A claimed advantage is that an  economy of scale is created (particularly for corporations supplying professional  development, instructional materials, and standardized testing).3 Another claimed benefit  is the facilitation of comparisons among states, although such information is already  provided by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Since the CCSS has not been implemented, many questions cannot be definitively  answered. Yet, there are informative lessons from related research. There is, for example,   no evidence that states within the U.S. score higher or lower on the NAEP based on the  rigor of their state standards.4   Similarly, international test data show no pronounced testscore
advantage on the basis of the presence or absence of national standards.5 Further,  the wave of high-stakes testing associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has resulted  in the “dumbing down” and narrowing of the curriculum.6  Owing to the historically limited educational role of the federal government, those behind  the CCSS have taken care to avoid having the effort characterized as “national standards”  or a “national curriculum.”7 Four states (Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia) have, as of  October of 2012, declined to participate, and Minnesota has agreed to adopt CCSS in only  one subject area. (Five currently participating states are considering legislation to slow  down implementation 8). But that refusal has come at a cost. For a state to be eligible for  federal Race to the Top or NCLB waivers, for example, it must adopt “college and career  ready standards.”9 Nevertheless, in many minds, curriculum and standards are a state
responsibility, and the CCSS represents federal over-reach.10  Since the 1994 passage of the Goals 2000 legislation, state standards have been  increasingly linked to large-scale assessments of those standards. With NCLB, high-stakes  consequences were attached to the test scores. As a predictable consequence, the  assessments have driven curriculum and instruction much more than the state standards  themselves. It is now again predictable that the nature and use of the CCSS assessments  will largely determine the impact of CCSS. Two national assessment consortia (the Smarter  Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for  College and Careers) are developing computer-based testing for a scheduled  implementation in 2014-15. 11

Among the unresolved issues are:

1) the amount and impact of testing time required for the new assessments;
2) whether the results have enough validity and precision to justify high-stakes applications currently being eyed by lawmakers (e.g., evaluation of principals and teachers);
3) the ability of the two consortia to sustain the effort given the current fiscal needs and  available resources;
4) whether the assessment systems will be ready on time; and
5) most important, whether the tests will create incentives for teaching a rich, engaging,  comprehensive curriculum.12

A paramount issue is whether, given the current status of federal and state budgets, there  will be the political will to provide schools and students the professional support and  learning resources necessary for the effort to be successful.  As the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity,  educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to  expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by  itself. 13

Key Research Points and Advice for Policymakers

• The adoption of a set of standards and assessments, by themselves, is unlikely to  improve learning, increase test scores, or close the achievement gap. 14
For schools and districts with weak or non-existent curriculum articulation, the  CCSS may adequately serve as a basic curriculum. 15
• The assessment consortia are currently focused on mathematics and  English/language arts. Schools, districts, and states must take proactive steps to  protect other vital purposes of education such as citizenship, the arts, and  maximizing individual talents – as well as the sciences and social sciences. As testbased  penalties have increased, the instructional attention given to non-tested  areas has decreased. 16
• Educators and policymakers need to be aware of the significant costs in  instructional materials, training and computerized testing platforms the CCSS  requires.17  It is unlikely the federal or state governments will adequately cover these  costs. For the CCSS to be meaningful depends directly on whether it is adequately  supported.
• The nation’s “international economic competitiveness” is unlikely to be affected by  the presence or absence of national standards.18
• Children learn when they are provided with high-quality and equitable educational  opportunities. Investing in ways that enhance these opportunities shows the greater  promise for addressing the nation’s education problems.

Notes and References

1 In support, see Finn, C.E. Jr. (2010, March 16). Back to basics. National Review Online. Retrieved October 2,  2012, from
For a strongly critical voice, see Greene, J. P. (September 21, 2011). My testimony on national standards before  US House. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
Finn and Greene are both generally on the political “right” on educational issues. But similar division is found on  the “left.” In support, see Weingarten, R. (2010, June 3). Statement by Randi Weingarten, president, American  Federation of Teachers, on Common Core standards. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.
Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
And in opposition, see Ravitch, D. (2012, July 9). My view of the Common Core standards (blog post). Diane  Ravitch’s Blog. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from

2 NGA, CCSSO, Achieve (2008).Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U. S. Students Receive a world-Class  Education. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
3Ash, K. (2012, February 29). Common core raises PD opportunities, questions. Teacher PD. Retrieved October 2,  2012, from
4 Whitehurst, G, (2009, October 14). Don’t forget curriculum. Brown Center Letters on Education, #3, 6.  Washington, DC: Brown Center on Education Policy, Brookings Institution. Retrieved February 11, 2010, from
Bandeira de Mello, V. D., Blankenship, C., & McLaughlin D. (2009, October). Mapping state proficiencies onto  NAEP scales: 2005-2007. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education  Statistics. Retrieved March 20, 2010, from
5 Kohn, A. (2010, January 14). Debunking the case for national standards: one size fits all mandates and their  dangers. Retrieved January 13, 2010, from
McCluskey, N. (2010, February 17). Behind the curtain: Assessing the case for national curriculum standards,  Policy analysis 66. Washington: CATO Institute. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from
6 Robelen, E. (December 8, 2011) Most teachers see the curriculum narrowing, survey finds (blog post).  EdWeekOnline. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. (1999, Fall). Are state-level standards and assessments aligned?
WCER Highlights, 1–3. Madison, WI: Author.
Amrein, A. & Berliner, D. (2002). High-stakes testing, uncertainty, and student learning. Education Policy  Analysis Archives, 10(18). Retrieved October 4, 2012, from
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4–14.  Phillip Harris, Bruce M. Smith,B. M. & Harris, J. (2011) The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell  You What You Think They Do. Rowman and Littlefield, 100-109.
7 Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “The idea that the Common Core standards are nationally-imposed is a  conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.”  Duncan, A. (2012, February 23). Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, on a legislative proposal  in South Carolina to block implementation of the Common Core academic standards (press release). Washington,
DC: U.S. Departmentof Education. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from
8 Klein, Alyson (2012, September 26). Rift seen among Republicans on Common Core. Education Week, 32 (5), 19.
9 Obama, B (2012, February 9). Remarks by the President on No Child Left Behind Flexibility. Washington, DC:  Office of the Press secretary. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
Note that these standards need not be the CCSS, although in all cases but one the CCSS has been used. Virginia was  granted a waiver based on college- and career-ready standard other than the CCSS.
Klein, A (2012, June 29). Five more states get NCLB waivers (blog post).Politics K-12/Education Week..…

See Full List of Notes and References Here:

Morgan Olsen: Parental Rights to Review Curriculum and Surveys   2 comments

The reason I’m reposting this article is that there are many things happening in schools that parents may not feel comfortable with, but most do not speak up because they don’t know their rights over their own children.

Many schools administer something called the “SHARP” survey.  Locally, here in Heber City, it’s done in schools.  But you can opt out.

SHARP is an in-your-face survey that asks very detailed, intimate, and intrusive questions, without attaching names to the results. So what could be wrong?

Proponents of “SHARP” or “Communities That Care” or other survey-based youth data collection instruments claim that the survey is a necessary way to assess whether children are involved in drugs, sex, alcohol, violence, or mental ill health.

Others say that these types of surveys may do more harm than good, by introducing children to the ideas of many deviant behaviors they would otherwise not have known about, and/or should be learning about from their parents in a loving, trusting environment rather than on a bubble sheet in a classroom.   Others also say that embedded in the language of the surveys are values that may not match those of the parents.  (For example, some surveys I have seen do equate gun ownership with gun violence rather than realizing that many homes have guns for protection, hunting and to demonstrate 2nd Amendment rights.  See: )

Children may not have the courage to tell school staff they would like to opt out, but you can send your school a letter to let your wishes be known at the beginning of the school year. Then your child will not be allowed to take the survey.

With that intro, here is Morgan Olsen’s article on your parental rights, with links to laws you can point to when you go to your school district with concerns.

What are my parental rights?

Published at Utahns Against Common Core website January 24, 2013. | By Morgan Olsen  |  Reposted here with thanks to Morgan Olsen.

When faced with incorrect school policies and practices, parents can easily feel overwhelmed and powerless. Throughout my Common Core research, I have gathered a few tidbits of law that can help you re-establish your parental rights in the education of your child. Exercise regularly your God-given right to advocate for your child’s best interest, and remind schools and government agencies that your child’s unique needs are better served with a parental representative over a hired one. No amount of social planning, exorbitant spending or teacher training can provide a better representative than an emotionally attached lifelong parent who’s most basic instinct and sacred duty is to lovingly protect, nurture, and guide their child. Regularly claim your God-given right and duty to advocate for your child’s best interest as their primary representative. For as the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it.”


Right to review Curriculum   (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)

1232h Protection of pupil rights

(a) Inspection of instructional materials by parents or guardians

All instructional materials, including teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any applicable program shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children.

Limits on Survey, Analysis, Evaluations, or Data Collection (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)

(b) Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations

No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—

(1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;

(2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;

(3) sex behavior or attitudes;

(4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;

(5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;

(6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;

(7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or

(8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.

Here is a brochure to help teach your children to say NO to these types of questions.

United States Code, Title 20 1232c

(c) Surveys or data-gathering activities; regulations

Not later than 240 days after October 20, 1994, the Secretary shall adopt appropriate regulations or procedures, or identify existing regulations or procedures, which protect the rights of privacy of students and their families in connection with any surveys or data-gathering activities conducted, assisted, or authorized by the Secretary or an administrative head of an education agency. Regulations established under this subsection shall include provisions controlling the use, dissemination, and protection of such data. No survey or data-gathering activities shall be conducted by the Secretary, or an administrative head of an education agency under an applicable program, unless such activities are authorized by law.


Activities prohibited without prior written consent (Utah Code Title 53A Section 302)

(1) Policies adopted by a school district under Section 53A-13-301 shall include prohibitions on the administration to a student of any psychological or psychiatric examination, test, or treatment, or any survey, analysis, or evaluation without the prior written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian, in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal information, whether the information is personally identifiable or not, concerning the student’s or any family member’s:
(a) political affiliations or, except as provided under Section 53A-13-101.1 or rules of the State Board of Education, political philosophies;
(b) mental or psychological problems;
(c) sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes;
(d) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
(e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close family relationships;
(f) religious affiliations or beliefs;
(g) legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with lawyers, medical personnel, or ministers; and
(h) income, except as required by law.
(2) Prior written consent under Subsection (1) is required in all grades, kindergarten through grade 12.

Here is a brochure to help teach your children to say NO to these types of questions.

Right of the Parent to raise their child without undue government interference (Utah Code Title 62A Chapter 4a Section 201)

(1) (a) Under both the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, a parent possesses a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children. A fundamentally fair process must be provided to parents if the state moves to challenge or interfere with parental rights. A governmental entity must support any actions or allegations made in opposition to the rights and desires of a parent regarding the parent’s children by sufficient evidence to satisfy a parent’s constitutional entitlement to heightened protection against government interference with the parent’s fundamental rights and liberty interests.
(b) The fundamental liberty interest of a parent concerning the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children is recognized, protected, and does not cease to exist simply because a parent may fail to be a model parent or because the parent’s child is placed in the temporary custody of the state. At all times, a parent retains a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of family life. Prior to an adjudication of unfitness, government action in relation to parents and their children may not exceed the least restrictive means or alternatives available to accomplish a compelling state interest. Until the state proves parental unfitness, the child and the child’s parents share a vital interest in preventing erroneous termination of their natural relationship and the state cannot presume that a child and the child’s parents are adversaries.
(c) It is in the best interest and welfare of a child to be raised under the care and supervision of the child’s natural parents. A child’s need for a normal family life in a permanent home, and for positive, nurturing family relationships is usually best met by the child’s natural parents. Additionally, the integrity of the family unit and the right of parents to conceive and raise their children are constitutionally protected. The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent’s child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and Constitution and is a fundamental public policy of this state.
(d) The state recognizes that:
(i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
(ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.
(e) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children.

~Morgan Olsen

Keeping Up With Global Reform Guru Sir Michael Barber   3 comments

Just pasting some recent tweets from Sir Michael Barber, the Chief Education Advisor for Pearson.  (FYI, Pearson is one of the big corporate groups getting rich from implementing Common Core.)

Sir Michael Barber is all about one-world indoctrination.

Check him out.  He talks about revolution.  He talks about gun control and U.S. politics.  He quotes someone talking about ending the “promised land” of Jerusalem and turning it into a place that belongs to everyone, not to Jews.  He talks about the environment. And he talks about education reform as if everyone knew what he means by the term. And most don’t.

His definiton of education reform means a one-world, top-down, global education with an emphasis away from academics and sovereignty and toward environmentalism and collectivism.  IS THIS NOT CREEPY TO YOU?


Had a fantastic visit to Singapore — many great conversations about the topics in Oceans of Innovation!  Read here: …

Everywhere I go signs of the university revolution to come. This time with HE and business leaders in Manila, really open to innovation.

Great meeting yesterday with team  at Mano Amiga primary school in Manila…educators truly committed to rounded education for each child.

And the same school giving 10 percent of schedule to collective capacity building…harder work, said one teacher, but much more rewarding

Visit to Branco Weiss School, Beit Shemesh. Great to see a school systematically teaching thinking and leadership as well as knowledge.

Golden age ahead for universities in England…if they are ready to change rapidly. What examples are there of getting ahead of the curve?

In today’s @tes, our chief education advisor @MichaelBarber9 considers the role of games in education: … via @Gloverboy

The increasing need for games and role playing in learning and schools featuring @MichaelBarber9 …

@teachplus @educationgadfly Provocative and insightful perspectives on the union influence on US education policy from top think tank

School visits in Warsaw…impressed by the commitment to broad common curriculum and standards up to age 17, even in vocational schools.

                    Tonight 9.30pm Analysis: Michael Gove’s schools of hard facts: why the govt is focussing on knowledge over skills

@krdonnelly This is a fantastic connection…Thank you…the revolution is coming!

Anyone got 3 proven examples of technology transforming educational outcomes at system level? school level helpful, system level better!

@Andrew_Adonis  Yes, not being on the mainline had massive consequences for Northampton including failure of public services as late as 2003

Theodore Herzl: we shall extra-territorialize Jerusalem… it will belong to nobody and everybody…the joint possession of all believers.”

@JSHaworth Not everyday you get the chance to say hello to @JSHaworth either…

What are the five biggest questions that we’d like education researchers to answer?

When will the US Presidential candidates have a genuine debate about gun control? Too much obfuscation.

‘Education is the only way we can defeat those who attacked us’, says friend of @malala. Yes, and it is the key to Pakistan’s future.

@SteveGovernor Given the degree of educational failure around the world the case for change is strong… making the right changes is the key

@tothechalkface Fair point but often speed and quality go together…also why should we let down another generation in developing world?

Malala Yousufzai – every true educator, every true learner in the world surely stands by you.

I hear people say education reform is moving too fast…the response surely is how long have we got?

@JasmineatSC yes, thanks,  Oceans focuses mainly on developed world. Our work in Pakistan is focused on access and quality for the excluded.

@saadhrizvi Good article. US is making a big mistake and turning it’s back on the evidence we cite in #OceansofInnovation

Reading about Mercator the great geographer…the benefit of life in the Low Countries, then the centre of trade in goods and ideas

@m_rhee  Greetings! Fast growing voucher scheme for out-of-school children of poor families benefits 140,000 in Punjab. Working well.

@HaseebAfsar Thank you…if everyone in Pakistan gets behind the education agenda we can ensure a better life for the next generation

Interesting discussion in New York of goals for education in 21C. By when will we have have high standards and high equity across the globe?

How Swedish Families Suffer Due to Separation by Governmental Assistance   Leave a comment

In his presentation to the United Nations last year, Sweden’s Jonas Himmelstrand did some mythbusting about the “joys” of Swedish socialism.

Here’s the short version:

Here are the long versions:


You Are SO Not Alone in Thinking Common Core is Ridiculous   Leave a comment

Organizations  and People Against Common Core:

Heritage Foundation

CATO Institute

Pioneer Institute

Utah Eagle Forum

Joyce & Dick Kinmont Family

LDS Home Educators Assn.

American Leadership Fund

Standard of Liberty

Proper Role of Government

United Women’s Forum

Principled Liberty Foundation

Citizens for Strong Families

Freedom for Utah Education

Thomas Jefferson Center for Constitutional Studies

Senator Michael Fair of South Carolina

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina

Governor Rick Perry of Texas

Commissioner of Education Robert Scott of Texas

Alabama Federation of Republican Women

Utah citizens

 — over 1,700 Utah citizens, including many teachers like me, so far, have signed the petition at

A growing number of people are learning what Common Core does to education, to freedom, and to parental authority.  We are fighting to get the Common Core Initiative out of our schools and state.

It’s helpful to know that we are not alone in this.

Thinktanks and reporters nationwide are writing a ton about Common Core and its impacts.  Politicians are scrambling to make bills to protect states.  More and more teachers and parents are talking and writing about it, nationwide.  Last time I checked, the petition at  had close to 1700 signatures, gathered via word of mouth in one month, and about 100 of the signatures are by teachers, including me.

Texas rejected Common Core.  So did Virginia.  Alabama  and South Carolina are  fighting  hard to get out right now. Other states have rejected as much as they can of the initiative.

Let’s free Utah!

Some people have told me they get overwhelmed with the Common Core fight and feel like giving up.  They say the “Progressives” will just come along with another educational takeover if we get free of Common Core and NCLB.  I think Common Core is different; it’s got so many angles that it’s like cement and there will not be another one coming.  We have to get rid of this one.

We all get depressed about this stuff.  But we have to turn that energy out and do something with it.  I am never depressed about it when I am working hard.  It’s when I feel helpless and do nothing that I want to curl up in a ball!  I think we have to encourage each other a lot.  The lady, Jenni White, who wrote that incredible paper and made the video about P-20 (Restoring Oklahoma Public Education) was so happy when I simply thanked her for her paper.  She said they get abused by their OK legislators and the press constantly, and it’s so nice just to have someone say thank you for your work that you are doing for free (and for freedom.)

There’s a communications theory called “Spiral of Silence” that Neumann came up with watching what happened in Germany in the 1930s and 40s.

People who perceive that they were in the minority, even if they really are not,  generally shut up.  People who perceive that they are in the majority, even if they are not, feel free to talk.  It is self-perpetuating.

I think that is why it is so huge when one of us speaks, writes, or gives out educational material (real and referenced material, not like the Arne Duncan letters or USOE propaganda that never has legal references).  Even when we thank each other,  I really think it’s a key to winning these battles for our God-given rights of parental authority, and local freedom to determine the educational standards for our kids.

Educating ourselves, our school boards and our Governor about the whole truth about Common Core, is key.

So, here’s a nationwide collection of expert testimonies, legal documents, school board reasoning, news articles, research papers, laws, official government letters, teachers’ blogs, thinktanks’ and other reading materials I’ve found interesting as I’ve just begun studying the Common Core Initiative over the last two months.


Expert Testimony About Common Core   1 comment

  Expert Testimonies Concerning Common Core State Standards

I.    Testimony of CCSS Validation Committee Member Dr. Sandra Stotsky:

 Common Core Holds Minimalist Conception of College Readiness, Weakens Literary Base

Dr. Sandra Stotsky served on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative and on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, co-authoring its final report as well as two of its task group reports. She also served on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.  She was Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education and a research associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, directing an institute on civic education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She served as editor of  Research in the Teaching of English, the research journal sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English. She has taught elementary school, French and German at the high school level, and graduate courses in reading, children’s literature, writing pedagogy, and English language arts standards.

When Dr. Sandra Stotsky served on the CCSS Validation Committee, she refused to sign off on the standards because they were far from adequate. Dr. Stotsky stated:

“The wisest move all states could make to ensure that students learn to read, understand, and use the English language appropriately before they graduate from high school is first to abandon Common Core’s “standards” and ask the National Governors Association to ask a national organization devoted to authentic literary study (ALSCW, e.g.,) to develop a set of high school literature standards that could serve as the backbone of a coherent literature curriculum from grade 6-12, with successively more diffcult texts required from grade to grade.”

Dr. Stotsky also testified that:

“Beyond the lack of clarity from the outset about what college readiness was intended to mean and for whom, Common Core has yet to provide a solid evidentiary base for its minimalist conceptualization of college readiness–and for equating college readiness with career readiness. Moreover… it had no evidence on both issues.”


A Boston Globe article cited Dr. Stotsky and co-author Ze’ev Wurman, stating:

“High academic standards are the foundation of Massachusetts’ landmark education reform success. Let’s not give them up for a set of so-called college readiness standards that won’t even get our children into college.”

In a Pioneer Institute white paper ( ) Dr. Stotsky concluded that:

“…By adopting Common Core’s standards for their own, California and Massachusetts significantly weaken the intellectual demands on students in the areas of language and literature. They also weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for actual college-level work now implied by each state’s current or draft standards.”

Dr. Stotsky also pointed out that David Coleman, the leader of the ELA standards, is not a professor, not a teacher, and never has been a good choice for his position.

II.  Statement About Common Core by Stanford University Professor Michael W. Kirst :

My concern is the assertion in the draft that the standards for college and career readiness are essentially the same. This implies the answer is yes to the question of whether the same standards are appropriate for 4 year universities, 2 year colleges, and technical colleges. The burden of proof for this assertion rests with CCSSO/NGA, and the case is not proven from the evidence presented in the draft.

The ELA standards hedge this issue by saying “the evidence strongly suggests that similar reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are necessary for success in both the college and workplace.” There is no similar wording preceding the math standards. I have reviewed the sources included in the draft, and cannot follow how the panel deduced that college and career readiness standards are the same.

Some basic underlying assumptions used by the panel are unclear. For example, what level of jobs in the O*NET job zone classifications of 1-5 did the panel use in its deliberations? For example, preparation needed for zone 4 jobs is mostly the same as a 4 year college standards, but this is not true for ONET zone 2 jobs. Another issue that needs to be clarified is whether the panel endorses a multiple pathways concept that a career and technical education in secondary school needs to keep the option open for all students to obtain a 4 year degree.

I have worked intensively with some states in the college/career readiness issue. Policymakers find it difficult to understand why the standards are the same for the flagship state university and their technical college system (e.g. Georgia, Texas, etc.).  … if you examine closely the math requirements in Kentucky for specific occupations for a technical program like welding, there are very specific secondary school preparation differences for 3 programs offered in specific community and technical colleges : the Associate of Applied Science (ASS), diploma, or certificate program. The latter two programs may not need to meet the mathematics proposed in the common core draft. Each separate terminal award (A.S.S, diploma, certificate) utilizes a different set of math courses for completion. I am unclear whether the panel had these distinctions in mind as it prepared this draft.

… I chaired the National Assessment Governing Board Technical Panel on 12th Grade Preparedness Research. On pages 18-23 of our final report, we present our strategy for funding needed research for discovering the academic standards for workplace preparedness. Our approach seems different from those embedded in the sources consulted for career readiness in the draft.

The NAGB technical panel pointed out that many occupations do not have a consistent training core. Some occupations require substantial geometry, while others may focus more heavily on algebra, or simple numerical computations.

The NAGB panel crafted a research strategy to identify examples of occupations deemed most informative for estimating the entry-level reading and mathematics requirements for multiple sections of the labor force. Then we support identifying job training programs targeting jobs in the exemplar occupations. The next step would be to identify ELA and mathematics training performance standards for entry into each occupation. This would include interviewing personnel who actually prepare CTE workers in the exemplary occupations.

This seems to be a more valid and precise method of discovering CTE standards…This could exaggerate skill requirements to begin the academic preparation needed for an occupation at postsecondary education institution.

III.   Testimony Concerning Common Core by  Mathematician Ze’ev Wurman,

Member of the California Commission to Review Common Core Standards


Ze’ev Wurman

Ze’ev Wurman, a software engineer from Palo Alto, was a senior policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development from 2007-09 and served on the California commission that reviewed the Common Core standards in 2010. He serves on the panel that reviews mathematics test items for the California standards-based tests, and was a member of the California State mathematics curriculum framework committee.

The Common Core standards are mediocre: They are clearly better than those of about 30 states, as good as those of 15 about states, and clearly worse than those of three states, California among them. Despite claims to the contrary, Common Core is not on par with international high achievers, nor will meeting Common Core qualify students for entry to either CSU or UC. In fact, California had to significantly supplement the standards just to close the gap between the Common Core and our current standards, which incidentally are based on those of high-achieving countries and will qualify students for CSU.

EdSource estimated the implementation cost of the Common Core for California to be $1.6 billion. That estimate does not include the massive technology infusion needed for the federally peddled national assessment, nor does it include the cost of restructuring the teacher preparation courses, the licensure examination, and principal training. Recently, the state Department of Education published its initial estimates of implementation costs. If we just take three basic numbers from them – $203 per student in new textbooks in K-8, $2,000 per each math and English teacher training, and $1,000 for English Learning training for almost every teacher – this comes to $850 million, $360 million, and $260 million respectively, close to EdSource’s original estimate.

Based on the number of existing classroom computers in the state, we need to spend $220 million to buy additional computers to bring their number to the minimal ratio of one computer to four tested students, and another $60 million to install and wire them, to provide bandwidth, and to train the staff. These sums amount to one-time spending over the next 2-3 years; afterward, we will need to spend an additional $35 million annually for assessment (at an optimistic $10 per student more than today) and $75 million more for computer support and amortization. ..

What is the logic behind adopting the Common Core, anyway? Do we really believe that a diverse country like ours needs some central planner in Washington, D.C., to tell us what to teach in our California schools? Canada and Australia don’t think so, yet they are high educational achievers. Are we really willing to sacrifice our independence just to satisfy Obama and Duncan in Washington? …California should bail out and return to its own standards as soon as possible. Losing the Race to the Top was a blessing in disguise; we should now take advantage of it.

 IV.  Testimony to South Carolina Legislature by Jim Stergios of Pioneer Institute:
V.  Short Statements by Experts About Common Core:

Heritage Foundation

“Federal involvement in the Common Core national standards push is not some figment of

           the imagination. Billions in federal funding, strings-attached NCLB waivers, and                   

           significant rhetorical support clearly point to a nationalization of the content taught in the

           local schools. . . .  South Carolina – and states across the country – are right to have pause

           about this latest federal overreach.  And they shouldn’t be ridiculed by a federal agency

           that has already done plenty to centralize education spending and authority.”


Brookings Institute

           “The Common Core will have little to no effect on student achievement. The quality or

           rigor of state standards has been unrelated to NAEP [National Assessment of Educational

           progress] scores. Moreover, most of the variation in NAEP scores lies within states, not

           between them. Whatever impact standards alone can have on reducing within-state

           differences should have been already felt by the standards that all states have had since



Pioneer Institute

“Implementation of the Common Core Standards is likely to represent substantial

           additional expense for most states [estimated at $16 billion nationwide]. . . . [S]tates

           should step back and encourage a public discussion of the potential benefits and costs of

           implementing the Common Core Standards. Is realigning the local education system

           to the Common Core Standards the best investment of scarce educational resources?

           What are the other options that should be considered?”


Cato Institute

“In the U.S., advocates of a national curriculum have for years pointed to nations

            at the top of TIMSS and PISA rankings and argued that because those countries

            have national curriculums, a national curriculum must be good. The argument is

            without merit. What the advocates neglect to observe is that countries at the bottom

            of the international rankings also have a national curriculum. . . . [T]here is no

            meaningful evidence that national standards lead to better outcomes.”


Edwin Meese III, former U. S. Attorney General

“[T]here is no constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national

            assessments, or national curricula. . . . Even if the development of national curriculum

            models, frameworks, or guidelines were judged lawful, we do not believe Congress or

            the public supports having them developed by a self-selected group behind closed

            doors and with no public accountability.”



American Principles Project

             “The Common Core Standards facilitate the practically unlimited sharing of our

              children’s private, personally identifiable data with other government agencies

              such as the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, and even with

              private entities.”


Ze’ev Wurman, former U. S.Department of Education official

              “[E]ven the defenders of the national standards do not claim they are at the level

               of international high achievers. Currently South Carolina has good standards in

                English and mathematics, even as they can be improved. . . . [I]ts new history

                standards are the best in the nation, and its science standards are also excellent

                and among the top 5 in the nation. South Carolina showed it can improve the

                standards on its own if it so wishes and has no need to trade them for mediocre

                standards that transfer control out of state to Washington, D.C.”


Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, University of Arkansas

               “Common Core’s ‘college readiness’ standards for English language arts and

                reading are simply empty skill sets. . . . Common Core’s ELA ‘college readiness’

                standards weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for

                authentic college coursework.”




Posted April 9, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

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