Archive for the ‘science’ Tag

Open Letter to Utah Leadership: On Informed Consent in Science Education   5 comments

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Dear Superintendent Dickson, State School Board, Diana Suddreth, Rich Nye, Governor Herbert, Tami Pyfer, and Legislators,

To what degree does Utah maintain constitutional control over science education?

I’m writing to clarify whether Utah has or has not adopted controversial, common science standards (NGSS) and whether we are using those non-approved standards in current or future tests for K-12 children, without proper vetting and fully informed public consent.

I’m trying to reconcile promises –made by multiple superintendents to the public and to the legislature, that common science standards would never happen because of political and “philosophical differences”– with the attached PDF from the board’s website. It says that a science MOU in common with other states is set to be approved this Wednesday.

Utah’s voting taxpayers strongly oppose common, nationalized standards; some because of content, and some because  nationalized programs work against intellectual freedom and local control.

Anti-Common standards sentiment was powerfully illustrated in Utah’s last gubernatorial election, when Governor Herbert was booed at conventions for his promotion of Common Core, and was beaten when GOP delegates voted. He very narrowly won the final vote after changing his speeches with sudden, fervent promises to repeal the Common Core.

Those promises lacked integrity and evaporated after the election, but the illustration makes clear that Utahans want the common standards gone.

It can be alarming when superintendents make promises that common science standards will never take over here, when no vote to approve common NGSS standards has happened, and yet the public can see that someone is furtively, gradually, replacing Utah’s traditional science standards with controversial NGSS standards.

On the Board’s PDF, we see that Utah is set to approve use of a common test bank for students’ science tests. Since tests are based on standards, and since Utah’s official policy is that we have our own science standards, not the common NGSS standards, how can Utah share a test bank with many other states?  Without using the common science standards that they use, or without making those states use our science standards, it doesn’t make sense.

Please clarify.

What makes sense, but won’t likely be admitted, is that the current Superintendent and her co-workers personally buy into the philosophies of the ed tech elite, inspired by the Pearson- Microsoft-Gates cartel. They admire Gates and NGSS.  Unlike many of their fellow Utahns, they love the common standards, so they are using their positions of power to guide the state in the direction to which they personally subscribe, against the will and without the knowledge of the people.

Shouldn’t these moves be transparent to the public?  It seems our top education officers give lip service to local control, but in actions, create the very opposite.

Students and taxpayers who value liberty and classic education standards deserve informed consent and open debate, prior to Utah’s use of any kind of additional common standards.

“Consent of the governed” is a crucial founding concept, one of the best phrases ever penned, one I hope this group will ponder before moving further away from local control.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Christel Swasey
Pleasant Grove

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Speak Up! Utah Should Not Adopt Non-Objective, Common Science Standards   3 comments

By JaKell Sullivan and Christel Swasey

 

Common science standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are gleefully trending all over the nation now, birthed by the same folks who pushed Common Core English and Math (Achieve, Inc.David Coleman’s baby and US Delivery Institute, Pearson CEA Michael Barber’s baby.

Many states have rejected, or are wisely in the middle of debating rejecting, the common science standards.

South Carolina utterly rejected them.    Wyoming’s legislature rejected them, in a move Truth in American Education called “a victory for objectivity and neutrality in science education.”  (Read Wyoming citizens’ testimonies  and more on Wyoming’s decision here.)

Meanwhile, in Kansas, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) have filed a federal law suit  against the state school board and the state department of education for pushing NGSS in violation of the first and fourth amendments to the Constitution. In Kentucky, legislators wrote a bill to potentially reject the NGSS science standards, while Ohio passed a bill that made multi-state control of standards — including science standards– illegal.

So what about Utah?  Aren’t we discussing this and vetting these standards thoroughly here?  No, we are not.

Here in Utah, no legislator has written any bill to consider rejecting NGSS.  Search the internet, and you’ll find there’s nothing in the legislature nor in recent news at all about NGSS in Utah.

A year ago there was.  The then-chairwoman of the state school board Debra Roberts promised that Utah had no plans to adopt the NGSS standards although Utah would revise science standards.  She said, “they will be uniquely Utah standards”.  That turned out to be untrue.

Quietly, under the public radar, Utah’s Office of Education (USOE) is rushing forward to align with the national science standards without public knowledge.  I did a quick word search on the Utah State Office of Education website for “Next generation science standards” and found 143 references to it in USOE-published pdf’s and professional development conferences.  Right now, a Utah science standards review committee is reviewing Utah’s current science standards and is comparing them with NGSS national science standards.

According to a Utah law HB342,  a committee including a handful of parents must “review and recommend” to the board any new revisions to curriculum.  Some of those parents aren’t happy about being herded toward approving matching Utah’s science standards to NGSS science.  They say it’s abundantly clear that the Utah State Office of Education wants the NGSS standards here in Utah.

Of course, the feeling is mutual;  NGSS wants to be in Utah.  That’s obvious since “Education First” of Utah (partner of  NGSS) rolled out their (uncalled-for) five-year plan for Utah’s education system recently– and it so happens that “Education First” is not only partnered with the co-creators of NGSS: Achieve and US Delivery Institute but it also heavily promoted Common Core in propaganda mailings to the Utah legislature last year.  Most likely, Education First will be promoting NGSS in similar legislator mailings and Prosperity 2020 radio spots– after they’ve been adopted, as was the case with Common Core.

Still, by law, it’s not Education First or its partners who have authority to set education policy or standards or create five-year plans.  Even the USOE lacks that authority.  It’s only the State School Board –with the assistance of the parent committee– who is supposed to weigh in.

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Profound problems are being reported by the few parents who are allowed to weigh in on these standards.

1- First, oddly, some of the same individuals are serving on both the new science standards writing committee and the review committee.  That is like the judge judging himself.

2- Second, the “new and improved” Utah science standards currently being “reviewed” by parents just so happen to be 99.9% the same as the national, standardized Next Generation Science Standards, according to parents currently on that committee.

3- Third, parents note that even thought the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) does not have legal authority to make new science standards for Utah schools; the Utah State School Board does; yet the board has not been in charge of this science standards-altering process; the USOE took it over.

4- Fourth: NGSS science standards –to which Utah’s aiming to align– do come from the same private business people who brought us Common Core math and English standards:  Achieve Inc., David Coleman,  etc. , yet the claim is that these science standards have nothing to do with Common Core.

5- Fifth:  Most importantly– NGSS are not scientifically neutral or objective.  The NGSS Frameworks and Standards promote every tenet of a belief system called secular humanism, as listed in Humanist Manifesto III.  This is not separating church and state; it is creating a dogma of anti-religion as a religion.

To understand #5, jump to the Kansas law suit on this issue.

In December of last year, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) filed suit in federal court against the Kansas State Board of Education and the Kansas Department of Education to stop implementation of science standards designed for every child in the United States. Why?

The suit says that NGSS science standards aren’t objective nor neutral science standards.  Rather than showing multiple beliefs about the origin and end of life, they adhere religiously to the humanistic/atheistic view of science, which is, ironically, pushing religion:  the anti-religion religion.  This violates the Constitution’s first and fourteenth amendments. NGSS pushers try to argue that anyone opposed to NGSS is for teaching another religion in the classroom.  Actually, the opposite is true.  It is the NGSS which promotes its religion of atheism and secular humanism represented in NGSS.  That’s not only not objective, not neutral, and not scientific; it’s also a violation of law.  Pushing secular humanism and atheism (and controversial environmental issues) as if they were settled facts is, ironically, unscientific.

In the words of John Calvert, lead counsel for the plaintiffs:

“This case is actually about a concealed Orthodoxy that requires all explanations provided by science to be materialistic/atheistic.”

A press release from Citizens for Objective Public Education states, “The Orthodoxy is not religiously neutral as it permits only the materialistic/atheistic answers to ultimate religious questions.  The concealed use of the Orthodoxy in [Frameworks & Standards] has the effect of promoting the core tenets of non-theistic religions like Atheism and Religious (secular) Humanism.”

The press release lists mechanisms and strategies used by the NGSS Frameworks and Standards to establish the materialistic/atheistic worldview:

  • Systematic omissions and misrepresentations
  • Teaching materialistic/atheistic ideas to primary children whose minds are susceptible to blindly accepting them
  • Programs designed to become habits of mind
  • Implicit exclusion of theists from provisions that require education to promote “equity,” diversity and non-discrimination

How did NGSS (and how did Common Core) make such strides across America?  Here’s how.

1. State Offices of Education now only exist to pedal federal programs that are administrative in nature, not Constitutional.  We’ve strayed not only from our national Constitution but from our Utah Constitution also.  Rather than allow the state school board to truly set standards, the USOE offices run the educational show, unaccountable to anyone.

2. Both the Common Core Standards and NGSS and the new AP History Standards come with Appendices and Federal Frameworks and implementation handbooks to control adoption, curriculum and how teachers teach.

The NGSS come with a written Framework in order to control what/how teachers teach.  What is tested is what will have to be taught.

Does anyone wonder why SAGE tests, already administered statewide last year, INCLUDED SCIENCE questions?  Wasn’t the original claim that Common Core standards just included math and English? Nope. The AIR/SAGE tests were already set up to test the NGSS from the start.  The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) knew that we would essentially be adopting the NGSS.

The USOE’s deceptive relationship with AIR and deceptions to the State Board and to parents of Utah have to be stopped.  The USOE knows that the Common Core Standards’ Appendices and NGSS Framework will control what/how teachers teach and they know that SAGE tests are already set up to test NGSS.

The parent committee to review the science standards is a mockery of the Utah law that set it up.  Meanwhile, NGSS also goes out of its way to create, in its NGSS Implementation workbook a long list for states of useful “Members of a Guiding Coalition” but parents are excluded from the recommended coalition member list.  Oversight?  Hardly.

The guiding coalition of those who should adopt and implement NGSS standards is officially defined this way: “a small group of highly visible and credible leaders who share your aspiration and will sustain your effort and will implement NGSS in the face of pushback...”  (This reminds me of the way the USOE has gone out of its way to marginalize, demonize, or simply ignore parent pushback while it told the public that appendices and frameworks would not control Utah education at the local level.)  Here are those links, for reference:

Common Core Appendices (For English Standards):

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_A.pdf

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_C.pdf

 

Common Core Appendix (For Math):

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_Mathematics_Appendix_A.pdf

 

Common Core Framework (Next Generation Science Standards):

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/dbasse/bose/framework_k12_science/index.htm

 

Note that the Science Standards report admits the purpose of its framework: “Students will make the greatest strides in learning science and engineering when all components of the system—from professional development for teachers to curricula and assessments to time allocated for these subjects during the school day—are aligned with the vision of the framework.”

3. The College Board, under the direction of David Coleman, Common Core’s architect, is revamping ALL AP Courses to include Federal Frameworks to control curriculum and pedagogy.  For example:

AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework

http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-course-exam-descriptions/ap-us-history-course-and-/
exam-description.pdf

AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework Evidence Planner for Teachers (teachers manual)

http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-us-history-curriculum-framework-evidence-planner.pdf

 

4. Big-Government and Big-Business both within Utah and elsewhere are profiting from federal reforms that these Appendices and Frameworks require of states. This includes federal programs to retrain principals and teachers to “trust that data” and federally funded programs to implement 1-to-1 technology in schools.

Last week, the Governor’s committee chair, Rich Kendall, along with the Salt Lake Chamber and Education First, unveiled their 5-year education plan. No teacher or school board or parental input was needed.  This plan hinges on Common Core’s English and math standards now (and will no doubt eventually include all of Utah’s standards that will be aligned to Common Core for the profit of business, not to profit or protect our children.

Education First and the Governor’s Prosperity 2020 really must believe that parents don’t see what’s going on.  The entire standards review process is political theater—and parents, teachers, and local school districts are being played for patsies.

5. The Appendices and Federal Frameworks function to dismantle local education control because he who controls the testing, controls the teachers. These Frameworks are embedded into the AIR/SAGE tests and in 1-to-1 technology, coming to our schools via federal funding.

6. As the Federal Frameworks work with business powers to dismantle local education control, we will see our representative form of government dismantled. The Federal Executive Branch is effectively corralling states by using administrative law, bypassing Constitutional law.

Let’s stop the “Next Generation Science Standards”.

 

 

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Fighting the Adoption of Common Core-aligned Science Standards and Textbooks   1 comment

None of us have enough time to process, comprehend and then fight against all of the intrusions on our time and our God-given rights and liberty.

But some things are more important than others.  And fighting the adoption of Common Core-aligned science standards and textbooks must be high on the To-Do list.

Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman explains it in a great article found here.  http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-common-core-science-standards

She writes: “Individual liberty advocates counter that centralization in education is as foolish and damaging as centralizing the economy. They note the ideological tendencies of science education toward politics as a substitute for actual science, particularly in the area of highly debatable global warming alarmism, which is falsely assumed as reality in these standards. The standards also promote a simplified understanding of science and are still incoherent despite revisions…. They ignore central scientific concepts and push a progressive teaching style that has been proven to erode student learning…”

Yet textbook companies are rewriting science to align to the false assumptions of common core, so even those states who wisely rejected the common core or who aim to do so, will likely end up with common core textbooks anyway.

Here’s a letter I wrote to my local and state school boards and superintendents today.

Dear Superintendent and School Boards,
Our homeschooling group attended the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City yesterday. What a wonderful museum.  The Mummy exhibit was fascinating, the hands-on digital learning activities were great, the craft workshop and prosthetics exhibits and art were absolutely engaging for visitors of all ages.
But in the multi-room exhibit entitled “Human Rights Exhibit,” visitors were shown not only ecology art, but vocabulary words in the context of the claim that human behavior is killing plant and animal life –and will likely kill off the human race.  There were paintings of futuristic apartment projects teetering dangerously close to the ocean, on islands and cliffs.  The captions stated that because of the FACT of global warming and oceanic flooding, people will be living like this.
I use this as an example of the unscientific assumptions and lies being taught all around us, which are also loading the common core-aligned science standards and science textbooks coming our way.
Let’s not turn a blind eye to the ongoing politically-based rewrite of actual science.  Let’s stand independent of this.  Let’s actually teach the kids hard science based on settled facts as we did in all the wise years up till now.
For a detailed list of news articles and science reviews of Common Core science standards and textbooks, please read this.
http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-common-core-science-standards
We have Martell Menlove’s word that Utah will never adopt Common Core science and social studies standards.  But with the majority of textbook companies belonging to the monopoly of the insanely unrepresentative system of Common Core, we as a state have to go out of our way to find true science for our kids.  Let’s do it.
Thanks for listening.
Christel Swasey
Utah Teacher
Heber City
——————————————————-
Green Insanity in the Schools Update:
Update from Illinois:  http://www.christianconservativeresistance.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-i-was-banned-from-my-childrens.html
You have to read this woman’s blog.  First, she and her husband protested the Disney-like green propaganda film that was shown to the elementary school children to “teach” them that humans are destroying the earth. Then she was banned from volunteering in the school.  Then she was reinstated.  Sigh.
——

Common Core Science Standards Launch   2 comments

Hot off the press– a NASBE press release that lets us know Common Core science standards are on their way to local schools –unless parents, teachers and legislators rise up and say no.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Steve Berlin
March 7, 2013

703-684-4000 , ext. 1118

NASBE Launches Next Generation Science Standards Policy Initiative

Arlington, VA — As states work to implement new math and English standards, policymakers from 26 lead state partners are participating in the development of the voluntary Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for K-12 education, which are now nearing completion. The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is embarking on a yearlong initiative to provide state board members with information, analysis, and resources about the new standards so they are fully prepared to make the best, evidence-based decisions for their states. The project is supported by a $319,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

NASBE has been a leader in the effort to assist states as they adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards, and it will apply that experience to help state board members understand the development, history, and future of the Next Generation Science Standards. The development of the science standards – now in their second draft, with a final version expected in March – is being spearheaded by Achieve in conjunction with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“State education policymakers, like many others, are working hard to answer the national call for greater emphasis on science, and the Next Generation Science Standards will provide them with a critical tool to do this,” said NASBE Deputy Executive Director Brad Hull. “But the existence of the NGSS is just a first step. The state board members who must adopt them need targeted resources and opportunities to discuss the meaning, content, and policy implications of the standards in order to effectively do their jobs. NASBE, in partnership with other education stakeholders, including those involved in the NGSS development as well as other state-level policy organizations, is uniquely positioned to provide this assistance to state boards.”

The NGSS are focused on four areas: physical science; life science; earth and space science; and engineering, technology, and practical applications of science. The standards, which were built upon on a vision for science education established by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011, seek to move science instruction from an inch-deep, mile-wide approach to one that is centered on deeper learning and helping students grasp concepts that stretch across traditional scientific disciplines.

During the year, NASBE will host regional symposia at which state board of education members can develop adoption plans and conduct policy audits to identify other policy areas affected by the NGSS, such as assessments, teacher professional learning, and educator licensure. In addition, NASBE staff will provide state board members with online and print resources, webinars, and toolkits – all with a special emphasis on communications – to help inform policymakers and other local, district, and state-level stakeholders.

***

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen State Boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visitwww.nasbe.org.

So If You Live in Texas   1 comment

Months ago, I said that I was wishing we could move to Texas or Virginia because they were the only two states that had wisely, and  100%, rejected the Common Core.

But I would not move to Texas now.

While Texas escaped the Common Core, it got something equally bad in its place: CSCOPE.

One Texas science teacher who blogs extensively about CSCOPE http://www.txcscopereview.com/ has written that “CSCOPE and Common Core Standards are the same, just in different wrapping.”  She says if parents don’t stop district superintendents, they will give away Texas schools to the federal government in return for money.

I repost her article here with thanks for enlightening all Americans, not just Texans.

 

CSCOPE: Texas Renowned Science Author Banned

By Janice VanCleave

January 19, 2013

As a science writer, I work with many educators and online curriculum companies. I’ve written 50+ science activity books for kids and educators, thus I can say without being immodest that I understand the basics of science. Since the content of my books cover all the topic taught in taught in elementary science, I can with confidence claim to be an expert in elementary science.

Some of my books are translated into fifteen different languages. Google my name and you will find over one hundred thousand sources.

I am not much on tooting my own horn, but the CSCOPE directors are not taking me seriously. They have banned me from viewing the CSCOPE lessons. This has made me even more curious about what this group, called the TESCCC, is hiding. What are in the CSCOPE lessons that not even parents can view?

Teachers are anonymously supplying me with copies of the CSCOPE lessons and assessments because they are concerned about the education of their students. They have good reason to be concerned. The CSCOPE lessons are poorly written and many are incorrect or misleading.

Since CSCOPE lessons are not transparent, how do you know they align with the TEKS?

§ CSCOPE lessons do not align with the TEKS.

§ CSCOPE lessons do not have the rigor required by TEA.

Parents: Your school administrators are not telling you the truth about CSCOPE. This is an unapproved supplementary material. It has nothing to do with the state. It is all about the money. Textbook funds are being used to RENT CSCOPE each year. Listen up! CSCOPE is online and your superintendent is paying $7.00 to $10.00 per student each year just to view the material. NOTE: CSCOPE has never been evaluated independently.

I’ve reported errors in the CSCOPE lessons, such as how gravity affects the motion of objects.

When it comes to the effects of gravity, I have more experience than most educators. Few have had the opportunity to investigate changes in gravity due to the flight path of NASA’s “Vomit Comit,” a plane that had been used to train astronauts and later was used for zero gravity investigations.

Prior to and after this flight, I spent time researching the effects of gravity and have a very good understanding of its effects.

CSCOPE has mystery authors as well as mystery science experts who are never identified. The CSCOPE science experts make the decisions about the science being taught to Texas children in CSCOPE schools. They use no science books, so kids are at the mercy of CSCOPE mystery science experts.

The CSCOPE assessment are the worst example of testing I’ve ever viewed. Not only do the questions often not relate to the lessons, but the answers are incorrect or there are no answers.

For example, the fifth grade lesson on forces has no investigation related to gravity. But one of the assessments is all about the effects of gravity of an object on a ramp. As is too often done, the assessment question is not grade appropriate. See for yourself the errors in a CSCOPE 5th grade force assessment for two consecutive years. This will give you proof that CSCOPE directors do not improve the CSCOPE instruction material — not even when errors are pointed out to them. While I am not wasting time sending in errors, I will do what I can to publish the errors and corrections.

If CSCOPE directors were interested in education, they would be encouraging veteran teachers and experts in education to identify errors in the CSCOPE instruction materials. Instead, veteran teachers as well as experts in specific subjects are vilified by the administrators and CSCOPE directors.

Actually I am being nice. I was courted so to speak by CSCOPE directors and encouraged to work with them. I could have been a CSCOPE consultant, maybe even have my name listed along with atheist Linda Darling-Hammond and Marxist Lev Vygotsky —YIKES! For this degradation of my name, I had to sign a gag-order promising never to reveal the content of CSCOPE. After viewing some of the CSCOPE lessons, I can understand why authors of CSCOPE material do not want their names published. I decided to “pass” on this offer. Instead, I asked and received from teachers CSCOPE lessons. They are much worse than I ever thought possible. It is understandable that the CSCOPE directors do not want the public to view this material. It does not align with the TEKS and was never designed to do so.

As to rigor, not even TEA knows what this means, but CSCOPE claims to have it.

I originally requested copies of the CSCOPE lessons to help tutor elementary kids in Marlin ISD. This was about 14 months ago and these elementary kids still have no science or math textbooks. Nothing has changed. The school still uses CSCOPE, which provides no instructions for students. Technology–HA!!! CSCOPE has nothing for students except a list of websites, many sites that parents would not allow their children to access at home.

How could I tutor kids when I had no clue what they were studying? Note that the Marlin elementary school has failed the state tests six consecutive years. One would think help would be appreciated. Not so. In fact, Marsha Ridlehuber the interim superintendent at the time, was most unpleasant when I met with her. This woman looked me in the eyes and said that CSCOPE is copyrighted; thus, CSCOPE lessons cannot be viewed by the public–not even parents.

Copyrighted? Was this woman crazy? No! She actually was getting away with this stupid answer. Of course she added what has been coined as CSCOPE Educaneze, which are terms that have been made up by the CSCOPE directors. Basically, the CSCOPE Educaneze is used in an effort to intimidate some parents and make the news media think CSCOPE really has substance. But it doesn’t.

All the Educaneze floating out of Ridlehuber’s mouth brought to mind Shana Twain’s song, “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”

At this point I was not sure what was going on. Had the superintendent really said textbooks were not used because they don’t provide the rigor required by the state standards?

Instead, the online program called CSCOPE was being used. and it had secret lessons because they were copyrighted. Thankfully the program director of Faith, Hope and Charity, an after school program, accompanied me to this meeting. Someone else heard this absurd conversation.

I asked Rhidlehuber how parents could find out what was being taught to their children. Ridlehuber said parents could visit their children’s classes if they wanted to know what was going on. What a pompous, rude response.

Having parents visit classrooms in order to know what was being taught was a stupid suggestion, but one that I was happy to make happen. Thus, I asked what procedure parents needed to follow to schedule their visits. Obviously, Ridlehuber had made a tongue-in-cheek comment and now was forced to resend it. The answer was that parents have to have an FBI clearance to visit their children’s classrooms.

I was no longer interested in volleying stupid ideas around but had every intention of viewing the CSCOPE lessons. I contacted the local Region Service Center, ESC-12 and spoke with Becca Bell, the CSCOPE director. Same response with a little extra added. As a published author, I am considered a vendor and can view the lessons if I sign a non-disclosure document stating I’ll not reveal what I see. Are these people crazy?

I felt like I’d stepped into the Twilight Zone. “Beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligent life down here.”

Had I actually discussed Texas education with President George Bush? Yep! I was not sold on his idea of “No Child Left Behind.” It is not realistic to think that teachers can provide individualized instruction for every student, especially now that children of all ability levels are mixed together in one class.

Obama’s catchy education phrase is “Race to the Top.” CSCOPE and Common Core Standards have embraced both slogans. With CSCOPE, a mandatory schedule is dreamed up by some unknown author. Teachers are forced to stick to this timeline. They are even rated low on performance if they don’t. CSCOPE directors have no clue if the schedule is doable. Education is not the objective. Instead, the objective is control. Control over the teachers so that they will do what they are told. Teach what they are told to teach, no questions asked. CSCOPE directors train administrators to view veteran teachers as being negative instead of listening to their constructive criticism of CSCOPE. Young teachers with no experience are easier to mould.

The CSCOPE schedule is much like a race and many students fall behind. But, there is no time in the schedule to reteach. Stragglers are not left behind, instead teachers just carry on with the next lesson. According to CSCOPE directors, kids that don’t understand will eventually figure it all out and all the kids will cross the finish line together. YEA! This is the CSCOPE and TASA [Texas Association of School Administrators] vision that all kids are equally educated.

Yep! The accelerated classes and basic skills classes will in time be one happy group, all functioning on the same level. Since CSCOPE promotes that education is more about experiences and how students feel about things than facts, this could happen. The US students would all be equally under-educated and easily controlled.

Are we there yet? Is this what you want for your children and grandchildren?

It didn’t make sense that public school lessons were not transparent to anyone. I contacted the Texas State Board of Education, Commissioner of Education Robert Scott. and about everyone I could think of including Rep. Rob Eissler, who was chair of the House Education Committee.

In late January, 2012, Wade Labay (State CSCOPE Director) and Ed Vera (State CSCOPE Instruction Director) at Region 13, drove from Austin to Marlin, Texas, to meet with me. Along with Becca Bell, Region 12 CSCOPE director, Rhidlehuber, and the Marlin curriculum director, the five of them had planned for me to come alone and they would convince me how wonderful CSCOPE is.

I arrived with Ginger Russell, my daughter, and Earl Johnson, both members of the Woodland’s Tea Party. The CSCOPE group was shocked that I was not alone. They repeated several times, “We thought you would be alone!”

The CSCOPE group refused to allow the meeting to be videotaped.

Ed Vera had brought a copy of one of my books and he asked me to sign it for a friend. Soon after this meeting, Ed sent a petition to the Texas Attorney General (TAG). In the petition Ed asked the TAG to protect CSCOPE from me and other vendors who might write a competitive product if allowed to view the content of the CSCOPE instruction materials.

WHAT! One day I am autographing a book for the State CSCOPE Instruction Director, and Wade Labay (State CSCOPE Director) is inviting me to join the CSCOPE team. Then they reported me to the TAG as not being trustworthy.

Speaking of being trustworthy—Teachers are still reporting that some CSCOPE lessons are plagiarized. I was sent a section of a first grade CSCOPE weather lesson that is either deliberately plagiarized or someone “forgot” to credit the website source because the information was directly copied word-for-word. The lesson was quickly taken off the CSCOPE website when it was reported. Must have been time to retire this lesson, like the following Islamic power point.

Neither Wade Labay, Ed Vera, nor Becca Bell from Region 12 had a clue what was in the CSCOPE lessons. Becca said other people read the lessons. Ginger pointed out the 25 colored power-point slides used to teach world history students about Allah and the Islamic religion. Labay seemed genuinely surprised and within weeks I was contacted by Labay that the slides were removed— Not because of the content of the slides, but as a general clearing out of older materials.

I assume this means that at any time comparable material may again be part of the CSCOPE lessons for our children.

TASA–The Culprit

One selling point for CSCOPE is that 80% of the Texas school districts have purchased it. The CSCOPE directors point this out and use it as proof that CSCOPE is wonderful. NOT SO! Our Texas superintendents know little-to-nothing about education, but they do understand perks if they follow the TASA leaders. TASA stands for Texas Association of School Administrators. With no shame or fear of consequences, in 2006, TASA published its education mission, which aligns with the federal government’s takeover plan for American schools.

CSCOPE, which has the same Socialist education philosophy being promoted by TASA, entered some Texas schools in 2006. At first, schools had to use local tax money to purchase CSCOPE. No problem, school board members are elected with the public thinking these members represent them. But, TASA took care of this problem. Via, TASB, Texas Association of School Boards, school board members have been trained? –coerced?– bribed? or made an offer they can’t refuse to allow the superintendent to make all the decisions.

Decisions, such as using local tax funds to pay for their TASA/TASB membership dues as well as finance TASA/TASB conferences, amount to tens of thousands of dollars for each school district.

Since TASA has robbed schools of their local school taxes, there is money to pay lobbyists to deceive legislators into proposing and passing legislation, such as Senate Bill 6. I am trying to understand how this happened. But hopefully giving superintendents the right to use student textbook money to purchase unapproved materials, such as CSCOPE, will be viewed as not being such a good idea.

Superintendents do have to sign a statement that what they purchase provides instruction for every element of the TEKS. BIG DEAL!! Who checks to see if this is true? NO ONE!

What happens if it can be proven that CSCOPE does not align with the TEKS? NOTHING! There is nothing on the record about punishment. The same is true with Thomas Ratliff who is a lobbyist and is serving on the Texas State Board of Education. The TAG says it is not legal. SO WHAT? Ratliff does what he pleases–why? Only law-abiding people obey the law. If it is illegal, they don’t do it or if they do they expect to be punished. Not Ratliff. No punishment is on the books. Now this makes a great Texas history lesson for our kids.

This must be Ratliff’s motto: “Do anything you want to as long as you can get away with it.”

I have gone to the Geographic South Pole, not because I like snow and ice. Instead, I was there doing an experiment designed by students. This was an enrichment activity that any child regardless of where they live, age, ability, etc.. could be involved in. Sadly, if the project were being done now, CSCOPE teachers would not be allowed to be involved. They are being trained to do nothing that is not on the CSCOPE schedule and it must be done within the time frame that is set in stone.

Prior to the hostile takeover of Texas Public Schools by CSCOPE, authors, such as me, presented special programs to students. Programs that included activities, such as measuring how far the Geographic South Pole moves toward the ocean each year. Note in the picture above, the poles in the distance. The first pole is marked with a green flag. This was the pole that marked where the south end of Earth’s axis exits Earth. The position of the axis doesn’t change, but the ice the pole is stuck in moves. A new pole is positioned each year.

The picture to the right shows me at the frozen edge of the Arctic Ocean on the coast of Barrow, Alaska.

[Please go to http://www.txcscopereview.com/2013/tx-renowned-sci-author-banned/ to view the photos. – Donna Garner]

I dislike what CSCOPE is doing to our schools. I plan to continue screaming about CSCOPE until someone listens. REALLY LISTENS!

I want children to do more than make posters and tri-folds that are considered science investigations. I want kids to have opportunities to really learn by discovery.

CSCOPE and Common Core Standards are the same, just in different wrapping. If you don’t stop your superintendents, they will give away our Texas schools to the federal government.

Someone! Please look Governor Perry in the eyes and tell him that TASA is making him look stupid.

The TASA president is in Washington learning how to implement the federal government’s Common Core standards in our Texas schools. Will someone in Austin get the attention of Governor Perry and let him know that TASA has no concern about his statement that Common Core will not be used in Texas Schools? If Governor Perry doesn’t take action, our disloyal school superintendents will have Common Core Standards filling the CSCOPE framework by fall of 2013. CSCOPE directors have already lined up the online textbook and resource materials to sell to schools to support the Common Core Standards.

– Janice VanCleave

http://scienceprojectideasforkids.com

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Thank you to Janice VanCleave for sharing this work and for promoting educational freedom and quality of education.

Homeschool 101   Leave a comment

There are as many ways to homeschool as there are recipes for bread.

People keep asking me what curriculum I’m using, now that I’ve started to homeschool.  There are way more resources and ideas than time!

For those who doubt their abilities but want to homeschool I would say to trust yourself.  Freed from the governmental schools’ mandates that force teachers to spend precious academic time teaching programs like the anti-bullying, anti-drug awareness, going to assemblies and events that may or may not be a wise academic use of time, you will have so much time to teach that you can hardly avoid doing a great job.  You are doing a one one one, customized education and you know your child better than anyone.

Research shows that even parents with low education levels turn out students with better educations than their public school counterparts. This is probably a combination of the customization of that child’s learning, the one-on-one tutoring, the attention, the bond, the love.  https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/himmelstrands-speech-to-swedish-parliament-let-families-be-secure/

Here comes a list of homeschooling directions I’ve taken that are working, as I’ve gone from after-school supplementing (for the past two months) to fulltime homeschooling for my fourth grade son.

(Some people like free resources from government school systems, but I don’t trust them.  I would not take a “free” curriculum from the government schools, personally, because much of it will tend toward “progressive” thinking and “sustainable” education, which is “progressing” learners away from the Constitutional, godly, independent vision of our Founding Fathers.  I use time-tested classic, traditional methods. Not trendy “new” reforms no matter how good they sound; I sense that they cheat students of old-fashioned excellence and solid formulas and knowledge.  Also, keep in mind that if you don’t want your child’s abilities and personal information tracked, you don’t want to be in online state systems that track the kids via SLDS and P-20 alliances.)

1. MATH: Using the free placement test on the Saxon math site, I tested my son and then purchased a used copy of a Saxon text book from Amazon.  Love it.  He’s soaring fast. http://www.learningthings.com/samples/SAX/SAX_Middle-Grades-Math.pdf

2. HISTORY AND SCIENCE Using the Core Knowledge Colorado website (not to be confused with Common Core!) I have found wonderful worksheets on, for example, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, American history, etc.  This goes along with the book “What Your Fourth Grader Needs To Know” -which we read from as well, almost every day.  http://www.ckcolorado.org/lessons/4thgrade.asp  I also enjoy http://www.weatherwizkids.com/ for science, where children can learn what things are and then create easy experiments.

3. GEOGRAPHY I’m using the CIA World Fact Book to have my son look up facts about countries. I asked him to draw South America and label each country and capital, for example.  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html

4.  SCRIPTURES We read scriptures every day.  Sometimes, we watch the scripture stories on the computer http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/new-testament-storiesor read from Picture The Scriptures http://picturethescriptures.blogspot.com/.  Most days, we write a verse in cursive right after we read, to practice our cursive writing.

 5. SOCIAL STUDIES After we learned about the main handful of mountain ranges in the world, we decided to start to study one area at a time. We learned that Machu Picchu is in the Andes, and then we watched the National Geographic special (4 part) about Machu Picchu.  He was fascinated.

 6. SWEDISH Because we’re a bilingual family, I’m using Swedish fairy tales, Swedish Astrid Lindgren books, and making little vocabulary worksheets for my son, as well as having him practice his cursive in Swedish when we do cursive.

I also love the Swedish YouTube videos, and would recommend Karlsson på Taket, Nicke Nyfiken, Alfons Åberg,  Anke och Pytte, Hopphatten, Draktränaren, Ronja Rövardotter, etc. Sample:

7. CULTURE  A friend just introduced me to these sites and I will try them this week: http://www.zionvision.com/movies/ziontube/category/classification/presentation/   and http://josephsmithacademy.org/inspira/maps/v2/#zoom=3&markerid=null&geocode=null&type=null

8.  GRAMMAR AND WRITING:  We write essays. Complete sentences, a full page– or very close to it.  We also do short mini-lessons to review everything from where commas go, to what a semicolon is, to parts of speech games (“I say ‘noodle’ and you say ‘noun’. I say ‘tall’ and you say ‘adjective'”), to diagramming sentences, learning subject-verb agreement, learning 1st 2nd 3rd person, etc.  I keep these short but do them often. I also like http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=588  –And I use the UVU curriculum that I used when I taught remedial English.  I also use schoolhouse rock YouTube videos to make it fun:

9. TECHNOLOGY I have my son make powerpoint presentations with sentences and pictures.  He did one on zombies, one on Legos, one on Disney.  He chooses the topic so far.  I plan to have him do one on a patriot, a prophet, a hero, an explorer or an inventor later.

10. FIELD TRIPS We do field trips and virtual field trips. We study outdoors, in the car on the way to the park, at the park, at the kitchen table, on the living room couch. We begin by 9:00 and end by 2:00, usually. We are flexible. We go the extra mile.  When the 2 year old is being difficult and trying to sit on the math book, we move homeschool to the bathroom. We study on stools next to the bathtub while the 2 year old plays in the tub for an hour or two. It works!

This week, we’re going to Brigham Young University’s free chemistry “magic show” for one field trip, and to the Museum of Art for another. We also went to play basketball at the recreation center this week.  When we drive, we talk.  We don’t let the radio take over. We might practice multiplication tables while we drive, or discuss interesting things and learn/teach that way.  I might tell him the plot of a great novel he’s too young to read.  I might tell him what it was like to do all the different jobs I’ve ever worked. I might tell him genealogy stories about his ancestors.  I might tell him stories about World War II or the Revolutionary War or what the differences are between Obama and Romney.  We communicate nonstop. We really don’t waste any time.

A few virtual field trips we enjoyed this week:  http://www.areavibes.com/library/online-field-trips-for-students/

 

Remember– prayer, parental instinct and a sense of joy about learning with a determination to achieve great things are the real key.  –Not a certain curriculum.  Not a common core.

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