Archive for the ‘stopcommoncore’ Tag

Rep. Massie: “Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”   5 comments

Here’s hopeful news for freedom lovers.

Eight congressmen have banded together to try to restore the constitution by deleting the federal Department of Education.

President Ronald Reagan, while in office, aimed to make this happen. Recently, parent and educator groups have been pleading for this to happen. Campaigners have often spoken about this idea, since it guaranteed applause from voters.  However, last month, in a clear, one-sentence-long bill, eight congressmen actually wrote the bill to take down the Fed-Ed monster.

It says only this: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”  That’s it.  That’s the whole bill.

It’s short, but it’s powerful.  H.R. 899 (if it gets a hearing and a vote) ends the reign of the unconstitutional, federal department, and aims to restore money and power to the states. –Remember, the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment states: ” The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Original H.R. 899 sponsors are: Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky (twitter:  @RepThomasMassie ) Rep.  Jason Chaffetz of Utah,  Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona,  Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, and Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho.

 

 

Rep. Massie said in his press release, “Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn… Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development. States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students. Schools should be accountable. Parents have the right to choose the most appropriate educational opportunity for their children, including home school, public school, or private school.”

Original co-sponsor Rep. Walter Jones agreed: “For years, I have advocated returning education policy to where it belongs – the state and local level. D.C. bureaucrats cannot begin to understand the needs of schools and its students on an individual basis. It is time that we get the feds out of the classroom, and terminate the Department of Education.”

Co-sponsor Rep. Raul Labrador added: “I’ve always been a proponent of empowering parents, teachers and local school boards who best know our children and their needs. Eliminating the U.S. Department of Education is the most important step we in Congress can take in returning decision making to the local level.”

Co-sponsor Rep. Andy Biggs noted: “Education of our students should lie primarily with parents, teachers, and state and local officials who know how to meet their individual needs best. Since its inception, the Department of Education has grown into an unrecognizable federal beast, and its policies have helped foster Common Core across the country. It is time the one-size-fits-all approach by the federal government is ended and authority is returned to the local level.”

 

Rep. Massie also pointed out that President Ronald Reagan would have cosponsored this bill.  In September 1981, about a year after the federal Department of Education began operating (1980) President Ronald Reagan said:

“…[W]e propose to dismantle two Cabinet Departments, Energy and Education[E]ducation is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards, and State governments. By eliminating the Department of Education less than 2 years after it was created, we cannot only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”

Learn more about the bill in the video interview with Rep. Massie below. In the video, when answering a question about who now opposed his bill,  Massie said that there are opposers who believe that D.C. has cornered the market on genius, who feel that the rest of America should rely on those situated in D.C.; but most people want to keep educational decision-making and education money local; opposers are few.

Please remember that the bill, H.R. 899, newborn last month, has yet to have a hearing or a vote.  Please contact your congressional representatives  to add momentum to this bill.

How will the Department of Education be dismantled?

Rep. Massie envisions three ways in which the bill could be implemented.

1.  Get rid of federal education.  Return all power and all money to the states.

2.  Block grant federal education money to the states.

3.  Have different federal departments oversee federal education programs that are still active due to federal law.

Massie favors the option that gets rid of fed-ed altogether, and so do I.

Tweet Today to Trump and DeVos: #KeepYourPromise #StopCommonCore #StopDataMining #NonConsensualDataMiningIsTheft   2 comments

keep-your-promise

Several freedom-loving groups, including Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards, Georgia Against Common Core, United States Parents Involved in Education, and the Patriot Journalism Network #PJNET have joined forces for a Twitter rally today, directed primarily at new Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump, to #KeepYourPromise to #StopCommonCore.

Please participate.  Go here or here to join the fun.   Go here to sign up for a free Twitter account.

keep-calm-and-keep-your-promise

 

pjnet

Stanley Kurtz: Drilling Through the Core   2 comments

I can’t wait to read Drilling Through the Core.

I’m sharing this brand new book before reading it myself, because I know these authors and I’ve read their work, making it a must-read for me.

You can check out the book’s review at:  The Corner (National Review) by Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Buy the book  here.

 

 white Book cover isolated on plain background
Kurtz’ review of Drilling Through the Core says:    “It’s all here, from the most basic explanation of what Common Core is, to the history, the major arguments for and against, and so much more. The controversies over both the English and math standards are explained; the major players in the public battle are identified; the battle over Gates Foundation’s role is anatomized; the roles of the tests and the testing consortia are reviewed; concerns over data-mining and privacy are laid out; the dumbing-down effect on the college curriculum is explained; as is the role of the Obama administration and the teachers unions. I found the sections on “big data” particularly helpful. I confess that despite my considerable interest in Common Core, I hadn’t much followed the data-mining issue. Boy was that a mistake. It strikes me that the potential for abuse of personal data is substantially greater in the case of Common Core than in the matter of national security surveillance. With Common Core we are talking about databases capable of tracking every American individual from kindergarten through adulthood, and tremendous potential for the sharing of data with not only government but private groups…
    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/424714/whats-wrong-common-core-stanley-kurtz

 

 

Goodbye to English Departments   5 comments

applebook - Copy

This article, published yesterday in Minding the Campus,  is published here with permission. 

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Professor Grabar’s essay comes to this pointed conclusion: “If all poetry, writing, “spoken word,” and gesture is equally valuable, we don’t need literature professors.” 

This is the perversion of the concept of equality and the meat of current “education reform”.  Ed reformers’ quest for social justice has taken over good judgment and even honesty.

But no matter what they say, the truth remains; and there are such things as beauty and truth.  There is value in the study of classic literature.  Equality of human opportunity never should have been confused with sameness of result, of effect, or mandated sameness.

The prime movers of education reform are unwilling to distinguish between the value of a book, of an academic disciplines, a tradition or even a fact— which facts are true, and matter a lot– enough to fight for?  Which ones matter a little?  Which “facts” and “studies” do not matter much at all, or are inappropriate –or are lies?  Which academic departments are dismissable, replaceable, overvalued by past generations?  And who gets to call the shots on what matters, anyway?

They ignore the wisdom of the ages and suddenly treat every every  ink stain, every thought and utterance from any source, from grunts to glory, as belonging equally in our universities and schools and in the minds and hearts of our children.

This point of Professor Grabar’s meets up with with what I desperately hope is not a new ed reform trend, (which is happening in Boston now) –one I was shocked to learn about:   they are doing away with history departments   and no longer hiring real history teachers.  History will be “incorporated” under the concept of  informational text in language arts classes.    It makes sense, when you look at the actual, long winded 18-word title of the language arts standards of Common Core:  “The Common Core State Standards for Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects.” 

Goodbye to classic literature departments, and to high quality history and science as well?

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Goodbye to English Departments

By Mary Grabar

English departments have pretty much given up on their mission of preserving a literary canon or teaching poetic form and rhetorical strategies.  Decades ago, politics of race, class, and gender overtook any concern for preserving and perpetuating poetic art.  In fact, to claim that there is such a thing as Literature was to align oneself with the right-wing Imperialists.

Today, “digital” is seen as dismantling the last vestige of literary hierarchy. James Pulizzi, in the New Republic, predicts, with no sorrow, that digitization will make literature departments “largely extinct.” His dismissal of traditional English departments is very casual: “As long as literature departments remain beholden to print culture, to the study and transmission of printed texts, they will continue to fade in relevance and prestige.”

English professors themselves have been ushering in this brave, new digital world.  Georgia Institute of Technology Professor Richard Utz last year lectured “hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media,” telling the English professoriate that they should “embrace, accompany critically, and shape the new discourses its students sorely need to communicate and compete: blogs, video essays, Web comics, digital archives, data visualization, and the like.”  The digital change is more profound than the transference of material from paper to screen.

The English Department home page of Georgia State University, where I earned my master’s in 1994, declares now, “We read the world.”  The profiles of faculty hired since my days as a student there reveal the changes and are representative of departments across the country.  Dr. Gina Caison’s work focuses on “southern and Native American studies.”  Her work is “interdisciplinary” and “incorporates her interests in performance studies and American visual culture.”   Dr. Caison seems to be doing very little analysis of the written word: her “book-length project” “explores the recurrent use of Native American history in literary and cultural texts of the U.S. South,” and she is co-producer of a documentary film about the history of “studying and collecting indigenous human remains.”  Whatever she is doing–drama, anthropology, history–it is a far cry from literary study. But even American literature anthologies have scalp dances and rain dances crowding out William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet.

Caison’s colleagues are doing similar work.  Dr. Lindsey Eckert “specializes in British Romanticism and Digital Humanities.” Dr. Mary Hocks does “digital rhetoric, visual rhetorics, and computers and composition studies.”  Dr. Audrey Goodman writes about “the literary and visual cultures of the American Southwest,” and Dr. Scott Heath “specializes in 20th and 21st century African American literature, black popular culture, and speculative race theory.”  He has a book contract on “hip-hop discourse.”

So what the University of Arizona is doing is only the logical conclusion in this move away from literature: they are eliminating the English department.  They don’t say this, but by moving English from the Humanities Department to the College of Social Behavior, they are relegating literature to the purely utilitarian.  They see the word as simply a means for persuading and transmitting information.  Such moves in higher education parallel the focus under the Common Core K-12 program on “informational texts,” which, as it turns out, often are slightly disguised ideological texts.

Today, we have a digital miasma of information with college graduates trained to discernment only to the point of being able to distinguish politically unacceptable ideas from those that are.  Anything that does not go along with the current political pieties is considered “far-right,” “extremist,” or “reactionary.”  These are terms used by professors and in assigned reading material.

Poetry then becomes nothing more than self-expression of momentary impulses or fleeting observations without regard to form or tradition–kind of like Tweets or Facebook posts about the delicious overstuffed sandwich on the plate.  Anyone can be a poet–as long as the message is acceptable politically.  At poetry slams in coffee houses across the country the pencil-scribbling on the step to the podium garners as much applause as the carefully constructed (rare) villanelle.  The subjects of the “poems” are usually the scribblers themselves–the outrages against them personally and the failure of the world to grasp their vision of justice.

If all poetry, writing, “spoken word,” and gesture is equally valuable, we don’t need literature professors–not even those specializing in “digital media.”  It’s a sad day for those of us who love and teach literature.

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I hope you are screaming and pulling out your hair as you read this. I hope you remain one of the squeakiest and most annoying wheels in the ears of your local and state school board, and that they receive emails and calls from you often enough that they no longer smile when they hear your name.    Their disdain doesn’t matter; the children do.

Our children deserve at least as high quality an education as we received.  This ed reform movement ain’t it.

 

Thank you, Mary Grabar.

 

Utah Legislator Sparks Debate on US Education: To Reform or Restore?   7 comments

This week, a Utah legislator posted his views about education reform on his Facebook wall. The following post was compiled from that wall, by a Utah mother, Alyson Williams.

(Names have been replaced with generic titles.)

Thank you, Alyson.

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U.S. Education: to Reform or Restore?

Guest post by Utah Mother Alyson Williams

While we wish that these kinds of exchanges were happening in our state halls rather than just social media platforms, this exchange between a parent, a teacher, and a legislator as excerpted from the Utah legislator’s Facebook wall introduces an important question: should we be expanding and advancing centralized education reform or be seeking to restore ideals that have been lost? Do we know our own history well enough to discern the difference?

Parent: [Teacher], you seem to be talking just about the [Common Core] standards while [parent activist] has raised a warning about a bigger issue. Every state that adopted the standards did so in conjunction with a number of other reforms, the combination of which shift governance of education in significant ways. I hope this overview helps clarify that: http://prezi.com/icbma_8t5snu/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

I appreciate [Representative] taking the time to attend a presentation I did on this subject in [City.]

Teacher: I did watch your presentation. I commend you for your activism and I understand your viewpoint. I have done my own extensive research. I even interviewed people from the Gates Foundation. I just don’t agree with your view point. Best wishes.

Parent: [Teacher], one way of demonstrating that we understand one another’s viewpoint is to restate it in our own words as I have attempted above. Apparently my understanding of your viewpoint being based on the standards alone is not complete. Would you be willing to share your research? What did you learn in speaking to the Gates Foundation? The goal of the reforms has been clearly stated as making kids “college and career ready,” or as the Governor explains it, “education for the workforce demands of the marketplace.” The reforms ensure a more coordinated and central role for state and federal government in this workforce oriented goal. Am I correctly understanding that you support that outcome?

Teacher: Yes that is correct and I think it is reasonable to believe that no matter what I share, you and I will still be of the same opinion still:) I have only replied to a few of [Representative’s] points as he is my representative and someone I have a great deal of respect for. You and I also know we could spend hours exchanging research-hours of which I do not have. I have a family, a full time teaching job and a personal life. I wish you well on your own path.

Parent: I can certainly identify with how busy you are [Teacher.] Thank you for confirming your viewpoint. I think it will be helpful to those following this thread to see more clearly both sides. As you say, I simply have a different viewpoint and value the way that education in our country was, for a long time, unique. For much of our history the purpose of American education was to nurture the development of self-governing citizens, with work being incidental to that development. Government-coordinated education for the workforce is an imported philosophy. Our Founding Fathers and other great thinkers were who they were because they studied the great works, not work itself. This nation has uniquely thrived according to the principle that a broadly educated and free people pursuing their own dreams works better than centrally planned education for efficiently trained workers.

Representative: … this is a good discussion. As a taxpayer, I don’t want my dollars going to public schools unless those schools are focusing on getting kids ready for jobs and the work force. Most of our country’s founders were not products of a public education system and they had different goals for their own classical education, and leisure time to pursue those goals (philosophy, government, law). I want the schools in my world to do everything they can to train the students to be ready to get a job in the modern workplace, and to expose them to those career and job skills now. Most of the skills that need to be taught in K-12 public schools to prepare students for the work force are essentially just literacy and numeracy, and those can and will continue to be taught by studying classical works (as my own kids are doing to the hilt now under Utah’s Common Core standards, based on my own personal experience reading The Scarlet Letter and other works together with them this year). But if we don’t make sure that these foundational language and math classes are aligned to the workplace and producing the skills needed in the work force, then I think we are wasting precious taxpayer dollars. By using terms such as “centrally planned economy,” many critics of Common Core make it sound like our U.S. Chamber of Commerce, by endorsing Common Core, is advocating moving our country to socialism. But of course that is not the case. Private businesses recognize that a large reason for the success and ascendancy of the United States on the world stage in the past century has been careful government planning and regulation (roads and transportation infrastructure, banking systems, stock market regulation, etc.). Central government planning is not inconsistent with free-market capitalism — in fact, I would argue it is essential for its endurance, if the U.S. wants to continue to be the leader on the world stage. For me, it is all about finding the right balance between government management and individual liberty. I think the minimal educational guidelines being implemented as Utah’s Common Core strike that proper balance and do not in any way endanger an individual’s liberties to pursue in this great country whatever she or he wishes to in life — in fact, the standards are an aid to help individuals more fully exercise and realize those individual freedoms of self-expression. Thanks for weighing in.

Parent: [Representative], I hope you, and the parents reading that last entry can recognize the false dichotomy implicit in your opening assertion. Current education reform is not about whether students should be well educated and prepared for professional success or not. The conflict is about whether that desirable goal is best achieved under local governance or if we should disregard the wisdom of history (and current federal statute) and allow for greater federal or otherwise centralized control. “Education for the workforce demands of the marketplace” does not just mean that we want our kids to be able to get a good job. It means policy, funding, programs etc. are prioritized for assessing and predicting what skills will be most useful to the workforce by the time our kids reach the workforce, and who has those skills – predictions that are notoriously inaccurate. Instead of fitting education to the aptitudes and interests of the individual, giving each his best shot, this system attempts to guide the individual to the education deemed best for the “greater common good.” The emphasis on the child as an investment of the collective, not an agent unto himself, is a principle of socialism and this, not the shortsighted endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is what liberty-minded people are criticizing. You mention your objective of finding a balance between government management and individual liberty. The bedrock principle for conservatives in identifying this balance is to only assign to the higher level of government what cannot be accomplished by a more local level. Thomas Jefferson explained it this way, “… the way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself.” You specifically praise the federal role in transportation infrastructure. That is a good example of something that might best be accomplished through the cooperation of states working through Congress (the body we elect to make these kinds of collective decisions, as opposed to that one club for Governors who’ve taken this role upon themselves recently.) This happens to be President Obama’s favorite example as well. [Ironically, he used it often when promoting the Stimulus which proved the catalyst for advancing these education reforms.] If I had a dollar for every speech in which he mentions “roads and bridges” (and how they’re crumbling, necessitating more spending) while touting the benevolence of an increasingly powerful and indebted federal government! It is clear that you like the standards which are under the jurisdiction of the State School Board. The rest, and the bulk of the reforms, are under the jurisdiction of the State Legislature. As an elected representative in that body I hope you’ll continue to familiarize yourself with the impact of those policies as well. Thank YOU for weighing in. It is so important to constituents to understand the positions of their representatives.

Parent again: As long winded as that was, I forgot to respond to one point you made. The founding fathers were indeed, for the most part, more fortunate in their opportunities for education because of their wealth and privilege. One notable exception is of course Benjamin Franklin, the youngest son of a mixed family that included something like 16 total siblings and step siblings. (There’s a fantastic study of a self-taught, self-made man.) What many of these men seemed to understand about the sustainability of their newly-formed Republic was that in order to have a self-governing people education had to become more than training for a trade like the privately arranged apprenticeships of the day – that the domains such as history, philosophy and law previously accessible only to the elite must be accessible to all. Our abandonment of this ideal in favor of skills rewarded in the workforce, especially over the past half-century, has resulted in our current situation where key protections of liberty established by the Constitution are systematically eroded and erased while too many sit idly by in apathy or ignorance. Meanwhile we continue to saddle the upcoming generations with the servitude of an outrageously unsustainable debt all the while professing to have their future financial success and the desire for a robust economy at heart. (We never did get a cost analysis on these reforms.)

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I want to add two things to what Alyson compiled.

1. “Combination of education with industrial production” is a direct goal, point #10, of the Communist Manifesto.. The push to align workforce with education goes directly against free agency and toward central planning. Do American legislators realize they’re enabling socialism/communism when they support “finding the right balance between government management and individual liberty?” You can’t balance the human tendency toward controlling others very easily; hence, the limitations outlined to keep the government very, very small and the people’s power big. The individual should have full control over his/her life.

2. In a book called “Free Agency: A Divine Gift,” a Utahn, David O. McKay, who was also a former teacher, wrote: “Let us, by exercising our privileges under the Constitution… Preserve our right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience, preserve the right to work when and where we choose. . . Feel free to plan and to reap without the handicap of bureaucratic interference, Devote our time, means, and life if necessary, to hold inviolate those laws which will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience.”

The wonder of individual, unfettered freedom and the absurd lie (that society needs central planners) is debunked in a great short film called “I, Pencil.” Worth watching.

What Is Being Data-Mined Without Parental Consent?   20 comments

Even though the columns will be gone and it will be confusing and messy, I’m going to cut and paste a truckload of attributes from the National Data Collection model’s spreadsheet. You can click on the link to see the actual site and its spreadsheet so it’s not confusing or messy. http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary

These are the hundreds and hundreds of data points– personal details that the federal government is seeking to know about children. It’s absolute abuse of the trust we’ve put in our state and its schools, as now schools are forced to act as agents for state data collection without parental consent, through the use of many resources, including the standardized tests that are aligned to common standards, known as Common Core, and the housing of data in the State Longitudinal Databases (SLDS) that the federal government paid every state to build, for the purpose of reporting the K-12 data to the federal government.

Although this vast federal program (common nationalized standards, tests, and databases) started off appearing to collect just aggregated versions of data (not personally identifiable) the “aggregated” status is rapidly changing, as many state policies change, because the “big dogs” –such as the national association of state superintendents (CCSSO)– and others, have been working to fulfill their openly stated commitments to the DISaggregation of students’ data.

So, unless the National Center for Education Statistics deletes this information from its site, we can all see this information and then insist that elected representatives make a U-turn away from this nightmare of privacy invasion, and back to reason.

Step one: know what is happening. Step two: stop the state’s use of SLDS. I wish I could say Step two was to opt your child out of the SLDS tracking, but that is not allowed, at least not in Utah.

Below are the hundreds and hundreds of data points you’ll find there; my favorites include:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
— even cause of death.

How they justify tracking students even beyond academics, even beyond death, I do not know.

–Keep in mind that this is the National Data Collection Model from the National Center for Educational Statistics, a federal agency. Keep in mind that it is illegal under G.E.P.A. law, and under the Constitution, to have a federal database for innocent citizen surveillance.

This illegality is why the federal government had to pay each of the 50 states to create interoperable STATE longitudinal databases, so that they’d acquire a national database parading as 50 independent ones.

Compare the information below (National Data Collection Model) to the data points being sought at other federal sites, such as the Data Quality Campaign or the Common Educational Data Statistics site.

Realize, too, that they are not just using standardized tests or first-day-of-school paperwork to track children. They hope to increase the use of school biological sensory tracking devices that are recommended on page 44/62 of the Department of Education’s recent report entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance”. There are descriptions and even photos of the biological detection devices that measure attitudes, engagement, and beliefs of students. http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf

They say this out loud? They publish for all to see online the recommended use on students of:

Facial Expression Cameras
Posture Analysis Seats
Pressure Mouses
Wireless Skin Conductance Sensors

How will such detailed, personal information about individuals be used or misused long-term? If a student is labeled –or mislabeled, will he/she lose future opportunities for jobs, education, political trust, or face gun ownership restrictions– based on tests or sensory devices or notes innocently scribbled by a gradeschool teacher, sent to the district-state-national databases?

Dear readers, if you are alive and breathing, you can do something to stop this. It’s your right and your duty. Contact your legislators and your governor. Show them the facts. Most simply haven’t been exposed to the facts and documentation yet.

Stand up and let your voice be heard. Our children cannot fight this fight for themselves; we have to do it.

Know that this is not theory. It is a real agenda, an openly documented plot: the federal government is in fact persuading test builders and governors of states to give away each child’s privacy rights, by building networks and databases and by secretly reducing formerly protective laws that once required written parental consent to access student data, but now call that just an optional “best practice.”

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Early Childhood Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS)
National Household Education Survey (NHES)

Elementary/SecondaryCommon Core of Data (CCD)
Secondary Longitudinal Studies Program
School District Demographics System
Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)
more…

International Activities Program (IAP)

Library Library Statistics Program

Postsecondary Baccalaureate and Beyond
Career/Technical Education Statistics (CTES)
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS)
more…

Data Systems, Use, & PrivacyCommon Education Data Standards (CEDS)
National Forum on Education Statistics
Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program – (SLDS)
more…

ResourcesK-12 Practitioners Circle
National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC)
Statistical Standards Program
more…

Data; ToolsCustom Datasets; Tables
Search Tools
Peer Comparison Tools
Questionnaire Item Banks
States/District Profiles, Comparisons, and Mapping

Offsite Archive of NCES Data

Tables; Figures Search Tables/Figures
Popular Keyword Title Searches

For Kids

Fast Facts Assessments
Early Childhood
Elementary and Secondary
Library
Postsecondary and Beyond
Resources

School Search Search for Schools, Colleges and Libraries
College Navigator

Other Search Tools Public Schools
Public School Districts
Private Schools
Public Libraries

News; Events What’s New at NCES
Conferences/Training
NewsFlash

About NCES
Education Leadership Artifact
Information Exchange
Instruction Artifact
Operations Artifact Organization
PersonClientBeneficiary
Child
Education Completer
Learner
Library Patron
Parent/Guardian
Student Elementary Seco…
Students – Postsecondar…

Physical Characteristic

Service Provider
Person
Place
Program
Common Attributes
Entity Identifier
Locus
Organization Characteristic
Person Characteristic
Core Entities
Course
District
School
Section
State
Student
Teacher

Student Elementary Secondary (studentElementarySecondary)
Definitions

Source: Handbooks
An individual for whom instruction, services and/or care are provided in an early childhood, elementary or secondary educational program under the jurisdiction of a school, education agency, or other institution or program.

Relationships
Entity
Student Elementary Secondary

has Associated Accommodation
Student Elementary Secondary

Assessment Response

Student Elementary Secondary

Attendance Event
Bus Route
Student Elementary Secondary
Bus Stop
Student Elementary Secondary
Cohort
Student Elementary Secondary
Contact Person
Student Elementary Secondary
Diagnostic Statement
Student Elementary Secondary
Dropout Event
Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Elementary Secondary Transcript

Student Elementary Secondary

Emergency Contact

Student Elementary Secondary

Extra Curricular Program

Student Elementary Secondary

Family Relation

Student Elementary Secondary

Fr Free Reduced Fam App

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Fr Head Start Eligibility Verification

Student Elementary Secondary

Home

Student Elementary Secondary

Individual Learning Plan

Student Elementary Secondary

Sponsor

Student Elementary Secondary

Student Academic Record
Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student Administrator Conference

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student Advisor

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student Assessment Registration

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student District Enrollment

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student District Registration

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student School Assignment

Student Elementary Secondary

hasAssociated

Student Section Assignment

Student Elementary Secondary

isASynonymOf

Learner

Student Elementary Secondary

participatesIn

Class/Section

Student Elementary Secondary

participatesIn

Student Collaboration Group

Student Elementary Secondary

receivesServicesFrom

Substitute Teacher

Student Elementary Secondary

receivesServicesFrom

Teacher

Student Elementary Secondary

type

Client

Attributes

Show All
Ability Grouped Status
Absent Attendance Categories
Academic Honors Type

Activity Code

Activity Curriculum Type

Activity Involvement Beginning Date

Activity Involvement Ending Date

Activity Leadership/Coordinator Participation Level

Activity Level

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Remember– the Utah State Office of Education’s official statement still goes like this:

Nothing in Utah’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards promotes data mining of student’s personal information or other inappropriate use of student data. The Utah State Board of Education is committed to student and teacher privacy and will not share personally identifiable data.

–Please contact the state school board! I don’t think they understand what the Utah SLDS is doing, nor how weak the current policy is, against the mighty designs of the federal government, how the Common Core standards and tests play into the data mining scheme, or what the U.S. Department of Education has done to circumvent parents and Congress.

The Utah State School Board’s group email address is Board@schools.utah.gov

Russian Student to USA: Keep Fighting Common Core   8 comments

I wanted to share a letter that a professor at Fordham University received from a former student from Russia. The letter is addressed to everyone who opposes the Common Core.


I believe you are fighting a very noble fight against the Common Core curriculum. I am telling you this as a product of a centrally-controlled education system myself. Soviet Union was notorious for this and the new Russia hasn’t changed that.

I never liked my school. To be honest, I hated it with all my heart and sometimes still have nightmares where I see myself having to return to school.

I always thought it was a senseless, cold system that I just had to get through, survive. I was frustrated all the time because instead of following my interests, tapping on my talents, I was concerned about carefully watching the requirements and trying very hard to fit in.

Questioning the requirements was not productive because you couldn’t change them anyway. I questioned and doubted them all the time and therefore suffered. I saw teachers as senseless machines whose only goal is to make sure you memorize what’s in their centrally approved textbooks.

There was no room and no time for creating, thinking, dreaming, exploring. My school years felt like a constant run in front of a moving train that, if I were to pause, try to look around, turn, would hit me: I would get a bad grade and jeopardize my chances to get into college, upset my parents, ruin my life. I was a good, hardworking student yet school was one of the most stressful experiences in my life.

Part of the problem with common curriculum is that at one point teachers become so concerned about following the standards (that naturally become more and more demanding with time) that they forget about kids. Their work is then not to educate kids but to make sure the requirements are fulfilled. The profession stops being rewarding and attractive to those who love kids and teaching, and attracts those who are comfortable inside a command and control structure.

America is obviously far from getting where Soviet Union/Russia is, but I am convinced it is because of people like you.

Department of Education Surveillance of Student Attitudes   12 comments

The Department of Education is increasingly creepy.

There’s no other word for it. It’s as bad as any Orwellian-styled fiction. I say this without being in the least speculative– proof is published openly in the actual source documents coming out of the current Department of Education.

I invite you to scan over the Department of Education’s document entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance.”

This 126-page report was published four months ago by the Office of Educational Technology and the U.S. Department of Education.

The whole document is about student data mining– but not just the type of data mining we’ve talked about before, where math and English and a student’s personal name and address are the issues.

Here, the issue is having schools/governments collect data about a student’s will, character, beliefs and attitudes using multiple measures that go beyond standardized testing to physical control and measurement of the child, by eye tracking and nerve sensory devices.

On page 44, see exhibit 11. It shows how affective sensors are used in some areas to measure student “engagement”. You’ll see facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, a pressure mouse, and a wireless skin conductance sensor.

These are supposed to be good things?!

We see clearly that it is not enough for the “education reformers” to nationally control, via common standards and testing, the math and English teaching; they also desire to test, analyze and control, noncognitive individual attitudes.

How is freedom of thought, freedom of belief/attitude/religion, or freedom of expression, upheld by these “reforms” in any way?

The document also says:

“There is a growing movement to explore the potential of the “noncognitive” factors— attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability…”

Attitudes! Dispositions!

I re-read Orwell’s 1984 recently. Do you remember it? The main character lives in a world completely controlled by the government, which watches all citizens through virtually omnipresent screens and makes all citizens daily chant, with the same expressions on their faces– or else.

Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.”

In Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance, as in other documents and speeches promoted by the current administration, you will also see the marginalization of parents. Parents are not seen as the primary instructor and authority figure over the child. Parents are seen as just the supporting cast. They can play a role. They can support. They can be educated about governmental “best practices” to practice at home. Think I’m kidding?

From page xiv: “Conclusion 6: Parents and guardians can also play a direct and important role in promoting
their children’s grit, tenacity, and perseverance… Recommendation 6a: Parents may employ some of the research-based best practices at home as they work with their children around academic goals… Parents can also support children in structuring their home work
environments to support effortful control…
Recommendation 6b: Educators… should consider outreach to parents and guardians as an important support for
students… parents may need to be educated about best practices.

This goes right along with Obama’s Lean Forward campaign, where the video spokeswoman, Melissa Harris-Perry said, (see below) “We haven’t had a collective notion of ‘these are our children.’ We have to break through this kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents.”

Last I heard, our Utah State Office of Education was claiming that Utah’s Common Core tests (A.I.R.) will only test math and English, and will not test behavioral indicators, attitudes, grit or tenacity.

Do you believe it?

I wish I could.

But while the Department of Education is pushing behavioral indicator measurement, and while the testing company Utah has chosen to create its Common Core tests —American Institutes for Research— has a mission statement “to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation,” and while the Utah legislature has passed HB15, a bill that requires “behavior indicators” in school testing, and when Bill Gates, the main funder of all things Common Core, is promoting the merger of technology, games, education and biometric-psychometric control– when these forces combine, how can anyone still believe that all is well?

All is not well.

Parents, teachers and legislators must stand up, speak out, and not be quiet until we stop this erosion of individual rights.

If we don’t, who will?

USA Today Op-Ed : Don’t Underestimate the Mama and Papa Bears   Leave a comment

USA Today has published an op-ed by Emmett McGroarty. The author quotes Alisa Ellis of Utah and Anne Gassel of Missouri, parents who typify the Mama and Papa bears in opposing Common Core.

From Alisa Ellis: “Administrators want parents like me to step back and be quiet, but we will not. These are my children, and my voice will be heard.”
From Anne Gassel: “Parents and their legislators were cut out of the loop. Even now we can’t get straight answers.”

McGroarty also writes that “Although Common Core is regularly described as “state-led,” its authors are private entities, which are not subject to sunshine laws, open meetings or other marks of a state-led effort.”

The author also points out that the federal government gave states the incentive to adopt the Common Core and to use aligned, federally funded standardized tests which, “with teacher evaluations geared to them, will act as an enforcement mechanism.”

McGroarty points out that Bill Gates has told the National Conference of State Legislatures that this is more than minimal standards: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well — and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”

Lastly, McGroarty points out that while Common Core developers claim the standards are “research and evidence based,” “rigorous” and “internationally bench-marked,” that’s not true:

He quotes Professor Sandra Stotsky, a member of the official Common Core validation committee, who wrote that the English standards of Common Core actually “weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” He also quotes Stanford professor James Milgram who concluded that the math standards “are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades eight to 12,” and who also wrote that Common Core math doesn’t even fully cover the material in a solid geometry or second-year algebra course.

Read the rest of the article here: http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/2413553
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Thank you, Emmett McGroarty, for pointing out the awful, hidden truth about Common Core, and for supporting parents in our quest to reclaim authority over what our own children will learn in our local schools.

Gass on Oklahoma Radio: The Fascinating Rise and Fall of Massachusetts’ Ed Standards   2 comments

On a radio station in Oklahoma this week, radio host (and former math teacher) Pat Campbell interviewed Jamie Gass, of the Center for School Reform at the Boston-based think tank, Pioneer Institute.

They covered the sad tale of Massachusetts, which in the 1990s had risen to become the leading state in education for the entire country, and which fell because of Common Core, throwing legitimate academic success away for a chance at the Race to the Top federal grant money– a gamble which coerced the state into dropping the high, independent standards for the very mediocre Common Core.

In the interview, Jamie Gass explained that Common Core is a fulfillment of Marc Tucker’s vision for socialist education, long ago outlined in his famous “Dear Hillary” letter to Hillary Clinton.

Gass now calls states like Texas “the smart ones” for holding on to state-level control of educational standards and rejecting Common Core. He mentions that Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson signed laws long ago making sure that the federal government would stay out of local education. These are being bypassed by various means to implement the Common Core.

He also discussed the astronomical estimates of what Common Core will cost states to implement, and spoke about the low quality of the standards themselves.

The interviewer, Pat, commented that on the Common Core website, calculus is not even there. “Why would we want this?” he asked.

Gass gave as resources to listeners the following: www.pioneerinstitute.org, which has a toolbox with all the research the think tank has done, and the American Principles Project site, too, which has done a lot of work to study and expose the facts about Common Core.

Listen to the whole archived radio show here: http://www.1170kfaq.com/podcasts/patcampbell/209332381.html

Video: North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Opposes Common Core   1 comment

North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest speaks out about why he wants the state to follow Indiana’s lead in taking a time out to study Common Core before implementing this untested, one size fits all nationalization of education.

Three cheers for Dan Forest.

Louisiana Teacher: Teachers Never Asked For This   1 comment

Weingarten Wants Me to Want the Common Core State Standards.

This Louisiana teacher, Mercedes Schneider, has darned good aim.  In this post, she explains why the AFT teachers’ union has Common Core wrong.

“I have not met American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten in person, but from what I have read about her, I have learned that she has chosen to “play to the middle”– to appear to support both traditional public school teachers and corporate reform at the same time. And now, Weingarten has positioned herself to appear to stand against Common Core via her ‘moratorium” while simultaneously standing with it…

… This AFT study is lousy research. Weingarten could have just dropped the insulting, shoddy “research,” cut to the chase, and said, “Bill and I have already decided to endorse CCSS. Forget the moratorium.

Teachers never asked for this federally-imposed curriculum in the first place.”

Read the rest:  http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/weingarten-wants-me-to-want-the-common-core-state-standards/

Video: Citizens of New Hampshire Speak Out Against Common Core   3 comments

I really enjoyed watching this  New Hampshire video, which was filmed at a curriculum and instruction meeting of the Manchester school board.

Citizens were allowed to speak for three minutes apiece.

http://manchestercommunitytv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=ded36c2e6dc5d55415f5b053f1880a83

Testifiers included several high school students, as well as parents and other citizens before the local school board.

At 22:35 a graduating high school senior speaks about how “we forget about the high achieving students” in the misguided effort to comply to government policies and financial carrots and not allowing enough AP and honors classes.  He says,  “Time and time again we look at the middle, we do look at the bottom… that also affects the higher achieving students.”  He is so right.

Most eloquent and impressively source-based is the seven minute testimony of Anne Marie Banfield.   (ending at minute 20:00 and picking up again at 26:25 – 30 when another testifier gave her three minutes to Anne Marie.)

At minute 31:10 a woman spoke (directly to the high school students who were in attendance as testifiers ) saying that in the past a principle might have said to a child who was getting detention, “that’s going to go on your permanent record” as a threat, but now because of the SLDS systems, absolutely everything that a student does, good or bad, is going to be used as part of everyone’s permanent record.  “It’s none of their business!” she said.

Then the listeners gave their loudest applause.

The fact that these testimonies were given at a local, not state, school board meeting is evidence to me that it’s individual localities that make a difference, not top-down, far-flung policies from D.C. groups with official sounding names like CCSSO and NGA.

It’s the individual voice that matters.

We the People are individuals, not a coagulated, collective mind as defined by the self-proclaimed know-it-bests: Duncan, Barber or Gates.

Local school boards can make a difference.

 

Here are the words of a wise member of another local UT school board member, who will remain anonymous here:

 

“One of the main reasons, in my opinion, Common Core and all of its predecessors have had any traction at all is because we, as a society, have mostly given up on the idea of local control of educationWe’ve bought into having “experts” tell us what and how our children will be taught.  I’m not opposed to experts, but parents need to be the biggest experts.  Local control is exactly what will fix this problem.  However, most people don’t know what local control would look like.  We drop our kids off at the door, volunteer for PTA, and sometimes go into the classroom.  Some fellow school board members in another district were actually in shock when I mentioned that one of the problems with Common Core was that parents were left out of the process.

“Do you really think parents should be involved with standards and curriculum?”
“Yes, I really do.”

Back to the point.  In our city, a few years back, we put together a rotating group of people to attend city council meetings and report back.  It wasn’t much, but it made a huge difference.  It only took a commitment of attending 2 meetings/year.  And, of course, the more people you can get to attend, you can either have a greater impact or reduce the number of meetings each person needs to attend.

If you had 20 or 30 people in each school district, depending on the number of meetings they hold, you could certainly set something up like that. 

The beauty of it is 1) the content of the meetings will change when “outside people” are present.  I can personally attest to this.  If the press isn’t there and if “regular people” aren’t there, it has a different feel.  2) there is an organized group of people to show up for any and all public hearings (like budgets) or if there is an issue of concern.  You don’t need to worry about how to get in touch with people, you just email the group and they show up. 3) You end up with a “head’s up” on all new issues.  In our district, there is public comment allowed in every board meeting.  And having members of the public voice comments and concerns actually has a greater impact than just the individual board members.  If you are a board member in the minority, then your voice is often dismissed because of that minority status.  Having people in the public show up to voice a similar concern give weight to the board member’s concerns.  I tell people that the elected officials are just the tip of the spear.  The people need to be behind that spear providing the force.

People keep asking, “What do we use in place of Common Core if we are successful?”  The actual answer is: Local Control. 

If we don’t backfill with more involved, and locally concerned parents and taxpayers, then there will be another creation, just like Common Core or maybe worse, that will take it’s place.  Power abhors a vacuum.  So, we need to step up and get back to the system that used to work, once upon a time. 

And even if your local district isn’t going in the right direction, it’s a lot easier to replace the local school board than the CCSSO. 

My two cents.”  

-from a school board member of a local school board in Utah.

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Thank you to the school board member who shared those “two cents.” 

I completely agree.

TribTalk: Is Classical Literature Diminished by Common Core, or Not?   14 comments

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56311293-78/standards-core-common-utah.html.csp

I watched this video, where the Salt Lake Tribune reporter asked Utah School Board Chair Debra Roberts whether Common Core took away classic literature –see minute 15:40.

Roberts laughed, said that she was an English major and would never support standards that were not strongly supportive of classic literature—  and then, without answering, took the conversation in the direction of how important informational texts are.

The fact is, informational texts used to be taught where they OUGHT to be taught– in science classes, history classes, and other classes.  But they are being force fed in all English classes now.

Certainly, some classic literature is still permitted in Utah schools under Common Core.  But it has been dramatically reduced, especially at the high school level.  Roberts would not admit this. WHY?

Debra Roberts’ signature (together with our former governor’s signature) put Utah’s former educational liberty under the thumb of the Common Core agenda.  She’s been on the Common Core adoption team longer than our current governor.  She cannot be ignorant of the truth.

She knows that Common Core emphasizes informational text and takes away classic literature.  She knows that in elementary school, students may read 50% classic stories and 50% informational text; and she knows that the percentage of informational text MUST increase while the percentage of classic literature must decrease, so that when a student is a high school senior, he/she must have 70% of his/her English class reading be informational, while 30% max may be classic literature.

She and others on the state school board continue to call those of us who call for the whole truth, “misinformed” and “erroneous.”

I requested an explanation of what exactly seemed “erroneous,” in the school board’s view, in the GOP resolution that Utah’s State Delegates voted to support last week.

I have not heard back from them.

I have also requested face to face meetings with board members and have been denied a meeting.   Here I am, a credentialed Utah teacher, denied a meeting to discuss my concerns about Utah’s new Core Curriculum.  Does that seem good?

I am willing to be proven wrong.   One person could be wrong.

But I don’t think it’s fair to call all 6,000 petition signers at Utahns Against Common Core, plus the 1500— 2,000 state delegates who voted against common core at the resolution vote,  plus the entire Republican National Committee, plus Sutherland Institute, Heritage Institute, Pioneer Institute, Cato Institute, Senator Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz, and Rob Bishop, all “misinformed.”  –Especially not in the same week that the chair of the board misinforms reporters about Common Core.

Dr. Peg Luksik: The Unasked Question   4 comments

The Unasked Question

by Dr. Peg Luksik

Reposted from http://foundedontruth.com/index.php/battlelines-news-info/32-the-unasked-question

The public debate over the Common Core Standards is intensifying as parents and teachers learn more about the changes to our educational system.

When the proponents of the standards mention them, they always begin with the word “rigorous”.  The word is always used, and there is never a synonym.  This is marketing at its finest.

Who could ever be opposed to rigorous standards that would make America’s children college and career-ready?

Then the definition of “rigorous” began to emerge.  To quote the training materials being used with teachers across Pennsylvania, rigor does not mean “difficult, as AP Calculus is difficult”.  Rigor meant… that lots of effort would be required.  In the example given by one of the official presenters, the rigorous activity in a high school chemistry class was to have the students use balls to build little models of each of the atoms in the Periodic Table.  She explained that the brightest students were frustrated with this activity because they were not used to having to do such “rigorous” work.

And now the Common Core based secondary school math assessment has been revealed.  To meet these “rigorous” new standards and be able to graduate from high school, America’s students will have to pass Algebra I.

In testimony before the PA Senate Education Committee this month, a proponent of these standards was asked about this situation.  He responded that a graduate only needed Algebra I to be “career-ready” – which he clarified by specifying that he was referring to working a service or manufacturing job or joining the military.

His response brings us to the unasked questions in this movement to radically restructure our schools.

Who is the client of the educational system? What is the purpose of  education?

In classical education, which is how most adults over the age of 35 were taught, the client of education was the child, and the purpose was to give each child the ability to reach his fullest potential.  The school was supposed to open doors so children from any background would have the chance to achieve their dreams.  Educational programs were not aimed at what a child “only needed” – they were aimed at giving each child as many options as possible.  They aimed a child at the ceiling instead of the floor.

And in reaching the ceiling, those adults learned what they needed to find and keep a job.  Some of them went to college and some of them entered the work force and some of them joined the military.  But those decisions were theirs, based on their abilities and preferences and effort.  And if they decided to make a different choice, they had the ability to do so.

But the Common Core changes the answers to those basic questions.  In the new system, the client of the educational system is business, and the purpose of the educational system is to create a work force with the skills they need to do the job.  And if the job only requires Algebra I, then, as the gentleman testifying said, there is no need for the workers in that job to have any education beyond Algebra I.

Who decides which students will be allowed to continue learning and which will be stopped at “the skills they need to do their jobs”?

That too is an un-asked, and un-answered, question.

And it is the most chilling question of all.

http://foundedontruth.com/index.php/battlelines-news-info/32-the-unasked-question

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Thanks to Dr. Luksik for her essay.

Source Documents for Common Core   11 comments

Nobody has to choose between relying on the proponents of Common Core, or relying on the opponents of Common Core.

To find out what Common Core really is and does to education and to liberty, study for yourself.

These are just a starter batch. There are more!  Some of these are Utah-specific.  If you are in another state, do a related word search to easily find your own.

 

DOCUMENTS:

The Race to the Top Grant Application

The No Child Left Behind Waiver

The State Longitudinal Database System Grant

The lawsuit against the Department of Education

The copyright on Common Core held by CCSSO/NGA

The report entitled “For Each And Every Child” from the Equity and Excellence Commission

The Cooperative Agreements between the Dept. of Education and the testing consortia

The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education

The speeches of President Obama on education

The speeches of the CEA of Pearson Ed, Sir Michael Barber

The speeches of the main funder of Common Core, Bill Gates

The speeches of David Coleman, a noneducator, the architect of the Common Core ELA standards and now promoted to College Board President

The Dept. of Ed report: Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance

The federal websites such as the EdFacts Exchange,  the Common Education Data Standards, the National Data Collection Model, and the Data Quality Campaign, sites because three of these four ask us to give personally identifiable information on students, from our state database.

The Common Core English and Math standards

The full contract that Utah has signed with the American Institutes for Research (if you can get a copy from the USOE; it is not online yet). Here is AIR’s common core implementation document.

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Here are some explanations of each of the documents, and what you can learn from them.

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The Race to the Top Grant Application  – Utah got points for having a kid-tracking SLDS database system.  Utah got more points for having adopted Common Core.  This was how we got into it.  Despite not winning the grant money, we remained in these systems.

The No Child Left Behind Waiver  – This shows the 15% cap the federal government put on top of the copyrighted, unamendable Common Core standards.

The State Longitudinal Database System Grant  – This is a federally paid-for database that every state in the US now has.  It tracks students within the state.  Aggregated data ion students is sent from this system to the federal EdFacts Exchange.

The lawsuit against the Department of Education  – The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the DOE for destroying the previously data-privacy protective federal FERPA. The lawsuit explains which terms were redefined, which agencies now have legal access to the private data of students, and much more.

The copyright on Common Core held by CCSSO/NGA  – The fact that there are “terms of use” and a copyright shows that we have no local control over the standards which are written behind closed doors in D.C.

The report entitled “For Each And Every Child” from the Equity and Excellence Commission – This report was commissioned by Obama.  It reveals that redistribution of wealth is the real reason that Obama wants a national education system.

The Cooperative Agreements between the Dept. of Education and the testing consortia – Even though Utah escaped the SBAC and is not bound by the Cooperative Agreement directly, Utah’s current testing group, A.I.R., works closely with SBAC.  This document shows how clearly the DOE has broken laws like the General Educational Provisions Act and the 10th Amendment.  It mandates the synchronizing of tests and the sharing of data to triangulate the SBAC, PARCC and DOE.

The speeches of Secretary Arne Duncan on education – He seems to believe Common Core was Obama’s idea from the start.

The speeches of President Obama on education – Obama’s goal is total control of everything– teachers, tests, money, and toddlers.

The speeches of the CEA of Pearson Ed, Sir Michael Barber – Barber wants every  school on the globe to have the exact same academic standards and to underpin every standard with environmental propaganda.  He also likes having global data on kids and stresses the term “sustainable reform” which is “irreversible reform”.

The speeches of the main funder of Common Core, Bill Gates – He’s funded Common Core almost completely on his own; he’s partnered with Pearson; he says “we won’t know it works until all the tests and curriculum aligns with the standards” so he’s writing curriculum for us all.

The speeches of David Coleman, a noneducator, the architect of the Common Core ELA standards and now promoted to College Board President –He mocks narrative writing, he’s diminished the percentage of classic literature that’s allowable in the standards, he’s not been elected, he’s never taught school, yet he’s almost singlehandedly destroyed the quality and liberty of an English teacher’s classroom. And as he’s now the College Board President, he’s aligning the SAT to his version of what Common standards should be.  This will hurt colleges.

The Dept. of Ed report: Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance  – behavioral indicators of students are wanted by the federal government.  It’s all about control.

The federal websites such as the EdFacts Exchange, the Common Education Data Standards, the National Data Collection Model, and the Data Quality Campaign, sites because three of these four ask us to give personally identifiable information on students, from our state database.  -The first link shows what we already give to the federal government; the others show what the federal government is requesting that we share, which does include intimate, personally identifiable information.

The Common Core English and Math standards – These are the actual standards.

The full contract that Utah has signed with the American Institutes for Research (if you can get a copy from the USOE; it is not online yet). Here is AIR’s common core implementation document.  – This shows that AIR is not an academic testing group but a behavioral research institute.  Parents and teachers may not see the test questions.

Upon This Lack of Evidence We Base Our Children’s Futures   4 comments

Where is the evidence to support the rhetoric surrounding the CCSS? This is not data-driven decision making. This is a decision grasping for data…  Yet this nation will base the future of its entire public education system, and its children, upon this lack of evidence. – Dr. Christopher Tienken, Seton Hall University, NJ

In the Education Administration Journal, the  AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice (Winter 2011 / Volume 7, No. 4) there’s an article by Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University that clearly explains the ridiculousness of Common Core.  The full article, “Common Core: An Example of Data-less Decision Making,” is available online, and  following are some highlights:

Although a majority of U.S. states and territories have “made the CCSS the legal law of their land in terms of the mathematics and language arts curricula,” and although “over 170 organizations, education-related and corporations alike, have pledged their support,” still “the evidence presented by its developers, the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), seems lacking,” and research on the topic suggests “the CCSS and those who support them are misguided,” writes Dr. Tienken.

Why?

“The standards have not been validated empirically and no metric has been set to monitor the intended and unintended consequences they will have on the education system and children,” he writes.

Tienken and  many other academics have said  that Common Core adoption begs this question: “Surely there must be quality data available publically to support the use of the CCSS to transform, standardize, centralize and essentially de-localize America‘s public education system,” and surely there must be more compelling and methodologically strong evidence available not yet shared with the general public or education researchers to support the standardization of one of the most intellectually diverse public education systems in the world. Or, maybe there is not?”

Tienken calls incorrect the notion that American education is lagging behind international competitors and does not believe the myth that academic tests can predict future economic competitiveness.

Unfortunately for proponents of this empirically vapid argument it is well established that a rank on an international test of academic skills and knowledge does not have the power to predict future economic competitiveness and is otherwise meaningless for a host of reasons.”

He observes: “Tax, trade, health, labor, finance, monetary, housing, and natural resource policies, to name a few, drive our economy, not how students rank on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS)” or other tests.

Most interestingly, Tienken observes that the U.S. has had a highly  internationally competitive system up until now.  “The U.S. already has one of the highest percentages of people with high school diplomas and college degrees compared to any other country and we had the greatest number of 15 year-old students in the world score at the highest levels on the 2006 PISA science test (OECD, 2008; OECD, 2009; United Nations, 2010). We produce more researchers and scientists and qualified engineers than our economy can employ, have even more in the pipeline, and we are one of the most economically competitive nations on the globe (Gereffi & Wadhwa, 2005; Lowell, et al., 2009; Council on Competitiveness, 2007; World Economic Forum, 2010).

Tienken calls Common Core “a decision in search of data” ultimately amounting to “nothing more than snake oil.”  He is correct.  The burden of proof is on the proponents to show that this system is a good one.

He writes: “Where is the evidence to support the rhetoric surrounding the CCSS? This is not data-driven decision making. This is a decision grasping for data…  Yet this nation will base the future of its entire public education system, and its children, upon this lack of evidence. Many of America‘s education associations already pledged support for the idea and have made the CCSS major parts of their national conferences and the programs they sell to schools.

This seems like the ultimate in anti-intellectual behavior coming from what claim to be intellectual organizations now acting like charlatans by vending products to their members based on an untested idea and parroting false claims of standards efficacy.”

Further, Dr. Tienken reasons:

“Where is the evidence that national curriculum standards will cause American students to score at the top of international tests or make them more competitive? Some point to the fact that many of the countries that outrank the U.S. have national, standardized curricula. My reply is there are also nations like Canada, Australia, Germany, and Switzerland that have very strong economies, rank higher than the U.S. on international tests of mathematics and science consistently, and do not have a mandated, standardized set of national curriculum standards.”

Lastly, Dr. Tienken asks us to look at countries who have nationalized and standardized education, such as China and Singapore:  “China, another behemoth of centralization, is trying desperately to crawl out from under the rock of standardization in terms of curriculum and testing (Zhao, 2009) and the effects of those practices on its workforce. Chinese officials recognize the negative impacts a standardized education system has had on intellectual creativity. Less than 10% of Chinese workers are able to function in multi-national corporations (Zhao, 2009).

I do not know of many Chinese winners of Nobel Prizes in the sciences or in other the intellectual fields. China does not hold many scientific patents and the patents they do hold are of dubious quality (Cyranoski, 2010).

The same holds true for Singapore. Authorities there have tried several times to move the system away from standardization toward creativity. Standardization and testing are so entrenched in Singapore that every attempt to diversify the system has failed, leaving Singapore a country that has high test scores but no creativity. The problem is so widespread that Singapore must import creative talent from other countries”.

According to Dr. Tienken, Common Core is a case of oversimplification.  It is naiive to believe that all children would benefit from mastering the same set of skills, or that it would benefit the country in the long run, to mandate sameness.  He observes that Common Core is “an Orwellian policy position that lacks a basic understanding of diversity and developmental psychology. It is a position that eschews science and at its core, believes it is appropriate to force children to fit the system instead of the system adjusting to the needs of the child.”

Oh, how I agree.

Since when do we trust bureaucracies more than we trust individuals to make correct decisions inside a classroom or a school district?  Since when do we agree force children to fit a predetermined system, instead of having a locally controlled, flexible system that can adjust to the needs of a child?

What madness (or money?) has persuaded even our most American-as-apple-pie organizations — even the national PTA, the U.S. Army, the SAT, most textbook companies and many governors– to advocate for Common Core, when there never was a real shred of valid evidence upon which to base this country-changing decision?

Ogden Examiner Covers GOP Rejection of Common Core While Tribune and Deseret News are Silent   6 comments

The Ogden Examiner covered the Utah GOP’s  rejection of the Common Core at Saturday’s convention. But Utah’s main newspapers, the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, have not yet covered the story.

That lack of coverage speaks volumes.

Discussing Common Core is now akin to bringing up religion, sex or politics at family reunions.  People have such varied, and intense, beliefs about it that it can get a little awkward.

WHAT DO TEACHERS WANT?

Almost whispering, a woman in my town came up to me this week and quietly said thank you.  She said that she and the other educators are grateful for those who speak out.  Most of those currently employed in schools don’t dare say anything against common core, fearing ridicule or job loss.

There are exceptions.  David Cox  is currently teaching; Margaret Wilkin, just retired;  and others nationally have spoken out.  And there’s even me.  I’m also a currently credentialed teacher, but I’m homeschooling instead of sending my ten year old (and myself) into the schools of Common Core.  Will the USSB renew my credential?  Will schools hire me in the future when they know I disagree so strongly with the Common Core agenda?  I wonder.

I spoke with a member of the Utah State School Board this week about teachers’ feelings about Common Core, asking if the board would be willing to create an official USOE anonymous survey for teachers like the one Utahns Against Common Core is doing, in order to receive honest, two-sided feedback about Common Core.  The board member told me that would be pointless because “there are always teachers who are angry.”  Those angry ones must not taken too seriously.

This makes me think that teachers need to make it clear to the USOE/USSB that the angry few are not the minority or the “always angry” types.  I suggest that teachers write letters, anonymously if necessary, but often– and many.  How else will the state leaders believe that there is a serious problem?

DEFINING COMMON CORE

Another reason there is a lack of coverage and discussion about the issue is that when we say “Common Core,” we don’t all think of the same thing.

Remember the story of the blind men describing the elephant?  Each blind man reached out and touched the elephant, and were asked to describe it.  One said it was like a tree trunk.  One said it was like a wall.  One said it was like a rope.  All disagreed yet none was lying.  The beast was just bigger and more complex than any of them realized.

Because different teachers teach at different grade levels, and different teachers teach different subjects  (only some of which are affected by Common Core); and because some schools jumped on the Common Core implementation wagon fast, while others are slow; and because the Common Core tests don’t begin until this coming school year; and because the Common Core-aligned textbooks are for the most part, not yet purchased and not yet even printed, things look different in different places.

Then there’s the confusion outside the teachers’ arena; some people are aware of the political strings (such as the lack of an amendment process for common core standards; the copyright on CCSS, the 15% cap placed on it by the Dept of Education; and the lack of voter accountability to the groups who created the standards)  –while many people are unaware, and say, “Common Core is just minimum standards.”

All of these various angles make it difficult to even speak about what Common Core is.

But we have to keep speaking about it.

MOVE– BEFORE THE CEMENT HARDENS

Common Core is not like past education reforms that are quickly altered and tossed away for another set of equally bureaucratic –but alterable– reforms.

This one’s going in cement. Two reasons:

1.  The main architect for Common Core’s ELA standards, David Coleman, was given the position of College Board president, and is aligning college entrance exams (SAT) to Common Core.  The ACT is said to be aligned as well.  This fact alters our entire system of education in the country –and cannot be easily changed later.

2. There is a philosophical and curricular monopoly happening.  The textbook industry is dominated by Pearson, the world’s largest education sales business.  Pearson is officially partnered with Bill Gates, the world’s 2nd richest man, and the main funder of all things common core.  The partnership is writing model common core curriculum (as are the testing consortia) to align all books, teacher trainings, and tests with the same standards.  Meanwhile, 99% of all smaller textbook companies are also republishing all their books to align with Common Core because of this new monopoly on what academic standards ought to cover (or what they ought to skip).

We need more states, more private schools, and more textbook companies  to stand independent of this outrageous, baseless monopoly.  Otherwise, there will soon be no alternatives, no freedom of choice, no ability to soar above the common –for any of us.

We need alternatives to a common alignment with corporate monopolies and one college exam standard.

I hope the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News decide to cover this issue fully, rather than worrying about what the Governor, State School Board, and Prosperity 2020 businesses want them to do.

People deserve to hear the full story, thoroughly covered.  It’s not unimportant:

We are reclaiming the local ability to determine what we will teach our kids.

 

 

 

 

Professor Nicholas Tampio: On Gates’ Micromanagement of Education   4 comments

Reposted from a School Book op-ed with permission from Professor Nicholas Tampio

May 17, 2013

Bill Gates Should Not Micro-Manage Our Schools

By Prof. Nicholas Tampio

The multinational software giant, Microsoft, once bundled its Explorer search engine with Windows, and refused, for a time, to have Windows run WordPerfect, a competitor to Microsoft Word. As head of Microsoft, Bill Gates wanted everyone to use the same program. As funder of the Common Core, I believe he wants to do the same with our children.

The Common Core is one of the most effective educational reform movements in United States history. Gates is a financial backer of this movement. Looking at this connection enables us to see why the United States should be wary of letting any one person or group acquire too much control over education policy.

Launched in 2009 and now adopted by 45 states, the Common Core articulates a single set of educational standards in language arts and mathematics. Although the Common Core claims not to tell teachers what or how to teach, school districts must prove to state legislatures or the federal government (via the Race to the Top program) that they are complying with the Common Core. The simplest and most cost-effective way for a school district to do that is to purchase an approved reading or math program.

The Common Core transfers bread-and-butter curriculum decisions from the local to the state and national level.

On the Common Core website, Gates applauds this development, stating that the initiative brings the nation closer to “supporting effective teaching in every classroom.” Here, I believe, one sees a link between Gates’s business and advocacy sides.

The Common Core may raise standards in some school districts, but one ought to read the literature with a critical eye. The Common Core has not been field-tested anywhere. The Common Core does not address many root causes of underperforming schools, such as hungry students or dangerous neighborhoods. And the Common Core has an opportunity cost, namely, that it forces thriving school districts to adopt programs that may be a worse fit for the student body.

We can learn a lesson from the recent history of the computing industry. Apple and Microsoft have pressed each other to make better applications, phones, notepads, and cameras. Though Gates may have wanted to vanquish Apple, Steve Jobs prompted him to improve his products, which in turn benefited every computer user. Competition brings out the best in people and institutions. The Common Core standardizes curricula and thereby hinders competition among educational philosophies.

Surely, one could say, certain standards are self-evidently good. A Common Core principle of first grade math is that students should “attend to precision” and “look for and make use of structure.” Just as a computer program requires each number, space, and function to be in its right spot to operate, so too the standards emphasize thinking in an orderly fashion and showing each step of the work.

In a new book, Letters to a Young Scientist, the Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson argues that the demand for precision can hurt the scientific imagination. Wilson celebrates the fanciful nature of innovation by reflecting on how Darwin formulated the idea of descent with modification while sailing on the H.M.S. Beagle and Newton discovered that white light is a mix of colored lights while playing with a prism. Though teachers sometimes need to write orderly equations on a blackboard, real progress comes “amid a litter of doodled paper.” Doodling is a prelude to a eureka moment, the fuel of scientific research.

Would it be wise to nationalize an educational policy that frowns on doodling?

One could argue about the details of the Common Core standards: how to strike the right balance, say, between fiction and non-fiction, humanities and sciences, doodling and straight lines, and so forth. And yet this approach concedes that America ought to have the same approach in every classroom.

America needs many kinds of excellent programs and schools: International Baccalaureate programs, science and technology schools, Montessori schools, religious schools, vocational schools, bilingual schools, outdoor schools, and good public schools. Even within programs and schools, teachers should be encouraged to teach their passions and areas of expertise. Teachers inspire life-long learning by bringing a class to a nature center, replicating an experiment from Popular Science, taking a field trip to the state or national capital, or assigning a favorite novel. A human being is not a computer, and a good education is not formatted in a linear code.

As a result of the Common Core, teachers in our school district must now open boxes filled with reading materials, workbooks, and tests from a “learning company.” How depressing and unnecessary. As Apple and Google have shown, great work can be done when talented employees are granted power and encouraged to innovate.

In regards to education policy, I’d prefer Bill Gates to have a loud voice in his school district, but a quieter one in mine.

        Prof. Nicholas Tampio teaches Critical Theory at Fordham University.

http://www.schoolbook.org/2013/05/17/bill-gates-should-not-micro-manage-our-schools/

Postscript from Professor Nicholas Tampio on why he began to study the Common Core:

Last spring, my son’s kindergarten education went from outstanding to mediocre in a blink. The teacher is a wonderful woman who lives and breathes her craft. For years, she developed innovative curricula and inspired children to love school. The year before my son started kindergarten, the high school valedictorian spoke at length about how this teacher sparked his curiosity in physics and space. He is at Stanford now.

In February, the teacher had to use a program designed to satisfy the Common Core criteria. She was required to open big boxes and follow a script. My son’s curriculum went from fresh to canned and, as could be anticipated, the classroom mood suffered. My son’s problem at the start of kindergarten was that he was too excited to learn (he would answer every question she asked, etc.). That “problem” disappeared.
I met with administrators and they were nice and helpful. But their hands are tied. The state signed up for the Common Core. The state wants proof that our school district is complying and the way to do that is to use a program.
My motivation, then, is simple: I want my kids to have a great education. When the rubber hit the road, the Common Core damaged our school district. I am confident that Americans, when presented with good arguments and evidence, will realize that the Common Core is a misguided initiative. The sooner the better.
I present some of these points in my Huffington Post piece: Do We Need a Common Core?

Religious Freedom and Homeschool   4 comments

An article in the Washington times about the Romeike family contains some very important details.  For example, U.S. Attorney-General Holder argues in the brief for Romeike v. Holder that parents have no fundamental right to home-educate their children.

Say what?!

The arguments being  presented by the U.S. government against the soon-to-be-deported Romeike family are important to all  American people.

Will the U.S. uphold the rights of parents to raise their  children in the way that seems best to them, or will a socialist standard be  imposed upon millions of homeschooling families in America?

The WT article says:

“HSLDA founder Mike Farris warns, “[Holder’s office] argued that there  was no violation of anyone’s protected rights in a law that entirely bans  homeschooling. There would only be a problem if Germany banned homeschooling for  some but permitted it for others. Let’s assess the position of the  United States government on the face of its argument: a nation violates no one’s  rights if it bans homeschooling entirely. There are two major portions of  constitutional rights of citizens – fundamental liberties and equal protection.  The U.S. Attorney General has said this about homeschooling. There is no  fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government bans homeschooling  broadly and equally, there is no violation of your rights.”

Farris goes on to reveal another argument presented by the  Attorney-General: “The U.S. government contended that the  Romeikes’ case failed to show that there was any discrimination based on  religion because, among other reasons, the Romeikes did not prove that all  homeschoolers were religious, and that not all Christians believed they had to  homeschool.” 

The US Government, says Farris, “does not  understand that religious freedom is an individual right.”

Just  because all adherents of a particular religion do not abide by a certain  standard does not mean that individuals who feel compelled to abide by this  standard do not have the right to do so. Religious decisions must be made by  individuals, not by groups.

Farris contends, “One need not be a  part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious  freedom claim. Specifically, one doesn’t have to follow the dictates of a church  to claim religious freedom—one should be able to follow the dictates of God  Himself.

The United States Supreme Court has made it very clear in the past that  religious freedom is an individual right. Yet our current government does not  seem to understand this. They only think of us as members of groups and  factions. It is an extreme form of identity politics that directly threatens any  understanding of individual liberty.”

 

Read the WT article: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/high-tide-and-turn/2013/feb/12/deportation-german-homeschool-family-affects-us-ho/#ixzz2TZwwBfNU

See also:  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/12/german-home-schooling-family-fights-to-stay-in-us/

See also: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/18/there-is-nothing-more-un-american-than-this-becks-interview-with-the-lawyer-representing-homeschooling-familys-fight-to-stay-in-the-u-s/

 

The Vehicle of Our Educational Future   2 comments

Common Core:  The Vehicle of our Educational Future

–Driving Away Freedom

The chart below is adapted from J.R. Wilson’s article at Education News, Common Core and the Vehicle of our Future.  Thanks to J.R. Wilson for sharing this insightful metaphor.

 Read the whole article here:

 

For a Car For Common Core
Shopping You decide what car best fits your needs. You shop around   and find the best car for your money. You had no say in these standards. They are not the best. You   didn’t get to test the standards – or see any testing of these standards –   before they were bought for you with your tax money.
Decision to Buy You make the decision to buy, or – just as important – to   not buy. You bought these standards though you may not know it, and   even if you protested their purchase. The decision to buy, or to not buy, was   never up to you.
Purchase You get to select the make, model, package, and options   you want. You don’t know what you’re buying. The Common Core began   with math and language arts standards. Then it included tests; then social   studies, science, and civics; then curricular materials; a data system; and   an early learning program. Then it included public colleges.
Selling Points Most car salesmen are knowledgeable about the features of   the car. Buyers still need to be responsible and do their own fact checking. Many of the selling points used to sell these standards   sound wonderful, but in truth are deceptive.  The deeper you dig, the more dismayed you become.
Costs You know exactly how much the car will cost you once you   have settled on a price. Once the car is paid for it is yours. There was no state cost analysis. Costs will be ongoing.   The public does not own Common Core and has no ability to change it although   they must pay.
Safety & Quality Control The car has to meet required safety standards. The   automaker has put the car and many components through a lot of testing and   checks to make sure the components work well together. There are no required safeguards to protect our children’s   academic success, their future, and our liberty. It is unknown how anyone   will be held accountable for outcomes.
Insurance You can get insurance for your car when you buy it. No insurance is available although you still have to pay   premiums. There is no protection for children’s academic success or   liberties.
Maintenance You can take the car to the dealer or any other auto   mechanic. If you don’t like the car, you can get rid of it and buy a   different car. There is no dealer for repair. Modifications can only be   made by the owners (two non-government entities). Parents or teachers cannot   change the standards.
Warranty Most cars come with a warranty. No warranty is available.
Lemon Laws There are some protections provided by state and federal   lemon laws. There are no lemon law protections.
CarFax Records of maintenance and repairs are kept in a database   with information available to others. The data is compiled in a state longitudinal data system   with intergovernmental access to data, without parental knowledge or   permission and with no opt-out alternative.

Marc Tucker at it again: “The United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.”   8 comments

There aren’t many people of whom you can correctly say that this person is a conspirator against the America we all know and cherish.  But Marc Tucker fits into that category, indisputably.

(Evidence:  His 1992 letter to Hillary Clinton, which was archived in the Congressional Record, showed his twisted vision of a new form of government that would micromanage every step of the citizens’ lives, using schooling as the facade for the control.  Read it here.)

Marc Tucker’s been arguing his point in academic circles for a long time.  He got a recent beating-up by the brilliant Professor Yong Zhao for his controllist ideas.  But he doesn’t give up.

Marc Tucker has long been ambitious to break down all that represents freedom in education.

BUT NOW:

The Center for American Progress (which “progresses” America away from the Constitution) published this recent report in which Tucker asserts, among other things, that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.”

Here’s a little taste of what his report proposes:

If Americans are  going to decide which level of government we want to run our education systems,  the only realistic choice is the state. No one wants a national education system  run by the federal government, and the districts cannot play that  role.              

                                                                                          [Mr. Tucker– why not?  Why wouldn’t districts play that role?  –Silly man.]

…Each state needs to consolidate in its state department of  education the policymaking and implementation authority that now resides in a  welter of state-level commissions, agencies, and other independent  bodies.  And the United States will have to largely  abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control. If the goal is  to greatly increase the capacity and authority of the state education agencies,  much of the new authority will have to come at the expense of local  control.

….I  propose to greatly strengthen the role of the state education agencies in  education governance, at the expense of “local control,” and of the federal  government. In this plan, school funding would be the responsibility of the  state, not the locality, and the distribution of state funds for schools would  have nothing to do with the distribution of local property wealth. Thus the  governance roles of the local districts, as well as the federal government,  would be significantly decreased. Independent citizen governing boards would be  eliminated. The line of political accountability would run to mayors and  governors through their appointees. At the state level, the governance of the  schools, higher education, early child- hood education and youth services would  all be closely coordinated through the governance system. Though the role of the  federal government would be curtailed, there are some very important national  functions that must be served in a modern education system. I propose that a new  National Governing Council on Education be established, composed of  representatives of the states and of the federal government, to create the  appropriate bodies to oversee these functions…”

Did Tucker really think that WE THE PEOPLE were going to roll over and give in to his constitution-slaughtering dream to end local control and to permit governmental tyranny over education?

Really?

I believe that WE THE PEOPLE will stand up for our children.

Tucker’s 1992 socializing-America letter to Hillary may have partially come to pass.  But he will not win this one.  Because this time, we are awake.

Orem, Utah – Video Presentation about Common Core by Three Moms   8 comments

Common Core presentation- this week in Orem, Utah.

State School Board Seen as “Unaccountable Bureaucrats”   12 comments

I appreciate Rep. Brian Greene’s recent statement on his Facebook page, in reference to the recent KSL article.  He said that the state school board should not ask the Legislature  “to validate the board’s adoption of Common Core by quashing public opposition to it. ” 
   Amen.
Brian Greene shared a link.
Funny how the state school board wants to make it clear that they have full authority over public education, but want the Legislature to validate their adoption of CC  by quashing public opposition to it. If the Board is so committed to CC, they need to begin acting like the elected officers they are and take their message directly to the voters and stop acting like unaccountable bureaucrats.
The State School Board has unanimously passed two resolutions that state official positions on the Utah Core Standards and the security of personal student information.

Want to see more from

Gov Pence of Indiana Puts Common Core in TIME OUT: “Education is a Local Function”   2 comments

Indiana’s Governor Pence has signed the “Common Core ‘pause’ legislation” bill.  It puts a time-out on Common Core implementation so that legislators, parents, teachers and school boards can have the time they were denied previously, to actually vet and analyze the Common Core educational system.

How I wish Governor Herbert would do the same.

How I wish we had a governor, newspapers, a state school board and local school boards whose actions showed they truly valued local control, that all-important principle of our country’s founding.  But they do not.  They prioritize being the same as other states over maintaining the power to run our own lives,  and they value that common core over having academically legitimate, non-experimental standards.

It is a Utah tragedy.  Not so in Indiana.

IndyStar reports:

“The bill requires public input meetings and a new vote on whether to continue implementing the Common Core by the end of 2014 by the State Board of Education, which originally approved common Core in 2010.

Critics of Common Core, which was adopted by Indiana’s state board in 2010, say the criteria are less rigorous than Indiana’s prior standards and adopting them would mean giving up too much power over the setting of standards.

But supporters argue Indiana could fall behind by backing out, as textbook publishers and standardized test makers — including those who make college entrance exams — are moving quickly to adapt to the new standards.

“I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers,” Pence said in a news release. “The legislation I sign today hits the pause button on Common Core so Hoosiers can thoroughly evaluate which standards will best serve the interests of our kids.”  

Read the rest here.

Ask Utah Businesses to Stop Pushing Common Core and Prosperity 2020   6 comments

On August 9, 2012, two groups sent a mass mailer to all legislators in Utah.

The two groups are  Prosperity 2020,   a business group led by our Governor, and a politcal action group Education First, who say they are a business-led movement concered with accountability.   They do explain that their vision is to “champion educational investment,” but they never explain who is accountable to whom, and under what law they assume authority for such accountability.

Since when do business leaders take such an interest in elementary schools and secondary schools?  What are all the reasons for this going out of their way– just altruism?  What do they hope to gain?  Why are they promoting the awful, untested experiment of Common Core? What will be the intended or unintended consequences of having businesses influence what’s taught in our schools? 

They use the claim of “consensus” rather than persuading others that their group and its goals are based on a legitimate constitutional or voter-based foundation.

Has anyone noticed the extreme similarities between Prosperity 2020’s goals and Obama’s 2020 vision?  Has nobody noticed how many “2020” groups exist nationally and internationally? Why isn’t anyone questioning Prosperity 2020 in the local news?

Well, this is what last summer’s letter said.

————————-

PROSPERITY 2020

IT STARTS WITH EDUCATION

August 9, 2012

RE:  SUPPORT FOR COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

Utah business leaders have organized a movement– Prosperity 2020– to advance educational investment and innovation.  We share a common vision with Education First, a citizens group dedicated to improved accountability, innovation and increased investment for education in Utah.  Our vision is that Utah’s educated and trained workforce will propel Utah to enduring prosperity

Prosperity and Education First comprise the largest business led education movement in state history.

During the 2012 legislative session, Prosperity 2020 championed Common Core implementation accompanied by robust student assessment…

Business leaders have found consensus support for Utah’s utilization of Common Core… We stand with… our state board of education in moving forward with Common Core….

Prosperity 2020 and Education First are prepared to again champion educational investment and innovation during the 2013 legislative session…

———————–

And on and on the letter goes.

I am concerned about the effect of public-private partnerships on true capitalism and individual representation.  It appears that Prosperity 2020 and Education First are concerned primarily about the economy, not about the well being of children or teachers.  Evidence for this lies in the fact that even the state school board admits there is no evidence to support the theories upon which the Common Core experiment is built– it’s based on unfounded “consensus” and money-hungry “trust.”

These groups represent businesses and a political action committee, linking arms with the governing powers of Utah’s education system– for financial gain.

It’s scary.

Do you know about public-private-partnerships?  Study it.

“What is a public-private partnership? What purposes were they supposedly created to serve? What, on the other hand, is free enterprise? Are the two compatible? In answering these questions we shall see that although advocates of public-private partnerships frequently speak of economic development, public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice being built…  -Dr. Steven Yates (Professor Yates’ white paper is available here. )

His main points are these:

  • Public-private partnerships really amount to economic control—they are just one of the key components of the collectivist edifice
  • The individual person does not own himself; he exists to serve the state or the collective
  • Public-private partnerships bring about a form of “governance” alien to the founding principles of Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed
  • Vocationalism in education makes sense if one’s goals are social engineering, since it turns out worker bees who lack the  tools to think about the policies shaping their lives

By not questioning the motivations and the possibly unintended consequences of these public-private partnerships, we set ourselves up to lose even more local control and voter representation.

Let’s analyze Prosperity 2020 a little bit more.  Let’s not “consensus” our way to disaster.

Video: Heritage Foundation Conference Panel About Common Core   2 comments

Heritage Foundation hosted a multi-day conference recently in Orlando.  Below is a video which is available at Heritage Foundation’s website and on YouTube, taken from  a panel at that conference, which was followed by Q & A about Common Core.

Conference Keynote speaker Michelle Malkin, recipient of the 2013 Breitbart Award for Excellence in Journalism  was an attendee at the panel that discussed the Common Core.

Panelists included Lindsey Burke of Heritage Foundation, Jim Stergios of Pioneer Institute, Ted Rebarber of Accountability Works, Heather Crossin of Hoosiers Against Common Core, and me.

News Roundup on Common Core   2 comments

Michelle Rhee: Reframe Common Core As a Global-Competitiveness Issue http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/05/michelle_rhee_defends_common_c.html

WaPo: Eighth grader: What bothered me most about new Common Core test

UT: Federal interference in education

FL: Collier parents raise concerns over Common Core Standards

FL: Hillsborough School Board frets about new Common Core standards

GA state senator: Common Core sacrifices sovereignty

MO: Common Core meeting draws skeptical audience

Posted May 8, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Michelle Rhee v. Constitutional Rights   1 comment

John Merrow’s Investigation of Michelle Rhee.

I’m posting this link to Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Why?

Yesterday, a Utah State School Board Member told me that Michelle Rhee is telling legislators to “reframe the debate” about Common Core– so that instead of it being about local control and the VOICE of the GOVERNED, it’s about being more and more like CHINA.

The school board member seemed to think this was a good idea.

Insane, yes.

Dismissive of the constitutional rights of Americans, yes.

Revealing of the fact that Rhee and her group care only about making money off Common Core, yes.

As you read the post from Diane Ravitch’s blog on the subject of John Merrow’s investigation of Michelle Rhee, please notice that she mentions the RIGHT supporting common core. And we all know Obama supports common core.

This is not a left v. right or a Democrat v. Republican issue.

This is about saving America for every last one of us.

Please pay attention.

Common Core ends local control in MULTIPLE WAYS:

It’s in the financial monopoly over educational materials held by the marriage of Pearson and Gates and the copycat alignment of 99% of all textbooks nationwide.

It’s in the political takeover of unelected boards that do not answer to the voters, groups that have copyrighted the standards and have left no amendment process for states.

It’s in the common core tests, which are federally reviewed and micromanaged and from which student data is given to the federal portal called the Edfacts Exchange for anyone– even researchers and vendors– to peruse.

It’s in the academic standards themselves, which are educational malpractice— unproven, unpiloted, unvetted, and relying on nutty theories like slashing classic literature and delaying the time math algorithms,get taught— standards which were passionately rejected by key members of the core validation committee,  James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky.

It’s in the lack of any state cost analysis, with states throwing out perfectly good, actually vetted, curriculum, and bearing the burden of paying for all this implementation, teacher training, textbook purchasing, technology sales of Common Core aligned structures.

We must get out.

Fast.

The General Educational Provisions Act (G.E.P.A. Law) – Yes, Common Core is Illegal.   12 comments

The shortest, most important post I’ve written:

In addition to the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, a federal law called The General Educational Provisons Act (G.E.P.A.)

 prohibits the federal government from directing education –very, very clearly:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…

 

Read the rest here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a

Please ask an honest legislator to notice that Obama and Secretary Duncan  openly promote Common Core –and use our taxes to give out grants for common core tests.  Someone has to stop this.

KrisAnne Hall of Florida Speaks Out   4 comments

Worth watching to the end.

No More Databases Tracking Our Kids Without Our Consent!   4 comments

I want to share this most VITAL point recently articulated on the Utahns Against Common Core website by Utah parent Oak Norton:

“We totally agree [with the State Office of Education] that we should strengthen privacy laws. In fact, the most secure way to secure our children’s personally identifiable information is to NOT STORE IT IN A DATABASE.  It’s pathetic that the USOE and State Board signed us onto this whole mess with grant and wavier applications and now go running to the legislature (whom they constantly criticize for interfering in education), and ask them to protect them from themselves. HELLO??? Who signed the waivers and applications? The Board President, State Superintendent, and the Governor.

The best way to protect this data is to unwind it.”

Salt Lake Tribune: School Board Denies Governor Herbert’s Request to Increase Local Control of Common Core   3 comments

Before I post the highlights from the Tribune article, I have to make a comment.

I read the two USOE-created resolutions* cited below.  They are written by people who obviously do not understand the recently altered federal FERPA changes which have severely weakened student privacy and parental consent requirements, among other things.  One resolution used the word “erroneous” to describe citizens opposing Common Core’s agenda.  This, for some reason, makes me laugh.  Why?

Because so much of what the Utah State Office of Education does is utterly erroneous, unreferenced, theory-laden and evidence-lacking; it may be nicely based on slick marketing, financial bribes and the consensus of big-government promoters– Bill Gates, Pearson Company, Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama advisor Linda Darling-Hammond, etc but it is nonetheless false.  (“State-led”? “Internationally benchmarked”? Improving Education”? “Respecting student data privacy”? “Retaining local control”?   —NOT.)

It is downright ridiculous (although sad) that the State Office of Education calls those citizens who ask questions armed with documents, facts, references and truth, the “vicious attackers” and the “erroneous.”

Let’s call their bluff.

Let’s insist that the Utah State School Board engage in honest, open, referenced debate with those they label “erroneous.”

It’ll never happen.  They cannot allow that.  They know they have no leg to stand on, or they’d already have provided references and studies showing the Common Core path they chose for Utah was a wise and studied choice.  We’ve asked repeatedly for such honest face-to-face discussion.  We’ve asked them to send someone to debate Common Core.

They have no one to send; sadly, each USOE official and USSB member can only parrot the claims they’ve had parroted to them about Common Core.

Honest study reveals that local control is gone under Common Core, privacy is gone, parental consent is no longer required to track and study a child, and academic standards are FAR from improved.

I pray that level-headed Utah legislators will study this Common Core agenda thoroughly and will act as wisely as those in Indiana have done with their “time-out” bill that halts implementation of Common Core, pending a proper study and vetting of the expensive, multi-pronged academic experiment that uses and tracks children as if they were government guinea pigs.

And now, the Tribune article:

Utah school board denies guv’s Common Core request

 Board rejects request to change paperwork critics see as a commitment to use Common Core academic standards.

By Lisa Schencker

|  Highlights of article reposted from the Salt Lake Tribune

First Published 2 hours ago

Hoping to ease some Utahns’ fears about Common Core academic standards, the Governor’s Office asked the state school board to change an application it submitted last year for a waiver to federal No Child Left Behind requirements.The state school board, however, voted against that request Thursday.

The waiver asked states to identify their choice of academic standards, which outline concepts and skills students should learn in each grade. States either had to check “Option A,” affirming that they had adopted standards “common to a significant number of states,” or “Option B,” indicating their standards had been approved by the state’s higher education institutions.

Utah education leaders checked the first option, as Utah had joined most other states in adopting the Common Core. Critics have decried that decision, saying it tied Utah to the standards.

Christine Kearl, the governor’s education advisor, told board members Thursday that she believes checking Option B would alleviate those concerns without actually having to drop the standards. She said the Governor’s Office hears daily complaints about the Common Core.

“It’s become very political as I’m sure you’re all aware,” Kearl said. “We’re under attack. We try to get back to people and let them know we support the Common Core and support the decision of the state school board, but this has just become relentless.”

But Assistant Attorney General Kristina Kindl warned board members the change would give the state’s higher education system approval power over K-12 standards.

Some board members also bristled at the idea of changing the application, saying it wouldn’t mean much. Former State Superintendent Larry Shumway had already sent the feds a letter asserting that Utah retains control over its standards.

“It just seems like we are caving to political pressure based on things that are not based in actual fact,” said board member Dave Thomas.

Some also wondered whether switching would allay the concerns of foes, who began arguing that the Core was federally tied before Utah applied for the waiver. State education leaders have long responded that the standards were developed in a states-led initiative and leave curriculum up to teachers and districts

Oak Norton, a Highland parent who helped develop a website for the group Utahns Against Common Core, said he was disappointed by the board’s decision against changing the waiver.

“Then we could have looked at adopting our own standards that were higher than the Common Core,” Norton said.

The board did vote to send a resolution* to the governor, lawmakers and the state’s political parties asking them to work with the state school board to support the Common Core for the good of Utah’s students.

The resolution follows a letter sent by members of Congress, including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, last week to Senate budget leaders asking them to eliminate “further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards.”

—- —- —–

The Deseret News is carrying Common Core controversial news as well:  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765628026/Utah-Common-Core-testing-fraught-with-flaws.html

Salt Lake Tribune: Senator Lee Joins Opposition to Common Core   2 comments

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56236233-78/standards-state-education-lee.html.csp

Utah senator joins others in signing letter opposing the Common Core.

By Lisa Schencker

|Reposted highlights from Salt Lake Tribune article

First Published Apr 29 2013 06:48 pm

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has jumped into the ongoing fray over Common Core State Standards, signing a letter asking Senate budget leaders to “restore state decision-making and accountability.”Lee, along with eight other Republican senators, sent the letter to the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds education on Friday. The letter asks that any future education appropriations bill includes language prohibiting the U.S. Secretary of Education from using the money to implement or require the standards in any way, in hopes of eliminating “further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards.”

“The decision about what students should be taught and when it should be taught has enormous consequences for our children,” the letter says. “Therefore, parents ought to have a straight line of accountability to those who are making such decisions. State legislatures, which are directly accountable to the citizens of their states , are the appropriate place for those decisions to be made, free from any pressure from the U.S. Department of Education.”

In an interview with the Tribune Tuesday, Lee declined to comment on Utah’s adoption of the standards, saying his concern is with keeping the federal government out of state and local education decisions.

“If they choose to adopt them, I hope they do so because they’re relevant standards and local leaders think they’re good standards not because of any federal mandate,” he said of states’ adoption of the standards. He said, so far, he’s noticed “disturbing trends” in the direction of the federal government becoming overly involved in pushing the standards.

Utah proponents of the standards, however, have long fought against arguments that they were federally developed or imposed. The Utah state school board adopted the standards in 2010 in hopes of better preparing students for college and careers. The standards — developed as part of a states-led initiative — outline the concepts and skills students should learn in each grade, while leaving curriculum decisions up to local teachers and districts.

Critics of the standards point out that the federal government, several years ago, encouraged states to adopt the standards as they applied for federal Race to the Top grant money. They also point to a federal requirement that states adopt college- and career-ready standards in order to receive a waiver to No Child Left Behind .

But Utah did not win that money, and to receive waivers, states could adopt either Common Core standards or different standards of their choosing…

lschencker@sltrib.com

Common Core News Roundup: Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, Fox News, Manchester Union Leader, Washington Examiner, Indiana Star, Arizona Journal, Mississippi Clarion Ledger, Cincinnati News and more   13 comments

Thanks to Jamie Gass for this compilation of news outlets that are covering the national Common Core controversy.

“The Common Core is in trouble,” said Randi Weingarten, the AFT union president,  “There is a serious backlash in lots of different ways, on the right and on the left.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/turmoil-swirling-around-common-core-education-standards/2013/04/29/7e2b0ec4-b0fd-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story.html

The Wall Street Journal: New School Standards Spur a Backlash

http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-223674/

The Hill: GOP — White House taking over state education policy

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/297219-gop-says-obama-administration-taking-over-education-policy-with-no-input-from-congress

Washington Post: Turmoil swirling around Common Core education standards

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/turmoil-swirling-around-common-core-education-standards/2013/04/29/7e2b0ec4-b0fd-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story.html

Washington Times: Common Core school standards hit another roadblock, this time in Indiana

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/apr/29/common-core-school-standards-hit-another-roadblock/

Washington Times: Indiana legislature latest to halt application of Common Core school standards

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/29/resistance-to-the-nationwide-k-12-school-standards/

Michigan: Michigan House Blocks Common Core Implementation

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/04/25/michigan-house-blocks-common-core-implementation

Michigan: Michigan Pulling Away from Common Core

http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/26/michigan-pulling-away-from-common-core/

Atlanta: Are we rushing Common Core without field testing it?

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2013/apr/30/are-we-rushing-common-core-without-field-testing-i/

New York Daily News: Teachers union chief Randi Weingarten has it correct on Common Core

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/randi-wrong-article-1.1331669

Washington Post: AFT’s Weingarten urges moratorium on high stakes linked to Common Core tests

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/30/afts-weingarten-urges-moratorium-on-high-stakes-linked-to-new-standardized-tests/

Washington Examiner: AFT’s Randi Weingarten calls for time out on Common Core testing

http://washingtonexaminer.com/afts-randi-weingarten-calls-for-time-out-on-common-core-testing/article/2528627

Fox News/NY: Common Core standards facing criticism

http://www.myfoxny.com/story/22124434/common-core-standards-facing-criticism

NJ: Concern Expressed Over Common Core System and Privacy Issues

http://thealternativepress.com/articles/concern-expressed-over-common-core-system-and-pri

Indy Star: Hoosiers are right to be wary about Common Core

http://www.indystar.com/article/20130430/OPINION03/304300036/Hoosiers-right-wary-about-Common-Core

Mississippi: Beware of the Common Core State Standards

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20130501/OPINION/305010158/Beware-Common-Core-State-Standards

OH: Teachers Union Worried About Common Core Tests

http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2013/05/01/ohio-teachers-union-worried-about-common-core-tests/

OH: Growing criticism of Common Core

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130429/NEWS/304290016/Growing-criticism-Common-Core

NH: Common core education talk draws opponents in Manchester

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20130501/NEWS04/130509962/0/FRONTPAGE

TN: Common Core pushback in TN

http://www.examiner.com/article/current-common-core-standards-to-change

TN: New common core standards raise questions in Tenn.

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/viewart/20130501/NEWS01/305010030/New-common-core-standards-raise-questions-Tenn-

TN: New Common Core Standards Raise Questions

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/22131452/new-common-core-standards-raise-questions

TN: Critics speak out about new Common Core standards

http://www.wkrn.com/story/22124884/critics-speak-out-about-new-common-core-standards

Huff Post: Common Core Stakes Moratorium Proposed By Unions As National Standards Face Backlash

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/common-core-moratorium-teacher-evaluations_n_3187419.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

AZ: Common Core draws praise, pejoratives

http://www.azjournal.com/2013/05/01/common-core-standards-draw-praise-pejoratives/

PA: Opponents say Common Core oversimplifies education, lessens local control

http://articles.dailyamerican.com/2013-04-30/news/38938363_1_common-core-state-standards-early-childhood-education-school-board-member

FL: Who Supports, Opposes The Common Core?

http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2013/05/01/who-supports-opposes-the-common-core/

Christian Post: Eight US Senators Join Fight Against Common Core

http://www.christianpost.com/news/eight-senators-join-fight-against-common-core-94876/

WY: The dangers of ‘Common Core’

http://trib.com/opinion/letters/the-dangers-of-common-core/article_0a192301-8dc4-5b70-8177-206c5bc8f020.html

National Twitter Rally TODAY: 9pm EST 7pm MST to #StopCommonCore   2 comments

Another  #Stopcommoncore  Twitter Rally

Just a week ago Parent Led Reform rallied 2,493,308 Twitter users to #Stopcommoncore.  A second Twitter Rally is planned for today, Thursday,  May 2, at 9pm EST- 7pm MST to include participation of working parents, educators and citizens.

Parent Led Reform will host the rally as a collaborative project with Truth In American Education, designed to share the research diligently collected by parents and citizens concerned about the government’s push for national common standards in education.

This rally is an encore of the April 16 #Stopcommoncore Twitter event, which reached 2,493,308 Twitter users.

Karin Piper, spokesperson for Parent Led Reform, said, “Parent Led Reform opposes a lock-step approach to education that takes the focus away from the student and decisions away from the parent.”

The #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally features a panel of experts who are planning on answering questions by the moderator, as well as taking live questions from Twitter users across the nation.

Panelists are Shane Vander Hart (Truth in American Education), William Estrada (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) Joy Pullmann (Heartland Institute), Ben DeGrow (Independence Institute), Emmett McGroarty (American Principles Project).

#Stopcommoncore           http://tinyurl.com/bs94qmb

Follow our host and panel: @parentledreform @shulsie @shanevanderhart @BenDegrow @will_estrada @Joypullmann @approject @Truthinamed

Supported by Pioneer Institute, AFP, Heartland, Independence Institute, American Principles Project, Freedom Works, Home School Legal Defense Association

Missouri Congressman Luetkemeyer to Sec. Duncan: “We Formally Request A Detailed Description of Each Change to Student Privacy Policy”   3 comments

This letter from Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri condemns the coercive nature of Common Core and formally requests a detailed description of alterations to student privacy policy made under Sec. Duncan’s leadership.

Click link here to see which congressmen have cosigned.  http://massie.house.gov/sites/massie.house.gov/files/documents/commoncore.pdf  (THANK YOU CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ!)

 

April 20, 2013

The Honorable Arne Duncan Secretary U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Secretary Duncan,

As you know, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) allows Congress to authorize and allocate funding for public K-12 education and, most importantly, is the primary vehicle in which we implement education policy reform. Most recently reauthorized through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the ESEA’s authorization expired on September 30, 2008, and has yet to be reauthorized. Since the ESEA’s expiration, the Department of Education (Department) has moved forward with education policy reform without Congressional input. Such action is, at best, in contravention with precedent.

In addition to expressing our concern with the Department’s circumvention of Congress to reform education policy, we are writing you to express our concerns with the implementation of Common Core standards and changes to federal data collection and disbursement policies.

In 2009, forty-six governors signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Governor’s Association committing their states to the development and adoption of new education standards within three years. As we understand it, states then had the option of adopting Common Core standards or creating their own equivalent standards. At the time, Common Core standards were simply an idea where states would collaborate to create uniformed education standards. Details about Common Core were not only unknown to the states, they did not exist. From there, your department offered Race To The Top (RTTT) grants and NCLB waivers to states under the condition that each state would implement “college and career ready” standards. At the time, the only “college and career ready” standards with the Department’s approval were Common Core.

In addition to serious concerns we have regarding the Department’s aforementioned coercion of states to opt-in to Common Core standards, many of which were and continue to have serious budgetary issues and specific issues with existing education policies, we have become increasingly concerned over the development of the Common Core standards themselves. Though initially promoted as state-based education standards, Common Core standards, as they have been developed over the last few years, are nothing of the sort. In just one very troubling instance, Common Core standards will replace state-based standardized testing with nationally-based standardized testing, the creation and initial implementation of which will be funded in full by the federal government. The long-term, annual administering of the exams, the cost of which has not been specified by the Department, is to be funded by the states.

As representatives from states across the nation, we understand the diverse cultures and state-specific education needs that exist in America. We believe that state-driven education policy is vital to the success of our children and that Members of Congress can best demonstrate the specific needs of their constituents. As with most one-size-fits-all policies, Common Core standards fail to address these needs.

As you know, because states opted-in to Common Core standards, there is little Congress can do to provide any relief from these burdensome and misguided standards. Instead, the ability to opt-out of these standards lies with the state. With that in mind, we will be working with our respective state legislatures and governors to provide relief to our education systems. In the meantime, we urge you to work with Members of Congress to reauthorize the ESEA in a manner that allows state-specific education needs to be addressed.

Separate from reauthorization, we are extremely concerned over recent changes your department has made to the manner in which the federal government collects and distributes student data.

As you know, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was signed into law in 1974, guaranteeing parental access to student education records and limiting their disclosure to third parties. FERPA was intended to address parents’ growing privacy concerns and grant parental access to the information schools use to make decisions that impact their children.

Once again circumventing Congress, in 2011 your agency took regulatory action to alter definitions within FERPA. With the technological advances that have occurred in recent years, changes to FERPA deserve the full scrutiny of the legislative process more so than ever before.

In addition, we understand that as a condition of applying for RTTT grant funding, states obligated themselves to implement a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) used to track students by obtaining personally identifiable information.

Regarding these two very concerning changes to the manner in which government collects and distributes student data, we formally request a detailed description of each change to student privacy policy that has been made under your leadership, including the need and intended purpose for such changes. We also request that you submit to us the authority under which the Department has implemented Common Core, FERPA and SLDS.

It is our sincere hope that the Department works with the Legislative Branch to implement any changes to education standards and student privacy policy. We look forward to your response and welcome the opportunity to address these issues in the future.

Sincerely,

_ Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03)

Cato Institute on Indiana’s “Time Out” Law Against Common Core   Leave a comment

Neal McClusky of Cato Institute has written an Op-Ed for the IndyStar. Read the whole thing here:

Highlights:

“Indiana has just shot into the spotlight of the education world, with the legislature voting over the weekend to hit the pause button on the Common Core national curriculum standards. But this action is just the loudest strike in a growing backlash against the Core, a revolt set off by the arrival of the federally backed standards in schools across the country. And people are right to be wary, especially since Core supporters have too often ridiculed dissenters instead of engaging in honest debate.
While 45 states have adopted the Common Core, don’t mistake that for enthusiastic, nationwide support. States were essentially coerced into adopting by the President’s Race to the Top program, which tied federal dough to signing on. Even if policymakers in recession-hobbled states would have preferred open debate, there was no time. Blink, and the money would be gone. Which isn’t to say there wasn’t opposition — there certainly was among policy wonks — but most people hadn’t heard of the standards at adoption time, and their effects wouldn’t be felt for several years.

…Indiana is arguably the highest-profile rebel, with its new legislation set to halt implementation of the core so Hoosiers can, at the very least, learn about what they’re getting into. Nationally, the Republican National Committee has officially condemned the standards, while several states are in the process of potentially withdrawing from the core. Finally, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has requested that a Senate subcommittee handling education end federal meddling in standards and assessment.

…Rather than address worries and evidence that the Common Core is empirically ungrounded, moves the country closer to a federal education monopoly and treats unique children like identical cogs, supporters have often smeared opponents and dodged constructive debate.

… Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, complained that the move “will bestow a degree of legitimacy upon the anti-standards coalition.” –As if the people who have been decrying the absence of research support for national standards, potential flaws in its content, or other logic and evidence-based concerns have all somehow been illegitimate.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — a leading Common Core spokesperson — elected to dismiss the RNC as ignorant for resisting the Core. “I don’t really care if the RNC, based on no information, is going to oppose this because of some emotional pitch,” he said. This despite the RNC resolution offering several valid reasons for opposing the Core, including the indisputable fact of federal coercion.

To be sure, there are some specious arguments being made against the Common Core, such as the claim that it requires schools to ditch Emerson in favor of reading EPA regulations. Such assertions should be refuted by people on both sides. But those are hardly the only concerns of Core opponents, and many standards supporters are guilty of no lesser deception when they insist, for instance, that the Common Core is “state-led” and “voluntary.”

…As Common Core continues to be implemented, the chorus of opposition is likely to grow, and it is critical that supporters and opponents alike keep sight of their truly common goal: improving American education. Dodging honest discussion is no way to get there.

McCluskey is associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and author of the report http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/behind-curtain-assessing-case-national-curriculum-standards.

Thank you, Senator Mike Lee   2 comments

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

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

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

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

Common Core Polluted by Federal Guidelines and Mandates

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

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

——–

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

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

U.S. Coalition For World Class Math Co-Founder Explains Common Core Math in 3-Part Series   Leave a comment

The links to all three parts of Barry Garelick’s article on “Standards For Mathematical Practice” are available here:

http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/standards-for-mathematical-practice-the-cheshire-cats-grin/

http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/standards-for-mathematical-practice-cheshire-cats-grin-part-two/

http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/standards-for-mathematical-practice-cheshire-cats-grin-part-three/

A favorite highlight of the series includes the explanation of why students should be taught how to solve problems, and not just how to find internet resources to solve problems or invent their way to solutions.

Um, yes!

Utah State Office of Education at Uintah School District: On Common Core Testing   4 comments

Guest post by a parent who requested that his/her report would be anonymously published

I attended the meeting held by Uintah School District last week.

The meeting appeared to be a training on the new assessments for Common Core that will cost $30 million. The guy turned his back on the room and spoke quietly when he said ‘$30 mil’, so I’m not sure I heard him correctly. He was more than happy to face the room and speak loudly about how great these assessments will be and how very much we need them–in his opinion. (Note-his job is dependent on him holding to that opinion.)

A little more than halfway through the meeting, he finally allowed questions. He would NOT allow questions before that. When question time came, it was very clear that the majority of the people in the room were unhappy parents, not educators there for his training. With a great deal of pressure from parents, it was decided that some common core questions would be answered by Dixie Allen of the state school board.

All individuals interested in common core questions being answered were invited to get up and move to a smaller room to talk with Dixie. By the time everyone had gathered in the smaller room, common core was on a screen at the front of the room and Dixie was prepared to give a presentation. Parents tried to ask questions and Dixie tried to give a presentation.

When it became clear that Dixie’s intent was to deliver a Common Core ‘sale’, one parent specifically requested that questions be answered first and the presentation be given second because people were obviously wanting their questions answered now. Dixie said no, but eventually had to give in because the questions wouldn’t quit coming. We didn’t have to watch or listen to a big presentation from Dixie, but we did have to listen to her state several times that common core standards are higher (to which one parent consistently replied ‘no, they’re not’ every time). She also told the parent in the room who knew the most about Common Core that she (Dixie) didn’t want that mom asking anymore questions because the mom gave comments, informing other parents of the details so Dixie could not shut them down completely. Obviously, Dixie is frightened of the truth getting out.

Dixie also denied being the homeschool teacher for 2 of her grandchildren in her home. (I think the count was 2.) She later backtracked on that one and admitted that she teaches one grandchild who is in 9th grade right now and homeschooled because of bullying. (A difficult to fully believe claim because the junior high principal here is quite strict and everyone else says this principal put an end to bullying in that school when she was first put in as principal, long enough ago that bullying in that school would have ended by the time Dixie’s grandchild would have entered the jr. high.)

Dixie also repeatedly stated that Utah must do Common Core because otherwise we cannot buy curriculum to match our core because we don’t spend enough money on education and therefore the curricula vendors don’t cater to us. No one in the room agreed with her on needing more money, but she made this claim repeatedly. Then when the question “How much will these new curricula materials to match common core cost us?” was asked, the answer was “Nothing, we’re making our own.”

None of the parents in the room said anything, but note that the argument that we need to do common core so we can buy materials to match our core falls when you consider that we’re not buying the materials!
In short, no one in the meeting was convinced that common core was a good idea. Parents talked afterwards, exchanging their contact info and more information on common core. One parent had watched a program on the miserable failure of common core in Michigan and was there with her notes in hand, asking questions and providing details of how bad things are in Michigan. Dixie tried very hard, but unsuccessfully, to refute the points this good mom made throughout the meeting. Another mom mentioned that history has proven how very dangerous a national curriculum can be, but many people in the room are unaware of that and just thought she’s a little paranoid.

I left the meeting thinking that Dixie is either completely ignorant of the facts surrounding common core or she is an outright liar. I spoke with some people who know her personally the next day and they told me that she just truly believes in big government, so she wouldn’t even be able to see the facts. It was interesting to watch her at the meeting. Dixie is an elected representative of the people, but you couldn’t tell. Elected representatives should listen to the people, treat them respectfully, and do as the people want. Dixie did none of that. As an elected representative of the people, she ARGUED with them and spoke condescendingly when they didn’t understand education lingo. It was very sad.
Dixie did state that Utah might not adopt the science part of common core because of pressure from the ‘right wing’ in the state. She also said that Utah might try to vary from common core by more than the 15% allowed, but there will be no attempt to get out of common core.
Sadly, the powers that be cannot admit they’ve made a mistake and are completely disrespectful to the people who gave them power and pay the taxes that support them and their decisions.

– Anonymous attendee at UT State Office of Education Common Core presentation to Uintah School District

Professor Tienken, Ze’ev Wurman, Barry Garelick Take on Utah State Office of Education: On Common Core Math   3 comments

First, I received yet another “makes-no-sense” common core math explanation from the Utah State Office of Education, via Ms. Diana Suddreth.

Next, I asked nationally recognized experts to help me digest Suddreth’s words.  This included curricular expert Dr. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University, New Jersey, former Dept of Ed advisor and Hoover Institute (Stanford University visiting scholar) Ze’ev Wurman of California; and U.S. Coalition for World Class Math founder Barry Garelick.

This is what they wrote.  (Ms. Suddreth’s writing is also posted below.)

From Dr. Christopher H. Tienken:

Christel,

The UTAH bureaucrat is referencing this book – see below. Look at chpts 7 and 11 for where I think she is gathering support.

http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9822

Her answer still does not make curricular sense in that she explains that fluency with moving between fractions and decimals is assumed in some ways. With all due respect, the curriculum document is a legally binding agreement of what will be taught. Teachers are bound by law to follow it (of course many don’t but that is going to change with this new testing system). Therefore, if it is not explicitly in the document, it might not get taught.

There are a lot of assumptions made in the Core. Just look at the Kindergarten math sequence. It assumes a lot of prior knowledge on the part of kids. That might be fine for some towns, but certainly not for others.

Perhaps the bureaucrat can point to specific standards that call for students to demonstrate fluency in converting fractions to decimals etc.

However, I think the bigger issue is that parents now don’t have a say in terms of whether and how much emphasis is placed on those skills. Local control is one mechanism for parents to lobby for emphasis of content. Not all content is equally important to each community. The negotiation of “emphasis” is a local issue, but that has now been decided for parents by a distal force.

Christopher H. Tienken, Ed.D.

Editor, AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice

Editor, Kappa Delta Pi Record

Seton Hall University

College of Education and Human Services

Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy

South Orange, NJ

Visit me @: http://www.christienken.com

——————————————————————————–

 

 

Dear Members of the Board,

Ms. Swasey forwarded to me an email that you have received recently, discussing how Utah Core supposedly handles the conversion between fraction forms. I would like to pass you my comments on that email.

First, let me briefly introduce myself. I am a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. I was a member of the California Academic Content Standards Commission in 2010, which reviewed the Common Core standards before their adoption by the state of California. Prior to that I served as a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Education.

Response to Diana Suddreth’s note, passed to Utah’s Board of Education on April 23, regarding the question of conversion among fractional forms
(Original in italics)

The question that was originally asked was about converting fractions to decimals; therefore, the response pointed to the specific standard where that skill is to be mastered. A close reading of the Utah Core will reveal that the development of a conceptual understanding of fractions that leads to procedural skills begins in grade 3 and is developed through 7th grade. The new core does not list every specific procedure that students will engage in; however, explaining equivalence of fractions (3rd & 4th grade), ordering fractions (4th grade), understanding decimal notation for fractions (4th grade), and performing operations with fractions (4th, 5th, and 6th grade) all suggest and even require certain procedures to support understanding and problem solving.
Unfortunately, Ms. Suddreth does not address above the question at hand—whether, or how, does the Utah Core expect students to develop fluency and understanding with conversion among fractional representations of fractions, decimals and percent—and instead offers general description of how Utah Core treats fractions. This is fine as it goes, but it does not add anything to the discussion.

In 5th grade, fractions are understood as division problems where the numerator is divided by the denominator. (In fact, the new core does a better job of this than the old where fractions were more often treated as parts of a whole, without also relating them to division.)

The above is incorrect. In grade 5, as in previous grades, the Common Core (or Utah Core, if you will) frequently treats fractions as “parts of the whole.” There is no other way to interpret grade 5 standards such as “Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole … e.g., by using visual fraction models …” (5.NF.2) or “Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts;” (5.NF.4a). All this, however, has little to do with the question at hand.

As for percents, students learn that percent is a rate per 100 (a fraction), a concept that is fully developed with a focus on problem solving in 5th and 6th grade.

Yet again Ms. Suddreth is clearly wrong. Percent are not even introduced by the Common (Utah) Core before grade 6.

The new core promotes a strong development of the understanding of fractions as rational numbers, including representations in decimal, fraction, or percent form. Mathematics is far too rich a field to be reduced to a series of procedures without looking at the underlying connections and various representations. There is nothing in the new core to suggest that students will not develop the kinds of procedural skills that support this depth of understanding.

Here, like in her first paragraph, Ms. Suddereth, avoids responding to the question and hopes that writing about unrelated issues will cover this void. The argument was never that the Common Core does not develop understanding of fractions as rational numbers, as decimals, and as percents. The argument was that such understanding is developed in isolation for each form, and that fluent conversion between forms is barely developed in a single standard that touches only peripherally on the conversion and does it at much later (grade 7) than it ought to. Fluency with conversion among fractional representations was identified as a key skill by the National Research Council, the NCTM, and the presidential National Math Advisory Panel. It is not some marginal aspect of elementary mathematics that should be “inferred” and “understood” from other standards. The Common Core is already full of painstakingly detailed standards dealing with fractions and arguing that such cardinal area as fluency with conversion (“perhaps the deepest translation problem in pre-K to grade 8 mathematics” in NRC’s opinion) should not be addressed explicitly is disingenuous.

The new core is, in fact, supported by the Curriculum Focal Points from NCTM, which do not conflict with anything in the new core, but rather provide detailed illustrations of how a teacher might focus on the development of mathematics with their students. The new core is based on the research in Adding It Up. Some of the researchers on that project were also involved in the development of the Common Core, which forms the basis for the Utah Core.

Curriculum Focal Points explicitly requires fluency with conversion between fractional forms by grade 7, which is absent in the Common Core. It also, for example, expects fluency with dividing integers and with addition and subtraction of decimals by grade 5, which the Common Core expects only by grade 6. One wonders what else it would take to make Ms. Suddreth label them as in conflict. One also wonders how much is the Common Core really “based on the research in Adding It Up” if it essentially forgot even to address what Adding It Up considers “perhaps the deepest translation problem in pre-K to grade 8 mathematics”—the conversion among fractions, decimals, and percent.

In summary, Ms. Suddereth’s note passed to you by Ms. Pyfer contains both misleading and incorrect claims and is bound to confuse rather than illuminate.

Ze’ev Wurman
zeev@ieee.org
Palo Alto, Calif.
650-384-5291

—————–

From Barry Garelick of the U.S. Coalition for World Class Math:
Feel free to send them links to my article (which is a three part article).  There’s a very good comment that someone left [on part one] which once they read might make them realize they better tread a bit more carefully.  http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/standards-for-mathematical-practice-cheshire-cats-grin-part-three/
BG

——————

 

From: Tami Pyfer <tami.pyfer@usu.edu>

Date: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Subject: Follow-up on Question about math standard

To: Board of Education <Board@schools.utah.gov>, “Hales, Brenda (Brenda.Hales@schools.utah.gov)” <Brenda.Hales@schools.utah.gov>

Cc: “Christel S (212christel@gmail.com)” <212christel@gmail.com>, “Diana Suddreth (Diana.Suddreth@schools.utah.gov)” <Diana.Suddreth@schools.utah.gov>

Dear Board members-

The note below from Diana Suddreth is additional information that I hope will be helpful for you in understanding the questions you may have gotten regarding the claim that the new math core doesn’t require students to know how to convert fractions to decimals, or addresses the skill inadequately. Diana has just returned from a math conference and I appreciate her expertise in this area and the additional clarification.

Please feel free to share this with others who may be contacting you with questions.

Hope this helps!

Tami

The question that was originally asked was about converting fractions to decimals; therefore, the response pointed to the specific standard where that skill is to be mastered. A close reading of the Utah Core will reveal that the development of a conceptual understanding of fractions that leads to procedural skills begins in grade 3 and is developed through 7th grade. The new core does not list every specific procedure that students will engage in; however, explaining equivalence of fractions (3rd & 4th grade), ordering fractions (4th grade), understanding decimal notation for fractions (4th grade), and performing operations with fractions (4th, 5th, and 6th grade) all suggest and even require certain procedures to support understanding and problem solving. In 5th grade, fractions are understood as division problems where the numerator is divided by the denominator. (In fact, the new core does a better job of this than the old where fractions were more often treated as parts of a whole, without also relating them to division.) As for percents, students learn that percent is a rate per 100 (a fraction), a concept that is fully developed with a focus on problem solving in 5th and 6th grade.

The new core promotes a strong development of the understanding of fractions as rational numbers, including representations in decimal, fraction, or percent form. Mathematics is far too rich a field to be reduced to a series of procedures without looking at the underlying connections and various representations. There is nothing in the new core to suggest that students will not develop the kinds of procedural skills that support this depth of understanding.

The new core is, in fact, supported by the Curriculum Focal Points from NCTM, which do not conflict with anything in the new core, but rather provide detailed illustrations of how a teacher might focus on the development of mathematics with their students. The new core is based on the research in Adding It Up. Some of the researchers on that project were also involved in the development of the Common Core, which forms the basis for the Utah Core.

Diana Suddreth, STEM Coordinator

Utah State Office of Education

Salt Lake City, UT

———————————–

 

From: Christel S [212christel@gmail.com]

Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:42 PM

Subject: Follow-up on Question about math standard

My math and curriculum friends, I don’t know how to argue with these people. Can you assist? Here we have countless parents hating the common core math, and reviewers telling us it puts us light years behind legitimate college readiness, but the USOE continues the charade.

Please help– point me to facts and documentation that will make sense to the average person. Thank you.

Wyoming Teacher: “Should We Turn a Blind Eye and Be Led Like Sheep Off a Cliff?”   6 comments

Truth in American Education posted a powerful article from a Wyoming teacher that I hope many people read.

It’s so ironic.  In this article, the teacher says that an administrator told the teachers “not to use school resources to push political agendas.” Yet the entire Common Core Initiative is a political agenda!  Look at who leads it:  Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah, Bill Gates, Sir Michael Barber and other extremists who have no respect for local control, the state-directed provisions of the U.S. Constitution or the forbidding by G.E.P.A. law for the federal government to direct state educational systems.

Here’s that quote:

“…My administrator said that there would be no more emailing, or talking about the common core amongst the staff. There was a finality to his tone and the meeting was quickly over at that point. I then received an email from my administrator reminding me of our district policy of not using school resources to push political concerns or agendas. He also stated that there was to be no more discussion about common core unless it was on an “educational” basis between staff members.

Ironically, I had several teachers contact me outside of school that same day, to say they were shocked at my administrator’s tone. They feel I was being genuine in sharing information that was previously unknown and could potentially affect educators. Several staff member have also approached me saying that they are grateful for this information and are now researching it on their own.

The question being asked in my school now is…Why can’t educators do what they do best? Research, question, inform?? Isn’t it better to question and discuss things, even if we don’t agree on them as to find what is best for the children we have been entrusted with? Should we turn a blind eye, and be lead like sheep off the cliff?”

Read the rest:     http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/a-wyoming-schools-common-core-gag-order/

The Nonsensical and ‘Lovey-Dovey’ National Governors’ Association   4 comments

Dear Christine Kearl,

It seems in the Governor’s best interest and in the best interest of Utahns for him to drop out of the National Governor’s Association (NGA).

This nonprofit, unelected group creates the illusion that Governors have a legitimate federal presence on a national stage, when Constitutionally, they do not. Our elected D.C. representatives are to govern national issues. Governors are to govern inside of states.

Texas Governor Perry does not feel that NGA membership is a smart use of taxpayer funds; Maine’s Governor LePage said,

“I get no value out of those meetings. They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey and no decisions are ever made.”

Please share this Heartland Institute article on the subject with the Governor as I can’t find a direct email address for him.

Utah’s Governor’s NGA membership is particularly problematic because the NGA/CCSSO 1) uses taxpayer dollars to pay Governors’ dues, 2) writes national educational standards behind closed doors, 3) allows no amendment process for those illegitimate national education standards, 4) allows for no voter representation, since the whole NGA governance setup is an unwanted step-sister to the American system of actual representation by proper channels; and 5) NGA is a federal contractor.

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/04/24/state-led-common-core-pushed-federally-funded-nonprofit

Please, let’s get out of this entangling alliance.

Christel Swasey

Heber, Utah

Let’s Help Indiana   8 comments

 

It’s time to help Indiana.  What happens in other states does affect us.

Here are two messages from Indiana moms who need your support.   Indiana is ahead of 90% of the states in that the state has TWICE voted in favor of the “time out” bill for Common Core, which will mean that the standards, tests, and data collection vehicles will have to wait while the state thoroughly vets and reviews all the intended and unintended consequences of Common Core.   This is wise and should be emulated nationwide, but there is a chance that the effort will be crushed by those who want the agenda’s wealth-making potential more than they want locally controlled, amendable, and legitimately high-quality standards.  Please, even if you don’t live in Indiana, call.

From: HEATHER CROSSIN
Date: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Friends,

This is it – the legislative session ends this Friday. If HB1427 isn’t given a vote in the House by the end of the day on Friday, the bill is dead. We can’t allow this to happen! The fact is our Senate has voted twice in favor of the Common Core “time-out” bill, Superintendent Ritz has indicated a review is in order, and we believe that a solid majority of our elected Representatives in the House support HB1427. What’s more, Governor Pence continues to make encouraging remarks in our favor. All that stands in the way of Indiana citizens getting a thorough review of Common Core, is Speaker Bosma and the paid lobbyists, most of whom have vested financial interests in making sure Common Core is not reviewed in the light of day.

As Representative Rhoads was recently quoted as saying, “If it’s so wonderful, what is wrong with allowing it to have a review?”

The Chamber of Commerce has taken out vicious radio adds to try and kill HB1427. This means we are winning, and should not retreat now.

Please contact your State Representative again and ask them for support and an update on HB1427. Politely, tell them how outrageous it will be if this bill is denied an up or down vote. Then please call and leave a message for Speaker Bosma letting him know that the citizens of Indiana deserve better than to have back-room deals made on such an important issue.

The Indiana House switchboard is (317)232-9600 . Finally, call the Governor again at (317)232-4567 . I am told that the final hours of the session is when many important decisions are made. Let’s make sure they remember – this is an important decision!

Lastly, please, please, please join us at the Statehouse this Thursday, at 1:00 PM. We will be rallying to make our voices heard. I am told that if enough people show up in person, we will not be ignored. Erin and I cannot impress upon you enough how urgent and crucial it is that we get as many there as possible, one last time. Many decisions are made in the final hours of the legislative session. We have come too far, against all odds, to stop now. Please make coming a priority! We need you! We are also scheduled to be on W.I.B.C.’s Greg Garrison show that morning from 10:30am-11:00am. (Derek Redleman of the Chamber will be on from 10:00a.m. – 10:30a.m.)

Heather

— — — —

 

Status Update

By Monica Boyer

Alert:  Just in from the Senate:
Representative Rhonda Rhoads has agreed to concur with HB1427, (this bill puts Indiana Common Core on a year time out.) Concurring means that she accepts the bill as written, and it will go to the full house for a final vote.

HOWEVER: We now have word that Speaker Brian Bosma said he will NOT call this bill down for a vote. So yes, let me translate. A bill can go through the entire process and ONE MAN has the power to kill a bill. (That is wrong.)
We need calls to go directly to your Representative. (Ask them to demand a vote on this bill) Then we need to melt down Speaker Brian Bosma’s phone and demand he hear the will of the people and call SB1427 down for a vote.

This is your children’s future. Now is not the time for silence or fear. As of Friday, this bill is DEAD.

Indiana House 317-232-9600 . (Ask to speak to your Representative [or any representative].)
Speaker Brian Bosma: 317-232-9677

(There will also be a rally at the Statehouse on Thursday at 1 pm. More details coming soon)

USOE/Davis School District Meeting Today on Common Core – Please Come if You Can   1 comment

Today from 4 to 6 PM

District Office / Kendell Bldg (2nd Floor) 70 East 100 North in Farmington, Utah

USOE to present Common Core Testing System to Public

Please attend the Davis School District meeting today at  4:00 p.m.   The press is reportedly going to be there, too.

If you are in the vicinity, please attend the meeting today and ask your questions about AIR/SAGE.  If you need a list of questions, you can borrow these:

  • Where can I read our state’s cost analysis for implementing Common Core and its tests?
  • What is the amendment process for Common Core standards if we find out they are not working for us?
  • Where can I see for myself the evidence that Common Core standards have been proven to be of superior quality and that they are internationally benchmarked?
  • Where can I see for myself evidence that Common Core’s transformations (deleting cursive, minimizing classic literature, moving away from traditional math, etc.) –will benefit our children?
  • What is the American process of representation of individuals in the Common Core education and assessments  system?
  • Does it seem good that the meetings of the standards writers (the CCSSO/NGA) are all closed-door meetings?
  • I read that there is a 15% cap on a state adding to the Core; so what do we do if we need to add a whole lot more to actually prepare our children well?
  • Although I have been told that Common Core is state-led, both my legislator and I missed any invitation to discuss this before it was decided for us; please explain the analysis and vetting process for the upcoming national science and social studies standards.
  • The Constitution assigns education to the states, not to the federal government.  Also, the federal General Educational Provisons Act (GEPA) states: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…“    In light of this, please explain why our state has agreed to intense micromanagement by the federal government under Common Core testing.

 

 

You may want to read these posts before the meeting.

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/the-air-stinks-of-sage /

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/asking-questions-in-meetings/

https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/parents-demand-real-answers-at-alpine-district-meeting-on-common-core-a-i-r-tests/

https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/judy-park-introduces-common-core-sage-tests-to-wasatch-school-district/

“Much has been said about Common Core – by those who support it and those who oppose it. To me, the greatest benefit of Common Core is the fact that it has generated an army of parent activists who have educated themselves on the implementation of national standards, USOE regulations, and the data mining of students academic and personal information. We should all take note of the trends taking place in education.”   – Utah Senator Margaret Dayton

Shortlink: http://bit.ly/Zg4q6E

Utahns Discuss Common Core Math   10 comments

I’m going to share some email strings from Utah school board members who are pro-common core, and me, and two mathematicians who are opposed to common core on academic grounds.

Ze’ev Wurman: 2010 California Common Core math validation committee member and former Dept. of Education advisor; opposes Common Core.

James Milgram: Stanford and NASA mathematician; served on official common core validation committe and refused to sign off on the academic legitimacy of the Common Core.

Dr. Milgram wrote (responding to a request for clarification about math standards) in a very recent email:

  ““I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry.  Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course…  They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.


Tami Pyfer: Utah school board member, pro-common core


Dixie Allen: Utah school board member, pro-common core

Tami,
I am a little confused — From your email yesterday I thought you said that you, Brenda and others at USOE had decided we shouldn’t answer any questions from the Anti-Core patrons.  Could you please make sure we know what the expectation is for all of us as Board Members.  I had tried to answer anyone that was my constituents and some others, as I felt like it was my job as chair of Curriculum and Standards.  But we probably need to know what the expectation is in regard to these questionable emails, etc.
Thanks,
Dixie

On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM, Tami Pyfer <tami.pyfer@usu.edu> wrote:

Christel – Here is the specific standard that requires students to know how to convert fractions to decimals. (Fractions are rational numbers, perhaps that’s how you missed it in your examination of the standards.) See (d) and also the sample assessment task at the very bottom which asks kids to convert 2/3 to a decimal using long division.

Board members – Feel free to forward this chart along to legislators, constituents, and others asking you about the incorrect claim that we are not going to be teaching kids to convert fractions to decimals. It’s taken from our Utah Core Math Standards documents. I’ve already sent it to everyone who has emailed me about it.

Hope this helps!

Tami

Dear Tami,
In seventh grade?
My ten year old fourth grader (home schooled) knows how to convert fractions to decimals and ratios.  Does the Utah Common Core recommend this skill be taught only at the level of seventh grade?  That seems not very “rigorous.”
However, I am happy that it is taught at all.  I am glad you found this for me. Thank you.
Please look at exhibit B which is on page 26 of this document, as you will see that in the math review of Common Core, by 2010 California Common Core validation committee member and math expert Ze’ev Wurman, Wurman states that Common Core fails to teach many key math skills along with the one we are discussing.  I would love to see your review of his complete review to see if these things are taught, and at what grade levels.
Perhaps Ze’ev was reviewing the non-integrated math portion of Common Core, which as I understand it, only Utah and Vermont have adopted.
Christel
Tami,
Minutes ago, I forwarded to James Milgram a copy of your email about Common Core math.  He served on the official common core validation committee, and would not sign off on the academic legitimacy of these standards.  Milgram was also a math professor at Stanford University and a NASA consultant.
Dr. Milgram wrote back:
“I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry.  Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course…  They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.   – Jim Milgram 
Please, return our state to local control of eduation and to academically legitimate, empirically tested standards.
Christel
Dear Christel,
The 7th grade standard Tami refers to is, indeed, the only   Common Core standard that deals, at least partially, with  converting between representations of fractions:

7. NS. 2.d: Convert a rational number to a decimal using       long division; know that the decimal form of a rational number   terminates in 0s or eventually repeats.

It only obliquely deals with converting a regular fraction to      decimal, with a particular focus on the fact that rational      fractions repeat. It does not deal with conversion between      fractional forms (representations) per se. Further, it doesn’t      deal with conversion of decimals to rational fractions, it does      not deal with conversion between decimal fractions and percents      and vice versa, and it does not deal with conversion of rational      fractions to percent and back. In other words, it deals with only      one out of 6 possible conversions. It also does it — as you      correctly say — too late, and only obliquely at that.
Compare it to the careful work the NCTM Curriculum        Focal Points did on this important issue:

Grade 4: Developing an understanding of          decimals, including the connections between fractions and          decimals Grade 6: Developing an understanding of and fluency          with multiplication and division of fractions and decimals                          … They use the relationship between decimals        and fractions, as well as the relationship between finite        decimals and whole numbers (i.e., a finite decimal multiplied by        an appropriate power of 10 is a whole number), to understand and        explain the procedures for multiplying and dividing decimals. Grade 7: In grade 4, students used equivalent fractions        to determine the decimal representations of fractions that they        could represent with terminating decimals. Students now use        division to express any fraction as a decimal, including        fractions that they must represent with infinite decimals. They        find this method useful when working with proportions,        especially those involving percents

(Curriculum Focal Points are available      from NCTM for a fee, however you can get them for free here)
Here is what the National Research Council had to say      about this issue in it’s Adding It Up influential book:

“Perhaps the deepest translation problem in pre-K to        grade 8 mathematics concerns the translation between fractional        and decimal representations of rational numbers.” (p. 101, Box        3-9)
“An important part of learning about rational numbers is        developing a clear sense of what they are. Children need to        learn that rational numbers are numbers in the same way that        whole numbers are numbers. For children to use rational numbers        to solve problems, they need to learn that the same rational        number may be represented in different ways, as a fraction, a        decimal, or a percent. Fraction concepts and representations        need to be related to those of division, measurement, and ratio.        Decimal and fractional representations need to be            connected and understood. Building these connections takes            extensive experience with rational numbers over a            substantial period of time.” (p. 415, emphasis        added)

(Adding It Up is here.      If you register you can download the book rather than read it      online)
And here is what the National Math Advisory Panel said on      this issue in its final report:

Table 2: Benchmarks for the Critical Foundations        (p. 20)          … Fluency With Fractions         1) By the end of Grade 4, students should be able to identify        and represent fractions and decimals, and compare them on a        number line or with other common representations of fractions        and decimals.         2) By the end of Grade 5, students should be proficient with        comparing fractions and decimals and common percent, and with        the addition and subtraction of fractions and decimals.

The NMAP final report can be found here.
All these important and widely acclaimed documents (by both sides)      are quite clear that conversion between fractional representation      is a critical component of mathematical fluency in K-8, that it      takes time to develop, and that developing it  should seriously      start by grade 4.

Arguing that a single grade 7 standard, which  only tangentially and partially addresses this critical fluency,  is sufficient as “coverage” is disingenuous, to put it mildly.
-Ze’ev Wurman

Thanks, Dixie.

Still wondering about a few basic questions that Judy Park says she will not answer. These are simple! Who will answer them?

1.Where’s the evidence that the standards are legitimized by empirical study– that they have helped, not hurt, kids who’ve been the guinea pigs on Common Core?
2.Where’s the study showing that lessening classic literature helps students?
3.Where’s the study showing that not teaching kids how to convert fractions to decimals helps students?
4.Upon what academic studies are we basing the claims that the common core standards are academically legitimate?
5.What parent or teacher in his/her right mind would approve giving away local control to have standards written in D.C. by the NGA/CCSSO?

–Am I being unreasonable here, or is Judy Park? These are our children. These are our tax dollars. Is it too much to ask to see a legitimate foundation for altering the standards so dramatically?

Christel,

I can’t answer any of your questions with research data — because I don’t have such data — but I can answer your questions as a teacher and administrator in the Public Education System for 26 years and a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 11 (some of which have been in public school and some in private school and some in home school) and a State School Board Member of 11 years.

1. There is no empirical study of the Common Core Standards — rather they have been vetted by college professors in our state and others, specialists at our State Office of Education and others throughout the nation, other specialists outside the educational community, and patrons, parents and teachers around our state who had a voice in the approval of the Core Standards and their recommendations before they were completely adopted by our State Board of Education some 2 1/2 years ago.

2. There is no study that shows we should lessen the study of classic literature, but there are endless recommendations from universities and the job creators of our nation that our students need to learn to read informational text, as well as classic literature. So my hope is that our students are getting a mix of both, but believe that we need to insure that students can read informational text and understand what it says.

3. There is no study that says that converting decimals to fractions and visa versa isn’t an important part of mathematical study. However, there is a great understanding in the educational field that if we don’t start teaching algebraic and geometric understanding early in public education and expect all students to understand these mathematical facts, as well as fractions and decimals, that we will have students who cannot make it through the mathematical courses necessary to graduate from high school and be ready to go to college. As a high school principal, I had 300 students move into Uintah High from 9th grade that had to take remedial mathematics classes, because they had not passed Pre-algebra. All students need to understand basic algebra and geometric calculations.

4. We have based our faith in the Core Standards, based upon the specialists that created them and support their validity in the educational programs for students. I believe after a couple of years of getting these standards to students, that we are seeing improvement in a deeper set of abilities to process information both in mathematics and English/Language Arts. (Of course my proof are my own grandchildren and what teachers share with me.)

5. Local Teachers and parents don’t know everything about what is quality education — and we did not give away the standards to the federal government or Washington, D.C. — we asked experts in the field, at both the national and states levels of instruction to help develop standards that would help all students be Career and College Ready. The world has changed since we were educated and our students need to know different skills to succeed in the new world of technology and world wide companies.

I am so sorry that you feel so strongly about this issue that you have created such turmoil in our state. We are truly trying to do what is best for our students and if you can pinpoint any Core Standard that you feel is problematic or doesn’t help our students be prepared for college or work, please let me know and I will take it to the experts to see what they think and if they agree we will change the standard.

However, I do not plan to throw out the Common Core, as long as I am a State School Board member, because I believe it is a step in the right direction. I will, however, help correct and update any Standard that we feel needs to be revised.

Dixie

Freedom Project Education   9 comments

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

 

Official Policy of FPE Curriculum on Common Core

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

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

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

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

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

FPEUSA.ORG

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

Sincerely,

FreedomProject Education

Report on Nebo District’s Public Meeting on Common Core Testing   Leave a comment

The Greatest Assessments in the U.S.A.

(and other such nonsense)

guest post by Alyson Williams

During the first public meeting on anything Common Core related in Nebo School District it probably should not have come as a surprise to the USOE that there might be a number of intensely inquisitive or disenfranchised parents in attendance… or that their questions might extend beyond the bells and whistles of the new testing software that was being introduced.

This is, after all, part of a broader reform that was set in motion when former Governor Huntsman and Superintendent Harrington signed a Memorandum of Agreement to participate in the National Governor Association’s Common Core State Standards Initiative in the spring of 2009.

Mr. John Jesse, the Assessment Director for the USOE must have felt like he’d been fed to the wolves… or more accurately to bears of the mama and papa variety.

Perhaps feeling caught off guard by the unusual and poorly communicated standards adoption process that required this initial agreement of participation before the standards were even written (recently re-framed by the State School Board as an “exploratory” phase minus the ability to explore), parents were understandably critical of Mr. Jesse’s emphatic claim that these tests were the “best in the United States” and that Utah was a shining example to the rest of the country of all things assessment.

“But, you said these particular assessments haven’t even been written yet, or piloted anywhere, right?” one mother clarified in an attempt to point out the glaring credibility gap of showing the timeline of implementation that is just beginning while at the same time making this emphatic claim.

There were so many questions a decision was made to have parents write their questions on a white board, to be answered at the end, in order to allow Mr. Jesse to complete his presentation (or even complete a sentence) with some coherence.

The introduction to the testing company that Utah has contracted with included the disclaimer, or justification, that a company can be involved with a variety of projects or seek certain societal outcomes that one does not agree with, but it is still okay to use their products that are unrelated.

This was likely intended to pacify or pre-empt concerns about the mission of the testing company, American Institutes of Research (AIR), to promote global values as key supporters of the Clinton Global Initiative, or with their work on issues of mental health and sexuality as applied to children.

In other words, as long as the tests themselves meet the need, it shouldn’t matter that Utah tax payers are giving $39 million to a company whose mission they would not otherwise support.

The main advantages of this software, according to Mr. Jesse, are features to accommodate special needs, i.e. hearing or vision impaired, that it is adaptive (questions each student sees are determined in real time based on previous response) and that the results are instantly available.

He also touted the optional, formative assessment capability that is basically the ability to administer both mini-tests and mini-curriculum from an open source curriculum library that has been developed by AIR and comes pre-loaded with the system. After being pressed on the issue, Mr. Jesse confirmed that student activity while using the formative system is tracked.

A number of teachers attended the meeting as well, and one had to wonder what was going through their minds as Mr. Jesse pointed out at least three times that these tests were not high-stakes tests for children but that they were high-stakes tests for teachers and for schools. (A reference to a law passed in 2012 linking teacher pay and school grading to tests.)

What might an experienced teacher’s reaction be to his explanation of how, with the help of precise statistical analysis by a computer, a teacher could really know if a student was struggling or excelling?

Is there research that substantiates the claim that student-teacher interactions are enhanced and not disrupted by certain applications of technology? This would seem an important reference to offer along with this particular assertion. So often in education assumptions that seem sound based on anecdotal observations have unexpected outcomes or unanticipated side effects.

Mr. Jesse did not touch on the aspect of the tests that might be considered the specialty of AIR, the integration of psychometric predictors – a science that requires far more scrutiny when applied to statewide assessments because of its powerful ability, in combination with statistical data mashing enhanced by the existence of interoperable State Longitudinal Data Systems, to profile individuals and assess “dispositions” without it being apparent in the questions or content of the assessment itself.

Utah Child Psychiatrist Dr. Gary T. Thompson has publicly expressed that parents and students deserve a more thorough explanation of how this science will be applied in these assessments. http://www.earlylifepsych.com/common-core-note-to-the-community/

He, along with Edward D. Flint Esq. Special Education Attorney at Law, issued the following assertion as part of a longer article addressing this topic:

“Someone, independent of AIR, MUST have access to every single item on the tests being designed in order to insure that absolutely ZERO behavioral indicators are being measured on tests that parents in Utah believe are only measuring “reading, writing and arithmetic.”

http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/dr-thompsons-letter-to-superintendent-menlove/

As the question portion of the meeting began, Mr. Jesse reiterated his focus on assessments and his inability to answer unrelated questions. He took a head count of parents who expressed concern over the broader reforms related to the Common Core State Standards with the promise to report this to the USOE along with a request that there be another forum in the future for questions to be answered on a broader range of topics.

In response to the concerns related to content and the inaccessibility of the test questions to parents, or regarding the “use of behavioral indicators” (as specified in the section of 2012’s House Bill 115 governing computer adaptive testing) Mr. Jesse said that there would be nothing objectionable in the tests and that the audience should take his word for it, challenging those present to check his references if there were any doubts about his credibility.

This ironically was the straw that, in light of the circumstances already mentioned, broke the proverbial camel’s back in terms of credibility. “Trust me,” is not a phrase that any parent in the state wants to hear from anyone involved in the implementation of any aspect of Common Core right now… nor should it be sufficient regardless of the circumstances when it comes to a parent’s right to vet any program to which their child will be subjected.

As the tone of the meeting further devolved, insults and accusations of misinformation were exchanged leading to an abrupt end to the Q&A.

Mr. Jesse was admittedly put in a tough situation, and the meeting by any account was a disaster.

An informal survey of sentiment afterward garnered reactions that ranged from disappointment over the tone of both presenter and attendees in their remarks, to surprise that the audience had not been even more insistent that answers have some verifiable basis other than the word of the person whose job it is to promote the project.

Why Is Common Core Illegal?   14 comments

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifies that the federal government must refrain from micromanaging states and outlines a few roles for the federal government (NOT including education)  and gives ALL remaining authorities to the states alone.  Nothing could be clearer. There is no constitutional authority for the executive branch to be bossing states around as the Department of Education has been doing.   (See Cooperative Agreement, Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, Sec. Duncan speeches)

The General Educational Provisions Act is another federal law that prohibits the federal government from directing education in any way. It says:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”

Utah mom Alyson Williams has also pointed out that our state is represented on our national stage, for federal issues, by our Congressional representatives:  Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, etc.

It is not the job of Governor Herbert to represent us on the national stage.  His role is to govern inside Utah.

But because the power hungry executive branch (Arne Duncan) realizes that no “employee of the United States” may “exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction,” Governors have been used as brokers.  Governors have been flattered into membership in the PRIVATE (not elected, not taxpayer-accountable, not transparent) NATIONAL GOVERNORS’ ASSOCIATION (NGA).  This NGA has combined with the CCSSO to write the national standards.  And to copyright them.  Behind closed doors.  Without voter input.

The NGA and CCSSO have been pawns in the Department of Education’s hands to get around the illegal brokering of education.

And why? Simply for power and money.  (This was never about improving education; if it had been, there would have been legitimacy and empirical study attached to the adoption of the academically fraudulent Common Core.)

The executive branch wanted increased power and access to citizen data.  The corporate world wanted the money flow that comes from monopolizing a nation’s curriculum.  And so the corporate world created partnerships with the federal government and “philanthropically” gave enormous grant funds to the NGA/CCSSO and other common core promoters, to get control of the educational sales market.

As Professor Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University has said:

“Let us be very frank… The CCSS does not have anything to do with education. It has everything to do with the business of education.”

This collusion of private educational sales companies and our federal government circumvents the process of our republic which demands fair representation of individuals.

The federal government shows how it’s “exercising direction, supervision or control” of the school system in many ways, such as:

1.  The federal technical review of tests being mandated by the Department of Education.

2.  The federal mandate that testing consoria must synchronize “across consortia,” that status updates and phone conferences must be made  available to the Dept. of Education regularly, and that data collected must be shared with the federal government “on an ongoing basis”

3.  The recent federal alteration of privacy laws that have taken away parental consent over student data collection to ensure easier access for multiple agencies and “research” vendors to student data.

4. At our Utah State Office of Education website you can find this and other “federal accountability” topics:  “The Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS) is the state and federal accountability system”  Why? 

Why do we put up with “federal accountability” given what the laws of the land says about the states having a sovereign right to direct education?!

Iowa Senator Grassley Fighting Common Core   4 comments

Reposted from Shane Vander Hart at http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/04/grassley-launches-effort-to-prohibit-common-core-funding/

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking his colleagues to co-sign a letter asking the Senate Appropriations Committee that funds education to cut off all future funds that would allow the Obama administration to “cajole state’s” into participating in the Common Core State Standards and it’s assessments.  This comes on the heels of the Republican National Committee voting in favor of a resolution critical of the Common Core State Standards.

His office in an email sent late this afternoon document the steps the Obama administration has taken to push states to adopt the Common Core.

  • Making adoption of Common Core a pre-requisite for a state even being able to compete for Race to the Top funds.
  • Directly funding the two assessment consortia developing tests aligned to Common Core using Race to the Top funds.
  • Assembling a panel to review the work of the two assessment consortia.
  • Making implementation of Common Core or coordination with Common Core a funding priority for other, unrelated competitive grants administered by the Department of Education.
  • Making participation in Common Core essentially a prerequisite for being awarded a waiver from the Department of requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act.

The email said, “This means no more Race to the Top funds in support of Common Core or the assessments aligned with Common Core and stopping further federal review of the assessments produced by the two consortiums.  It also means that the Department could not penalize a state that chooses to leave Common Core by revoking its NCLB waiver. The deadline for senators to sign on this letter is April 25 so it can reach the subcommittee in time to be considered. “

The text of the letter is available at http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/04/grassley-launches-effort-to-prohibit-common-core-funding/

 

Bountiful, Utah: Common Core Presentation   3 comments

April 18, 2013 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

 

 

Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy and I will make a presentation tomorrow, Thursday, April 18th at 7:00 in Bountiful about Common Core.   Q&A to follow.  All are welcome.

 

Bountiful City Chambers
790 South 100 East
Bountiful,UT 84010

It’s Happened: The Marriage of Pearson and Gates   11 comments

Pearson and Gates have joined forces. 

Why is a Pearson and Gates combination a nightmare for America, for anyone who cares about competitive free enterprise, constitutional rights regarding education, and local control?

First, a few facts:
1. Pearson, led by Sir Michael Barber, is the biggest education product sales company on earth.
2. Bill Gates is the second richest man on earth, a man who has almost single-handedly funded and marketed the entire Common Core movement.

Gates previously partnered with UNESCO to bring a master curriculum worldwide in his “Education For All” program.  Gates openly values extreme socialism and says that it’s much better than American constitutional government. Listen to Gates at minute 6:20 on this clip. Gates says, “We’ll only know this works when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.”

Pearson’s CEA is Sir Michael Barber, a man whose company colludes with governments worldwide in public-private-partnerships (soft fascism) and believes that children’s data should be gathered on a global scale. Barber pushes his version of “sustainable educational revolution,” worldwide, explaining that sustainable education reforms meanit can never go back to how it was.”  See his speeches on YouTube and his Twitter feeds.

These two mega forces for globalizing and standardizing education have now come together.

In a New York Times article on the partnership, Susan Neuman, a former Education Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now a professor at the University of Michigan, was quoted:

This is something that’s been missing in all the policy statements on the common core: a sequential curriculum,” Dr. Neuman said. But she worries that Pearson has few rivals.

Pearson already dominates, and this could take it to the extreme,” she said. “This could be problematic for many of our kids. We could get a one size fits all.”

Indeed.

So when my state school board says that Common Core is just a set of minimum standards, not a curriculum, I will point them to this:  the biggest monopolizer of textbooks, technologies and teacher training–Pearson– has now partnered with one of the wealthiest foundations on earth to create a one size fits all curriculum.

Where will private schools and others go to buy books, who don’t want Common Core-aligned curriculum?  How will others stay in business with such huge competition?

 

Pastor Speaks Out in Maryland: This Must Become Our Alamo   5 comments

Thank you, Pastor John of Maryland, for your words:

“We need more teachers to speak out.

As a Pastor I have joined the fight in Maryland to get the word out about Common Core. Today 6 of us spoke at a School Board meeting and were told by the Board President that they are going to put Common Core on the agenda for the next meeting so more time can be spent on it.

Pray for our efforts in Maryland.

Keep up the fight to expose U.S. Dept. of Ed’s agenda to control and indoctrinate our children with an amoral, progressive, globalist agenda at the expense of our liberties and our tax dollars.

This must be stopped. This must become our Alamo!”

— — — —

Note:  there is a group in Maryland called Marylanders Against Common Core.  Meet them here:  https://www.facebook.com/MDStopCommonCore?fref=pb

Arizona State Superintendent Believes Common Core Provides Benefits   7 comments

Watch this Arizona State Superintendent’s interview about Common Core.  She loves it!  https://originals.azpm.org/p/on-azweek/2013/2/8/22440-full-interview-with-associate-school-supt-hrabluk/

Notable highlights:   She calls Common Core “such a significant shift and focus in our educational system.”  Yes, it is.  But not for the better.

She admits the Common Core allows much less classic literature/stories and increases informational text in its place.  She does not address how this shift will affect students’ love for reading!

She does not talk about the horrors of the new math and the delays of the times at which children are taught to use algorithms that actually work. (Algorithm = how to quickly multiply, how to add or subtract or divide– used to be lower elementary, now it’s late elementary age)

She uses the term “internationally benchmarked” standards, as if she is unaware that that’s a flat-out lie.  (For example, the Asian Tiger countries –recognized math gurus– teach algebra years before Common Core does, at about eighth grade, which is what Utah USED TO DO, BEFORE COMMON CORE!  See Ze’ev Wurman’s and James Milgram’s math reviews.)

Arizona’s superintendent goes on:

@ 9:59 “But what’s critically important if we’re going to be effective are the additional wrap-around services that are provided…”  This means the wrap-around services that have nothing to do with school at all– mental health interventions, government food, rides to school, provision of health care, etc.  This brings to mind U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan’s vision of no-weekends off, no time off for summer; a totally school-centered life, the opposite of what most of us believe in– family centered life.
It’s socialism– where parents and their provision of service, love, learning and values, become irrelevant. Here’s more:
@ 10:40 “It becomes absolutely essential in our K-12 system that we have the additional support systems available for all students… that requires us to look at differentiated instruction… “Time on task:  How important will extended learning time be for some students?…And again, how committed are we to making sure that all of our students graduate ready for post-secondary? That will require some additional reforms in K12…”
“school is… starting to look and sound very different.  I encourage parents to stay the course… and learn to listen to diverse ways of thinking.”  Listen.  Why not have the school establishments listen to parents?  These are our children and our tax dollars yet we are being told to be quiet and listen.
The superintendent says it’s so important that all students leave high school prepared for postsecondary learning. — SO THEN WHY TAKE AWAY CLASSIC LITERATURE?  WHY TAKE AWAY LEGITIMATE MATH? WHY TAKE AWAY NARRATIVE WRITING?  WHY SLOW DOWN THE TIME THAT CHILDREN LEARN ALGORITHMS?
Yes.  I know that writing in all caps is a form of shouting.

 

Dear Utah State School Board   4 comments

Feel free to use this letter if it helps.  I sent it today.  If others wish to add their voices to mine, the board’s email is : Board@schools.utah.gov.

The Governor needs to hear from us, too.

———

Dear USOE and State School Board,

Parents and teachers like me are so very tired of reading lies about Common Core, which are stated (and published) repeatedly by the USOE and Utah State School Board, and which are then replicated across school district websites all over Utah. I’m writing to ask you to provide references to prove the claims are honest– or remove the claims. One or the other.

We’re tired of being told, for example, that there is a Utah Core. Most people do know that it’s the Common Core for Math and English. It’s misleading to say “Utah Core” unless you are talking about P.E. or history or other standards.

Some of you have not done much research about Common Core and you have been fed only the claims given you by Common Core proponents –such as Pearson, Wireless Generation, Bill Gates, and others, who stand to make a lot of money implementing Common Core.

You read Gates’ own publication, Education Week. You listen to the groups Gates has paid (bribed) to advocate for the untested experiment of Common Core, including the national PTA, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governor’s Association, the Harvard Newsletter, Manhattan Institute, Fordham Foundation and others. Gates admitted in a NY Times interview that he spent $5 Billion– billion– dollars pushing HIS version of education reform. So the marketing has been good. But the product is defective. You of all groups ought to study this thoroughly.

Sometimes people forward their emails from you to me. I am aghast at the unreferenced, untrue responses, such as “Common Core is an improvement” and “We still have local and parental control” and “We aren’t spending money on Common Core that we wouldn’t already be spending on education standards,” and “Common Core is academically rigorous.” These are absurd statements to anyone who has done their homework on Common Core.

Why not provide references for your ongoing claims to increase your trustworthiness in the public eye? If you are telling the truth, please show us. If not, it’s time to ‘fess up.

Parents deserve referenced truth. These are our kids. These are our tax dollars. And you are not telling the truth: that Common Core is an unproven, unwanted experiment –for which you’re using kids as guinea pigs.

The standards are not Utah’s. And they are not academically nor constitutionally legitimate. If I am wrong, please show me.

In education, as in medicine, the motto should be “First Do No Harm.”

Where is the evidence that Common Core standards are not harming our students? Where is the empirical data upon which this transformative alteration to Utah education was based?

More specifically, can you point me to a study that shows that not teaching kids how to convert fractions to decimals is better college prep in the long run? Where is the study that shows that lessening the teaching of classic literature and of narrative writing is going to benefit children as adults? Where is the proven, long term study that shows that informational text is more beneficial than classic literature?

If there is no such research, then why on earth have you foisted this hogwash on our kids– and called it “rigorous”!?!!

It does not even make sense. Rigorous? Running a mile is rigorous to a couch potato but it’s a dumbing down to an athlete. One size fits all can never be accurately described as “rigorous” and I pray you will quit abusing that word across our good state.

The adoption of Common Core is, ironically, dataless decisionmaking. It is decision making based on the wealth and influence of extreme politics, not based on the American principle of voter representation and local public vetting.

Where is the proof to back up the claim that Common Core is state-led? How can it be state-led when nobody in the state even knows about it? No legislator has a clue. No school board except the state school board was ever allowed to vet or vote upon this huge change to education. How can it be state-led when it’s written behind the closed doors of the NGA/CCSSO and there’s no amendment process?

Where is the proof that the Common Core is academically legitimate? We know it was developed by noneducators: David Coleman, the NGA and the CCSSO. We know it was most heavily funded and promoted by noneducators. We know it has been politically hijacked by the Dept. of Education and that Obama and Sec. Duncan claim to have given it to states (further crushing the claim that it was state-led). We have endless references for these things. Yet this board and office continually fails to provide a shred of evidence for its Common Core promoting claims.

I find this to be a terrible example to the rest of the educators and students of this state.

If I were teaching an English class today, would I say to my students, “Oh– you didn’t provide references in your research paper? Well, no big deal. Neither does the Utah State Office of Education or the State School Board” ?

Where is the proof that Utah still has control of her education system? There’s a solid copyright on the Common Core. There’s a 15% no-alteration rule. Ridiculous. That is the opposite of local control.

If Utah wants to teach sky-high, way past the mediocre Common Core, 15% does not cut it. If Utah wants to prevent corporate researchers, hackers or the federal government from accessing private student data collected in the State Longitudinal Database System (which we all know is interoperable with the federal database, and was paid for by the federal government and is modeled after their desires, not ours) — we cannot protect our kids’ privacy. Because the Common Core tests will collect all the information and will track the kids in the P-20 and SLDS. This is common knowledge today. By remaining in Common Core, you tie parents’ hands behind their backs. No parents can opt their children out of the SLDS tracking. This is unacceptable!

Common Core Standards, tests and data collecting tentacles are a tragic, horrific joke and as you know, the people who will suffer most are the children and the teachers.

For what is far from the first, and likely far from the last time, I implore you to please answer these issues with references.

If you can’t, then your duty to the people of Utah is to get us out of Common Core.

Integrity demands it.

Christel Swasey

Heber City Parent

Credentialed Utah Teacher

Utah Parents Need to Attend the Common Core Test Presentation Meetings!   1 comment

I’m posting an update for Utah parents who can and should attend the public meetings in their areas to pose questions about Common Core to the presenters from the Utah State Office of Education. http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/event-calendar/ This link will show addresses, dates and times if you click on the name of the district. This week will feature Logan, Weber, Juab, Nebo and Bountiful district meetings. Next week: Davis, Uintah, North Ogden, Payson. Then it’s South Utah County.
Coming Up:

TODAY

April 16, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm – LOGAN DISTRICT   –  Logan District Office, Board Room 101 West Center Street Logan,  UT USA

April 16, 2013 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm – WEBER DISTRICT – District Office, Board Room 5320 Adams Avenue Parkway Ogden,UT 84405

See the full calendar here: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/event-calendar/

Watch #StopCommonCore Twitter Rally Live Today at On Point Broadcasting   1 comment

Don’t tweet? Don’t fret. Watch coverage of the #stopcommoncore Twitter Rally via On Point Broadcasting- complete with a pre- and post- show. Log in to watch at 11am EST today. http://www.onpointbroadcasting.com\onpointtv

TWITTER RALLY TO #STOPCOMMONCORE TOMORROW   9 comments

Reminder:  TOMORROW IS THE DAY.

Parent Led Reform of Colorado is hosting the Stop Common Core rally at Twitter tomorrow.  Here’s a tutorial if you don’t yet Twitter.

(The hashtag is #StopCommonCore.)

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6tD9ZDQMNs2d2tERXduT2RWMzg/edit

New York Parents Coach Students Not to Take Common Core Tests   5 comments

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/14/do-not-pick-up-the-pencil-new-york-parents-coach-kids-to-refuse-common-core-tests/?utm_source=googleplus&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=Share%20Buttons

Parents Demand Real Answers at Alpine District Meeting on Common Core A.I.R. Tests   9 comments

Yesterday I attended the Alpine School District meeting, where U.S.O.E. representative John Jesse, director of assessments, gave a presentation about the new Common Core testing system created by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).  I went with Alisa, Renee, my sister and others whose district is Alpine.  I wanted to compare the attitudes of parents and teachers in Alpine to Wasatch District, where the same meeting was held last Monday.

Alpine’s meeting was so different.

The room was packed, with extra chairs being brought in and still, standing room only.  I have no idea if the majority of people were teachers, principals, or parents, but obviously, many people were concerned and many more came than had been anticipated by the district.

John Jesse had apparently predetermined that no questions would be taken until after the hour-long presentation.  When a parent raised her hand to ask a question, Mr. Jesse said that he would not answer the question until later.

The parent said that it was necessary to answer it now to understand, and other parents shouted out, “Just answer her question,” but Mr. Jesse would not.  The shouts of support continued to the point that Mr. Jesse appeared truly unreasonable, yet he would not budge.

Mr. Jesse lost the respect and confidence of his audience by refusing to answer questions as they came up.

Audience members (parents? teachers? administrators?)  decided to write their questions on the large white board wall on the side of the meeting room.  It was flooded with questions quickly. I wish I would have written them all down to share with you here.

When an audience member asked how long, after a test, parents would be able to see the test items (a week? a month? longer?) Mr. Jesse said that in order to be able to release the tests to the public each year (like ACT, SAT, etc, do), they would need to have a new set of tests created each year.

He said that one set of adaptive test items costs Utah taxpayers $32M. In his words, “It’s so expensive to build these tests, it’s just not possible to make these test items available to parents.”  (Money trumps legal, moral parental rights?!)

One parent asked why we are spending so much money on these tests rather than using the money to reduce class size.

Other parents brought up the illegality of not allowing parents to view test questions (referring to the rule that only 15 parents, appointed by the state, would have that privilege.)  One parent showed Mr. Jesse a copy of the bill that states that the Common Core Computer Adaptive Tests must collect “behavioral indicators” along with academic indicators.

She also had a copy of the state FERPA (Privacy law) and read portions aloud to Mr. Jesse, showing the violations of Common Core test and data collection.

Alisa and I had to leave early because we were on our way to make a presentation about the Common Core agenda to a group in Murray.  I quickly wrote my billion dollar question on a note and asked my sister if she would ask it.  (Even though I had been standing up, waving my arm back and forth, Mr. Jesse had not called on me during the Q and A.) I had to leave, I thought, without asking my question.

The exit door was next to the presenter.  I decided to ask my question on my way out. So I turned to the audience, the presenter and superintendent. To the best of my recollection (a videotaper –I hope– will post the video of the event soon) this is what I said:

“In medicine, the motto is FIRST DO NOT HARM. The same applies to education. We are here discussing the wonderful technology of the Common Core tests, but the standards on which they are built have not been vetted and there’s not a shred of evidence shown, ever, to prove to us that these standards are not doing harm and that the claims being made about them, claims being replicated across all district websites, are true.  There is no evidence. I am a credentialed Utah teacher and testify to you that the Common Core is a detriment to our students.  I don’t hold Mr. Jesse or Mr. Menlove personally accountable or blame them, but I say to all of us, as a state, we MUST get OUT of Common Core.”

It seemed as if the entire room jumped to its feet and started cheering and applauding. I felt like Pedro after Napoleon Dynamite finishes the dance. The audience was cheering enthusiastically on and on, and I didn’t know what to do.  (Do I take a bow? Do I run out the door?)  I stood and blinked at all the people in shock and joy.

I share this because I want to offer hope to the parents, teachers, school board members and administrators who have yet to attend these A.I.R. trainings.  Parents don’t want Common Core for the kids once they find out what the whole agenda is about.  Parents are standing up. They are speaking out. They are demanding to see evidence of claims.  They don’t want their kids being used as guinea pigs and they don’t like the lack of parental control and stifled teacher voices.

I heard that after I left the meeting, parents passed around a signup list to have a rally at the State Capitol.  But I also heard, sadly, that after I left the meeting, some parents became overly hostile and that Mr. Jesse was hostile as well.

I was not there then; this is hearsay, but I do hope that all those who stand for educational freedom do so with dignity and respect.  We do not wish to humiliate our leaders.  We just want them to do the right thing and study this fully and act then act on the knowledge that we are, in fact, being acted upon by an increasingly oppressive Executive Branch at the federal level.  This is harming quality, legitimate education.  It is harming data privacy rights.  It is removing local control.  We need our leaders to act.  But we do not want to be unkind.

I heard that at the Cedar meeting earlier yesterday, the USOE separated the teachers and the parents because they didn’t want teachers hearing the parental controversy.  This is wrong.  Do not put up with that.  These controversies affect us all.  We are in this together.

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the state meetings.  Please share with friends.  Show up and make sure your voice is heard.  These are your children. This is your tax money.  These are your rights.  I think Republicans, Democrats, teachers, parents and administrators can agree that we want no part of education without representation, and no part of education standards and tests that lack references, pilot testing or legitimate vetting.

IF YOUR DISTRICT IS NOT LISTED, CALL THE UTAH STATE OFFICE OF EDUCATION AND ASK FOR A MEETING ABOUT THE COMMON CORE TESTS.

Jordan District4–6 pmElk Ridge Middle School / Auditorium3659 W 9800 S, South Jordan Wednesday March 20

Granite District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Auditorium A2500 S State Street, Salt Lake City Thursday March 21

Salt Lake District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Room 116440 E 100 S, Salt Lake City Monday March 25

Washington District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Board Room121 W Tabernacle St., St. George Thursday March 28

Tooele District4–6 pmStansbury High School / Auditorium 5300 N Aberdeen Lane, Stansbury Park TuesdayApril 2

Park City District4–6 pmEcker Hill Middle School2465 W Kilby Rd, Park City WednesdayApril 3

Grand District4–6 pmGrand County High School / Auditorium608 S 400 E, Moab ThursdayApril 4

San Juan District4–6 pmSan Juan High School / Arena Theater311 N 100 E, Blanding MondayApril 8

Wasatch District4–6 pmDistrict Office101 E 200 N, Heber Tuesday April 9

Iron District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Board Room2077 W Royal Hunte Dr., Cedar City Tuesday April 9

Carbon District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Training Room 1251 W 400 N, Price Wednesday April 10

Sevier District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Training Room180 W 600 N, Richfield Thursday April 11

Box Elder District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Board Room960 S Main, Brigham City Thursday April 11

Alpine District4–6 pmDistrict Office575 N 100 E, American Fork TuesdayApril 16

Weber District4–6 pmDistrict Office / Board Room5320 Adams Ave. Parkway, Ogden Tuesday April 16

Logan District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Board Room101 West Center, Logan Wednesday April 17

Juab District4–6 pmJuab High School / Little Theater802 N 650 E, Nephi Thursday April 18

Nebo District4–6 pmDistrict Office/ Board Room350 S Main, Spanish Fork TuesdayApril 23

Davis4–6 pmDistrict Office / Kendell Bldg (2nd Floor)

70 E 100 N, Farmington Thursday April 25

Uintah District4–6 pm Maeser Training Center1149 N 2500 W, Vernal

FBI and Dept of Ed Sued for Privacy Violations   4 comments

We knew that the Dept. of Education had been sued for violating student privacy by changing FERPA without congressional approval.

But now we learn that the same company, EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has also sued the FBI for privacy-rights obliteration.

Now, ponder those two lawsuits in the context of the White House’s “data-mashing” goals (those are the words of DOE chief of staff Joanne Weiss.)   Recall, too, that the White House hosted a “Datapalooza” conference recently to celebrate the wonders of streamlining all data collection everywhere.

The White House is very openly promoting inter-agency data sharing.  They will not easily admit that they are making privacy laws looser and looser and reducing parental say over student data. But it’s clear if you actually take the time to read, read, read.

And…

All the states have a federally paid for, federally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System which tracks citizens throughout their lives.

Please click on the links to verify.

 

 

Posted April 11, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Republican National Convention Debates Controversial Common Core   6 comments

http://www.politicalchips.org/profiles/blog/show?id=4095899:BlogPost:165620&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post

 

Reposted from Leslie Schmidt at Political Chips:

The Republican National Committee Spring Meeting starts today in Los Angeles.  One of the items that will be discussed and voted on is a draft resolution on the Common Core State Standards which you can see below:

 

RESOLUTION CONCERNING COMMON CORE EDUCATION STANDARDS

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of academic standards, promoted and supported by two private membership organizations, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a method for conforming American students to uniform (“one size fits all”) achievement goals to make them more competitive in a global marketplace, (1.) and

WHEREAS, the NGA and the CCSSO, received tens of millions of dollars from private third parties to advocate for and develop the CCSS strategy, subsequently created the CCSS through a process that was not subject to any freedom of information acts or other sunshine laws, and never piloted the CCSS, and

WHEREAS, even though Federal Law prohibits the federalizing of curriculum (2.), the Obama Administration accepted the CCSS plan and used 2009 Stimulus Bill money to reward the states that were most committed to the president’s CCSS agenda; but, they failed to give states, their legislatures and their citizens time to evaluate the CCSS before having to commit to them, and

WHEREAS, the NGA and CCSSO in concert with the same corporations developing the CCSS ‘assessments’ have created new textbooks, digital media and other teaching materials aligned to the standards which must be purchased and adopted by local school districts in order that students may effectively compete on CCSS ‘assessments’, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS program includes federally funded testing and the collection and sharing of massive amounts of personal student and teacher data, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS effectively removes educational choice and competition since all schools and all districts must use Common Core ‘assessments’ based on the Common Core standards to allow all students to advance in the school system and to advance to higher education pursuits; therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee, as stated in the 2012 Republican Party Platform, “do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level,” (p35)(3.), which is best based on a free market approach to education for students to achieve individual excellence; and, be it further

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is– an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee rejects thecollection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state, and be it finally

RESOLVED, the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (p36) (3.); and therefore, the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.

References:

1. www.corestandards.org

2.  Federal Law 20 USC 1232a-Sec. 1232a. and The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Pub.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 US.C. ch. 70.

http://us-code.vlex.com/vid/prohibition-against-federal-control-191…

3.  http://www.gop.com/rnc_counsel/

Utah Asst. Superintendent Dodges the Billion Dollar Question –Again   3 comments

After a whole year of never receiving an email response from Asst. Superintendent Judy Park, today she wrote back!  Wow.
But.  The billion dollar question was dodged again.  It’s been dodged in emails for over a year.  It was dodged twice more at last night’s Common Core (S.A.G.E./A.I.R.) presentation, both during and after the event.   But I wrote an email asking it again.
Here it is, and here’s her answer.

My Question:   Please direct me to documentation of the claim that the common core standards, upon which this test is built, are legitimate and that they have been empirically tested, rather than being the experimental idea of unelected noneducators?

Ms. Park’s Answer:   You have received a great deal of information about the common core from Brenda Hales, Associate Superintendent. I would encourage you to direct your questions about the common core to her.

Another dodge!  Another D O D G E!

Utterly, completely unbelievable!

This dodge is like building a house (a new Utah educational system) on quicksand (illegitimate standards) and insisting that everyone to keep admiring the roof (nifty technology) –and telling the homeowner (teacher/taxpayers/parents) who paid for the whole thing and will live in it for life, to quit asking the pesky questions about those sinking wobbly motions in the foundation, directing that homeowner to ask an irrelevant wallpaper hanger why the home was built in quicksand.

There comes a time when you either keep yelling at the t.v./radio/computer screen/newspaper, or you make a move.
Utah, I am asking you to make a move.  Call.  Write.  Tell our Governor, School Board, legislature and U.S.O.E.  that we deserve answers to these most basic of all questions that affect our children and grandchildren in dramatic ways, for the rest of their lives.  Please act. 
Here’s an email for the state school board: board@schools.utah.gov
This is what I wrote to Assistant Superintendent Judy Park today.
Judy,
Thank you for taking the time to partially respond to some of my questions.
Please– stop dodging the most important question, for me and for all Utahns.
“First, do no harm” applies to education as well as to medicine.  Please show us proof that the USSB/USOE is doing no harm by implementing Common Core; this should be easy.  Brenda Hales, the public relations person is not an academic expert; you are.  By dodging the question to her it appears that you don’t even know whether Common Core is snake oil –or not.
Don’t teachers, parents and legislators deserve to know that hundreds of millions of dollars and hours and children’s minds all pushing toward Common Core implementation is  being spent wisely?!   Do we not deserve to see evidence and references backing up the oft-repeated claim that these standards are helpful?
Where is the study showing that long-term, lives are enhanced when high school seniors are deprived of 70% of their classic literature?  Where is the study showing that long-term, students who are deprived of the knowledge of how to convert fractions into decimals, are blessed by that fact?  Countless examples could be shared.
You serve on the CCSSO, the D.C. group which developed and copyrighted these unproven standards.  You have been doing this longer than our State Superintendent and you stand uniquely qualified to answer questions about the academic  legitimacy of the standards and about the lack of any empirical evidence to back up the U.S.O.E.’s claims– which have been replicated on every district website in this stateand which are false.
The standards are not serving children honorably.  They take away from, rather than raise, Utah’s educational hopes.  Less classic literature.  Less traditional math.  Slowing of the age at which algorithms are introduced.  Less narrative writing.  Less parental consent.  No  district-held control over the sharing of student data.  And worst of all, the standards and connected reforms and mandates have robbed Utah of educational sovereignty, a constitutional right.  We have no voice, no amendment process.  For such a trade, the standards must surely be magnificent.
Yet you cannot even point me to the documentation that these standards are more than a blind experiment on our kids, written by noneducators and adopted at grant-point, rather than after thorough and honorable academic vetting in Utah?
This is an absolute outrage.
In the name of integrity, what are you going to do about it?
Christel Swasey
Utah Teacher
Utah Parent

National Twitter Rally to #StopCommonCore April 16th   17 comments

 

Karin Piper, a freedom fighter at Colorado’s @Parent Led Reform  is leading a national #StopCommonCore Twitter  rally.  The rally is promoted and supported by Michelle Malkin, the Truth in American Education network and countless parent and teacher groups  for educational freedom nationwide.  The event begins Tuesday, April 16th at 10:00 and goes until 12:00.

@ParentLedReform is also hosting an expert panel and a multi-state coalition of organizations to talk discuss #stopcommoncore in conjunction with the rally.

Join LIVE via Twitter to listen or share your view about Common Core Standards.  Twitter is free and easy to join.

This is a public event.  Please share with your friends and neighbors.

Video: Utah Stories Magazine Investigates Common Core   18 comments

Today, Utah Stories magazine interviewed Alisa, Renee and me.  Here’s the clip.

Teachers Speak Out, Some Resign Over Common Core   7 comments

Photo: Is this true for you?

Jeremiah ChaffeeGerald ContiKris NielsenStephen RoundPaul Horton. Susan WilcoxAnonymous Utah Teachers.  Anonymous California Teacher. Paul BogushDavid Cox.  Chasidy White.  Pat Austin. Stephanie Sawyer. Renee Braddy. Warriors. Heroes. Freedom Fighters. Teachers.

Common Core is a tragedy.  Wake up, America.  Listen to these teachers.

Some teach now; some have retired over Common Core.  Each has spoken out and each needs to be heard. Today I want to highlight Gerald Conti, whose resignation letter was just published in the Washington Post.

It’s heartbreaking.

Gerald Conti’s Letter:

“Data driven education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core…

Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill…

…The New York State United Teachers union has let down its membership by failing to mount a much more effective and vigorous campaign against this same costly and dangerous debacle…  our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students …

This situation has been exacerbated by other actions of the administration, in either refusing to call open forum meetings to discuss these pressing issues, or by so constraining the time limits of such meetings that little more than a conveying of information could take place. This lack of leadership at every level has only served to produce confusion, a loss of confidence and a dramatic and rapid decaying of morale.

The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come. The analogy that this process is like building the airplane while we are flying would strike terror in the heart of anyone should it be applied to an actual airplane flight, a medical procedure, or even a home repair. Why should it be acceptable in our careers and in the education of our children?

… My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom.

Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven…

I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.

Read the rest.

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!
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/04/us_department_of_education_web.html

— — — — — — —

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.

So Who Has Authority? Who’s on First?   3 comments

The question of who’s controlling education today could be fodder for a hilarious classic comedy skit, like “Who’s On First?”

–Except that messing with our children and wasting tens of millions of hard-earned tax dollars ain’t  funny.

Does anyone really know the answer to the question of who has the authority to change Utah’s education standards today?  Where is the statewide pressure point?  Does the state board have to change the standards –or can the legislature?  Can the Governor?

Utahns have been contacting their school boards and teachers and local superintendents.  The school boards and superintendents insist, “It came down to us from the state.  Our hands are tied.  We have to do Common Core.”
They feel it is a mandate that they can’t get out of.

 

Utahns also contact their elected representatives about Common Core.  These representatives and D.C. congressmen almost unanimously say that they are also concerned about Common Core, but are not sure the legislature can do anything about it.  They then redirect citizens back to the local and state school boards.  The buck gets passed back again.

 

Utahns have spoken with the Governor about this.  He tells us he’s for Common Core because he believes that teachers and principals are for it.  But teachers won’t speak up (except anonymously, or except if they are retired) because they fear for their jobs.  So how would the governor or anyone really know what teachers are feeling?  They don’t.

 

Governor Herbert does sit on the board of the NGA/CCSSO that wrote and copyrighted the standards.  (But no, he can’t affect the standards.  The NGA/CCSSO position is a token position that makes the governor –and Utah– buy into the idea that Utah has a voice in Common Core, even though we don’t.)

Constitutionally, the Department of Education has zero authority to direct states’ educational systems, although many Utahns act as though there is no constitutional rule on the matter.  To our detriment.

In 2007, Utahns got the superintendent and state board to change the standards because concerned parents brought the standards under fire from the legislature.  But today, with a copyrighted Common Core held by the very D.C. groups that wrote Common Core –the NGA and CCSSO– parents can’t pressure the state to improve standards anymore.
So no one knows who’s in charge, but all believe and repeat the claim that it’s not the Federal Government.  Now that is classic confusion!
It is worse than the blind leading the blind.
When the academic, privacy,  financial and legal liabilities fallout, as soon as a majority of people realize how bad Common Core really is, who will take the blame?
I don’t know;  but I know who gets hurt:  the voiceless, totally unrepresented student whose data gets mined in the name of “human capital,” and whose educational standards have sunk to a mediocre common denominator, written by  designing individuals and by corporate greed –not by educators at all.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: # 5 – Bill Gates   55 comments

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

Bill Gates: Scary Philanthropy

Countdown # 5

 This is the fifth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For numbers 67, 8 9 and 10,  click here.

The biggest philanthropist on earth comes across as the epitome of sincere, nerdy nice-guy.  And he probably is very nice and very sincere.  But does sincerity trump truth?

The truth is, Bill Gates’ herculean attempt to fund and market Common Core to Americans, and to circumvent the voting public on educational issues, is dangerously, dangerously misguided.

Thus,  not everybody is happy in philanthropy land.  The biggest philanthropist in the world got behind the unproven experiment  of Common Core and  –using money rather than the voice of the American voter– he pushed it into schools, circumventing any vetting  by legislative, educator or parent groups.

Gates’ astronomical wealth  has persuaded millions that Common Core is the solution to education problems,  the argument from everywhere,  approved (by him) and beyond debate.  But let me repeat the fact:  regardless of whether the standards are horrible or glorious, the truth remains that whenever unelected philanthropists are permitted to direct public policy, the voting public  gets cut out of the process.   It’s happening all over the U.S., but not just in the U.S.  The Gates-directing-world-education effect is happening everywhere.

Since Gates has no constituency he can’t be un-elected; so it’s not the the wisdom of experienced educators, but simply one man’s money that is directing implementation of  the controversial Common Core.  His  money has bought, besides technology, work groups, and a seat at the policy making table, extreme marketing success.

He’s got control of the education opinion factory.  When Common Core was debated at the Indiana State Capitol, who showed up to advocate for Common Core?  Stand for Children, which Bill Gates funds.  He also funds the League of Education Voters, the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the Partnership for Learning, all Common Core advocates;  Gates owns Editorial Projects in Education, parent of Education Week magazine.

No wonder, then, even educators don’t seem to know the full truth about Common Core.  They’re reading Education Week and  the Harvard Education Letter.  Translation: they are reading Gates’ dollar bills. (By the way: want to make some money selling out your fellow teachers?  Gates is searching for a grant recipient who will receive $250,000 to accelerate networking of teachers toward acceptance of Common Core. )

Wherever you see advocates for Common Core, you see Gates’ influence.  He gave a million dollars to the national PTA  to advocate to parents about Common Core.  He gave  Common Core developer NGA/CCSSO roughly $25 million to promote it.  (CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780.)  He gave $15 million to Harvard for “education policy” research.  He gave $9 million to universities promoting “breakthrough learning models” and global educationGates paid inBloom 100 million dollars to collect and analyze schools’ data as part of a public-private collaborative that is building  “shared technology services.”  InBloom, formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, includes districts, states, and the unelected Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  The list goes on and on and on.

It’s hard to know exactly how much money Gates has put toward the promotion of Common Core because of the chameleon-like wording of  educational granting areas.  For example, he gave $3 million  Stanford University and $3 million to Brown University   for “college and career readiness.” (The average person wouldn’t know that college and career readiness is a code phrase defined as  common core by the Department of Education.)  Sometimes he’s promoting “support activities around educational issues related to school reform” for the CCSSO (common core developer) and other times he’s “helping states build data interoperability” –which not everyone would recognize as Common assessments’  bed-making.

According to Gates himself, he’s spent five billion dollars to promote his vision of education since 2000.

He really,  reealllly believes in Common Core.  So it doesn’t matter that Common Core is an experiment on our children  that’s never been tested and has been rejected by countless  top education analysts.  It doesn’t matter that Common Core is an un-American, top-down, nonrepresentative system  that state legislatures didn’t even get to vet.  Bill Gates wants it.

And not just in America– he wants global education standards.

Gates’ company, Microsoft, signed a cooperative agreement with the United Nations’ education branch, UNESCO.  In it, Gates said, “Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO’s constitution and intends to contribute to UNESCO’s programme priorities.” UNESCO’s  “Education For All” key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.”  Read the full text here:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf

So Gates partners with the U.N.’s educational and other goals via UNESCO’s  “Education for All”  which seeks to teach the same standards to all children (and adults) on a global scale.  Why is this a problem?  It supercedes local control over what is taught to students, and dismisses the validity of the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of inclusivity and education and tolerance for all nations.

At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”

The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. On the linked Education and Awareness page of the U.N. website, we learn:

Education, Public  Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable”   http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml

Did you get that?  Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide.  They just admitted it out loud.  They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.

So then we click on Chapter 36.  In 36.2 it says we should “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development.  (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.)  36.3 says:  “Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes…. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development…  To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods”

The take-away?  What does Bill Gates agree to in his Microsoft – UNESCO partnership?

  • Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education.
  • Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change.  Current attitudes are unacceptable.
  • Education will be belief-and-spirituality based as defined by the global collective.
  • Environmental education will be integrated into every subject, not just science.

The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”

Hence the need for people like Gates to influence the training of decision makers.  When asked what matters most to him, Gates said: education.  His version of education. The Huffington Post reported:

“I’d pick education, if I was thinking broadly about America,” Gates responded. “It’s our tool of equality.”  Is it coincidence that equality and redistribution are also concepts that Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah and Arne Duncan are promoting in the federal Equity and Excellence Commission?

How committed is Bill Gates to the United Nations having a say in American education?

In his annual letter, Gates emphasized the importance of  following the United Nations’ Millennial Goals and measuring teachers more closely.  One of those UN Millennial goals is to achieve universal education.  Also, Gates helped create Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for U.S. national education standards. (link 1) (link 2)

Also,  Gates’ Foundation funded the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)

It appears that Bill Gates is more than a common core philanthopist; he is a promoter of global sameness of education as defined by UNESCO and the U.N.

That’s scary.

Renee Discusses Common Core Math: The Emperor Is Wearing No Clothes   6 comments

Here’s another GoogleHangout with Renee, Alisa and me. Renee relates the story of what happened when she asked a teacher at her daughter’s school what exactly her perception was of Common Core math.

What had been added to, or taken away from, how math used to be taught, she asked.

This elementary school teacher’s response illustrates the muddiness of the whole Common Core, and the way it’s held up by claims and fluffy consensus, not anything substantive, not anything worth the money, time, and liberty we’re giving up for it.

It’s almost, almost funny. –Except that it’s not.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dXqN3J18v0&feature=youtu.be

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: # 9 – David Coleman   69 comments

David Coleman:  Bye Bye, Classics

Countdown # 9

This is the second in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading American education reform.  (#10 on the list is posted here.)

David Coleman, lead “architect” for the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core, is not an educator, but a businessman.  Recently promoted to president of the College Board, he has promised to align the SAT with the Common Core that he built.  He plotted education for K-12 students, and now he’s plotting it for postsecondary students, too.

How can a one-size-fits-all alignment make sense for all students –whether bound for a minimum wage job, a two-year college or the top university in the world– prepare each using a one-size-fits-all Common Core program?  Either the lower-level students are to be pushed beyond reasonable expectations, or the higher level students are to be dumbed down.  Or both.

Coleman is an outspoken antagonist to narrative writing and is no fan of classic literature, so he singlehandedly slashed most of it from the education most children in America will know, either already –or soon.  Ask your kids, but remember, Common Core testing begins in 2014, so the intense pressure for teachers to conform to Common Core is yet to be fully felt.

What did Coleman do to Language Arts? He mandated that dreary informational text, not beautiful, classic literature, is to be the main emphasis in English classes, incrementally worsening as students get older.

What it looks like:  little children in an ELA classroom may read no more than 50% classic literature. High school seniors may only read 30% classic literature. The other 70% must be informational text, which means everything from historical documents (um– why not read those in history classes?)  to insulation installation manuals,  presidential executive orders, environmental programming, and federal reserve documents.  These are actually on the recommended reading  list.

Another weird twist to Coleman’s Common Core is that he says students must “stay within the four corners of the text” as if that were possible.  Context is not to be part of a discussion?  Outside experience is not to be compared to the informational text?  For a thorough, and eloquent, explanation of what has happened to English Language Arts because of Coleman’s influence, please read “Speaking Back to the Common Core” by Professor Thomas Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire.

What Coleman does not understand (–hmmm, maybe actual English teachers should have been invited to those closed-door meetings–) is that narrative is so much more than a style of writing.

Narrative isn’t just using the “I” word.  It’s more than “What I Did Last Summer.”

Narrative is a pattern woven (often unconsciously) into every style of memorable writing, whether argumentative, persuasive, expository, etc.  The best informational texts are narratively satisfying.

Coleman’s knocking down of narrative writing and slashing of it from academic standards is both ignorant and, to English teachers and astute kids, really confusing. For a funny, punchy review of the muddly ELA writing standards, read Professor Laura Gibbs’ “Inspid Brew of Gobbledygook”.

David Coleman is largely ignorant in the field of writing language arts standards.  One member of the official Common Core validation committee, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, pointed this out and refused to sign off on the validity of the Common Core standards.

And David Coleman is not even nice, as you’ll see from the video linked here, where he mocks student narrative and uses the “sh–” word in a professional development seminar for teachers.

Lastly, Coleman’s large financial contribution to the campaign of  Education Committee Senator Todd Huston (Indiana) whom Coleman hired for the College Board after his election, forms another branch of reasons that I can not trust this man to make wise decisions affecting children.

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform   98 comments

Michelle Rhee: Putting Students Last

Countdown # 10:

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

This is the first in a countdown series of introductions,  a list of the  Top Ten Scariest People Leading American Education. 

 

It’s so troubling to see local and state leaders put their trust –and our childrens’ minds– in the hands of people who openly work to destroy the great American tradition.

It’s been said –and I agree– that American liberties are being lost because of the strange coalition of three unlikely groups:  the well-intentioned, the slothful, and the subversive.

This series will focus on the third group, the subversive.

Watch the antics of the people who lead the educational philosophies of our nation.  Topping my list of educational subversives: Common Core architect/College Board President David Coleman; Common Core testing advisor  /Obama campaign advisor Linda Darling-Hammond; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Sir Michael Barber, who is CEA of Pearson Education; and Dept. of Education consultant Bill Ayers.

Today I will introduce Michelle Rhee, President of StudentsFirst.   She is a self-proclaimed radical left wing progressive   “change agent”.     This Harvard graduate, former chancellor of D.C. schools and White House darling is  rumored to be the logical replacement for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Her book, “Radical,” was published last month.

It is troubling to read about the scandal in which Rhee was accused and partially acknowledged the erasing by adults of wrong answers and correcting student tests dishonestly to make the scores appear higher than they really were.

And it is very troubling to see how little student learning really means to her.  From American Thinker:

“Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst, had gotten into a discussion with former teacher Robert Pondiscio, of the website Core Knowledge, about curriculum. Pondiscio had just finished listening to a speech Rhee gave at the Manhattan Institute on December 16, 2010, when he asked her if she could comment on the importance of curriculum.

Here’s the exchange:

Pondisco: “I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Rhee about my reform game -curriculum, teaching and learning…

“I know you have a lot on your plate,” I concluded. “But I’d urge you to at least keep curriculum in mind.”

“The last thing we’re going to do,” she replied with a chuckle, “is get wrapped up in curriculum battles.”

A stunning reply if you think about it.

The poster child for bare-knuckle reform, who moments earlier was urging her listeners to “embrace conflict,” has no stomach for a debate about what kids should learn in school.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/03/suspect_common_core_standards_linked_to_studentsfirst_former_board_members.html#.UUkTCyJvIaY.email#ixzz2O62fGLq3
Rhee has been criticized endlessly by a California teacher whose blog about absurd education reforms  includes posts decrying common core, data madness, and Michelle Rhee.  At that blog I also found this Dr. Seuss-styled satire –about Michelle Rhee.

Interview: Stanford Scholar and District School Board President Speak Out Against Common Core   9 comments

Alisa, Renee and I interviewed Dr. Bill Evers, from Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and Angela Weinziner, the president of the Travis District School Board, also from California. We asked how Common Core is impacting California’s education and the economy.

Highlights:

Dr. Evers tells the story of how an error found in the elementary level English standards about long and short vowels could not be corrected. The standards had already been printed and sent to the states. It was too late to course correct, even on a small matter. How will we course correct on large matters? There is no amendment process.

Angela Weinzinger explains that few parents or school board members really understand what Common Core is all about. She asks parents to speak out and voice their concerns.

Dr. Evers explains what “competitive federalism” is and what its benefits are to education.

White House Hosts “Datapalooza” built on Common Core Tests   11 comments

Did you see the recent view that  Missouri Education Watchdog has taken on “Datapalooza” at the White House?  Most telling is a pleasant sounding speech by eScholar CEO Shawn T. Bay, given at the White House, in which he states that although aggregate data (not individual) is useful, it’s most useful to look at the individual consumer or the individual student. He says, too, that  Common Core is so important to the open data movement, because it’s “the glue that actually ties everything together.”

Common Core tests begin in 2014.  The tests are to be the vehicle for the nationwide student data collection, both academic and nonacademic.  Without Common Core, the federal and corporate invasion of privacy could not be effective.  I do not think many people, including the speaker in this video, understand the underhanded (nonconsensual) alterations to privacy law of the Department of Education.

Here is the video.  http://youtu.be/9RIgKRNzC9U?t=9m5s

At about minute nine, he explains how the data push depends on Common Core State Standards.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which States Aim to Reclaim Educational Liberty?   57 comments

RECLAIM EDUCATIONAL LIBERTY

Many people –including bipartisan U.S. groups  and freedom fighters   in other nations— are working to save educational liberty.  We are waking up to shake off the chains that have settled over education.

Please leave a comment if you know of updates to this chart. 

United States Against Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

and Washington, D.C.

State  Websites Videos Other
1. Alabama http://www.auee.org/ http://vimeo.com/60017609
2. Alaska
3. Arizona http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com
4. Arkansas http://www.uaedreform.org/sandra-stotsky/
5. California http://cuacc.org/ http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/
6. Colorado www.parentledreform.org

http://nepc.colorado.edu/author/ohanian-susan

www.bobschaffer.org

http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Mathis_NationalStandards.pdf

7. Connecticut http://vimeo.com/60214843 https://blogush.edublogs.org/
8. Delaware http://education.nationaljournal.com/2012/05/common-core-makes-waves.php
9. Florida https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Florida/516780045031362 http://truthabouteducation.wordpress.com/
10. Georgia http://stopcommoncore.com/ http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4 http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com

http://www.dissidentprof.com/

11. Hawaii
12. Idaho http://idahoansforlocaleducation.com/
13. Illinois https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Illinois/388021897963618 StopcommoncoreIllinois@yahoo.com

jphjuly12@yahoo.com

14. Indiana  http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/ http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/house-senate-halts-common-core-standards-45398/
15. Iowa   http://iowansforlocalcontrol.com
16. Kansas http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/hb2289/
17. Kentucky  scholarmom@gmail.com
18. Louisiana http://soitgoesinshreveport.blogspot.com/
19. Maine
20. Maryland
21. Massachusetts http://pioneerinstitute.org/
22. Michigan  www.SCCinMichigan.com http://improvek-12schools.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Michigan/303312003109291

23. Minnesota  http://edlibertywatch.org/
24. Mississippi
25. Missouri http://moagainstcommoncore.webs.com/ http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com
26. Montana
27. Nebraska
28. Nevada
29. New Hampshire http://nhcornerstone.org

thomas.newkirk@unh.edu

http://networkforeducation.org/
http://nhfamiliesforeducation.org/
https://www.facebook.com/NHSchoolChoice

30. New Jersey http://youtu.be/rSEVsEa9XEg

http://youtu.be/wEkN8Sgca0I

http://www.aasa.org
31. New Mexico
32. New York http://gothamschools.org
33. North Carolina http://mgmfocus.com

http://www.nceducationalliance.org

34. North Dakota https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-North-Dakota/431076243650481
35. Ohio Ohio Common Core – Roots and Reality of Education Standards
36. Oklahoma http://www.restoreokpubliceducation.com/
37. Oregon http://zhaolearning.com/2009/08/06/96/
38. Pennsylvania  http://www.ceopa.org/education-standards.aspx reedmom54@gmail.com
39. Rhode Island http://youtu.be/sBSgchJe2Z0
40. South Carolina https://www.facebook.com/StopCommonCoreInSouthCarolina?ref=stream http://www.electmikefair.com/?p=220
41. South Dakota http://legiscan.com/SD/bill/HB1204/2013
42. Tennessee http://tnacc.weebly.com
43. Texas http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/03/15/how-common-core-is-dumbing-down-america%E2%80%99s-schoolchildren/

http://educatefortexas.wordpress.com

44. Utah http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/ http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4

http://youtu.be/5XBsbxYJHms?t=11s

http://sutherlandinstitute.org/
45. Vermont
46. Virginia http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/
47. Washington http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/
48. West Virginia
49. Wisconsin
50. Wyoming cruisebrok@aol.com

The Common Core Price Tag   1 comment

To Heck With Diamonds:

Common Core is Forever

By Jenni White

Reposted with permission from: http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/02/to-heck-with-diamonds-common-core-is.html

Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) has been closely following the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) cost issue, since NO ONE in charge of public education in Oklahoma – including the purse string holders at the state legislature – have been able to tell Oklahomans what the Common Core will cost Oklahoma taxpayers.

I wrote an article last month that was published in the American Thinker titled “The Ed Tech Scam”, to shed light on the fact that the CCSS have become an unfunded state mandate – specifically in the area of technology requirements.

Yes, the CCSS lovers say,

“Adopting new materials isn’t really a cost of the Common Core, it’s just a cost in education of providing relevant materials to students that are there anyway.”

However, when you have at least one Oklahoma Superintendent honestly reporting (to a national education magazine) how pinched he is to get technology in place prior to the roll out of the Common Core tests, we are inclined to suspend belief.

Once you get into a testing situation, you have to be able to support it without interruption,” said Mr. Kitchens, who added: “I do not think this is going to be a cheap exercise at all.”

As we’ve reported previously, legislators cemented the Common Core State Standards into Oklahoma law in order to get Race to the Top funds without even a cursory review of draft forms of the standards as there were none available at that time. This would seem a clear violation of the public trust.

Legislators to taxpayers,

“Hey guys, you’re responsible for funding these, but we have no idea exactly what’s in them or how much they’ll cost the state or what they’ll do to Oklahoma education, but trust us.”
Obviously the trust wasn’t warranted. Currently, fourteen states have some form of legislation against the CCSS.

Clearly all is not well in CCSS-land.

Indiana recently threw out their Chief For Change (Jeb Bush/Foundation for Educational Excellence) state Superintendent Tony Bennett in favor of relatively unknown candidate Glenda Ritz, mainly because of flap over the cost and effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards. Directly on the heels of this upset comes legislation to force the Indiana state legislature to examine the cost of the Common Core before continuing their implementation.

Tony Bennett has not left the building, however. He now presides over the Florida State Department of Education, where, interestingly, the Florida state Board of Education is questioning whether or not the Florida education juggernaut is ready to roll out and administer the PARCC tests because of their cost.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.
Hoosiers have already caught on to the fact that their former State Supe has gone to another state and told Floridians they just can’t afford the reform measures he was deposed for pushing inside their borders. I’m not sure how this could inspire confidence in any Common Core state.

Then there’s the fact that so much of today’s ‘education reform’ efforts have been tied to private funding by Bill Gates.

In a clear, well-researched article written for the Heartland Institute on this topic, Joy Pullman quotes Betty Peters’ (Alabama State School Board member) concerns,

“A lot of private foundations are making decisions that would normally be left up to a public institution that would be accountable to the taxpayers.”
As often as we have heard the word “accountability” from our Oklahoma State Department of Education, this should be an eye-opener.

How in the world can the Council of Chief State School Officers or the National Governor’s Association (architects of the Common Core State Standards, funded in part by the Gates Foundation) be held accountable to Oklahoma taxpayers for education ‘reform’ efforts such as the CCSS? They are all copyrighted so they can’t be modified yet the CCSSO and the NGA have a disclaimer;

“NGA Center and CCSSO do not warrant, endorse, approve or certify the information on this site, nor do they make any representation as to the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, or timeliness of such information. Use of such information is voluntary on your part. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by NGA Center and CCSSO.”
Then there is the Jeb Bush factor. As information trickles into the public domain reporting the methods in which the Foundation for Educational Excellence writes educational policy through Janet Barresi and other Chiefs for Change, jaws should drop. Why should Oklahoma taxpayers be supporting Florida education reforms – especially those shown not to be as successful as first advertised?

This session in Oklahoma, Senator Clark Jolley has drafted a bill (SB447) which will usher in yet another new education ‘reform’ measure. MORE new tests! Yes, Oklahoma has chosen to believe the CCSSO’s verdict that most students will fail the PARCC ‘assessments’ when they are to be instituted in 2014.

Certainly, Oklahoma’s public school students cannot fail these tests with so much riding on them (the A-F school designation for one). Consequently, not only is Senator Jolley advocating that we must buy another set of tests (formative tests) to be given up to four times per year before the summative PARCC tests come on line, but that we should support this plan by cementing it into law – as with all other Race to the Top education reforms Oklahoma is currently implementing – without RTT funds.

Why must these tests be written into law? Every teacher gives (or should give) formative tests over content taught – something akin to chapter tests. These allow teachers to see whether or not students are ‘getting it’ in time to re-teach or re-direct learning to improve concept understanding. Certainly, this type of testing is better than summative (high stakes) type testing, but why should Oklahoma teachers have another law to follow?

Oklahoma teachers have enough on their plate without being mandated to follow another type of test. Even formative tests can be misused in such a way as to force teachers to teach to the test and isn’t that all PARCC tests are doing?

It has come to my attention this week that a company called Bellwether Education Partners supplies this type of “transitional national achievement test”.

I did a little research on Bellwether and found they work with such organizations as Chiefs for Change and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We know Dr. Barresi is a Chief for Change. One must wonder if there is a connection here as with the other education ‘reforms’ to which she’s been linked. Again, Oklahoma should not be implementing education ‘reforms’ simply because they are being done elsewhere or because another foundation is willing to ‘help’ Oklahoma with their implementation.

From what source is the money going to materialize to pay for these new tests? We haven’t even figured out how to pay for the PARCC tests. It must be taxpayer funded – all government is. Maybe that’s why Dr. Barresi has asked for a whopping $75 to $100 million in extra funding for next year. The press release sent out by her office lauding Senator Halligan and Senator Ford – from whom the funding requests were submitted – quotes Senator Ford as saying,

“We have three areas in education we must address, including statutory requirements to fund programs such as medical benefits, additional appropriations to pay for reforms we’ve already enacted, and additional funding at the local level that school boards can use to address specific needs in their individual districts,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville.
Why are you asking taxpayers to fund these reforms AFTER you enacted them into LAW, Senator Ford? Why should taxpayers be jumping up and down to fund ‘reforms we’ve already enacted’ when they haven’t originated in Oklahoma, were never read by those who enacted them, never had any functional testing demonstrating their efficacy and have been shown not to work in Florida from where they did originate?

Certainly, taxpayers deserve an answer to that question.

In closing, several interesting polls have come out recently regarding the Common Core.

Whiteboard Advisors, Education Insider “conducts an anonymous survey of a small group of key education influential (policymakers, though leaders, and association heads) to get their thoughts and commentary about the context of the current debate and possible outcomes.”
Their survey for February 2013 that polled ‘insiders’ on the Common Core show that support for PARCC testing is falling. In addition, 87% of respondents say they expect more states to drop out of the Common Core Assessment Consortia (like Alabama and Utah), “as they start to get a fuller picture for the implementation costs of assessments and professional development and get very unhappy about what they have signed up for in a budget constrained environment.”
77% of respondents believe schools will not have enough bandwidth to meet the Consortia’s recommended specifications in time for the tests to come on line.

The 2013 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, shows that only a maximum of 24% of teachers and principals either believed the Common Core would improve student achievement or prepare students for college and the workforce (page 76).

So why are we doing this ed ‘reform’ thing again?

I get the sneaky suspicion it’s not about kids…

 

—– —– —–

Thank you, Jenni White and R.O.P.E.

Florida short $300 million for next year’s Common Core implementation   2 comments

The Orlando Sentinel reports that education leaders worry schools won’t be ready for common core in time to meet its mandates and that there’s not enough money for implementation.

By Leslie Postal,  reposted from Orlando Sentinel  February 18, 2013

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-02-18/features/os-schools-common-core-technology-20130218_1_new-standards-new-tests-florida-schools

Florida schools are scrambling to be ready for new Common Core academic  standards – and the new computer-based tests that go with them – by 2015.

At their meeting Monday in Orlando, some members of the State Board of  Education questioned if schools had made enough progress training teachers  on the language arts and math standards and on preparing for a new batch of  online tests.

“It’s now February. We have be ready to roll the next calendar year,” said  board member Kathleen Shanahan.

The state’s new “readiness gauge” shows more progress on the standards than  the technology, as many schools still don’t have the computers, bandwidth or  high-speed Internet access needed for the tests and the state’s overall  “digital learning” push.

The State Board requested more than $400 million for new school technology  in the next year, but Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a smaller hike of $100  million.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara  Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett praised the new standards, which 45  states have adopted, as academic guidelines that “will transform the way our  students learn.” The new tests, he said, were key to making sure they are  well taught.

But he said there are “complexities” to implementing both, among them the  “technology readiness” of the 22 states, Florida included, that plan to use  the new tests from the Partnership for  Assessment of Readiness for College  and Career. They are to replace FCAT math, reading and writing exams.

He said within the next few months his staff will devise a “Plan B” in case  implementation cannot proceed as planned by 2015.

orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-schools-common-core-technology-201
30218,0,5142892.story=

South Dakota House Bill 1204: No Common Core Without Public O.K.   Leave a comment

State of South Dakota
EIGHTY-EIGHTH SESSION
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2013

HOUSE BILL NO. 1204

Beginning on July 1, 2013, the Board of Education is hereby expressly prohibited from
adopting any standards proposed through the Common Core State Standards… without the approval of the Legislature first obtained.

Why is Senator William Ligon Running a Bill to Withdraw Georgia from Common Core?   1 comment

Why is GA Senator William Ligon running the Georgia bill to withdraw from Common Core?

 

From the Senator: http://www.senatorligon.com/newsroom.html

  • There is no reason to usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.
  • Common Core State Standards were developed behind closed doors and are owned and copyrighted by unaccountable third parties in Washington, D.C.
  • These standards were never vetted by the people of Georgia in an open, accountable process.
  • Terms of the grant forbid the state from changing the standards or even adding content that exceeds the threshold of 15 percent.
  • General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant.
  • The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.
  • Our students and our teachers will be in a federal straight-jacket, and our school districts will be at the mercy of national and international vendors making money off this federal program.

Common Core Usurping Local and State Control of Education

Capitol Update:  by Senator William Ligon (R- Brunswick)

It was an honor this past week to host the visit of the former Texas Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott. I invited him to Georgia to meet with Governor Nathan Deal, our State School Superintendent, Dr. John Barge, the Senate and House Education members, the Republican leadership, and other members of the Georgia General Assembly. Sen. Lindsey TippIns, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee also extended an invitation for Scott to address the Joint Meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees before a standing-room only crowd on Wednesday afternoon.

As background, Scott, as the Texas Commissioner of Education, advised Governor Rick Perry to avoid the Race to the Top federal grant competition, with its requirement that the State adopt the Common Core State Standards. I wanted our leaders to understand his reasoning because I believe Gov. Perry made the right choice to keep Texas independent of the mandates of the grant and this federal focus to create uniform curriculum standards across the nation.

As most educators in my district have known for a while, Georgia’s former Governor, Sonny Perdue, and our former State School Superintendent, Kathy Cox, committed our state to the Race to the Top competition. This agenda never went before the Georgia Legislature and thus bypassed the voice of the people. Race to the Top is currently driving all school districts into “one-size-fits-all” curriculum standards in math and English language arts. Our students and our teachers will be in a federal straight-jacket, and our school districts will be at the mercy of national and international vendors making money off this latest federal program.

During Scott’s visit at the Capitol, he explained that the Common Core State Standards were developed behind closed doors and that they are owned and copyrighted by unaccountable third parties in Washington, D.C. These standards were never vetted by the people of Georgia in an open, accountable process, and the terms of the grant forbid the state from changing the standards or even adding content that exceeds the threshold of 15 percent.

Scott explained that the State of Texas was wooed by the federal government with a promise of $700 million to sign onto Race to the Top and Common Core. However, after his calculations, he realized that scrapping his state’s current standards and implementing the terms of the grant would cost between $2.5 to $3 billion. In his eyes, it was a sorry trade to shackle Texas to federal mandates, rob Texas citizens of their right to control education standards, and then stick taxpayers with a bill of at least $2 billion to make up the difference. To add insult to injury, that amount did not include the ongoing maintenance of the system for the years ahead beyond the four years of the grant.

Here in Georgia, though we are receiving $400 million in federal funds over a four-year period, the General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant. The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for these types of decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.

Further, the accompanying tests, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC national testing consortium, will create such testing demands that this will probably become better known as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Scott informed us that the PARCC will cost approximately $30 to $37 per student, in comparison to Georgia’s current costs of between $5 to $10 per student. These estimates do not take into account the additional technology, both in hardware and bandwidth, that will be required at the local level for online testing.

The bottom line is that the people of Georgia pay over $13 billion in state and local taxes for K-12 education (every year). There is no reason that a $400 million federal grant (over four years) should usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.

———-

Reposted from Senator Ligon’s website: http://www.senatorligon.com/newsroom.html

Georgia May Withdraw from Common Core   Leave a comment

Great news for those who care about educational liberty in America:  Georgia may break free of Common Core.

The article below is reposted from Heartland.org news.  Joy Pullman reports:

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/15/bill-would-withdraw-georgia-common-core

A lawmaker has filed a bill that would withdraw Georgia from Common Core national education standards and prohibit personal information that tests collect from being shared outside the state.

This makes Georgia the eighth state to formally reconsider the Common Core, a list defining what K-12 tests and curriculum must cover in math and English. Forty-five states adopted the Core, nearly all within three months in 2010.

“What has really been surprising to me is how many of our legislators had no idea Georgia was doing this,” bill author and state Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) told School Reform News. “Such a huge tremendous policy shift was not vetted by the legislature, not vetted by the people in the state.”

Common Core means changes in curriculum, testing, teacher preparation, and teacher evaluations. Ligon said his central concerns were higher expenses and a loss of local control. Just the new, computer-based Common Core tests cost $30 per student, or $37 for a paper version, while Georgia’s previous tests cost $5 per child, he said. That’s an extra $30 million per year.

Teachers ‘Overwhelmed’ This school year was the first most Georgia schools began implementing the Core within every grade in English and K-9 in math, according to the state department of education.

So, until a few months ago, most parents have had little contact with it, while teachers started training for it in January 2012. Some 80,000 Georgia teachers have received some form of Common Core training, according to the department.

“Teachers are truly overwhelmed with the Common Core,” said a Georgia educator who asked to remain anonymous to maintain good relations with local school officials. “It takes every breathing moment they have to figure it out.” She described the scene as “chaotic” because the standards are confusing. For example, English teachers in her district are incorporating social studies into their lessons because of the Core, and they’re not trained in the subject.

“Who knows what damage is going to be done with the kids not having quality math and quality language arts,” the teacher said.

Untested Program Ligon introduced Senate Bill 167 Thursday, but officials in Georgia’s department of education had not seen it so refrained from comment, said spokesman Matt Cardoza.

Several superintendents, school board members, and teachers have voiced concerns to Ligon and Jane Robbins, a Georgian and senior fellow for the American Principles Project, both said. Teachers and superintendents are afraid of speaking out publicly: it “would be a career-ending move,” Robbins said. “The education establishment is so invested with this.”

Especially rural districts will struggle with the technology requirements for Common Core tests because they are all online, Ligon said.

“This is a program that has never been policy tested, and it’s not wise to jump into this without that,” he said.

Local Control Concerns “People in Georgia are very concerned about local control in education,” Robbins said. “They don’t trust anything that comes out of Washington telling them ‘This is what you will do and you have no choice about it.’”

Just a few years ago in Georgia, she noted, parents widely disliked a shift in math instruction, so they raised a “hullabaloo” and changed the standards.

“This is the kind of thing we can’t do any more,” Robbins said. “When things were not working, we were able to fix it.”

On Feb. 6, Senate Education Committee Chairman Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) rearranged the schedule of a joint education committee meeting with the House so former Texas education Commissioner Robert Scott could speak about the Common Core. That meeting prompted Ligon’s bill.

“The majority of the parents we’re talking to and hearing from are telling us they don’t like this,” Ligon said. “They want Georgia to retain control of its curriculum and testing standards.”

A 2010 Thomas B. Fordham Institute study comparing all states’ standards to the Common Core rated Georgia’s standards equal in quality, but Ligon says he would like Georgia to simultaneously keep control over its standards and improve them through public meetings and input from teachers and Georgia colleges and universities. He plans to propose bill to that effect next week.

Learn more: Former Texas education Commissioner Robert Scott speaks to the Georgia House and Senate education committees, February 6, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcpMIUWbgxY, part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5fHQlj9JQw.

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Reposted from Heartlander  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/15/bill-would-withdraw-georgia-common-core