- Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the fact that these standards are IDENTICAL to the NGSS common, national standards.
- Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the fact that these standards are exactly ALIGNED with federally-approved standardized testing. (This is probably why USOE pushed these narrowed standards so hard; federal cash follows federally-aligned standards for embedded CEDS tags.)
- Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to narrowing the science survey to only 6th through 8th grades.
- Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the politically slanted nature of a new, extreme interest in environmentalism, materialism, and “climate change”; the survey pretends that the science standards are only about science.
- Nowhere does the survey allow space for true freedom of expression.
Archive for the ‘Utah State Office of Education’ Tag
Open Letter from Alisa Ellis: USOE Deliberately Withholding Actual Science Standards from Public Scrutiny 1 comment
Alisa Ellis, parent member of Utah’s Science Standards Review Committee, is calling for an immediate stop to:
1- the USOE’s public comment survey –because USOE has only allowed the public and the parent review committee to see a sterilized, watered down version, rather than a true, full version of the common science standards and appendices that teachers will be using– yet USOE is asking the public to comment in this blind manner;
2- the USOE’s statewide tour, aimed to give parents the impression that they have been given full disclosure of the new science standards. Since the science standards that the public is being shown, upon which the public has been asked to comment, are not the same as the standards that teachers are to be using, nor the same as the standards upon which the parent review committee was asked to work, this tour to present the standards is at best, partially truthful and at worst, a deliberate deception.)
Here’s Alisa’s letter to the state school board:
The public comment period of the proposed science standards needs to stop immediately and be restarted with the correct document. Mr. Scott admitted on Tuesday night that the teachers will not be presented with the draft of standards that the public is being asked to review but with the full version from Achieve’s Next Generation Science Standards. I don’t believe this review falls within the provisions of the law. The law does not say, “present the public with the watered down version because it would be “too overwhelming” for them to see the full version”. This is what was suggested was the reason for not presenting the public with the full version.
The NGSS have many things included besides simply the performance expectations. The full version has clarification statements, assessment boundaries; the full NRC framework with all the cross-walking to the Common Core standards and appendices. It is my right as a parent and citizen to be shown exactly what will be taught to my children.. This is both according to federal law and state law.
Therefore it is my recommendation that the public review period ceases immediately. It is apparent that the power structure is willing to do whatever it takes to push forth their agenda so I would also recommend starting fresh with a new writing and lead team.
Also, board member Dixie Allen claimed at the meeting in Vernal that the standards committee knew all along that the Next Generation Science Standards were being used. Mr. Scott also claimed that the draft given to the parent review committee, of which I am a member, was presented with a draft that cited the NGSS and NRC framework. This is not accurate. I have the copy in front of me and there is no mention of the NGSS standards. In fact, Sarah Young, at our first meeting proudly talked of all the hard work the writing team was putting into writing these “UT science standards” when in fact they were simply reorganizing the format and order of the national science standards.
This board has the desire to improve public relations, but with the deceptive and dishonest way things are presented I worry the gap in public trust is growing wider and wider. Also, as the state office of ed is currently facing a lawsuit for the lack of parental involvement surrounding the adoption of Common Core it would behoove the board to put a stop to the deceptive manner information is fed to the public.
Also, in the Vernal meeting Mr. Scott revealed that the writing team which he renamed the “organizing team” was given 6 sets of standards to pick from.
- I am formally requesting the names and titles of the individuals that chose the sets of standards the committee was allowed to choose from.
- I am requesting the six sets of standards offered the committee
- I am requesting the names and titles of every member of the writing/organizing team (I asked for this last fall)
- I am requesting all correspondence between the above requested individuals with staff and board members.
I also became aware today of an implementation guide published by ACHIEVE for the 6-8 grade standards. Here is an excerpt:
- Therefore, I am also formally requesting all minutes from meetings and discussions, both with board members and without, surrounding the revision of science standards.
- There were cameras present at the December review committee meeting held at the State Capitol. I am requesting a copy of all raw video.
As these requests will benefit the public at large, I am requesting all fees be waived and the process be expedited. I understand that correspondence between individuals will take longer than some of the other requests, I would like to see the committee names and standards immediately while the other information is being gathered.
Further, there was an attempt at the meeting this week to prevent recording of the meeting which would be in direct violation of open meeting laws. There was also an attempt to suggest committee members identities were to be kept private, which is also a direct violation of open meeting laws. Please do everything in your power to stop this practice.
This 7 minute video explains the deception using audio from legislative meetings and board retreats.
This video from the Vernal USOE science standards meeting below shows Mr. Ricky Scott of the USOE with Alisa Ellis asking questions about why the board refused to show the real standards to parents, citing “not overwhelming” parents as a reason for the lack of transparency.
Please support Alisa’s call for honesty and integrity in the process of setting Utah’s academic standards. Contact the state school board members today, asking for a full disclosure of the actual science standards to the public and an immediate ceasing of the tour and public comment survey as it stands. Include a copy of your letter to your local school board and to your elected representatives in the legislature. Find your senator or representative here.
Appointed Board Members:
3261 Twin Peaks Drive
Layton, UT 84040
526 South 170 West
Springville, UT 84663
Utah’s State Office of Education appears to be, once again, quite secretively rubber-stamping controversial and politically loaded national standards and calling them Utah’s own standards– this time, for science.
The English and math deception happened a few years ago when the USOE did the same thing with the adoption of Common Core’s math and English national standards, calling them “Utah Core Standards”.
This week, when the Utah State School Board meets, it will discuss statewide changes to science standards. They do not openly admit that in fact the Utah draft mirrors the controversial NGSS standards. In fact, the official statement from the State Office of Education states nothing about Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) but the new “Utah” science standards drafts have now been exposed as the very same as the NGSS Standards– by multiple parents who serve on the Utah parent committee for science standards.
Vincent Newmeyer, one of the parents who serves on the parent committee, has given permission to share his response to the revised standards. He says that he is alarmed at the errors and unfitness of these standards for Utah students as well as the deceptiveness of the rewriting committee.
He explains that the Utah rewriting committee appears to be attempting to hide, by renumbering or rearranging, the truth that the new Utah standards are just NGSS standards. He notes:
“Utah’s science standards rewriting committee has removed all but the performance expectations [from national NGSS] and renumbered them. A few performance expectation sequences have been rearranged and one new NGSS standard was inserted. The Performance Expectations are essentially identical to what they were in the previous draft. Again, in the introductory material it is still claimed to be Utah grown standards, perhaps because Brett Moulding from Utah is the chair of the NGSS writing committee. These performance expectations as prepared are only one word different from the published NGSS Performance Expectations –yet again there is no attribution to NGSS.”
He points to the NGSS national science standards guidelines which state: “States… that have adopted or are in the process of adopting the NGSS in whole shall be exempt from this Attribution and Copyright notice provision of this license.” Newmeyer points out that Utah is either in the process of adopting national science standards in whole, or are infringing on copyright. –So, which is it?
Newmeyer goes on: “Though we are just looking at grades 6-8, it is inconceivable that our state would adopt 6-8 (even if slightly modified) and then settle on a totally different standard for other grades, especially when you consider the desire to have a cohesive and progressively building program. So in fact we are not just looking at grades 6-8. We are laying a precedent for the adoption of NGSS for all grades with additional material not even considered.”
Why must we as parents, teachers and scientists, oppose it?
1. Control. Our state loses local control of teaching students what we accept as scientifically important and true, when we adopt NGSS standards rather than using standards we have researched and studied and compiled on our own. We further lose control when we then test students using these national science standards that are aligned to the philosophies (and data mining structures) of the federal agenda.
2. Content. Vincent Newmeyer explains that some of the standards are based on recognized fallacies, and others on controversial assumptions. Failing to properly research and vet these standards publically is unethical and unscientific.
For example, Newmeyer asks us to look at “the newly renumbered but present all along standard number 7.2.2 : “Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.” This leads students to favor the Darwinian Evolutionary view –which has solid counterpoints arguing precisely the opposite view. Newmeyer explains that although it is true that we can find similarities in embryos, still “if studied in detail we find differences that completely undermine the whole premise of why they inserted this performance expectation. In the standard they are not looking at the differences.”
Even those who actively defend the Darwinian view of common ancestry who have looked at the data see the weakness of the argument, says Newmeyer. He questions why we want to teach it in Utah as if it were settled science. There are also standards that promote the controversial global warming paradigm, and there are other content problems in the NGSS standards.
Utah’s already using the standardized test developed by American Institutes for Research (SAGE) which includes science, English and math standards aligned to the nationally pushed agenda. So the USOE is not going to want to go in another direction. But it must. If enough parents, teachers and scientists pelter the Utah State School Board and Utah State Office of Education and legislature with firm “NO to NGSS” emails, phone calls and personal visits, they can’t get away with this like they did with Common Core.
A few months ago, a concerned Utah State School Board member contacted every single one of the science teachers who were in her constituency district, asking them how they felt about NGSS. She reported that every single one of them said that they wanted to keep Utah’s current science standards and they rejected NGSS. Every last teacher.
South Carolina rejected the national science standards. So did Wyoming. Kansas is fighting a law suit about it. Are we going to do nothing in Utah to defend scientific objectivity and neutrality, not to mention defending the power and right to local control?
There will be a 90-day comment period. You can also attend and speak up (2 min max) at the state school board meetings if you request time in advance. Please participate.
GOVERNOR HERBERT: firstname.lastname@example.org
STATE SCHOOL BOARD: email@example.com
EDUCATION COMMITTEE: (SENATE)
Stuart Reid firstname.lastname@example.org
Patricia W. Jones email@example.com
Mark B. Madsen firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Osmond email@example.com
Howard Stephenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerry W. Stevenson email@example.com
Stephen H. Urquhart firstname.lastname@example.org
EDUCATION COMMITTEE: (HOUSE)
UTAH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
(It promotes Common Core via “Prosperity 2020”):
MANY OTHER UTAH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE:
Utah Republican Delegates to Governor and State School Board: Withdraw Utah From Common Core 3 comments
Utah’s Republican state delegates sent a clear message to the Governor, Utah legislators, and to the State Office of Education at Saturday’s GOP convention when 65% of the state delegates voted yes to support the resolution written by Utahns Against Common Core.
Utah’s delegates are calling on Governor Herbert and the Utah State School Board to withdraw from Common Core, and are calling on the Utah State Legislature to discontinue funding all programs in association with the Common Core Initiative.
If you missed the GOP convention, here’s what happened.
An ocean of people swarmed in from every corner of Utah to the South Jordan Expo Center Saturday to debate and vote upon the issues of the day. Present were the Governor and his bodyguard; legislators, activists, school board members; candidates for political offices, and 2,584 delegates. The swarm began before 7 a.m. and didn’t end until late in the afternoon.
At the Utahns Against Common Core booth there was a video loop showing the audience current, common core aligned textbooks that are approved for Utah schools. The booth also featured a handful of teachers and parents, answering questions about why they opposed Common Core. (The video that was looped is viewable here. For further analysis of these texts from a Utah mental health therapist’s view — see this video, too.)
There were more delegates clustered around the Utahns Against Common Core (UACC) booth than around any other, by a long shot. Many of the delegates signed the UACC petition, wore Stop Common Core buttons and stickers, and asked questions because of the conflicting (and may I point out, unreferenced) information coming from the State Office about Common Core.
I told delegates near our booth that I dislike the mandates of the common standards and I don’t believe for a minute that they are the solution to our educational problems. (It seems a no-brainer that it’s harmful, not helpful, to lessen the amount of classic literature that a child may read, and to delay the age at which students learn basic math algorithms, etc.)
But academics are not the key issue; academic problems can normally be fixed, but under Common Core there is not even an amendment process. These are copyrighted, D.C.-written, common standards.
Without a written amendment process, it’s a case of education without representation. It’s a case of giving up the ability to even debate what the standards for Utah children ought to be. It’s a case of allowing the federal government, and the philosophies (and money) of Bill Gates-Pearson Co., to micromanage local educational decisions.
Driving home, after four hours, I wondered if the resolution for local control would pass. It did not seem likely even though our resolution closely matched the Republican National Committee’s anti-common core resolution that had passed earlier this year in California.
But in Utah, the GOP committee had given our resolution an “unfavorable” rating, saying that the wording was inflammatory. The Governor was against us, having long been promoting Common Core and a related project, Prosperity 2020, very openly. The State Office of Education was against us and had been passing out pamphlets, fliers and stickers to “support common core” –and had sent mailers to delegates, telling them to support common core. (They used our tax money for this. Since when is tax money used to lobby for one side?)
So I was just thankful that we had gotten the opportunity to educate people at our booth. I hoped for, but didn’t expect, the miracle of the resolution passing.
Four hours later, I was completely stunned with the great news. Alisa, my friend and a state delegate, texted me one word: “PASSED!!!!”
Our resolution passed! It did match the feelings of a majority of Utahns. 65% of the elected state delegates in the State of Utah voted NO to Common Core.
It was a welcome surprise.
Delegate friends filled me in on the details of what I’d missed. I learned that the powers-that-be tried their best to muffle the resolution. They held it to the very end, after multiple speakers and presentations and other votes were held. Some even called for the meeting to adjourn before the resolution could be debated on the stage. There was a vote about whether to adjourn that was soundly defeated by the delegates.
Finally the resolution was debated. There were elecrifying speeches, for and against. Then there was the vote.
Sixty five percent voted for it to pass! That’s well over a thousand people, elected by their neighbors, from caucuses in every corner of Utah, who all said NO to Common Core. This is huge, huge news to teachers, school boards, parents, students, and politicians, regardless of which side of the argument you choose.
But it didn’t make the Tribune. It didn’t make the Deseret News. It didn’t make the Daily Herald or KSL.
Who knows why? Sigh.
Looks like we have to spread this one by social media, folks. There are powerful people who want to muffle the voice of WE, THE PEOPLE.