Archive for the ‘Wyoming’ Tag

Please Show Up to Push Back on Science Standards at Statewide USOE Meetings Starting TOMORROW   4 comments

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The Utah State School Board —despite last year’s pushback, despite serious concerns of some of the state school board members–  is now moving to adopt national, common standards for science.  Watch this video to see the documented false promises by the USOE to legislators and local school board members, that Utah would never adopt nationalized science standards; this string of broken promises needs to be exposed and those breaking the promises need to be held accountable by our legislature and governor.

 

 

 

You are invited to the USOE’s public meetings on the subject, to be held statewide for a few weeks, starting TOMORROW.

Be forewarned: the USOE won’t admit that Utah is adopting NGSS.   To know this bit of information, you have to be in touch with those parents who served on the science study committee.  Utah indeed is (out of sight of the public) pushing for adoption of NGSS but the USOE claims that it’s only revising its old standards, and that the revision is limited to middle school science standards for now, so it’s not whole NGSS adoption, they say.  But do your research.  They’ve been caught fibbing more than once.  And they are fibbing now.

So, what are the “Next Generation Science Standards” (NGSS)  and why should we take time fight them?

NGSS are common Science Standards created by businessmen and politicians at Achieve, Inc., aimed to make all students use (and be tested on) the same set of science-related standards nationwide.  Achieve, Inc., is the same group that pushed Common Core math and English into being.  (So if you didn’t love Common Core, heads up.)

As with Common Core math and English standards, states lose control when they adopt NGSS.  Achieve Inc., is private, so it’s not subject to sunshine laws– no transparency.  So right or wrong, good or bad, we’ll have no way to even know which scientific theories are being accepted or rejected, or what kind of lobbying monies are determining priorities for learning.  We will not be able to affect in any appeal to local boards, what our children will be taught or tested.  That power will have gone to the standards copyright holders and corporate test creators.  We have no method of un-electing those controllers, no way for our scientists to affect any amendments made in the ever-changing and politically charged future of science.

It is also tragically true that Fordham Institute rated NGSS as inferior to many states’ science standards.  Still, many states, including Utah, are adopting NGSS anyway– a sad reminder of recent history, when certain states with prior standards higher than Common Core dropped their standards  to be in Common Core.  It’s also a sad proof that the claim that “the standards are higher and better for all” was nothing more than a marketing lie, then for English and math, and now for science.

There are important reasons  that South Carolina officially rejected NGSS.

And so did Wyoming.

Kansas parents sued the state school board over it.

West Virginia is fighting about it.

It’s a hot topic in many other  states.

But do Utahns even know it’s going on here?  (How would they know unless they were personal friends of the parent review committee?)  The USOE won’t even admit that Utah is aiming to adopt NGSS!  To do Utah-specific homework on this, read this article.  And this one. 

Then come to the meeting.  The USOE is calling the new standards “a revision” rather than a wholesale adoption of NGSS standards, in what appears to be an attempt to deceive the people. Parent committee members opposed to the change, including scientist Vincent Newberger, have pointed out that one word– one– was altered from NGSS standards in Utah’s “revision of its own standards” and some NGSS standards were only renumbered, so that the proponents could feel truthful about calling these standards a “revision” of Utah’s prior science standards rather than an adoption of national standards.  The USOE’s open meetings are not, supposedly, to promote NGSS but are to promote what USOE calls a “revision of middle school science standards” only.

Parents need to take control of this conversation.

Ask yourself:  1)  Is this revision actually an adoption of NGSS?  2)  Do I want national science standards in Utah?

Answer one:  If you read what parent committee members are testifying, you will conclude that this revision IS an adoption of NGSS.

Answer two:  As with Common Core, we must push back against national science standards for two reasons:  control of standards (liberty) and content of standards (academics).

CONTROL

Although parent committee members on Utah’s “revision” team testify that the content is global warming-centric, and electricity-dismissive, and testify that the standards present as facts, controversial theories only accepted by certain groups; to me, the enduring issue is control, local power.

If we adopt standards written by an unrepresentative, nonelected, central committee– standards that don’t come with an amendment process for future alterations as scientific theories and studies grow– we give away our personal power.

Even if these standards were unbiased and excellent, we should never, even for one second, consider adopting national/federally promoted standards– because science is ever-changing and ever politically charged.  We are foolish to hand away our right to judge, to debate, to control, what we will be teaching our children, and to let unelected, unknown others decide which science topics will be marginalized while others are highlighted in the centrally controlled standards.   Would we allow a nontransparent, unelected, distant group to rewrite the U.S. Constitution?  Never.  Then, why is representation and power concerning laws and policies affecting our children’s knowledge, beliefs and skills any less important?

Representation is nonexistent in NGSS standards adoption, despite the token cherrypicked teacher or professor who gets to contribute ideas to the new standards.  Unless there is a written constitution for altering our standards so that we retain true control of what is taught, no federal or national standards should ever, ever be accepted.  Adopting centralized standards is giving away the key to the local castle.

Are these just harmless, minimal standards without any teeth or enforcer?  Hardly; the enforcement of the science standards is embedded in the nationally aligned tests, tests which carry such intense pressure for schools and students (school grading/shutdown; teacher evaluation/firing) that they have become the bullies of the educational system.

CONTENT

Know this:  NGSS are neither neutral nor objective.   This explains why pushback against NGSS is so strong in some states, even to the point of lawsuits against state school boards over NGSS.  NGSS standards are slanted.

It may come as a surprise that religious freedom is a key complaint against these standards.  This was pointed out by plaintiffs in the Kansas lawsuit, which alleged that implementation “will cause the state to infringe on the religious rights of parents, students and taxpayers under the Establishment, Free Exercise, Speech and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.”

The legal complaint stated that “the principal tool of indoctrination is the concealed use of an Orthodoxy known as methodological naturalism or scientific materialism. It holds that explanations of the cause and nature of natural phenomena may only use natural, material or mechanistic causes, and must assume that supernatural and teleological or design conceptions of nature are invalid. The Orthodoxy is an atheistic faith-based doctrine that has been candidly explained by Richard Lewontin, a prominent geneticist and evolutionary biologist, as follows:

“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, thatwe are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” [Richard Lewontin, Billions and Billions of Demons, 44 N.Y. Rev. of Books 31 (Jan. 9, 1997) (emphasis added)]

 

So, under NGSS, you can’t teach, as some scientists do, that evolution can exist alongside creationism.  Under scientific materialism/methodological naturalism, any “design conception” is invalid.

Other complaints against NGSS science standards are that they pit environmental activism against activists who want freedom to use natural local resources;  that they ask students to see themselves as either global warming believers or global warming deniers, to the exclusion of scientific inquiry; that they pit advocates of scientific open debate against advocates for scientific and political consensus-seeking; that they push the orthodox religion of atheism rather than allowing students to decide for themselves whether or not to include Creation in their personal scientific study.

Below is a list of the upcoming science meetings in Utah, where any citizen may come and ask questions and make comments.

Friends, we need to show up and bring neighbors.  If too few Utahns find out and push back, the NGSS standards will slide right in like Common Core for math and English did.  Please cancel your other plans.  Bring your video cameras if you come.  It’s an open, public meeting so recording seems proper and fair.  Recording USOE official replies to questions from parents can only encourage accountability from the USOE to the citizens.  If you can’t attend one of the meetings in the next weeks, please comment (and ask others to comment) on the USOE’s  90 day public comment survey link.

Before I list the meeting times and dates and cities, I want to share portions of an email sent out from a Washington County, Utah citizen to other citizens of Washington county.  I don’t know who wrote this email:

 

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Washington County Email:

“Washington County was settled by wise men and women who worked hard to make our red desert bloom.  They have passed down a wonderful heritage of hard work and love for the land to all who have followed them.  We are now reaping the fruits of the careful planning and preservation that has become a way of life to all who make Washington County their home.  We desire to pass this heritage along to our children so that the generations to come will continue to be wise stewards of this land that we love.

 

It is hard to understand why anyone from Washington County would allow their children to be taught a science curriculum that does not align with our value system.  Imagine how powerful it would be to teach our children the science behind why our soil is red, how ancient volcanos came to pepper our back yards with basalt rock, what made our sand dunes petrify, why dinosaur footprints can be found in farm land and what makes our sunsets so spectacular.  As our children learn the unique science of the environment around them, they will have greater knowledge and appreciation of the diverse environments around the world.  They will also come to appreciate the importance of being wise stewards wherever their paths may lead them.

 

We now have an opportunity to protect our right to teach our children.   The Federal Government has incentivized groups to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and those groups have worked tirelessly to get them implemented in Utah, and all states.  Please come and learn more about the NGSS from Vincent Newmeyer, a member of the NGSS review committee.  We will be meeting on Thursday, April 23rd at 6:00 P.M. at the St. George Downtown Library (88 W. 100 S. St. George).  Mr. Newmeyer is one of the review committee members who have great concerns about the NGSS.  These members are generously giving their time to visit communities to warn them about these new federal standards.

 

Directly following the meeting with Mr. Newmeyer, there will be a public meeting with the State and Local School Boards to discuss these federal standards tied to high-stakes testing onThursday, April 23rd at 7:00 P.M. at the Washington School District Office Board Room at 121 Tabernacle Street in St. George.”  

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USOE Public Feedback Meetings

All Meetings are 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thursday, April 23
Washington School District Office
Location: Board Room
121 Tabernacle Street
St George, Utah 84770
Note: The main doors will be locked.  Access through the front side doors.

Tuesday, April 28
Uintah School District Office
Location: Board Room (Upstairs)
635 West 200 South
Vernal, Utah 84078

Wednesday, May 6
Provo School District Office
Location: Professional Development Center
280 West 940 North
Provo, Utah 84604

Wednesday, May 13
Cache County School District Office
Location: Professional Development Center
2063 North 1200 East
North Logan, Utah 84341

Tuesday, May 19
Salt Lake Center for Science Education (SLCSE)
Location: The Media Center
1400 Goodwin Avenue
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

 

 

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AP History Changes Lean Toward a Negative American Perspective   4 comments

Just sharing Wyoming teacher Christy Hooley’s article.

Negative changes have been made to AP History, which analysts are calling “a curricular coup that sets a number of dangerous precedents…”

Read it here:

AP History Changes Lean Towards a Negative American Perspective.

Utah Mother of Seven Alisa Ellis to Speak This Week in Kansas and Wyoming About Common Core   3 comments

My concerns about the academic merits of Common Core paled in comparison to the much larger issue of the loss of freedom and the stripping away of local control – Alisa Ellis

Alisa

Picture a bread-baking, fun-loving, church-going, small-town mother of seven –who was never politically active, who never even used to vote, –picture her becoming a sudden political activist who now travels across Utah and to other states to speak to live audiences, radio audiences, and on t.v. about the Common Core Initiative. Let me tell you a little bit about Alisa Ellis, a woman whose motto is, “I do not live in fear.”

To Alisa, education had always been important. She and her husband liked to say that they were proudly raising a family of nerds. They were the kind of parents who volunteered in the classroom. They were the kind who paid attention.

But their introduction to the educational transformation of America known as Common Core came in 2011, long after the initiative had been adopted by the state. (2011 is a whole year after the Utah state school board adopted Common Core without public knowledge or vetting; and it was two years after the state had agreed to accept the federal $9.6 million to create an “SLDS” student tracking database.)

Alisa received a Common Core pamphlet at a parent-teacher conference.

She stared at it. She puzzled. She asked the teacher to explain.

“I didn’t know how one size-fits-all would work without hurting the top and bottom students,” she recalls. But when she asked the teacher to expound on the subject, that teacher didn’t know anything.

Alisa began to ask around.

“I asked everyone I knew for their thoughts on Common Core. I tried researching online but everything was fluff,” she said, “It was nine months before I was invited to a meeting to learn more.”

One day at the grocery store, she bumped into a friend who actually knew something about the Common Core Initiative. The conversation lasted a long time. The friend invited Alisa to come to a “Cornerstone of Freedom” meeting to learn more. The friend added, “Oh, and would you make a few comments?”

Alisa thought that meant that she should raise her hand and make comments. She found out, during the meeting, that she was an actual scheduled speaker– after the other speaker.

“I saw my name on the schedule and immediately panicked. I pulled out my tablet and started researching ‘What is Common Core?’ After a few minutes, I realized it was pointless and I would be better off just sharing my concerns.”

She told the audience of her concerns which had begun with the Common Core pamphlet at the parent/teacher conference. She told the story of another meeting, a gifted-and-talented informational meeting, where the director said that next year, teachers would ‘start digging deeper.’

(“Digging deeper? That same line was repeated so many times that I knew I was being fed something,” she explained.)

She also told the audience another story: a school guidance counselor had advised her to take her son out of AP history. The counselor had said that her son’s “career track was more along the lines of engineering.”

He’d said, based on Alisa’s son’s ACT practice test, that: “clearly your son isn’t going to be a history professor, so we should pull him out of AP world history and put him in a class that follows his career path.” Because Alisa had trusted the system, she hadn’t questioned the counselor’s advice so she pulled her son out of AP history. This was a decision she later regretted.

Alisa started digging more deeply into the whole Common Core Initiative. She read the state’s Memorandum of Understanding with the developers of the Common Core. She read the Cooperative Agreement. She saw how the State Longitudinal Database System intertwined with the academic standards and tests. She read speeches by secretary of education Arne Duncan. She read the No Child Left Behind documents and waivers. She read the implementation manuals that were sent out to governors to tell them how to promote Common Core. She read documents by Achieve, Inc., the group that helped create the standards for the copyrighters. She could hardly believe that the Common Core’s takeover of local control was out in the open, yet unknown by virtually everyone who ought to know about it.

My concerns about the academic merits of Common Core paled in comparison to the much larger issue of the loss of freedom and the stripping away of local control,” she said.

She went with her friend, Renee Braddy, to meet with local teachers, principals, local school board members, the community council, and the local superintendent to discuss Common Core. These discussions resulted in the opportunity to make a presentation at the local school board meeting. (That presentation was filmed, and is called Two Moms Against Common Core on YouTube.) The superintendent had asked them not to film their presentation, but since it was an open, public meeting they did anyway. The video was shared around the state and ignited a firestorm of activists to stand up and fight against Common Core. I was among the people who got to see Alisa and Renee’s video the first week it was posted.

Next, Alisa decided it was time to become more active. She became the county delegate to the Republican convention, and before the convention, she started making phone calls to find out which candidates were promoters of Common Core. She found that all the candidates running for national level seats were opposed to Common Core. All the local candidates, aside from the current Governor, were also against it. (Governor Herbert was undecided at the time.) However, the candidates running for state legislature seats were less willing to take a position.

With unflinching determination, she successfully set up two face-to-face meetings with Governor Herbert to discuss Common Core. Then she organized public meetings and helped bring in expert academic witnesses to meet with legislators; she started her blog called Common Core Facts, she repeatedly attended and spoke up at state school board meetings, and she co-founded Utahns Against Common Core with a handful of other Utahns. (That website and petition “Utahns Against Common Core” today has over 8,000 signatures.)

Alisa’s actions, along with other activism happening around the state, eventually helped push Utah’s leadership to agree to withdraw from the SBAC Common Core testing consortia. It was a chink in the seemingly impenetrable armor of Common Core. (Side note: after Utah bowed out of SBAC, other states also began to withdraw from SBAC and PARCC. Sadly, Utah’s state school board subsequently chose to use another Common Core testing entity, AIR, which is partnered with the same SBAC. –But that’s another story.)

From the beginning, Alisa began to get invitations to speak across the state and then from other states. Today, she has probably given over fifty speeches on the subject, in tiny places and large venues, both with other speakers from Utahns Against Common Core and on her own.

This week, she will be speaking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and in Merriam, Kansas.

You are invited.

Girl with Barcode on Foot

WYOMING

What: WHAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TOLD ABOUT COMMON CORE: TRACKING YOUR CHILDREN FROM PRE-K INTO THE WORKFORCE

Where: Snow King Resort Teton Room

When: 6:15 PM on January 28, 2014

Who: Speakers will include Amy Edmonds – Wyoming Liberty Group; Alisa Ellis – Utahns Against Common Core; Christy Hooley – Wyoming Teacher; Kelly Simone – Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core – Presented by Concerned Women’s Group of Jackson Hole

Cost: Admission free; a donation of any amount to help cover expenses will be appreciated.

Alisa in Kansas

KANSAS

What: Alisa Ellis will speak on the history and truth about Common Core and its impact on our children and their education.

When: Tuesday, February 4th, 7:00 pm

Where: Antioch Library – 8700 Shawnee Mission Pkwy, Merriam, KS 66202

Note from the Antioch Library: Besides the library’s parking lot, parking is available behind Taco Bell and to the larger lot west of Taco Bell.

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Thank you, Alisa. And thank you, Renee. (I will write about Renee and her adventures another day.)

Wyoming Teacher Christy Hooley Speaks Out on Common Core   1 comment

Christy Hooley

By Christy Hooley, Wyoming Teacher (Reposted with permission)

In the course of a year and a half, I have found myself thrown into the midst of what is one of our nation’s greatest grassroots movements. I could have NEVER imagined those short 18 months ago, what my life currently entails, that my love of being in the classroom, the thrill of watching my students grow and learn, building relationships with them, and my colleagues, would have been replaced: Replaced by my desire to help restore, educate, and fix what has long been a broken education system.

Broken….wow, I still can’t believe I am saying that. After all, that has been my goal since I graduated from high school. To be a teacher. I LOVED going to public school. I look up to many of my teachers and colleagues. Mr. Hoyt (who taught for 40+ years in the same position) – was the first teacher to start me on the path of loving music and the clarinet, which ultimately opened up many possibilities in higher education for me over the years. Eric Stemle and Maryanne Bocquin, for instilling a love of the English Language and Literature.

What has caused this deep reflection…

It’s realizing that my passion for education is still alive and well, it has just taken on a new face!

I was recently interviewed by Joy Pullman, and during the interview I described what started me on the path I’m currently on. (Joy Pullmann is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, a national monthly publication. Pullmann has been published in the New York Times, Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, National Review Online, Real Clear Policy, and various other U.S. newspapers and outlets. She is the author of Heartland’s Policy Document, The Common Core: A Poor Choice for States.)

I highly recommend you read this and encourage others that are looking to find out more on the subject. You can download the full document on their site here, as well as other documents, videos, PowerPoints, and testimonies concerning Common Core.

Joy asked if I was willing to share my experience, as a public school teacher being trained to use Common Core State Standards, and how it lead me to take the position I currently do, against it. I also share my experience with teacher evaluations during the interview.

You can listen to the full interview here: Podcast with Joy Pullman

Part of the interview discusses my experience with the new McREL’s Teacher Evaluation System that the state of Wyoming has adopted.

It assess a teacher’s performance as it relates to the Professional Teaching Standards. These Professional Teaching Standards are the basis for teacher preparation, teacher evaluation, and professional development. Each standard includes the skills and knowledge needed for, what the creators deem, is needed for 21st century teaching and learning.

Here is what is stated on their training materials introductory page:

A NEW VISION OF TEACHING

The different demands on 21st century education dictates new roles for teachers in their classrooms an schools. These new roles reflect a deeper understanding about the content knowledge, skills, competencies, and outcomes that define a successful student in the 21st century. Teachers must understand what comprises a 21st century education and how their practice must reflect the demands of the education in order to realize a new vision of teaching.

These are the standards:

1: Teachers Demonstrate Leadership

2: Teachers Establish a Respectful Environment for a diverse population of students

3. Teachers Know the Content They Teach

4. Teachers Facilitate Learning for Their Students

5. Teachers Reflect on their practice

The standards are broken down with very detailed information for each individual standard. Teachers are rated as either: Developing, Proficient, Accomplished, Distinguished.

I found it extremely concerning at my end of the year evaluation, that my administrator chose not to give me a distinguished verses accomplished rating on the sub section of standard 4:

Standard 4 Section f states “Teachers help students work in teams and develop leadership qualities. Teachers teach the importance of cooperation an collaboration. They organize learning teams in order to help students define roles, strengthen social ties, improve communication and collaborative skills, interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and develop leadership qualities.”

My administrator mentioned she felt I needed to attend a particular training about collaborative teams she felt strongly about, before I could be marked higher. We debated it back and forth a bit, but of course it was her ultimate choice where to rate me.

My concern after reflecting on this process, is that this is truly about control, control of how and even what a teacher teaches. What if future circumstances required a higher rating to keep my job, position, or status. I would need to take the training my administrator suggested, even if it was against my personal philosophy as a teacher.

The fact that my administrator can come into my classroom a handful of times, if I’m lucky, and gain a TRUE and ACCURATE understand of my teaching is ludicrous. The majority of the teachers I speak with roll their eyes and just “jump through the hoops”. Test scores being tied into this is something that should wake teachers up!

B.A.T.S.

Recently, I have been encouraged to see a new movement among teachers, rightly named as BATS – The Badass Teacher’s Association. They have a HUGE following on their facebook group of nearly 30,000 members. Their mission and goals are:

MISSION: Badass …Teachers Association was created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education. BAT members refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.

GOALS: BATs aim to reduce or eliminate the use of high stakes testing, increase teacher autonomy in the classroom and work to include teacher and family voices in legislative decision-making processes that affect students.

MEMBERS CAN BE BANNED FOR: Supporting corporate deform entities (TFA, StudentsFirst, Pearson, Bill Gates, etc.); supporting Common Core State Standards; excessive arguing or disrespecting decisions made by the mods/admins/founders, making comments that conflict with the mission of BAT. We oppose the Common Core State Standards.

Some feel it is offensive or unprofessional to use the word “badass” and are uncomfortable with its use. We disagree. As Dr. Naison says: “We’ve had enough. We are not your doormats. We are not your punching bags. We are some of the hardest working, most idealistic people in this country and we are not going to take it anymore. We are going to stand up for ourselves, and stand up for our students even if no organization really supports us. We are Badass. We are legion. And we will force the nation to hear our voice!”

I may not be teaching in public school (I’m starting a private school/homeschool support academy), but they are near and dear to my heart and I’m proud to say I’m part of their movment…even the BADA$$ part, as they put it…

Jenni White, co-founder of ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) did a wonderful write up concerning this information. She states it perfectly when she asks,
TEACHER EFFECTIVENESS or CONFORMITY?”

I have been truly blessed to have met some of the most intelligent, hard working, caring, passionate, American loving, patriotic people in this movement! Some of them call themselves “JUST MOMS” as Jenni White so eloquently writes about. These are superwomen that call themselves Mom, but are also Common Core Warriors!

I want to give a special Wyoming Shout OUT to those whom I have had the pleasure to meet and thank them for leading this movement and supporting me!

Michelle Sabrosky and Lisa Glauner – Wyoming Freedom In Education and Stop CC in WY

Amy Edmonds and Susan Gore – Wyoming Liberty Group

Rep. Tom Reeder

Rep. Kendell Kroeker

Kelly Simone – Stop CC in WY

Erin Giving – Stop CC in WY

Judy Helmick – Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

Shane Vander Hart and James – Truth In American Education

Bill and Karen Lee

Sean and Kris Sherwin

Natalie Clyde – Home School Warrior and awesome sister

Glenn J. Kimber Academy National

Kyle Olsen – EAGnews.org

Matt Kibbe, Whitney Neal, Caitlyn Korb, Kristina Ribali, Heather Williamson – FreedomWorks

Dr. Sandra Stotsky – CC Validation Committee and University of Arkansas

Joy Pullmann – Heartland Institute

Senator Mike Lee (Utah)

Christel Swasey, Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis – What is Common Core

Glenn Beck (though it was just a quick hand shake at a book signing, he told me to “stay strong and keep fighting”)

Mom and Dad – I LOVE you!

Bill Hooley – my greatest support and love of my life!

~Christy
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Thank you, Christy Hooley, for standing up and speaking out. (More writing and filmed discussions by Christy Hooley can be found at Wyoming Against the Common Core and at FreedomWorks.)

Wyoming Teacher of the Year Stands Up For Liberty in Education   2 comments

Cindy Hill, State Superintendent of Wyoming, stood up against federal insurgence into the state-held right to educate. She stood up against nationalized testing. She opposed Common Core.

For having the backbone and integrity to do these things, she has been stripped of her Wyoming Constitutional rights as superintendent, has been given ceremonial duties only, has been moved out of her office into a museum, and she’s had her former role replaced by an invented position dubbed “Department of Education Director”.

Big Wyoming newspapers slam Cindy Hill. Small Wyoming papers defend her. Thousands of citizens signed a petition to get Cindy Hill reinstated. A lawsuit on the matter is ongoing.

Cindy Hill keeps fighting– not just for her job and her rights, but for the proper role of government in this precedent-setting drama.

Here’s a letter to the editor of WYOfacts news, in defense of Cindy Hill, that moved me. It’s written by former teacher of the year Joan Brummond.

Thank you, Joan, for setting the example in speaking out, regardless of personal consequences.

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July 22, 2013

To the Editor:

I worked for Cindy Hill before she became Superintendent of Public Instruction. She is a problem solver like few administrators. She keeps the kids in mind in everything she does. I am amazed at her energy and work ethic. I am not at all surprised that in her abbreviated term heading the Wyoming Department of Education, test scores in reading and math went up, an unprecedented improvement. And I know, though she denies it, she is responsible for this positive result. She says it wasn’t her but the teachers who did the work. Well, that’s true, but it takes a leader with the ability to stay focused to do the hard work and achieve the results for kids.

As a life-long educator, a former Teacher of the Year for Wyoming, a member of Leadership Wyoming and a former president of the National State Teachers of the Year, I know a remarkable leader when I see one. Cindy Hill is that person. As a registered democrat, I voted for her because personal knowledge of a person’s integrity and mission to improve the school lives of students, trumps politics every single time.

So I have been outraged and disgusted by the politics behind SF 104. What is going on, political leaders? Why ignore the facts that she did her job and did it legally, morally and responsibly? Why deny the Constitution that gives her general supervision of our schools? Why use my money—and that of all taxpayers—to hold one sham investigation after another. Why make a mockery of the law by trying to impeach her?

No investigation ever uncovered any valid offense. Yet, the legislature is doggedly moving ahead with plans to impeach her, making expensive investigatory committees filled with people who voted against her in the first place. What’s fair about that? We teachers wouldn’t put up with this kind of unfairness on the playground; why put up with it from our lawmakers?

All this furor makes me wonder what her enemies are trying to hide? It makes me wonder if other politicians and bureaucrats need to be investigated, those who just might be skimming off the taxpayer’s bounty.

It’s a dark day in Wyoming politics. I’m like a lot of other people—I’d rather keep my head down and do my own life. But when should we Americans stand up? I’m old enough to remember the Holocaust, to remember and take to heart the words of the minister, Martin Niemoller, who said:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

It’s the American way to stand up. I do it on behalf of the truth and our way of life. Let’s reinstate Cindy Hill to do her work and cut out the nonsense. Our students are losing precious time.

Joan Brummond, former Teacher of the Year

Wyoming to Stop Common Core   9 comments

This week Alisa and I spoke in Star Valley, Wyoming at the Afton Civic Center.   The event was filmed and I’ll post it when  receive it.

What I learned:

Wyoming is in great shape to reclaim educational liberty and control.   I’m almost jealous of the state’s position.  Why?

1)  Wyoming could walk away from the temptation of federal monies easily because it has strong education funding through state royalties. 

“Each biennium, Wyoming gets about $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in federal mineral royalty payments (FMRs), which account for a sizable portion of the state’s entire two-year $8.9 billion budget. More FMRs flow to Wyoming than any other state, largely because of extensive coal mining on federal land” – WyoFile.

2) Wyoming only recently (1 year ago) formally adopted Common Core.  The amount of wasted money, time, teacher development and other Common Core-related waste that is happening in other states, has not happened there yet.   It will be so easy to cut bait and walk away, because there’s not a lot of bait to cut.

3)  Wyoming has an enviable state school board.

The Wyoming state school board only voted 8 to 4 to adopt Common Core.  That means that a good chunk of the school board was opposed to it from day one.  Enviable!  (In supposedly conservative Utah each of the board members adore the Obama-pushed Common Core.)

Perhaps best of all, the Wyoming state superintendent, Cindy Hill, really gets it– she fights for local control of educational quality and liberty.  She recently gave a speech to her state legislature about the foolishness of being federal-compliance-focused rather than having a “laser-like focus” on academic excellence.

Hill had refused to throw her state under the national testing bus and was severely punished for her wisdom.  She  was recently pushed aside and relieved of virtually all her powers and duties except for ceremonial and paperwork duties, because she opposed the federal-compliance mentality of the majority of the Wyoming School Board.  Hill’s powers were reassigned –not by a vote, but by an appointment–  to the new position:  Director of Education, one who would dance the dance of federal compliance more cheerfully.

But Wyoming citizens rose up in protest, getting thousands and thousands of citizens to sign a petition to vote on the issue and to get Cindy Hill reinstated with her full powers.

4) Wyoming has strong, devoted people who value local control and are not willing to give it away.

 

Wyoming, we love you.  Go, Fight, Win!

 

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Sign the Wyoming Petition to STOP COMMON CORE here.

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/

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