Archive for the ‘Education Reform’ Category
You might be thinking this heading is a joke. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be.
Can’t you just wait for your kindergartener to pick a career and get tracked for it to reach his or her potential? I haven’t seen many job listings for princesses or pirates (maybe Somalia is hiring?).
Here’s some excellent analysis including a fascinating flashback to a kindergarten report card from the 60’s.
Here’s a snip from that report card. CAPS were on the original report card. Note the spiritual attributes being included in education. What a concept. No need to educate the whole child when the government just needs an obedient workforce.
OUR GOAL IN EDUCATION:
Because a child is composed of a body and a soul he is a PERSON. As a PERSON he has special attributes to be developed. These are intellectual and emotional, physical, social, artistic and spiritual. These different aspects of life are not nicely cut off from each other, but inter-penetrate to form one’s complete personality. The best education is that which aims to develop the WHOLE MAN.
We should all make sure that no aspect of the child’s personality is under-developed.
A new website has been posted that organizes Common Core evidences into one location and included a petition with several components to get us off Common Core and related components. The site is the work of many organizations who understand the threat presented by the entanglements the components of Common Core get us into.
Please check it out by visiting www.UtahnsAgainstCommonCore.com.
Thank heavens for citizens like these. If our Governor and state education leaders don’t have people reading contracts and understanding the implications, they most certainly need replaced.Please share this document on Facebook and with state delegates so they understand why we need to elect leaders who will understand that Common Core (ObamaCore) is just as bad for Utah as ObamaCare. Check out what the CATO Institute just published called, “The Other Federal Takeover” relating to Common Core.
April 5, 2012
Dear Governor Herbert and Christine Kearl,
Thank you for having Alisa Ellis, Renee Braddy, Kevin Braddy and me, as Heber City citizens concerned about Common Core, to your office on Wednesday.
I contacted the legal department of the U.S.O.E. yesterday and found out that they have not conducted a legal analysis of Utah’s entanglement in the Common Core Initiative and SBAC membership. Lawyer Carol Lear told me she did not even have a copy of the document “Cooperative Agreement Between U.S.Department of Education and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.” I sent her the PDF and the link: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf
It is clear from the document that the federal government has trampled G.E.P.A. laws as well as the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, by asserting authority, and without authority of law but via grant money and the dictates of Arne Duncan, to set terms upon Utah and the SBAC, including requiring ongoing assessment status reporting, telephone conferencing, responses to requests from the U.S. DOE for information, written updates, and mandating that “across consortia” the testing methods and data collected from the tests will be coordinated. This triangulates information and creates centralized data collection not only of math and reading scores, but of personally identifiable and unique student information. I am sure the citizens of Utah would not vote for that. It slipped under the radar, like so many other aspects of the Common Core initiative, because it was never brought under public or legislative scrutiny. Superintendent Shumway, the State School Board, and the Governor, signed the documents that have bound us to this loss of sovereignty. No one else knew it was happening.
I respectfully request that your legal team contact the U.S.O.E.’s legal team as soon as possible to discuss the educational sovereignty of our state and the financial obligations under which we will be burdened by remaining legally bound under CC and SBAC. Have them read the Race to the Top Applications one and two; have them read the Cooperative Agreement between U.S. DOE and SBAC; have them read the WestEd Letter, which is in the binder of information we left with you, which is also in the possession of Carol Lear. That will be a good enough start to make it clear that these are not the assertions of fearful people but facts that actually bind Utah to sobering Federal controls.
I have been counseling with Jim Stergios of the Pioneer Institute, a non-federally funded Massachusetts think tank. I asked him this: if Utah were to pull out of Common Core and the SBAC, would the consortium have to return any of Utah’s portion of the consortium’s assessment development money and other rewards, incentives and waivers to the Federal Government?
Stergios called this question a good one, because it shows how confused and confusing the federal role has gotten on Race to the Top, the money, and commitments. He said that if states have done what they promised they would do with the Race to the Top money received, then once it is spent there is no hook for the federal government to enforce reimbursement to the feds. If the money flowed to those purposes, the state cannot be forced to return money for a change in policy on standards. However, if states adopt the Common Core/ SBAC tests (both of which Utah has done) or accept a federal waiver from No Child Left Behind (which Utah has applied for) there is a problem of irreversibility.
He said that states that have not adopted the CCSS have come under much heightened scrutiny by the federal government and also pressure from some foundations. But he told me, too, that once the national tests are adopted, which happens in 2014, it will become incredibly hard to pull back out. If Utah or any state accepts an NCLB waiver, which comes with the requirement that states adopt national standards, pulling out will lead potentially to federal oversight of a vast number of districts in one’s state.
Please have your lawyers look into these questions of irreversibility that Jim Stergios raised.
On another topic, I wanted to answer the Governor’s question about the letter he had received from Arne Duncan. It is correct that the letter sounds innocuous. However, a few concerns I have with the letter include these:
1) The Common Core Initiative has taken great pains to repeatedly claim that this movement has nothing to do with federal controls, is not a federal initiative, and is state-led. This they claim despite the fact that they funded the whole movement, from funding the NGA and CCSSO, the groups who “started” it, funding the developer of the common standards and curriculum itself, Achieve,Inc., and funding the grants associated with the movement, notably ARRA-based Race To The Top. Even the letter itself uses the words “not a federal initiative.” Arne Duncan chooses his words very deliberately. Because he paid the NGO and CCSSO to do what he was not legally authorized to do, he can truthfully say the feds did not initiate this movement. But they funded and directed it from the beginning and continue to do so. There is a difference between the phrase “federal initiative” and the phrase “federal control”. That is a very significant choice of words.
2) Secondly, the fact that Arne Duncan, not a group of state governors, clarifies policy, sends letters like this to you and to Superintendent Shumway, and sets the terms of cooperative agreements, reveals the fact that the U.S. Department of Education, not the NGA or CCSSO, is in control of and behind this initiative. Otherwise, state leaders would be directing their questions about Common Core, and getting answers about Common Core, from the NGA and the CCSSO, the “state-led” leaders of this movement.
Joining the Common Core Initiative would make sense to some in Utah if we had received educational funding for our memberships in these movements. We got no money for our agreeing to sign up for these memberships in CC and SBAC. As for me, I don’t believe it befits states to participate in federal grant lotteries, even if there were no manipulative “points for joining” strings attached. Race to the Top amounted to not only a federal grant lottery but also a sneaky way for agenda-pushers to slide Common Core under the general public’s nose without drawing attention to itself.
Remember, Utah received nothing by joining Common Core. All academic values in Common Core are in the public domain and we could have used our sovereign state educational system to adopt any of them that we liked, if they were proven –which they have not yet been– to be superior, in all areas, to what we had before or to what we would aspire to create.
We look forward to meeting with you, Superintendent Shumway and your legal team together again next month.
Heber City, Utah
[From Susie Schnell]
If you are a Progressive Educator or leader on the National/Federal Level and want to get your education agenda through quickly to as many states as possible, you need the support of conservative Republicans. So…
1. You push this agenda through individual “states” instead of “federal” because we like state’s rights.
2. You appeal to their desire for “higher standards” because we believe in an educated populace.
3. You talk about modernizing schools with the latest technology and equipment
4. You partner with private institutions since it appeals to our sense of capitalism and free enterprise
5. You talk about college and jobs because this is foremost on our minds in a failing economy
6. You hold national conferences to teach these ideas to state and local school boards and get them to buy into it.
7. You write the national standards, assessments and curriculum through gov’t partnered organizations so it doesn’t seem like the govt is writing them directly.
8. You help each state board of education write their own bills for implementing this plan, either directly or by using a “model” so all states are coming up with the same laws throughout the land, but think they are being independent. (Do you really think that our state board wrote these bills independently or maybe they got help?)
9. You advertise this as a Governor’s and State’s thing to the general public so no one looks behind the curtain.
10. You get as many Republicans and conservatives to accept your plan because of the nice sounding ideas, and they don’t realize they are setting up the foundation for a federal takeover of education. Families and conservatives don’t question these conservative legislators, but trust they are only after state’s rights and what is good for the children. Without realizing it, these good legislators have enacted laws to usher in this progressive agenda.
11. Get everyone to sign off on the standards as if there’s a crisis and this must be done right now.
12. Progressives never give up. When they don’t get their way, they just go back into their caves, re-strategize, change phraseology and try again. We ALWAYS have to be on guard for new tricks.
1. This whole idea was set up by the Federal Gov’t, USOE and dangerous national interests who are working together, like Bill Gates, Linda Darling-Hammond, Pearson, and large corporations set on making billions by partnering with the federal govt, states and local districts for a guaranteed income for years. These Public Private Partnerships threaten not only local control, but also real free enterprise for smaller businesses that have not been chosen by the govt for these contracts. What the Federal Gov’t cannot legally do, and visa versa, the other partner can accomplish. We have been tricked into thinking this is a locally grown program in Utah.
2. The next phase in this process is to develop Century 21 Community Schools which will invite more Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Big corporations contract with federal, state and local school entities to go into these community schools full time, 6-7 days a week, and provide services of free healthcare and dental, PreK-12 education, job placement programs, recreation, daycare, 3 meals a day and every service you can think of for the entire family. This has already started in Ogden School District and Ogden’s plan is to make every school in it’s district a full service community school. Arne Duncan speaks a lot about this plan and thousands of these schools are popping up all over the nation. All of this data (healthcare, psychiatry records, academic scores, meals, recreation, etc) will be a part of the state and national data base because these families go to a one-stop community center with every amenity they need. No need to go home or church or extended family.
3. Right now, we’re just talking about school records from Pre-K to college to work. That’s bad enough. But by setting up extensive data collecting technology, we are easily setting ourselves up for the next step of education when full-service 21st Century Schools will be the growing phenomenon.
Please look beyond just Common Core, compare it with Obama’s National Education Goals, and look to see what these bills in Utah are setting up in the bigger scheme of things for the future.
Simple, local and parent-centered are the answers.
The Borg was an alien species that threatened the existence of the Federation in the TV show Star Trek. Their race assimilated other races into their collective through hardwired neurological attachments that would reach deep into the mind. Their belief was that central control would raise efficiency. The result was a total loss of individuality and independent thought. What is happening in the education system in this country is very much a parallel to this threat.
Lt. Governor Bell recently praised the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), but there are several important things he and others need to realize.
While the math standards themselves are pretty good (addendum: read better than most states, but not top state standards), the notion that these are not national standards is inaccurate. When you have national organizations (National Governor’s Association and Chief State School Officers) collaborating to create one set of standards, you have de facto national standards.
The claim that the federal government isn’t involved in these standards is laughable. They bribed states to adopt the standards with Race to the Top grants (which would only be available for a handful of states) IF they adopted CCSS. Now, several states have sought waivers on No Child Left Behind’s annual yearly progress and the federal DOE is telling them, “we’ll grant you a waiver, IF you adopt ‘career and college ready standards’ (hint: Common Core).” Why were the Feds so interested in bribing states to get on CCSS even before a final draft was ready? They aren’t involved in this, right?
Why would Lt. Governor Bell say that Utah can adapt the standards to meet our needs and values when we aren’t allowed to modify the standards at all, except to add 15% more to them? How can he say these aren’t national standards?
If the federal government really isn’t taking over education, why have they put millions of dollars into creating assessments with organizations like SBAC, PARRC, and Achieve?
If the federal government isn’t nationalizing education, why have they mandated that states create a database to federally mandated standards to track children on 40 vital factors such as a child’s blood type, what time they get on the bus in the morning, the number of cavities in their mouths, what their religious affiliation is, family voting status, etc…? This is a total invasion of privacy. Is anyone concerned about this?
If the federal government isn’t taking over education, why have they been rewriting the laws at the federal level to strip away state and local control of education and make it look like they’ve always had legal control of education?
Can anyone not imagine the Feds soon telling the states they’ll get no federal funds for education (or perhaps ANY funds) unless they adopt this entire package? Everything is coming together for total federal control and we are embracing the Borg collective! It’s the end of individualism.
The solution isn’t found in joining the collective. It’s found in a return to true local control and giving parents MORE responsibility and authority for their children’s education. Each time we remove authority and responsibility from parents over their God-given mandate to teach their children, their interest and involvement lessens because they know, “the schools are going to educate my child.” Until we put the burden back on parents for their child’s success, education will continue to decline.
Links to the above points can be found here: http://www.utahsrepublic.org/dropping-the-common-core-state-standards/
Do you have a successful school? Lots of good teachers doing a good job educating students? Do you enjoy the federal dollars you receive for funding? The feds are about to turn that peanut butter and chocolate combination into cyanide and chocolate. (chocolate being the good local teachers just to clarify the analogy :))
A few days ago congress was presented with an 860 page education bill from Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. The Heritage Foundation has started a review of the bill and notes:
For example, the bill would codify Obama Administration education priorities, such as the “equitable distribution” of effective teachers among schools. It would eliminate “adequate yearly progress”—the onerous federal requirement that mandated every child be proficient in reading and math by 2014—but would replace it with requirements that states prove they have “college- and career-ready” standards, giving Washington more control over the content taught in local schools.
Good news for schools on getting rid of AYP but if you’re successful, it’s time to chop that school up and send some of those teachers to failing schools to make sure they get quality teachers too. Oh, and don’t miss the great news that the Feds aren’t mandating national standards, they’ll just force you to be on “college- and career-ready” standards. Gee, I wonder where we can find national standards that will fit that bill? Oh yeah, the CCSS are available for use. We’ll just force everyone taking federal dollars to get on those standards so the federal assessments being rolled out will apply nationally. The factory model of education can continue but with total control from the top.
Educators and legislators, if you thought NCLB and AYP were bad, wait till this rolls out. You’ve got to get us off the federal welfare dime or what’s coming isn’t going to be good for anyone. Teachers are going to lose jobs in places they like, they’re going to lose freedom to teach what they deem necessary and be forced to teach to a national test, and children are going to lose any hope of having an education customized to their needs because the factory belt model of compulsory education is going to become more vise-like than ever.
What is being done? Heritage is pushing forward with an “A-PLUS” plan to bring accountability to parents and taxpayers while reducing the federal footprint, but I do not think this will happen in time to help our state. State lawmakers and educators need to work together to completely eliminate all federal funding and reject all mandates that come from Washington.
On this current education nightmare bill above, Washington always seems to have a way to get these things through, but thankfully the House is controlled by the Republicans so the Democrats are going to have a hard time getting this bill passed. Senator Rand Paul talk here about introducing 100 amendments to stop this bill in its tracks. I hope he’s successful.
Dropping the Common Core State Standards
Still think the Common Core Standards are just a state initiative? Ask yourself these questions and think again.
- What do you call it when standards are adopted from a national body and a state isn’t allowed to modify anything they just adopted except to add up to 15%? De facto federal/national standards
- What do you call it when national assessments funded by the federal government and led by a Marxist researcher will measure the effectiveness of common core standards? National assessments overseeing national standards
- What do you call it when national tracking is done on both academic and non-academic factors to ensure that students are scoring well on these assessments? A massive violation of privacy and national assessments and standards
- What do you call it when the federal government engages with textbook publishers to create curriculum based on common standards? A national curriculum and national standards
- What do you call it when federal dollars for state education come from countries like China and states like California? Immoral because our grandchildren will pay for their parents education
- What do you call it when the federal department of education rewrites the laws on the books to eliminate and redirect local and state control of education to the federal government? Tyranny and national control of education
- What do you call it when state officials and agencies fail to connect the dots on these items? A tragic lack of foresight
The Governor, State Board of Education, State Office of Education, and all others who buy into the story that the Common Core Standards are just a collaboration of individual states are in for a shock when they find out they cannot escape this transition to tyranny because they didn’t have the foresight to get off the federal funds now while there might still be time.
If adopting the Common Core means (and it WILL since we take federal money) we have to take national assessments, national data tracking, national curriculum, teachers teaching to the test which obviously means their failure to follow the national curriculum will result in their loss of a job (so they will proceed to follow the indoctrinating curriculum), and national control, we should immediately move to drop the Common Core standards and look for creative alternatives to save the 9% funding we get from the federal level. No intrusion or authority like this is given in the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.
Further, no loss of freedom can be recovered without tremendous effort. Giving up that freedom for a pocketful of money is so shortsighted that anyone who votes for any measure that includes federal funding of education should be immediately campaigned against and removed from office. For example, someone running for school board who touts “conservative principles” yet tells the public they’ll bring in the federal dollars should never hold any office of public trust that has budgetary authority.
If you believe the day is coming when people cannot buy or sell except through the collective entity (Revelation 13:17), what do you think is coming for education? Do you think the education establishment will escape it? Not a chance. That’s where this scenario starts by indoctrinating people to accept collectivism.
I applaud the resolution against national standards which the National Federation of Republican Women recently passed. You can read it here:
Are you willing to finance your child’s education on the backs of your grandchildren? Shame on you. Anyone who argues in favor of federal funding of state education should not be involved in our education system. Demand your legislators end all federal funding of education in this state. There are plenty of creative solutions to financial challenges and it’s high time we started looking to implement some of them.
Related Post: http://www.utahsrepublic.org/jumping-off-the-federal-education-train/ (shows the Feds are forcing states to adopt Common Core or not receive a waiver on NCLB’s annual yearly progress requirements)
I received an interesting email today with a link to this document (PDF: Don Powers Assessment of Federal Education Law). Don Power’s is an attorney who was reviewing federal education laws. He starts off his report with this explanation:
“For this report we were asked to see if the federal government was conducting testing and analysis contrary to the requirements of federal law. We must report that under present legislation in the United States Code Annotated (USCA) the Department of Education (DOEd) can do what it wants relative to testing and analysis and the local schools have no control or input on what the DOEd wishes to accomplish, if the local school is receiving federal funds in any form. There is more explanation within the body of the report.”
What Don discovered was this:
“What we discovered is a transition to a tyrannical form of government. Sections of the USCA that supported local, states’ rights and local control of schools as well as sections that placed restrictions on the Federal DOEd were being repealed all together and in instances replaced by sections that grant more control to the federal level. We also checked other areas of the USCA and found this to be the rule, and not the exception. From the historical records, that we could check with our meager resources, it has apparently been going on since before the1960’s.”
Don lists several specific examples in his report. As I have already posted on this website, the federal government is moving toward the most intrusive data collection practices on our children that have ever been done. You can read it here and speculate as to how your child’s dental records being tracked will produce a student who is better at math.
Please read this post if you are unfamiliar with the problems of the Common Core State Standards.
Original link to Don’s report:
At the Republican state convention a few months ago I had the chance to speak with Utah Governor Gary Herbert for a few minutes and so I brought up the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The governor assured me they weren’t a prelude to a national takeover of education (which by some measures we could conclude that already happened years ago). The governor said the CCSS was the product of states getting together and collaborating to improve the standards. That is true in part. The states got together. However, some states had better standards than what was produced in the CCSS documents. Rather than 50 experiments in education, we will now have 1. Success and failure is now 100% for our country in either direction, rather than 2% per state. Will the CCSS work? Nobody knows. They’ve never been used. They weren’t even complete when they started being adopted by states. Assessments weren’t ready to look at, but “don’t worry, everything necessary for this system to work 100% is in process…”
When the evidence is examined as a whole, it is difficult to not see the CCSS as the prelude to a national melding of education into a giant pot. It’s not like everything is isolated and we certainly can’t say that the standards are independent objects for the states to manipulate. If a state signs on, they can’t modify the standards except to add a little to them. So lets look at what else we know is happening that is pushing forward to compliment the CCSS.
What? The people that wrote the standards are now telling curriculum designers how to design the curriculum? That sounds like a national curriculum in the works. But that’ll never happen so don’t worry about that.
So you have these “state” standards which are being pushed with the odd national anticipation that very soon all the states will adopt them (even if the standards are worse than their current successful standards such as in MA and CA). Shown on this SBAC timeline, that will be by late this year (2011). By 2013 they will be pilot testing the assessments, field testing in 2014, and 2015 will be when we have “final achievement standards.” The SBAC is one of a couple of consortia that have received massive amounts of federal funding to develop a set of assessments that will match the CCSS. SBAC’s senior researcher is Linda Darling Hammond, proponent of social justice in the classroom, and constructivist extraordinaire. Anyone want to guess what these assessments will be asking and how they will influence the “final achievement standards?” Does anyone think the CCSS might change by 2015 based on these tests and developing “final” standards?
Once you have the standards, curricula to teach them, and assessments to measure student progress, the next thing you’ll want to know is information about the students to see how they are progressing (and of course you’ll want to track the teachers so you know who the ones are that most successfully get students to answer the correct questions on the SBAC social justice tests).
If you didn’t read the post the other day on Marxism and CCSS, here’s the flowchart from page 20 of that pdf someone produced. Everything fits nice and neat together. I haven’t looked into it myself, but from the title on this map, these relationships all seem to get identified in the Race to the Top grant.
I have read estimates that in California alone, implementing these new standards will entail spending several hundred million dollars. Nearly every state was hoping to get Race to the Top funds but only a handful did. Not surprising, Utah got nothing and so implementation of these new standards will be a significant new expense for our state. It will involve teacher training in the new standards, new textbooks written to the standards, and additional costs for switching out assessments and such. Why on earth would we create massive new costs when we already have pretty good math standards and we have high unemployment and a financial disaster brewing in our country?
Everyone’s favorite buzz-phrase but which only a few really cherish. The only local control that is going to exist after this will be for home schoolers and private schools. Accepting this package, and make no mistake it is a package, will terminate local control and allow for Educrats in Washington D.C. to determine what is taught, how it’s taught, what’s tested, and what’s tracked. If we’re lucky, they’ll share a little bit with us at the local level.
Here’s a great piece from Ze’ev Wurman on the newly proposed CC science standards. His conclusion as an engineer and educator who has served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission that reviewed the adoption of Common Core for California, is that these standards are going to develop students who appreciate science rather than actually learn science. You can read his article here entitled Education to Raise Technology Consumers instead of Technology Creators. These standards will only serve to dumb down our children and allow for further deteriorating our scientific prowess (if we can even call it that anymore).
There are many people who believe the CCSS are good standards. No doubt they may be better than what some states were using, but that’s no reason to kill innovation between the 50 states, nor to allow for all these separate components to join together. It’s out of our hands though. The only way to avoid this is to reject the CCSS and be a state that is free to innovate and educate as we see fit.
For more information about the CCSS, check out the Truth in American Education website.
When John Taylor Gatto was given the teacher of the year award in New York City, the gathering got more than they bargained for in his acceptance speech. He lambasted the public education system and took it to task for destroying education in this country. Gatto’s concluding paragraph here hits the nail on the head by bringing education back to where it should be…centered in the family.
http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html (read the whole excellent speech here)
“Family is the main engine of education. If we use schooling to break children away from parents – and make no mistake, that has been the central function of schools since John Cotton announced it as the purpose of the Bay Colony schools in 1650 and Horace Mann announced it as the purpose of Massachusetts schools in 1850 – we’re going to continue to have the horror show we have right now. The curriculum of family is at the heart of any good life, we’ve gotten away from that curriculum, time to return to it. The way to sanity in education is for our schools to take the lead in releasing the stranglehold of institutions on family life, to promote during school time confluences of parent and child that will strengthen family bonds. That was my real purpose in sending the girl and her mother down the Jersey coast to meet the police chief. I have many ideas to make a family curriculum and my guess is that a lot of you will have many ideas, too, once you begin to think about it. Our greatest problem in getting the kind of grass-roots thinking going that could reform schooling is that we have large vested interests pre-emptying all the air time and profiting from schooling just exactly as it is despite rhetoric to the contrary. We have to demand that new voices and new ideas get a hearing, my ideas and yours. We’ve all had a bellyful of authorized voices mediated by television and the press – a decade long free-for-all debate is what is called for now, not any more “expert” opinions. Experts in education have never been right, their “solutions” are expensive, self-serving, and always involve further centralization. Enough. Time for a return to democracy, individuality, and family. I’ve said my piece. Thank you.”
Amen. Time to decentralize and bring local control and pro-family oriented education back in vogue.