Archive for the ‘Issue News’ Category
Kudos to Representative Mike Morley for running this bill which will codify the need to “thoroughly” teach students from our founding documents and include the concept of the United States Republic. I am pleased to endorse this legislation and encourage you to contact your representatives and ask them to support HB 220 the “Civics Education Amendments” bill. You can read the text here.
A year ago I delivered our petition to the Utah State Board of Education. They said they would review the 8th and 11th grade standards to ensure a proper treatment of the concept of a republic but they have taken no action since that time. You can read their letter here:
Anyone think the economy has gone past the point of no return? What can be done? I think this creative idea is a great solution to help at least partially insulate Utah from the pressures that are going to come upon the nation. The Utah Sound Money legislation has been filed but doesn’t have an announced sponsor yet.
Here is a 30 second trailer for the longer video below which is about 11 minutes. After watching the video, please contact your legislators and ask them to pass the Utah Sound Money Act. You can read the draft legislation here.
A new site has been put up specifically for those in Alpine School District, but helpful to anyone looking to understand the national education indoctrination movement. Please visit the site and give it a look. It’s a collaborative effort from a number of people who are committed to exposing the connections to people who would tear down our nation and force socialism on us.
Part I: John Burton calls me a Bald-Faced Liar
Part II: John Burton’s Serious Ethical Dilemma
I want to make something very clear concerning what I write and publish to the website. I never publish anything that I don’t believe to be accurate information. I do not lie or *make up* anything to stir things up. I try to always make sure what I’ve published is correct.
I say this because it has come to my attention that John Burton has been calling me a liar in correspondence with people for insinuating that he may have been involved in the confiscation of math textbooks at several schools in Alpine. This is part of an email that was forwarded to me.
John Burton wrote:
“Since you call Oak your ‘friend,’ I’m sure you have read his personal home page. One of the statements that he makes on one of his links is very interesting because it talks about my involvement in Investigations Math. Let me quote it for you. ‘ASD actually confiscated textbooks at 4 known schools to ensure teachers had to switch to Investigations math. John Burton, candidate for school board in American Fork, was over those schools at the time. His direct role in that (if any) is unknown.’
[name removed] the statement that I just quoted to you penned by Mr. Norton is a bald-faced lie and Oak knows it!!! I am totally offended by it!” (John’s emphasis, not mine)
The careful reader will note that I said Mr. Burton’s role in the confiscations (which did happen) is “unknown” but that he was merely the administrator over the elementary schools at the time of implementation. My friend, who was kind enough to play ping-pong email for John and I, then received another email from John which contained this new information about his service.
“I wasn’t even at the district office when Math Investigations was implemented. Go check it out in the Human Resource Department and you will find out that I was appointed a supervisor of elementary schools after Math Investigations had been implemented. Obviously Oak hasn’t taken the time to do this.
At the time of implementation I was principal at Legacy Elementary and my school opted not to implement the program. Therefore it would have been ridiculous for me to confiscate the books at my school since the teachers and students would have had no books to use at all!!” (Emphasis mine)
On the first point, John is right. I didn’t take the time to do that. I wish I had more time on my hands to try and verify every fact with every available source, but I relied on a teacher who said she was there at the time and that was her recollection.
John’s second point claims he was principal of Legacy Elementary when Investigations was implemented and he turned down the program. This was new information to me so I emailed John and asked him for a timeline of his service so I could then provide it to my source and try to get to the bottom of the issue. I told him if I was wrong that I would gladly publish it on my website so everyone could know the facts as they really were.
John wouldn’t reply. I emailed again and he wouldn’t reply. I made a third and final offer to him nearly 2 weeks ago and he wouldn’t reply.
So I checked with my source and she maintains that her recollection was correct that John left Manilla to go to the district, but left a little wiggle room saying maybe he went to Legacy and then to the district, but she didn’t think that happened.
A small fragment of doubt had been cast between what John claimed and my source’s recollection, so I wavered a bit trying to know what to publish. Thankfully, my good friend Doug Cannon had taken up the anti-Investigations math fight a few years before me and just provided me with GRAMA data that helps reveal a much clearer picture.
First, I found on John Burton’s campaign website a timeline with some of the information about his service that I was trying to get from him.
Alpine School District, Administrator K-6 Schools, 2001-2008
Alpine School District, Elementary School Principal, 1980-2001
So John transferred to the district office in 2001, probably making the transition in the summer of 2001 so that a new principal could start the 2001 school year at John’s school.
This first pdf provided by Doug Cannon to me, shows the cost of Investigations math being implemented in Alpine School District, as well as a table showing when every school implemented Investigations math. You can see that both Manilla and Legacy elementary schools implemented Investigations math in the 2001-2002 school year, and that neither principal at the time was John Burton, he was already at the district. That is a direct contradiction to what John represented in his emails above and this comes from district materials.
PDF see page 4 (GRAMA Reply 1-14-2003)
The next pdf is dated in 2003 (which is after everything took place) and shows John signing a district document in favor of Investigations math.
PDF see page 1 (ASD letter 1-27-2003)
Giving John a big benefit of the doubt, maybe he was principal at Legacy when Investigations math was first offered and maybe he turned it down (don’t know since he won’t verify his service record), but it seems clear from the record that he was at the district office when the schools that confiscated textbooks performed that action and it seems clear he was fully on board with the district in embracing Investigations math. People that know John have identified him as a strong constructivist. In other words, if you want fuzzy math to continue in Alpine School District (as it does still continue), then elect John. He’s going to keep it going. His role in the confiscations mentioned above is unknown, but it seems clear he was at the district office from the records just provided, and he was not principal of Legacy Elementary when it was actually implemented.
John recently retired from Alpine School District (2008) and went to work for Utah Valley University as the Field Supervisor of Secondary Prospective Teachers. If he is elected to the school board, he will have a direct conflict of interest with his job because the students he reviews will also be applying for work at Alpine School District. If John will be able to put pressure on principals to hire his students, or if principals feel there is a benefit to hiring the students John recommends, or students want John to review them in hopes of getting favorable placement in ASD, these situations create ethical issues for John.
When I sent John the timeline request mentioned in Part I above, I also sent to him a question asking if he was planning to resign his job at UVU if elected to the school board. He refused to answer that question. He is certainly aware that this issue exists but he does not want to answer the question. It would be nice to know if he would resign so we could be assured there would be no ethical issues that surround hiring issues as they relate to his reviews.
Mr. Burton has avoided all of the Meet the Candidates events in AF so his refusal to answer the conflict question and to appear in public is disconcerting to say the least. Why would someone who wants the job of a school board member run a campaign in near complete isolation and privacy? It makes no sense unless he’s got something to hide or he is doing this under pressure from someone else such people at the school district.
I’ve also received reports from very unhappy parents asking why some sitting principals (Jason Theler at Lindon Elementary and Gary Gibb at Legacy Elementary) are campaigning for Mr. Burton.
If you would like to email John and ask him for yourself if he plans to retire from UVU if he is elected, please feel free to do so. Here’s his email address.
Dear John, if you would be so kind to answer this question, I’d be happy to post it here on the website so the public has your response.
(I am at the beginning of this audio clip, but at the 13:48 mark, the Teacher of the year from the Utah online charter school is interviewed)
For those of you that didn’t listen to Red Meat Radio this morning, here’s the audio from it. I discussed BYU’s McKay School of Education leaving the Goodlad NNER (National Network for Educational Renewal) organization as well as two other important issues.
Back in March when I presented our petition to the State School Board I received a letter from Lynne Greenwood indicating the state office would be opening up the 8th and 11th grade history standards to ensure the concept of a republic received appropriate treatment in the standards. Since then I have emailed individuals at the state office twice and haven’t heard anything back from them…
Next, a week and a half ago at the legislature’s education interim meeting, a teacher spoke about civics education in Utah and the need to study original sources. He then presented members of the committee with a handout on various quality resources that contain original sources. The state superintendent, Larry Shumway, then got up and was asked if the textbooks used in Utah show respect toward the Founders. He first began by questioning the term “Founders” and how differently the “Founders” thought about the same issues or principles. He told the committee, and he was backed up by a former history teacher on the committee, that the textbooks used in Utah show respect to the Founders. The topic of the Constitution didn’t really come up. He said that though the Making of America is a good book, it is biased to a certain “Founders'” viewpoint and should be used only as a secondary resource.
When I asked a history teacher in Alpine School District if the textbooks in ASD showed respect to our Founding Fathers, he replied:
“They absolutely do not. In fact the only teaching they even get on history is a packet with questions and little pamphlet books to find answers. There is no teaching of history and certainly not of our Founding Fathers or even our great nation.”
We’ve got a lot of work to do. )
I was sent the following job announcement for a school in Jordan School District. This identical ad actually appears for a few of the schools in the district showing a requirement to thoroughly know Goodlad’s Moral Dimensions in order to be hired.
|Job Title||BYU Partnership Facilitator-Eastlake Elem.|
|Date Posted||April 30, 2010|
|Job Description||• Facilitate in-service education, curriculum development, and research/inquiry as related to the partnership.|
• Assist principal in the selection of cooperating teachers to participate in pre-service training.
• Coordinate placement of pre-service students in the classroom.
• Instruct cooperating teachers to mentor and evaluate pre-service students’ performance.
• Team with BYU and district personnel to provide initial and on-going workshops, seminars, and site visitations for pre-service students.
• Communicate partnership program goals and activities to school faculty.
• Document partnership activities toward school renewal and improvement of teacher preparation.
• Demonstrate leadership in promoting all facets of the BYU/JSD Partnership.
• Direct an action research project within the school.
• Accept and complete occasional administrative assignments.
• Attend all partnership meetings.
|Qualifications||This is a full time position with the major responsibility being the mentoring and evaluating of interns, student teachers, and cohort students. This position requires a successful and respected educator with a minimum of five (5) years of elementary education experience. This position also requires excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills.Experience in the following is preferred: • Advanced knowledge of curricular and instructional strategies (K-6)|
• Knowledge and understanding of John Goodlad’s Moral Dimensions
• Experience in collaboration and differentiation
Saturday’s convention was a packed house with a strong distaste for the advances of the federal government. As such, my amendment which recognized that article 4, section 4 of the constitution gives the federal government the right to interfere with a state’s business if forces within the state try to subvert republican government, turned down the amendment until a better one could be recognized. I had several people that voted against it encourage me to try again but without that language so we’ll take it up next year at the state organizing convention.
The convention itself was packed. Over 98% of delegates were present and by now you know most of the outcomes. Bridgewater and Lee will face off in a primary with Bennett being eliminated. Rob Bishop sailed through. Philpot squeaked by without the need for a primary and his opponent Matheson will have to go to a primary having failed to get 60% of his party’s vote. Howard Stephenson (my senator and a champion of Alpine school district parents for his work on helping fight fuzzy math) also got through without the need for a primary.
I submitted this letter and amendment to the Utah Republican Party for consideration at the May 8th, 2010 state convention. I hope if you are a State Delegate you will support this amendment and help get your fellow delegates to vote for it. Please forward this link to all your fellow delegates.
The proposal is just the part underlined below. The blue paragraphs above and below it are already in the platform and are included below merely to show placement of the new section on the form of government.
To whom it may concern:
I would like to propose the following addition to the state party platform. My reason for proposing this change is because society today has become so used to identifying with the “democratic” process, that many people now believe our form of government is a Democracy. We are losing a vital piece of our national identity and by virtue of that, losing the most fundamental aspect of protecting our natural rights by no longer teaching our children what a Republic is, and what Republican government is all about.
Educational networks now promote the false notion that knowledge and morals are democratic which leads to moral relativism. The Framers of our Constitution said only a moral people can preserve a Republic. On this ground alone, we must ensure that each generation of Americans has the knowledge espoused in the proposed addition to the platform.
The one concern some delegates may have is the declaration that the Federal government has the right to intervene in a states’ affairs under the condition mentioned. This was carefully considered by the Framers as they were most concerned about preserving the sovereignty and independence of the several states. They wrote into the constitution a guarantee to the states that they would be able to retain a Republican form of government, because they knew that only a Republic would preserve the rights of the people. Thus they gave permission for Federal intervention to protect the people of a state should their Republican form of government be in jeopardy of being changed.
Oak Norton, State Delegate, Highland 7th
State Delegate Co-Signers
-Lowell Nelson, Highland 5th
-Kristen Chevrier, Highland 4th
-Don Baker, Highland 7th
-Larry Hilton, Highland 7th
-Sarah Nitta, Highland 4th
We, the Republican Party of the Great State of Utah, affirm our belief in God and declare our support for government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We believe that citizens’ needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the “Rule of Law” and believe in upholding the law of the land.
THE PROPER FORM OF GOVERNMENT
We recognize that the United States of America is a Constitutional Republic. We recognize that when Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution declares “the United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican form of government,” this simple declaration gives the federal government the right to intervene in the affairs of a state whenever that states’ form of government is in jeopardy of being changed to something other than a Republic. We further recognize that a Republican form of government is one based on: law; representatives elected by the people to exercise sovereign authority on the peoples’ behalf; a system of checks and balances and transparency of operations; and based on protecting the unalienable natural rights of man as given by a beneficent God to protect the freedom and agency of man.
THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government properly exists by the consent of the governed and must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
To all those visiting the site and agitated that a bunch of nut job (can’t deny it, it comes with a name like Oak) parents are getting nit-picky over the term democracy, I have written a new page of this site to explain the whole story which cannot be explained in a couple of sound bytes in a news story. It’s much more involved. If you want the whole picture, please check it out here. It’s not just the term democracy, but the individual behind it who says the state has a right to your children and that morality is democratic (determined by a vote).
At tonight’s Alpine School District board meeting, a volunteer read the following statement to the school board.
I have volunteered to read this statement from the Utah’s Republic dot org organization.
To the Alpine School District School Board:
Recently, there has been a disappointing set of events that has caused the public to question the district. Last month, hundreds of parents brought you their concerns about the motto, mission statement, and direction of this district in educating our children. Instead of researching the problems to make corrections, you accused parents of “misrepresenting” yours and the district’s positions.
What specific misrepresentation occurred? It is a fact that someone in the district wanted to provide a link to support the district position that we are a democracy. Someone at the district researched and found William Meyers’ site with a page calling our Founding Fathers “predatory elitists.” That person felt it represented the district position correctly, got it approved, and posted the link on the district’s website. Someone approved your mission statement explanation that used the term “democracy” 13 times and the words “academics” or “republic” not even once. Parents then found the source of the “enculturating” phrase coming from John Goodlad, a humanist educator with very socialistic views on politics and family rights. When all these stars aligned, parents decided to present the facts to the public.
In essence, we were doing your job. You swore an oath to protect the constitution from “domestic enemies.” In your stewardship that is to protect our school system from false educational ideas that would weaken the constitution and our families.
We are here tonight to present you with 3 questions and ask that you, our elected officials, provide answers at the next board meeting on April 20th. We are giving these questions to the press as well so you know that we do take your positions seriously.
Our questions are:
1-Who exactly was misrepresented and what misrepresentations and falsehoods are you referring to in your statements to the public and to school district faculty?
2- You admitted at the last board meeting that “Enculturating the Young into a Social and a Political Democracy” is not user friendly and you will revisit the use of this term. In the meantime, will you direct the immediate removal of all instances of the “Enculturating” sign and the “Democracy” motto in all district buildings and schools until you have developed a new motto which is absent of politics? If not, why?
3 -What policies have you now implemented as a result of this recent controversy to ensure false educational ideas do not further creep into our children’s classrooms (ex. sponsoring constitution classes for teachers during teacher development time; reconsidering the sources of your material such as the PSP/NNER/CITES connections to Goodlad’s teachings, etc…)?
We ask that you, the board, our elected officials, specifically answer these questions so that you are responsible for the answers.
Thank you for your time and consideration. The public looks forward to hearing your answers to these 3 questions at your next board meeting on April 20th.