Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Government’s Invasion of Parental Rights

In 2005, the 9th Circuit affirmed “Parents…have no constitutional right…to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide…when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.”  This is a glimpse at Utah’s future unless we protect parental rights. Please watch this 30 minute docudrama and then visit ParentalRights.org and look at their short parental rights amendment. I encourage you to sign their petition and get on their mailing list.

ASD Responds to Senate Testimony

Alpine School District just responded to criticism they received during a Senate Education Committee meeting last week. Their response on the Daily Herald website started with this statement:

“Members of the Alpine School District Board of Education take an oath of office to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Utah.”

Is it not beyond obvious that people can  take an oath and render it meaningless by constructing new meanings and understandings that are not grounded in fact? Our current president is a prime example.

As one of those that testified against some of the actions of Alpine School District during that senate meeting, let me say for the record that I disagree with the points made by the school district on the following grounds.

1) ASD has never been responsive to its primary stakeholders…parents. During one short period of time a few years ago when parents were upset at the district for removing the times tables from the curriculum, I received 4 separate phone calls and emails from individuals who spoke to the same administrator at the district who told each one of them they were the only parent to ever complain about the program. This was clearly an attempt to isolate parents and minimize their concerns. Prior to my involvement which started in 2005, hundreds of parents had been complaining to ASD since Investigations was first implemented in 2001 about the lack of solid math skills being taught. ASD ignored them all, confiscated books at 4 schools I am aware of, and threatened some teacher’s contracts if they taught the times tables to children. I have personally spoken with a teacher who this happened to along with her co-workers. Numerous other teachers have contacted me and told me they used to shut their doors to teach the times tables. How ridiculous is that?

2) This is clearly in dispute. One teacher in particular that was mentioned (not by name) had been teaching students the benefits of communism without the other horrific side of the story on the hundred million or so citizens put to death in the last century by communist dictators. When one student came home and told his mother “communism isn’t really that bad,” she thought maybe it was just her child misinterpreting what the teacher said. So she gave a survey to 10 other students in the class. 9/10 responded with “yes” to the statement “There are some good things about communism.” 7/10 responded “yes” to “One of the good things about communism is equality.” 9/10 responded “yes” to “Islam is a religion of peace.” 10/10 responded “yes” to “We should respect others views, even if we disagree.  There is not one ‘right’ view when it comes to different kinds of government.” There is one right view of government, and that is in following its proper role in protecting freedom and individual rights.

3) Testimony concerning Investigations math didn’t declare it a violation of state law to use the program. My testimony concerned Patti Harrington removing Investigations math from the approved list as a primary curriculum, yet ASD continues to allow Investigations to be used as a full primary curriculum in many classrooms across the district. They say they use “balanced math” which isn’t a program, and continue to let teachers use Investigations math solely. They also use 100% Connected math in many classes and that program has also been removed from the approved list by Patti Harrington because it is also an incredibly weak and ineffective program. These programs actually led to Utah raising it’s math standards a couple years ago.

4) ASD maintains that they invite “responsible and civil participation” to address parent concerns. For nearly a decade, parents have tried to get the district to listen to their concerns in a civil manner. Civility to ASD seems to mean open your mouth and take your medicine. Parents concerns are met with deaf ears and an attitude of, “you’re not a professional educator, we know best.” Whether it is stubborn pride or their own indoctrination in Goodlad and Dewey’s philosophies, ASD is not about to start listening to responsible parents and taking their concerns seriously. They took down the “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy” sign just before the November election, yet two senior administrators told parents they may take the sign down but they weren’t going to change their philosophy.  If the district was really concerned with continuous improvement and listening to parental concerns, they would have dropped Investigations math in 2002 right after they were flooded by concerned parents who tried to inform the district about the damage being done by their pseudo-math. In spite of overwhelming evidence that contradicts their position, such as Project Follow-Through, they barrel on, causing untold damage to tens of thousands of children who might otherwise have a future in a math related field.

State Superintendent Jokes about Baking and Selling Parts of Senator

Yesterday afternoon’s Senate Education Appropriations Committee meeting had a bit of an edge to it. The USOE has been asked to reduce their budget 7 to 10 percent. About 36 minutes into the audio, the State Superintendent Larry Shumway came to the stand and this was the exchange he had with Senator Buttars, chair of the appropriations committee. You can listen to it above.

Senator Buttars: Yes Superintendent

Shumway: Good morning

Buttars: Good morning

Shumway: Um well, just facetiously, Senator Buttars, I thought maybe just you and I could go set up a little bake sale and we could come up with the cash.

Buttars: That would be a hell of a bake sale.

Shumway: Well actually I had received an email suggesting that if we could just put you in an oven and sell parts that that would raise it all.

Buttars: I appreciate your humor and I will return the compliment.

Shumway: (laughing) Probably true.

Buttars: Senator Madsen, Madsen, wait wait, Madsen, yes…

Madsen: You can get away with comments like that, he can’t.

Shumway: Oh, really, I didn’t mean it in any offense, I hope everyone knows that.

Madsen: He never does either.

Buttars: A little humor’s ok, (Shumway: just a little) even though it’s below the belt

If you want to listen to the whole session follow this link and listen to the audio from 1/27.

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2011&Com=APPPED