"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mandated Behavioral Assessments for Connecticut Students? Homeschoolers Included?

CT Senator Toni Harp introduces legislation for ALL children to undergo behavioral assessments.  Home schoolers included.

Do you think you can keep your children from government mandates if you home school?  It is increasingly doubtful you can shield your children from having to submit to governmental data mining of their personal information, even if you don't have your child enrolled in public education.  Government agencies want educational data as well as wanting to require information on your child's behavioral health.  Watch out for this type of legislation in your state.

From the Family Institute of Connecticut:


Stop New Mandate Attacking Parental Rights
Stop S.B. 374, Mandated Assessments of Children
In all the years we have been fighting for pro-family values at the state Capitol, we have never seen as invasive a bill as S.B. 374, An Act Requiring Behavioral Health Assessments for Children. This bill would mandate that public school children in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 and home-schooled children at ages 12, 14 and 17 be given behavioral health assessments, whether or not parents approve.

S.B. 374 will have a public hearing on Friday, March 8th at 11:00 A.M. at Wesleyan University. We need parents to be prepared, to attend the hearing and to help defeat this bill.

No one has the right to force children to have psychological evaluations that are against the will of their parents and possibly unnecessary. This bill may violate Connecticut's HIPAA privacy law. What does the government intend to do with these assessments? If a child gets a "bad" assessment, the state is empowered to do...what, exactly? What will the test be? How will it be administered? These and other questions remain unanswered by S.B. 374.

S.B. 374 is a significant attack on homeschooling and public school families, interference by the government in compelling the upbringing of a child, something the State Board of Education does not have the authority to do. 

Here are four ways you can help FIC Action stop the Mandated Assessments Bill and protect our parental rights:

1) Use our Grassroots Action Center to send an e-mail directly to your state senator and state representative by clicking on the link at the bottom of this message (then click "take action" at the bottom of the next screen). We have provided some basic points, but please either put the message in your own words or add a brief introduction and conclusion!  Personalized and polite messages have a much greater impact. Let our legislators know that you oppose any bill that forces children to be "assessed" without their parents' permission.
2) Attend the public hearing and testify against S.B. 374. The Public Health Committee will hold a public hearing on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. at Beckham Hall, Wesleyan University, 55 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. The Committee is accepting electronic testimony via email at phc.testimony@cga.ct.gov. Please submit electronic testimony no later than 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 7, 2013. If you are unable to submit electronic testimony, please submit 10 copies of written testimony at the time of sign-up. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 9:00 A.M. on the Second Floor of Beckham Hall. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. 
3) Click here to donate to the Family Institute of Connecticut Action. FIC Action, the lobbying arm of Connecticut's pro-family movement, is your eyes and ears at the state Capitol. Your support allows us to continue to be your voice for faith and family.
4) Forward this message to every like-minded state resident you know and ask them to do likewise. We need as much support as possible to protect our children from unwanted state-mandated "assessments." 
Thank you for making your voice heard in the fight to protect parental rights in Connecticut. 
Senator Harp said she is particularly eager to follow-up on one of President Obama’s recommendations with regard to enhanced delivery of mental health services: renewed focus on adolescents and providing for them access to the specific resources they need.

“So much of the gun violence we have witnessed is committed by troubled young people—we really must redouble our efforts to help adolescents with their unique developmental issues,” Senator Harp said. “Researchers are consistently learning more about brain development and the challenges some young adults face. We have to be sure all that new information becomes widely available so it can be useful.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Senate Hearing on SB210 set for March 6th

The hearing for Senator John Lampings bill SB210 is set for 3:00 on March 6th. This bill would stop implementation of the Common Core Standrds and assessments in Missouri. Similar legislation is being considered in 12 other states.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Michelle Malkin and Rotten to the (Common) Core Standards

Malkin has more thoughts on the growing grassroots resistance against Common Core State (sic) Standards in nationalreview.com:

In practice, Common Core evades transparency by peddling shoddy curricular material authored by anonymous committees. It promotes faddish experiments masquerading as “world-class” math and reading instruction. Instead of raising expectations, Common Core is a Trojan horse for lowering them.

Read more here.

Missouri Senate Bill 239: No RFID Chips or Polar Bracelets in Missouri?

Senator Ed Emery files a bill in Missouri that would not allow such practices as RFID tracking of students or Polar Go Fit bracelets for tracking information.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Should BMI School Screenings Be Illegal?

It is none of the government's business what your child's Body Mass Index (BMI) is.  Why does the government think it has the right to this personal information on students?

 If  minor girls can obtain birth control devices from school without parental knowledge because "kids are sexually active and getting pregnant" and the government should step in and supersede parental medical authority over children, it's no wonder there is a nanny state fixation on student BMIs.  The government (following its logic) should track children's BMI so the parents (the legal guardians of such children) can realize their children are not measuring up to the fitness scale.  

Schools are not medical facilities (at least that is not their stated primary function) and they should not be measuring children without parental knowledge/permission and the information collected might not be correct.  Here's a story from myfoxboston.com about a letter going home to a 10 year old boy from the school stating he was obese, when he is not:

Imagine getting a letter from your child's school and opening it up to find that school officials say your child is obese. One such letter was sent to parents of a 10-year-old, active North Andover boy, and they were not too pleased.

The letter, which was sent home to children in select grades throughout the state, detailed the students' height, weight, and body fat percentage after school screenings which were conducted per state law.

When Cameron Watson's parents first received the letter, they crumpled it up. Cameron, a fourth-grade student, plays football, practices martial arts, and wrestles.

According to his parents, he practices several times a week. In fact, this weekend he is wrestling in the state finals and must weigh in at 95 pounds.

The student's reaction?
"Why do you care? It's not your body. And how they do it? With the numbers, Tom Brady's obese, and he's the skinniest quarterback in the NFL," Cameron said.

His mother views the screening in a negative manner and is taking action:

Cameron's mother Tracy, a North Andover selectwoman, says the state is fixating too much on just a number rather than looking at a child's overall health.

"There were a number of children that, you know, went to bed not feeling great about themselves that night. And that bothered me," she said.

Tracy Watson is also concerned that the screenings cost school districts money, money that could be better spent.

"Why don't we have a nutritionist speak to our children? Why aren't we hiring any more gym teachers?"

Tracy Watson recently filed legislation on the state level to put an end to BMI screenings in schools. 

Good for her.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

IB and CSCOPE Activities Have American Students Wearing Burqas

CSCOPE in Texas has come under fire lately for its lesson plans, curriculum and taxpayers unable to access the content of these plans/curriculum.  An article recently was circulating about girls having to wear burqas in Texas classrooms as part of a CSCOPE lesson plan.  From wnd.com:

...in Lumberton, Texas, this week, high school girls were made to wear burqas as part of a CSCOPE study of Islam.

One student quoted the teacher as saying, “We are going to work to change your perception of Islam.”

The teacher in the burqa lesson, according to a student, also said, “I do not necessarily agree with this, but I am supposed to teach you that we are not to call these people terrorists anymore, but freedom fighters.”

Critics argue that this should not be a teacher’s role, and are concerned that CSCOPE curriculum appears agenda-driven.

According to a student in the class, the lesson was to teach about the life of women in Islam. The burqa exercise focused on fashion and did not include the fact that in many Muslim communities, women who appear in public without a burqa face being beaten, imprisoned or murdered by family members, vigilante groups or even the state.

At the end of class, the students were assigned to write a paper about Egypt. According to one student, they were instructed to discuss “how Egypt was a good country until democracy took over, and that things were finally corrected when the Muslim Brotherhood came into power.”
 Muslim women are portrayed as liberated in CSCOPE literature. In a lesson titled “Thinking About Sexuality” that utilizes a series of film clips, students are asked, “What do the women portrayed in these film clips think Islam teaches about sexuality? How are their thoughts similar or dissimilar to your own ideas about sexuality?”

Read more here.

Now let's see what's going on in Missouri.  We don't have CSCOPE but we have IB curriculum in rural Camdenton, Missouri.  What is IB teaching these students?  From a Missouri citizen:

In Camdenton IB students are doing the same by the girls wearing burqas and reading books about Muslims and the ravages of our war on their society while money is being raised for the schools in Afghanistan.

From lakenewsonline.com:

Camdenton, Mo.  --  Thanks to the collaborative efforts of students at Dogwood and Hawthorn Elementary schools, Camdenton High School, Camdenton R-III faculty and staff, and the entire community, the CHS International Baccalaureate (IB) students have raised $5,194.84 for Pennies for Peace.  Pennies for Peace supports the construction of schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

IB students read a children’s book to the elementary students, played traditional Afghani games with the students, and constructed a mock school for the children to visit.

Read more here.  Below is the accompanying photograph in the article.  Why are the girls in Camdenton wearing burquas unless they are of the Islamic faith?

Can someone in Camdenton place their hands on the IB curriculum offered in this school and give us an idea of what is taught in Camdenton schools?  It would be interesting to compare and contrast what CSCOPE teaches about Islam and what IB teaches their students about this faith and the role of women in Islamic society.

As an aside, maybe CSCOPE and IB would like to investigate the Pennies for Peace program and the controversy surrounding its founder.   Maybe what these kids have been taught as truth is not entirely factual.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Teacher Slams Common Core State (sic) Standards

A Common Core exemplar explained by a teacher from 2012.  Has anything changed? From the Washington Post, Teacher: One (maddening) day working with the Common Core:

The bottom line: The Common Core exemplar we worked with was intellectually limiting, shallow in scope, and uninteresting. I don’t want my lessons to be any of those things.

Find out the reasons why here.  Is Lincoln turning over in his grave?

Common Core State (sic) Standards Creates Spelling Word of the Day: S-C-A-M

CCSS. NCLB on Steroids. CCSS is a SCAM. Somehow the organizer of the townhall missed the connection.

Could someone just cut to the chase and tell panels of educators and parents the truth about Common Core State (sic) Standards?  CCSS is a Scam:
A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.  It's No Child Left Behind on steroids.

This article from NorthJersey.com, Panel in Englewood focuses on standardized testing's impact on students, covers a meeting that addressed the problems with standardized testing.  The speakers are against increased testing and gave a background on when it began in earnest with No Child Left Behind:

The "People's Town Hall Meeting on Education Issues and Solutions" was organized by The 4 Wards Coalition 4 Empowerment.

The goal of the event was to give parents, which approximately 70 attended, insight to how standardized testing such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the upcoming Common Core State Standards were effecting public school students.

The organization's message was backed by six educators who presented various problems and resolutions.

This was the first public event the organization held, which was formed five months ago.
The goal of the coalition is to better the school system and municipality, helping to ensure money is spent in a way to help kids achieve, said Lucy Walker, member of the coalition and organizer of the town hall.

So far, so good.  The panelists skewered NCLB and its effects on students and questioned whether it was a viable source of information.  Students are now being taught "to the test" so an accurate barometer of their knowledge is not available.  This is great!  Parents are learning that high stakes testing in NCLB is not good and now, the even higher higher stakes testing in CCSS should be a no brainer for citizens to oppose.  If districts/states/parents/students hated NCLB, then the pushback against CCSS should be even more intense.

Spoiler alert: there is a disconnect here somewhere:

In 2014, students taking Common Core standardized testing in New Jersey will use computers, according to The New Jersey Association of School Administrators.

Walker urged residents to go to their board of education meetings and demand that boards adopt keyboard classes for young children who are taking standardized testing online.

"If you are there fumbling over the keys, how are you going to do your best on a literacy test?" asked Walker. "In schools where they are not teaching students the '10 finger method' in the first and kindergarten grades, even the children who would have done very well will do poorly."

WHAT?  Walker wants students to take computer classes so they will do better on yet more standardized testing?  The panel has spent the majority of the time telling attendees why standardized testing destroys students and the organizer of the event is demanding computer classes so students can perform well on more standardized testing?

MEW's reply online to this unbelievable disconnect:

Common Core standards/assessments have been labeled "No Child Left Behind on Steroids".

And how is this supposed to reform education? Use your common sense. It will reform education for the private corporations supplying the privately copyrighted standards/assessments and the companies providing the infrastructure. But will it increase educational attainment? Who knows? The standards were never field tested. Heck, the standards/assessments weren't even written when states signed onto them.

Spelling word of the week: S-C-A-M.

States Rejecting the Common Core State (sic) Standards

States are represented here that have had serious discussion on a legislative floor or have legislation to withdraw from the CCSS, delay the implementation, or not fund the implementation.

You can download the map here:


Yes, Virginia.  Alabama is not an island. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Support Alabama in Anti-Common Core Fight. It is NOT an "island" Withdrawing from Common Core.

Send the above message to Alabama legislators.

From CE White in Alabama:

As you may know, Alabama has two identical bills to repeal Common Core. House Bill 254 and Senate Bill 190. There is a public hearing on Wednesday, February 27th at 3pm at the State House. I feel we have the votes for this to pass in the Senate, but the House is dealing dirty politics. One superintendent (who is connected to Broad Foundation and has invited Pearson to his district next month) wrote an article last week in a newspaper, claiming that Alabama would be "an island" if we withdrew from Common Core. Since that article, legislators have started to question why we need to pass these bills. In fact, they are using the same terminology that we might be "an island" if we pass this bill. I will be speaking at the public hearing Wednesday. However, we really need to get the word out to our legislators that we will not be "an island." We need them to know that we are not alone in our fight. We need them to know that other states are also fighting against Common Core. Could you please help us get the word out, by having your organization and other states contact our legislators and tell them to please pass HB 254 and SB 190, and we will not be "an island." We need to flood them with calls and emails. They need to know they have the support of the country. Here is the link to our Alabama legislature page, with links to contact information: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate/senators/senateroster_alpha.html


Contact Alabama legislators and let them know that Alabama is not an island, but is a state joining in reclaiming state academic freedom with these states who have various anti-Common Core State (sic) Standards pending legislation:
  • Missouri
  • Indiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Michigan
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • South Dakota
These states did not adopt Common Core State (sic) Standards:
  • Nebraska
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Arkansas
This state adopted ELA standards only:
  • Minnesota
Alabama is NOT an island and legislators are being misled if they refer to the state in this manner. This is from  the article in which superintendent Casey Wardynski refers to Alabama as an island:

The proposed bill - cosponsored by Sen. Bill Holtzclaw of Madison, Sen. Paul Sanford of Huntsville and Sen. Clay Scofield of Guntersville - would repeal the state's adoption of those standards and prevent the state school board from adopting them a second time. 

"If it was to pass, immediately we would no longer be allowed to be aligned with anything that is going on in those other 47 states with regard to this common core curriculum. That would be devastating. Alabama would become an island," Wardynski said.
Wardynski has mixed reviews as a superintendent and his association with The Broad Foundation in geekpalaver.com and Eli Broad’s Return On Investment:

So let’s recap:
  • Wardynski has recommended, and the board has approved hiring PROACT Search (with direct ties to The Broad Foundation) for $110,000 to hire approximately 10 new principals.
  • He has recommended, and the board has approved hiring SUPES Academy to provide professional development to new Principals for $300,000 for two years.
  • He has recommended, and the board will likely approve the hiring of 110 Teach for America (supported by The Broad Foundation) for $550,000 a year.
In five months, Dr. Wardynski recommended spending just shy of one million dollars on programs supported by The Broad Foundation.

That’s not bad for a five month tenure, is it? While it’s not clear how much The Broad Foundation has spent “training” Dr. Wardynski, if the “training” for Teach for America is any indication, it’s likely in the $20,000 range. In exchange for this investment, Dr. Wardynski has already returned $410,000 in five months. In all likelihood at some point in November the rubber stamp board will approve spending $550,000 for Teach for America to hire 110 teachers who haven’t been trained to teach.

If you’d like to read more about The Broad Foundation’s “commitment” to education, take a look at “How to Tell if your School District is Infected by the Broad Virus.” You might also consider following, “The Broad Report.”

$960,000 for five months work. Not bad. Not bad at all. I wish the ROI for Huntsville’s kids were as high.
The Broad Foundation is proud of Wardynski via its twitter feed:

Congrats to grad Dr. Casey Wardynski, named "Outstanding Superintendent of the Year" by Alabama PTA!  
It's no surprise that the Alabama PTA would name him "Outstanding Superintendent of the Year".  The PTA has received a million dollars to support CCSS (even before they were written) via The Gates Foundation and $240,000 from the GE Foundation for CCS support.  See here.

It should matter to Alabama legislators that Wardynski is wanting to implement standards that are unproven, untested and underfunded.  It should matter to these legislators he is supporting/promoting The Broad Foundation agenda while using taxpayer money.  It should matter to Alabama legislators that the PTA has been persuaded by Bill Gates and GE to support an agenda that does not protect teachers or students or parents from a vast public/private partnership that negates any local control.

Calling Alabama an island is a technique to take legislators' eyes off the pertinent facts of Common Core State (sic) Standards.  Once you examine who is behind them and why, there is no question they should be rescinded.  They are not for the "kids".  They are for organizations like The Broad Foundation, Bill Gates, TFA, PTA, etc to make money. 

Contact the Alabama legislators and tell them the truth and the facts about Common Core State (sic) Standards.  Tell them how private outside companies are trying to direct the educational delivery and direction for Alabama students and schools.


Remember Missouri's Education Commissioner's Love for Cass Sunstein?

Who could forget Commissioner Chris Nicastro's admiration of Cass Sunstein as noted in Missouri's first Race to the Top application?  From ed.gov and the Missouri application (pg 9):

Core Student Learning and Outcomes Goals
The Race to the Top has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Missouri to bring its citizens together, to identify common goals and to develop a plan for a decade of educational reform designed to give Missouri’s children a competitive edge in tomorrow’s international competition. Our vision for reform embraces the notion advanced in the book, Nudge, where Thaler and Sunstein outline the need for "choice architects" to subtly steer choices toward positive results while leaving people, districts and schools "free to choose".  We know that if Missouri’s public schools are to be the best choice for our citizens, they must produce the best results. This Race to the Top competition has provided the "nudge" Missouri needed to pick up the pace.
Missouri Education Chris Nicastro based her proposal to Race to the Top on this theory; perhaps she is employing the current theory present throughout all the government entities; schools, the EPA, the Department of Education and the State Department. Here's an excerpt from the book's review:
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. 
From Nicastro's own words in the application process: her vision of reform is based on  the theories in Nudge (rather than the Constitution).  Missouri didn't win RTTT money but we sure got stuck with its mandates (such as Common Core State (sic) Standards) when Nicastro signed on to the ESEA waiver.  
What is Sunstein up to these days?  From Althouse:

Cass Sunstein reviews "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism."

That's a book by Sarah Conly, published by Cambridge University Press. 206 pages, $95. $95! Fortunately, we cannot be coerced to buy that. I will exercise my autonomy and refrain from buying it. I'll just read Sunstein, for free, here.
[A] significant strand in American culture appears to endorse the central argument of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty....
the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or mental, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.
Sunstein refers to social science research that shows people actually aren't very good at making decisions for themselves. We have "present bias" (and don't pay enough attention to the future), we're bad at assessing probability, and we're "unrealistically optimistic."
Until now, we have lacked a serious philosophical discussion of whether and how recent behavioral findings undermine Mill’s harm principle and thus open the way toward paternalism. Sarah Conly’s illuminating book Against Autonomy provides such a discussion....

To Mill’s claim that individuals are uniquely well situated to know what is best for them, Conly objects that Mill failed to make a critical distinction between means and ends. True, people may know what their ends are, but sometimes they go wrong when they choose how to get them....

If the benefits justify the costs, she is willing to eliminate freedom of choice, not to prevent people from obtaining their own goals but to ensure that they do so....

A natural objection is that autonomy is an end in itself and not merely a means. On this view, people should be entitled to choose as they like, even if they end up choosing poorly. In a free society, people must be allowed to make their own mistakes, and to the extent possible learn from them, rather than facing correction and punishment from bureaucratic meddlers. Conly responds that when government makes (some) decisions for us, we gain not only in personal welfare but also in autonomy, if only because our time is freed up to deal with what most concerns us....
 As for Sunstein himself, he prefers a softer form of government manipulation, described in the article and in his book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness."

Heh. Various readers comment on Althouse about Sunstein:

I heard Sunstein on a radio show many years ago (I think he appeared with Althouse). I was very unimpressed with him -- a defensive dumbass was my take. But then again, he was a lawprof at an elite school so he must be really really smart. 
Easy to understand Sunstein (a proxy for our government) = fascist
These ideas are as old as humanity. The entire concept of the feudal nobility is based around the idea of a class of people who just know better than the foolish underclasses.  

and finally

I'm reminded of the story about Sen Phil Graham (R) questioning a child-hood Govt pre-K advocate during hearings when this came up the first time around in the late 70s (iirc)

Graham was making the point that no govt bureaucrat could care for his children better than he, Phil Graham could, and that tax-payer dollars should not be used to fund a brogram designed by faceless bureaucrats and carried out by teachers not related to the children. "But Sen Graham," the HHS guy replied, "we're concerned for your children's welfare just as much as you are." "Oh really, " Phil replied. "O.K., then, if you say you care about them just as much as I do, tell me their names."

There are many other responses you might want to check out.

Should we be impressed or worried that our Commissioner of Education wants Missouri's educational vision to follow Cass Sunstein's?  I bet I know the answer to that question if I posed it to Althouse readers.
Site Meter