"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

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

What Does Common Core Have in Common with Mad Men, Cardboard Bicycles and other "Ambitious Products"?

"Where the truth lies"...appropriate in describing Common Core claims?

"We are sorry that we cannot disclose details how everything functions, but we have to protect ourselves." That always sets of warning bells. Often (though, not always) when companies are totally secretive about key aspects of what they're selling, and claim to have done something amazing, it means that they're missing something big -- something that people would tell them if they'd just share. 

The above snippet from Techdirt.com sounds a bit like how Common Core operates.  The Council of Chief State School Officers doesn't quite know how Common Core will be implemented or how much it will cost, but we are to trust the the education reform of the day is the magical mandate to make kids smarter and more competitive.  How the CCSSO proposes a common set of standards can lead to exceptional results begs a suspension of rational belief but that's what the American people are supposed to accept from this private trade organization funded by federal stimulus dollars.  

Citizens are to take on face value CCSS are:

  •  internationally benchmarked (with no data to back this claim up)
  • they will make students college/career ready (with no data/studies to prove this claim) 
  • they will make students ready for 21st century jobs (even as they can't tell us what a 21st century job looks like)

The Techdirt article is entitled Awesome Stuff: Maybe Awesome, But More Info Needed.    Read it and find out what Common Core has in common with cardboard bicycles, phone service for everyone and reality eyeglasses.  We are truly living in an era that requires no research/data to hawk incredulous claims of superior products without any data to prove its claims.  It's a Mad Men's dream world.   As you read the writer's description of a cardboard bicycle, think Common Core:

First up, we've got The Cardboard Bike. It is exactly what it says. The design is really quite impressive looking, though there's little to no information beyond that: how well does it ride? How durable is it? In fact, the project's main video is much more about how the two guys who teamed up to do this have a vision of building all sorts of things out of cardboard and "changing the world" with cardboard. It's a lovely vision, but... it seems like they skip over the first part, about convincing people that the product they're offering, the cardboard bicycle, is actually worth buying. They just keep talking about how cardboard is a "game changer" for building anything. That might be true, but if I'm buying a cardboard bicycle, convince me that the cardboard bicycle makes sense first. They admit that the whole reason they build one in the first place was because everyone said it was impossible, but then they don't explain how they get past the limitations of cardboard. They just leave you wondering. So... more information needed.  

Read here for the hawking of Common Core standards from Achieve:

Having quick, tested messages on hand can go a long way when advocating with new groups of stakeholders or helping existing advocates stay on message. Below are two 4 x 8 messaging cards, with key messages on the front and critical facts on the back, to be shared with other advocates of the Common Core State Standards and common assessments.  

Public education has been taken away from local communities and now needs "messaging" to schmooze taxpayers into believing how wonderful the centralization of education is for students.  Cardboard bicycles, Mad Men advertising schtick and free phone communications for everyone.  What could go wrong?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Another School District Declares its Independence from Federal School Guidelines

A school decides what's good and what's bad, not the federal government.

The Catlin (IL) school district doesn't want the money from the Federal Government for its lunch program.  From Catlin leaving federal school lunch program:

"We did some studies that showed it would take us about 83 days into the year to make up what we were being reimbursed from the federal government," Lewis said, adding the food service program lost money over the last three years. "We don't want to make money on it, but we want to break even, which will be a big plus."

Not only will the district save money, it will retain control of what type of food its students will be offered:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which sets federal nutritional standards for school lunches, revised meal guidelines for government-subsidized school meals, in an effort to address childhood obesity.

Under the new rules, which are still being phased in, participating schools must serve more whole-grain products, double the amount of fruits and veggies, serve more dry beans and peas and serve low-fat or fat-free milk and other dairy products, among other things. They also must limit the amount of sodium, saturated fat and trans fat in food.

"We had to not only offer vegetables but vegetables of a certain color, and we had to offer them so many times a week," Lewis said, adding it was difficult to meet the guidelines with selections the kids would eat. "I will eat kale. But if I tried to get my 11- and 7-year-old to eat kale, they will look at me like, 'What are you putting on my plate?'

This principal should be given a ribbon for food conservation as well.  Why pay for food that the students will not eat but the school is mandated to serve via Federal guidelines?  

School officials decided to pull out of the National School Lunch Program earlier this spring, after seeing a decline in the number of meals that were served and too much food going into the garbage last year.

Read more here.

Imagine that.  A school district making decisions for its students based on students' needs, rather than a centralized plan from this administration on what, how much and even what color the food needed to be in school.  Now only if districts would make the same decision on Common Core...wouldn't that be a glorious day when a school could/would determine how and what their students needed to learn instead of centralized consortia propped up by private organizations and federal stimulus money and federal guidelines?

Here is a story earlier this year about another school who pulled away from adhering to the federal lunch guidelines.

Remember this video from Kansas about school lunches?  Who would have thought schools would need to declare their independence from the Federal Government by supplying its own food to its students?


Thursday, July 4, 2013

This Fourth of July Represents a Loss of Freedom for Americans.

Behavior like this could get you arrested in talking about Common Core in Florida. 

Is what is happening in Florida occurring in your state with Common Core discussions?  School boards, administrators, principals and teachers don't seem to want parents/taxpayers asking questions they can't/don't answer.  If your district or state agency has a meeting about the standards, chances are you will hear the tired talking points about the standards being
  • internationally benchmarked (even as the CCSSO can't provide a list of internationally benchmarked countries)
  • will make students college/career ready (no data/research to back up this claim and no discussion how the same standards will make children ready for college AND a career at the same time)
  • ready for a 21st century job (still no list of what a 21st century job looks like)
  • schools can still pick their curriculum (even though the standards must be CCSS aligned which severely restricts an authentic choice of curriculum)
  • insert your state's name ___here____ and pretend they are state standards instead of CCSS (think "Missouri Learning Standards"....they are just CCSS renamed to trick taxpayers/parents/legislators to think Missouri is actually setting its own standards)
I came across a story about citizens threatened with arrest in Florida for passing out information about Common Core standards.  Where is the free speech guaranteed (and protected) to Americans?  Didn't Hillary Clinton proclaim "dissent is patriotic"? Why are we celebrating independence today when citizens cannot even pass out information contrary to the government/bureaucratic party line?  Do you want your children to participate in this system?  If Common Core is so great, why the suppression of dissent?  Shouldn't the benefits of CCSS be celebrated and explained, rather than controlling those who disagree?

From Deputies order Common Core protesters off Sebastian campus:

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A small group pickets were asked by the Sheriff’s Office to leave school district property at Treasure Coast Elementary on Monday.

In response, about 50 protesters with signs stood outside school grounds at the county’s Common Core curriculum workshop at Rosewood Magnet School on Tuesday.

“They would not allow parents to speak,” Laura Zorc said of Monday’s workshop. Zorc, of Vero Beach, is the southeast coordinator for a grass-roots organization called Florida Parents Against Common Core, and the wife of Indian River County Commissioner Tim Zorc. “Parents were threatened to be arrested if they handed out Common Core fact sheets.”

During both workshops, parents were asked to submit their questions in writing and place them in a basket for review by district officials, who promised to post answers on the district website to questions not answered in person. No questions were accepted from the floor, a procedure that frustrated parents at both sessions.

Read more here.

This is appalling.  This is indicative of how bureaucrats view parents and citizens with concerns.

They don't care.  

Just give them your money and your children and go away.  It's time to say no. Your rights have been violated.  Time to contact Hillary Clinton and get her on your side as a patriotic American.

In 2003, Hillary Clinton said quite emphatically: "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration." 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Teenager Designs "Stop Common Core" T-Shirt and Speaks Out Against Common Core. Meet Natalie.

Teenager designs "Stop Common Core" t-shirts.  You can order one.

This teenager is against Common Core.  She has done her own research and come to the conclusion the takeover of public education by private organizations is not based on best educational practice.  She informs audiences, teachers, principals, and students that the adoption/implementation of CCSS circumvented the legislative process.  She has discovered her entrepreneurial streak, is proclaiming her opposition to CCSS and is inviting folks to ask her questions about Common Core.

You can order shirts (below) from Natalie.  Wouldn't it be interesting if your student was suspended for wearing one of these shirts because of its "politically incorrect" message?  Read about Natalie from a mom who wrote me about this teenager's quest to rid her school of Common Core:

Our children are watching.  That is what I tell myself when this fight against Common Core becomes a  heavy burden to bear.  Our children are watching how we choose to take a stand for the freedom that our Constitution endows us with from the minute we are born as Americans.  They watch and learn from us, what their schools and Common Core will never teach them.  They learn that the process by which Common Core was adopted was unconstitutional.  They learn that “we the people” are supposed to always have a voice that is not only heard, but revered.  They are learning how our system is supposed to work, as we protest this injustice under the first amendment to our Constitution.  They are learning many lessons as we choose to fight a battle right here in this country for the freedoms that our brave soldiers are defending right now with their lives overseas.  They are learning that it is their responsibility to defend those rights that our Constitution has represented to a free Republic for many generations, and not allow  those rights to be redefined by a few who do not share our vision of what it means to truly be free.  They are learning how to defend their birthright, and what it means to be an American by watching us take a bold stand.

One child, in particular, has touched my heart as a mom.  Her name is Natalie Sales.  I have watched her sit and intently listen as I have shared the truth about what Common Core really is all about to the moms in my circle of friends.  I have watched her attend meetings where the facts about the adoption/implementation of Common Core are revealed in speeches by Mary Byrne (not the Department of Elementary/Secondary Education), and seen her  take notes so she can do research on her own when she gets home.   I have heard the stories other kids share about how she boldly questions her teachers on why they believe Common Core is the right option for children, and then asks for the ability to present the other side of the issue to the class when that teacher tries to endorse what they do not understand.  I was told that she took her message to a small, rural school in our area where several teachers and a principal met in a library to hear what this 13 year old girl had to say about what the Common Core  was about and how it came to be.  The teachers were enlightened, and angry once they learned the truth.  She encouraged them all to go home and watch Jane Robbins' videos on Common Core and continue to seek out the truth on the issue, and to not be complacent.  She urged them to find their voices on behalf of children just like her.  She has started the conversation among her peers, and challenges them to KNOW the truth as well.

Natalie has boldly taken her message to the moms and dads at the local sports club, and to the staff at the pizza place her family visits frequently.  She is talking to anyone who will listen to her about the perils of Common Core, and how it was adopted without the knowledge or consent of the governed as it should have been.  She sees Common Core as a true threat to the sovereignty of her country and she is compelled to act even though she is only 13 years old. 

She has also designed  T-Shirts (see below) that she proudly wears to school and around town that advertises her intent to Stop Common Core.  She wears them with the hope someone will ask what her shirt means. She loves to tell them why.  She makes me smile.
Keep fighting.  Our children are watching.  There is hope for our future because they are learning from us how to exercise those rights they are never taught about in school.  They are learning how to fight and protect freedom as we know it.  There is hope for the future when I see kids like Natalie Sales take the lessons she is learning from her parents and other adults as they stand for the children of this great nation in an effort to defend our future.  Although our children may never be taught anything about our Constitution or Bill of Rights in their public schools any more, know that they are learning those lessons in living color by watching us exercise our rights granted by those documents as we choose to not back down in our fight for what is right.   Natalie Sales is evidence of this fact.  She is a young patriot who is making a difference, and learning because the adults in her life are not willing to be silent about the injustice of Common Core.  She exemplifies the fact that our children are watching and learning.  May the lessons they learn from this fight we fight leave an imprint on their hearts that teach them what it means to protect their birthright to live free, and cherish what it means to be an American. 

Natalie will be speaking next on Monday,July 29 from 5-7 PM in Council Bluffs, Iowa at the public library, Meeting Room B.
Let folks know your opposition to Common Core.  Become a messenger to tell others about Common Core FACTS to stop this takeover of public education by private organizations held unaccountable to the voters and legislators.  To order a "Stop Common Core" t-shirt designed and made by Natalie, the information is below:

Size s-xl is $20.00
            xxl:   $22.00
            xxxl: $23.00

Shipping: $3.00 for one shirt, $5.00 for 2 shirts, $6.00 for 3 shirts, 4 or more: free shipping

Contact: Angela Clark  573.286.6992   email: jewelryac@gmail.com

If a teenager has the courage to speak out against Common Core, adults should certainly do the same.  What kind of educational system are we leaving to our children and grandchildren?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

College Readiness for How Many?

Bill Gates is on record stating that he envisions twice as many students as now going on to college by the year 2020. That would mean approximately 60% of the student population would be expected to attend college. Interesting goal from a man who himself never finished college because it had nothing to offer him that he could not achieve on his own. Harvard only claims him as an alum because of his success in founding Microsoft. If his venture with Paul Allen in 1975 had ended the way many entrepreneurial first tries end, in failure, their relationship with Mr. Gates might have been as difficult to document as their relationship with the President.

Yet somehow, Bill Gates thinks that pushing even more children to take on college debt and receive training he didn't get or need is a good idea. Apparently, so do many other education elites. You have to wonder if they have considered the bigger impact of such a goal.

For starters there is the concept of flooding the market. With twice as many people holding the same qualification, what will be the impact on earnings for future college graduates. Econ 101, which even Bill Gates must have taken, tells you that an increased supply results in a decreased price due to less demand. Today's college graduates are having a hard time finding employment. Granted a lot of this has to do with tax policy for businesses and a massive regulatory burden from an ever growing government, but it demonstrates that a sheepskin does not innoculate you against those concerns when looking for work.

Secondly, there is the reality of pushing students who previously were not likely to succeed in college, into college. College has traditionally been a place for our best and brightest to practice in depth study into a subject area that holds a particular interest for them. Our university systems are where some of our best research takes place. That is because they used to be about gaining more knowledge. Now they are becoming extensions of the job training program, formerly known as k-12 education.  Having taken my child on several college tours recently I was struck by the focus placed on their job placement offices. While every parent wants their child to be gainfully employed, that was not traditionally the goal of college.

If your goal is to be able to enroll more children in college programs, the reality is that you are going to have to dip further down into the performance pool. That reality is already impacting higher education as high schools are required to boost their college entrance statistics to maintain AYP. A significant amount of fudging is done to make more students academic record look acceptable to college admissions offices. This is one of the explanations for the increase in the need for remediation in college. The students entering aren't really qualified to be there. It also explains the rising college drop out rates. According to the latest statistics only 63% of students entering college will complete their degree, and many will take as many as 6 years to do so. The ones going in simply don't have what it takes to complete the work.

Thirdly, (and this point has been covered by many sources) the biggest impact on America of doubling college entrance rates will be the rising amount of student debt. Currently it is over $1 trillion. What happens if we double that to $2 trillion? With the government having a lock on student loans, how will that impact the national debt? Is that an unintended consequence of the goal of doubling college education or the purpose? The answer may lie in your willingness to think conspiratorially.

A fourth point has to do with the means being applied to the end. The goal of Common Core is to make children "college and career ready" to participate in the "global workforce." The assertion CCSSI and its supporters are making is that standards and assessments will address the workforce problem.  In other words, the reason we aren't globally competitive (which itself is a red herring) is because we haven't been consistent in what we teach children or good at assessing whether or not they are learning. If we had been, then naturally more kids would be going to college. Of course we did have 50 states using standards and assessments for many years without this being the natural outcome. Could student failure to graduate or progress on to college have anything to do with our social programs which pay people not to work, whether through welfare or unemployment benefits? Doesn't this seem at cross purposes with preparing a workforce?

The government creates social problems and then says we need more government to fix the problems it creates, and now, private corporations are throwing money at the "fix", not to improve outcomes, but to profit from the process of faux crisis management.

The last effect that absolutely needs to be considered is, what does this goal does to those who don't have what it takes to complete college, who don't wish to go there and to the programs that currently exist for such people like technical or trade schools?

Ed Week recently wrote of some of the realities of this kind of thinking for the high school student who realisitically is not on the college track. They site the rapid decline in the offering of vocational classes and institutions dedicated to the trades.
"88 percent of our public high schools still retain career- and technical-education programs, but the number of students receiving job certification is in decline. School districts that once had robust networks of vocational high schools have stripped offerings. In Boston, a city with 625,000 residents, there is only one vocational secondary school...
Instead of taking two years of foreign language to meet college "readiness" requirements as a junior or senior, why can’t more students take core classes for half the day, then leave school to intern or train as carpenters, electricians, auto technicians, dental assistants, or fitness trainers?
Instead of being pressured into a college track for the sake of improving accountability numbers, why can’t teachers and administrators honestly assess students’ college potential—or lack thereof—and help place students in programs that give them the best shot of having a productive life? It’s one thing for a student to be in a remedial rut, it’s another to compound the problem by not considering other program options."
A group of concerned citizens we spoke to recently in Macon MO expressed this exact concern. They did not necessarily want all their children to go on to college. Who would remain in Macon to run the farms and businesses there if every child went out and got essentially white collar training? No one asked the Macon School Board if college and career readiness was their goal as well. These citizens are asking why they have to funnel all their k-12 education dollars into a curriculum whose goal they never voted on or approved.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Money, Testing, Greed and Control

We may never know the exact Origin of The Species, or where we came from, but we do know where Common Core came from. It did not spring spontaneously from an oozing pool of state educators in search of a nationally consistent set of standards along which to form their educational structure. Instead, it had a creator, or at least twenty five creators. Their identities are slightly less known than the Creator mentioned in our Bill of Rights. Ok, a lot less known. These individuals called forth from the chaos of education standards developed in all fifty states as a result of No Child Left Behind, a single set of "clear" (and apparently magical) standards upon which all future students and teachers would feast until they achieved nirvana, or college and career readiness, whether they wanted to or not. Such was the gift of the gods of education.

Lofty words, yes, but almost the sense you get from reading the propaganda about Common Core. These magical standards are going to guarantee that every child will be ready for college and career. CCSSI and SBAC were careful not to actually state that guarantee. In fact, they supplied a disclaimer on their products warning you that they were not responsible for any educational failures that result from using their standards.
"Under no circumstances shall NGA Center or CCSSO, individually or jointly, be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, consequential, or punitive damages however caused and on any legal theory of liability, whether for contract, tort, strict liability, or a combination thereof (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of the common core state standards, even if advised of the possibility of such risk and potential damage. Without limiting the foregoing, licensee waives the right to seek legal redress against, and releases from all liability and covenants not to sue, NGA Center and CCSSO."

Regardless, the college and career readiness "implication" is all over their marketing and one of the key reasons groups like the US Chamber of Commerce support common core. Businesses, frustrated with the product government controlled public education has been producing in the last 25 years, want a better product and someone seems to be promising that. They appear willing to overlook the fact that it is the same supplier producing the product while using a different set of production specifications that produced the product they have not been happy with up until now. No one has bothered to look at the assembly line itself to see if there is something in its construction that has been causing the poor product quality. No one has looked at the suppliers of the raw materials to see if the final product inconsistency might be affected by the input materials. They are a victim of their own belief in marketing.

Most critically, few have looked into who wrote the new specifications manual. Those who follow common core know who those writers are and have therefore had reasonable skepticism about the quality of the standards. There were fourteen members on the original ELA drafting committee for common core. (Sorry DESE, but you were not part of the drafting team. You were only allowed to comment on the written standards and, much as you only reluctantly responded to questions given you on May 2nd without any real dialogue or intent to change anything, CCSSI had no real intention of taking your input to their drafted standards too seriously either.)

From the Savannah Morning News,
"Of the 14 members of the Common Core English/Language Arts Standards writing committee, seven worked for ACT or SAT, two of the biggest test makers in America.

Three members work for Achieve, another non-profit organization that helps states — guess what? — form assessments for standards, and happens to be the creator of the American Diploma Project Network.

See how nicely this dovetails with ACT and SAT? Another standards writer, David Coleman, formed the Grow Network, which he sold to—there they are again–McGraw-Hill.

I am usually not a conspiracy theorist. But my scorecard shows 11 members of the English/Language Arts Standards writing team had ties to companies with a financial interest in the committee’s decision." [None were high school or college English teachers.]
You should read the whole article. The nepotism at work in the testing and test prep family of businesses feeding off of common core is mind boggling.

But lets just assume for a moment that you are ok with test writers developing standards. At least the standardized tests they give us to measure whether our kids are meeting those standards will be good. Right?

A couple months ago CCSSI proudly released their test practice exam for public review.  To say that the reviewers were underwhelmed is an understatement. On the blog mathmistakes, they take on an 8th grade question about probability. Probability is something 8th graders should be able to do and probably could do, if asked the question in a normal way. But the developers of the SBAC test seem so enamored with drag and drop and fancy graphics that the question gets muddied. Worse, if you actually analyze the skills needed to solve their question, ones taught in 7th grade, you would have to develop a tree diagram with 210 lines to answer half the question. (It's a timed test.) The good news is there is an easier way to solve the problem. The bad news is that that standard is not taught until high school. Too bad for the kids sitting at the testing computer in 8th grade.

Here is another example for fourth grade as written about on CCSSI Mathematics that should make it clear to the average parent why their child comes home from testing in tears.

“Support/don’t support the conjecture” format questions like this one appear repeatedly in the SBAC sample tests.  Andrew Stadel reviewed a Grade 6 question of this type as part of a nice assessment comparison done in a video format.

Unfortunately, this SBAC question by its wording (and the others, as well) leads students down a mathematically indefensible path.  In mathematics, one does not prove a conjecture by one or numerous consistent examples, but one can disprove a conjecture by a single counterexample.

The weakness of this particular question is found by considering together both the conjecture’s absolute nature (“the only way”) and the wording in part A.  Students can write 3/6 (or many other choices) as the answer to part A, which is greater than 3/7, but it doesn’t “support” Kendrick’s conjecture in the mathematical sense of being one step on the way to completing a proof (described in SMP thusly: “mathematically proficient students...make conjectures and build a logical progression of statements to explore the truth of their conjectures.”  We shouldn’t be forcing fourth grade students to make or support fallacious arguments without understanding the big picture.

The question is simply asking students to “show how it possible to create a fraction greater than 3/7 by making the denominator less than 7.  Also show how it is possible to create a fraction greater than 3/7 where the denominator is NOT less than 7.”  Students are being asked to provide examples and counterexamples, but not prove anything.  It's clunky and additionally confusing because Part B is akin to a double negative... We won't even discuss the random 11 non-consecutive numbers given as possible answers.

So this is the best that standardized test developers can give us to measure the standards they wrote? We can see that the test prep companies, owned typically by the test providing companies, are going to get a lot of business getting kids ready to take these tests.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation (a non-profit organization owned by the for-profit version of the Pearson company) worked together to create complete online curricula for the new common core standards in math and English language arts for elementary through high school. Both Foundations contributed to the development of the common core standards. This off-the-shelf curricula includes the materials, the teacher preparation, teacher development and, of course, assessments. It is being developed by America's Choice (now owned by Pearson) headed by Phil Daro and Sally Hampton who, coincidentally, were on the original drafting committee for the common core standards. Doesn't that form a nice little package?

Not every state is blind to the problems in the SBAC tests. Alabama, Pennsylvania and Indiana have, or are in the process of dropping out. With each loss of a state, the cost to the remaining states grow. How much is Missouri going to be willing to pay for tests with these kinds of questions? Do we even know what our share is going to be in 2014? Is this even what we were promised in the pretty brochures?


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Does the Key To Correcting Common Core Lie in the Proposed Student Success Act

Representative John Kline of Minnesota, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has provided his solution to the overreach of the US Department of Education that has given us Common Core and a host of other education accountability programs that have robbed our states of their sovereignty over education. The Student Success Act, if passed, would empower local control of education, returning choices for what is best for our children to the closest possible authority: parents, teachers, districts, and state government.

From an Ed Week article on SSA,
There are currently more than 80 distinct federal programs that are supposed to promote student achievement. The Student Success Act would eliminate more than 70 of those programs and replace them with grant funding that states and school districts would have the flexibility to use to tailor programs to their local needs.

Instead of Washington bureaucrats making decisions, the legislation would allow superintendents, school leaders, and local officials to make funding decisions based on what they know will help improve student learning. In addition, the Student Success Act would require the U.S. secretary of education to identify and eliminate positions associated with those programs.

The Student Success Act would repeal the onerous No Child Left Behind requirement that districts employ teachers deemed “highly qualified.” This mandate has valued a teacher’s credentials over his or her effectiveness in the classroom. Instead, the Student Success Act would support state- and locally driven teacher-evaluation systems that provide states and school districts with the tools necessary to measure an educator’s influence on student achievement

These changes are consistent with the message being delivered by the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. Accountability is all well and good, but it is important to be accountable to the right source for the things that are most important to the people actually paying the dollars. Our current system, and the one we will have going forward, moves that accountability further and further away from the local district and the local taxpayers.  We send our money to Washington and then have to do the dance they want to get a portion of it back (through IDEA, Title I and the other 75 programs.) Lesson plans and curriculums are designed around the goals of people far removed from the state. Even the goals of "college and career ready" laid out by CCSSI are not necessarily the goals of all school districts for all children. Yet 100% of the school's focus will now be those goals. With the average district getting on 7% of its funding from the feds (some as low as 2% and the high only being around 15%), it is absurd how much control the US Department of Education has over local school districts.

MCACC has pointed out repeatedly the existing federal laws that limit the authority of the USDoEd that are not being followed.
--> Department of Education Organization Act (1979) Sec. 103 (a) “It is the intention of the Congress . . . to protect the rights of State and local governments and public and private educational institutions in the areas of educational policies and administration of programs and to strengthen and improve the control of such governments and institutions over their own educational programs and policies . . . (b) no provision of a program administered by the Secretary [of Education] or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, except to the extent authorized by law.
--> No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (reauthorization of ESEA) Section 9529 “PROHIBITION ON FEDERALLY SPONSORED TESTING.(a) GENERAL PROHIBITION.-Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law and except as provided in subsection (b), no funds provided under this Act to the Secretary or to the recipient of any award may be used to develop, pilot test, field test, implement, administer, or distribute any federally sponsored national test in reading, mathematics, or any other subject, unless specifically and explicitly authorized by law.” 
If it takes yet another congressional act to to force the USDoEd to adhere to the restrictions placed on it, then so be it. In the end it does not seem likely that DC will voluntarily back off. It will be up to the states and the local districts to stand up and assert the rights they already have, to say "We do not see the benefit to us in supplying you with all the reporting your program requires," "The seed money you want to dangle in front of us is pitiful compared to the lifetime cost of running this program.  Regardless of the benefits you claim the program will have, we will not establish and then accustom our taxpayers to a program we cannot afford to keep running." To the extent that Congress can cut off the funding of the people who would threaten to cut off the return of our money to us to keep us dancing their dance, we applaud the efforts of the House Education Committee. SSA will not completely stop that process. The department will still be doling out funds in the form of grants. SSA will only remove DoEd's ability to dictate the exact conditions to be met to receive the money. Beyond that, the solution lies in reclaiming our legal and rightful local control.

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