"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 27, 2013

Florida Mom Addresses School Board About Common Core

Do you need some encouragement to address your school board about Common Core?  The following statement Monique Thomas provided to the Clay County (FL) Board of Education might give you the courage/information you need to craft your own statement.  Thomas is a mother and taxpayer concerned about the adoption, implementation and mandates of Common Core.

(Reprinted by permission)


JULY 18, 2013  Florida-Clay County Board of Ed presentation 

Superintendent and members of the Board:

I have some bad news and some good news.  The Common Core State Standards Initiative has key components that people are taking issue with—the good news-- as the initiative unveils its ugly self across the country—the beauty is--in real-time- people, the citizenry and their elected or appointed officials are coming up with ways and taking action to slay the beast.

10 issues that have been brought forth of late are:

1.    Loss of local control-The Common Core State Standards Initiative is

2.    Unconstitutional AND

3.    Breaks established Federal laws. CCSSI handcuffs parents and educators; there is no ability for

4.    Clay County citizenry to change any part of the Common Core Standards since they are copyrighted.

5. Children’s privacy is invaded and breached
5a.The Florida DoEd website will inform you that such intrusive actions will take place.

 6.FERPA and PPRA will only go so far to protect our children.

7. Loss of parental control—How much are Mothers or Fathers and Guardians aware of the extent of the data being collected from their children, by what means and then who and for what purposes is it being distributed? And

        6.a 7.a, since we’ve seen one scandal after another coming out of Washington-- anyone who thinks any info taken from our children is safe, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Our own Polk County, FL families were already unwittingly stripped of personal identifiable information when their children’s irises were scanned without their permission.

8. And I discovered-- that in fact, despite what talking point proponents say-- Common Core State Standards IS NOT STATE LED…I was on a recent tele-townhall with our own US Congressman Ted Yoho to find out through HR 5 he is working to uncouple the chains of mandates emanating from DC that shackle our public education system to the Federal government.  HR 5 will give closer to home control of finances through block grant funding. And to my further amazement, HR 5 acknowledges the 10th amendment rights—individuals have the power to decide for themselves if they want to participate in Common Core State Standards without having to be bribed with our own tax payer dollars.

With closer held purse strings and the empowerment of the parents rightfully taken back, they have more opportunity to educate their children as they see fit… It is no surprise to me that the bill has support across the political spectrum of We, The People.

9. Profiteering by corporate interests with public taxpayer money.  History has shown us---Forming or promoting Public/Private Partnerships a la Mussolini--this is a treacherous way to lead.  Fascism does not make for a healthy economy in Clay County or in the end provide for a safe and healthy learning environment for our children.

10. Let me put this another way--The dumbing down through another doomed outcome based education model---History has also shown us Outcome Based Education in the 90’s FAILED, change the name to NCLB- FAILED in the 2000s. Change it up again—call it RTTT bribery for deploying the Common Core State Standards Initiative--EPIC FAIL for OUR CHILDREN, OUR TEACHERS and ultimately OUR NATION. All together, the tax payers who have no students in the government education system are in the boat along with the families and educators rowing into a perfect storm of government takeovers while the children walk the plank==> the 10th plank of the 'Communist Manifesto'.

Any individual as an elected or appointed official that FORMS or PROMOTES FASCISM through Public/Private Partnerships or ALIGNS themselves with the tenets of COMMUNISM,---The elected or appointed official who breaks our CONSTITUTIONAL COVENANT must resign immediately. OR-- if they will not resign they must be removed from their position.

Concerned citizens are calling for you to extricate their government educated children from the Rotten To The Core program.

Seek and you will find solutions.

Vigilant parents, teachers, administrators, county and community leaders across the country are taking action so to best deliver and authentic and proper education for our rising generation of American citizenry.  The future of our country, our Nation’s fate-- is placed in their young hands and formative minds. But what is it the Board of Education and the Superintendent here choose to give the children in Clay County?--The tyranny of Fascism or Communism, OR the Freedom of a Republic.

I have ALWAYS admired individuals who can properly represent the people.

I can assume we are all Citizens of the United States.

As citizens, we ALL accept the self-evident truth that we are individually in control of our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of property—popularly known as ‘happiness’.  Yes, that,--- my fellow citizens is from the Declaration of Independence. We have that stated control unless-- and UNTIL-- someone or some entity encroaches on those freedoms by DIRECTLY –OBLIQUELY harming us.

When our children are threatened, the Momma Grizzly comes out in almost anyone.

Providing a SAFE and SECURE learning environment for our children while at school is clearly in our State Statutes. In accordance with s. 1, Art. IX of the State Constitution, all K-12 public school students are entitled to a uniform, safe, secure, efficient, and high quality system of education, one that allows students the opportunity to obtain a high quality education.

For the record, the content of the distributed to the board members documents, the same ones that were provided via e-mail accepted by the superintendent’s office for use at today’s Board Meeting:
#1) is a 2-page list of individual schools or systems or entire countries in at least 7 countries including Canada, Austria, Germany, England, Wales, Ireland and France.  The list included is of those that made recommendation to ban, banned or removed wi-fi from the school buildings/campuses. In the United States, USA Progressive Librarians Guild recommended no wireless technology in libraries & schools.  
#2) A special note—Corporatist Bill Gates’ financial involvement in the Common Core State Standards Initiative is well documented—in part, creating a platform for data collection. Concurrently, Microsoft will be promoting the use of wi-fi in the classroom through various initiatives.  Then, along comes a whistle-blower of sorts-- his former president of Microsoft Canada is warning of the dangers of wi-fi and ‘we should exercise caution, especially with children.’
#3) A June 26, 2013 article titled “New ‘digital dementia’ plaguing young tech users”.  ‘DIGITAL DEMENTIA’--A new label has been made –“This excess use of technology leads to unbalanced brain development, as heavy users are more likely to overdevelop their left brains, leaving their right brains underdeveloped.
The left side of the brain is generally associated with rational thought, numerical computation and fact finding, while the right side of the brain is responsible for more creative skills and emotional thoughts. If the right brain remains under developed in the long term, it can lead to the early onset of dementia.”

This announcement should be of extreme concern as we place children for unknown more amounts of time in front of computer screens to administer curriculum and assessments.
In the late 50’s and into the 60’s the threat of nuclear warfare with Russia was enough to declare our schools as ‘Fall Out Shelters’, a safe haven in the event of a radiation emergency.  Cell towers are not recommended to be near schools and are not legally permissible in many areas due to their radiation. Would it then be safe to put wireless wi-fi routers inside the schools? Today, will we be so unnecessarily foolish to let our schools be radio frequency ‘Fall Out Zones’? 

Am I an expert witness?


Am I Paulette Revere warning you the British are coming, the British are coming?—They are already here.
TODAY – as we stand here – AND – for a long time – Children have been AND are being exposed to the Harmful Effects of ‘Wireless Technology’.
Just because the evidence is disputed and there is no consensus does not mean the damaging effects do not exist.
Am I a Canary in a Coal mine warning of a recognized danger that you can’t see or smell, touch or taste?
Regrettably---Now, the Clay County School policy makers-will INCREASE and EXPAND the ROLL OUT of wireless technology in the classroom. That ROLL OUT WILL CORRAL AND TRAP – Every Single Individual in each of Clay County School buildings’ ‘Fallout Zone’.
Obviously, concerned citizens are calling for immediate Board action - and injunctive measures - halting deployment of all types of wireless Technology as well as the removal of all deployed equipment in Clay County Schools.
Heed the warnings and act upon the power you have been granted by the people-Eliminate threats to public safety in the classroom.
From my research to date, answers to the Clay County Public School System so as not to add to the negative health consequence of persons exposed to wireless technology is to use fiber-optics or DSL in school buildings. The added value to not being wireless--The transmission of data is more efficient and secure with fiber-optics and DSL.

The 'DIGITAL DEMENTIA' mention brings a whole new danger to light. What else don't we know yet about all this technology these children have been living with all their lives?

Overall, willful ignorance is not the answer when the public safety of the children is threatened.
I am available to discuss the technology deployment issue now, 5 days from now or 5 months from now, etc.  My personal e-mail address: Monique.thomas1791@gmail.com
Referenced articles:
Removal of wi-fi in schools
Microsoft Canada CEO warning—

Digital Dementia--

Friday, July 26, 2013

MAJOR ALERT for Private School and Homeschool Parents. The Plan: Your Child WILL be Taught Common Core. WITH UPDDATE

State education departments can gain control of private education and homeschooling through more regulations, oversight, reporting requirements, teacher licensure mandates

Do you think you have freedom to educate your child as you, the parent, sees fit?  Do you look to the State for educational development/delivery for your child or have you selected private/homeschool options?  If you have chosen private/homeschool options, it may not be  much different than the public school education offered by the state of Alabama.   The state not only controls the public development/direction of education, it will also control both private/homeschool educational development/direction. 

Watch this Alabama Department of Education Private School Licensure Meeting at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/35665549.

 A reader contacted me and wrote:

This video of the Alabama State Department Education meeting with private, church, and home school representatives will make your blood boil.  They are creating a new department, charging new fees, implementing unprecedented oversight and reporting requirements, and monitoring the list of those schools that do not register with the State Department of Education.  If you do not register, your students are unable to attend a postsecondary institution (2-or 4-year).  Home schoolers MUST report attendance, grades, coursework, etc. to the local school superintendent on a regular basis.  I could go on and on.  Please take the time to watch it!  Please share this with everyone in our group and others...

You can scroll down on this link and read the Facebook comments.  Common Core will be adhered to through these new regulations for private schools and homeschooled students.  From a reader:

Let's just avoid the question on the HS front. Yes, you can teach your kids, as you like, as long as the umbrella school complies with everything needed around the 26-28 mark to get the license. Didn't that list of requirements include that all teachers must be state certified before they would offer the Umbrella school's license? Didn't it also clearly say that the curriculum must comply to state standards or as we all know the COMMON CORE standards? If our Umbrella School has to provide a list of curriculum wouldn't that again take the child's education out of the parent's hands? Doesn't that mean I have to teach what my cover school tells me to teach and I need to be certified by the state? I am a little shocked that this is being discussed in AL of all places, so maybe just maybe, the distress I'm currently feeling is keeping me from looking at this objectively. Does anyone else find it ironic that this guy was hired about the same time our state school board adopted the CC to receive additional federal funding. Why didn't this get down to the local level where our local elected school board reps could review all of this and bring it to our attention? Are they really working for our children or were they looking at all of those new federal dollars that would be lining their pocket and the AEA? Just curious and like I said maybe my shock is getting the best of me now.

These private schools and homeschooling groups should know what is store for them in Alabama.   It is mentioned around the 28 minute mark or so that tutoring must be done by an Alabama licensed teacher.  Does this mean students cannot be taught by a parent who does not possess a state teaching certification?

We warned about this type of power grabbing that we spotted in a previous virtual school bill in Missouri.  From Homeschoolers, Beware of Educational Carrots Offered by Virtual School Courses:

We recently wrote "Will Home Schooled and Private Schooled Students have to take Common Core Assessments" and state legislation about this issue being questioned by a private school in Deland, Florida.  The school was requesting clarification from the Governor about language which seemingly indicated private school credits would not transfer to public schools in certain courses because the private school tests were not under the same assessments (common core) as the public schools.
Missouri Senator Jane Cunningham introduced SB706  in January 2012 that should have triggered concern in the homeschooling community.  The bill contained language for virtual schooling which has been offered to home schoolers by various school districts:

A student may enroll in the virtual courses or programs
2 offered by any virtual education provider or school district in Missouri
3 that meets the standards of the department of elementary and
4 secondary education and is accredited. The department may offer its
5 own virtual courses or programs. Any student who enrolls in a virtual
6 course or program under this section shall be considered a public
7 school student and shall take the components of the statewide

8 assessments under section 160.518 that relate to the virtual course or
9 program in which they are enrolled.
The virtual nonresident student's
10 district of residence shall pay the school district or charter school
11 providing such virtual education an amount equal to seventy-two and
12 one half percent of the previous year's statewide average current
13 expenditure per average daily attendance.

The Alabama Facebook commenter is correct.  "Statewide assessments" = Common Core assessments.  Bureaucrats will try to tell you assessments are taken from "Missouri Learning Standards" or "Alabama Learning Standards" to hide the fact that they are aligned to Common Core State Standards.  

Is a government entity dictating how/what private schools/homeschooling parents teach coming soon to your state? Private school parents and homeschool parents better watch their state education departments closely and be prepared to stop this invasion of their freedom to educate their children in the manner in which they deem appropriate. 

Update:  Here's a great link from the36review.com on the Alabama decision:

The Alabama State Department of Education is also creating a new unit:  The Office of Non-public Schools.  This new office will fall under the Office of Supporting Services.

This means we are also treated to the Orwellian lunacy of a very publicly funded “Office of Non-public Schools.” 
Why should public education create an office for non-public schools? 

Update July 28:  Parents receive reprieve for now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why Are Some Florida Former GOP Leaders Supporting Common Core? Are They Really Republicans?

From Truth in American Education and Countering Florida GOP Leaders Defense of the Common Core:

Five former Florida Republican Party leaders have urged the state GOP to ignore the parents and teachers who object to the centralization of education through the Common Core State (sic) Standards. Like other Common Core proponents, they repeat the talking points; like the others, they fail to produce evidence to support their statements. Below is a point-by-point response to their claims. 
 Read more here for the responses to the fallacious claims of these party leaders.

Why are unelected officials offering their misguided opinion on Common Core especially when the Republican National Committee has come out against the standards?  From the RNC resolution against Common Core State Standards:

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is — an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state, and be it finally

RESOLVED, the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (p36) (3.); and therefore, the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.

Do the five unelected Republican officials in Florida need to change parties?  By supporting the Common Core standards, are they supporting the current administration's blueprint for education?  Why would these self proclaimed Republicans oppose the Republican National Committee's call to repeal Common Core?

Kindergarten Hijacked Due to Common Core Standards? Early Educators Warned About This Three Years Ago.

A mother made a youtube video showing the kindergarten work mandated by Common Core standards.  Watch this video "Kindergarten Hijacked" by Sara Wottawa:

Is this mother showing evidence of the meltdown of kindergarteners due to Common Core aligned curriculum?  Does this curriculum align to the Common Core standards that approximately 500 early childhood educators and experts determined were detrimental to young children three years ago?  

Here are documents and statements from allianceforchildhood.org which seem to bolster this mom's youtube video on her son's kindergarten experiences:

 Why we object to the K–3 Core Standards  

The core standards address the fact that students are graduating from high school ill prepared for college or careers. Even in the best universities a shockingly large number of students need remedial help with basic language arts and math skills. We support the idea of a national effort to address this problem, but to let that concern shape kindergarten and early elementary education is short-sighted.

Young children are entering their school years, not exiting them. They need support and encouragement to become strong, motivated learners for their whole lives—in school and beyond. That strength begins with active hands-on learning. Current state standards have already led to long hours of didactic instruction, scripted teaching, a narrowing of the curriculum, and overuse of standardized tests with young children. The new standards will almost certainly intensify those inappropriate practices. (See Crisis in the Kindergarten for data on current practices in public kindergarten education.)

The new standards call for kindergarten children to master over 90 skills related to literacy and mathmatics.  Is this necessary for children to succeed in school? Experts know of no research showing that children who read at age five do better in the long run than children who learn at six or seven. The proposed standards will almost certainly add to the stress already afflicting many children in kindergarten and the early grades—stress associated by clinicians with growing problems of aggressive behavior in young children and with burnout by third or fourth grade.

An added burden for children and teachers is the extensive testing required to assess mastery of these skills.  Alliance research indicates that kindergartens already devote 20 to 30 minutes per day for testing or test preparation.  A Milwaukee teacher reported having to give over 150 tests to her kindergarten children last year.

Effective learning in the early years requires a very different starting point than the one presumed in the core standards. The federal Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services are working together to develop a fresh look at how children learn best from birth through age eight. New research points to the indivisibility of physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. The core standards are based on a narrow and flawed focus on subject matter in isolation, overemphasizing cognitive skills at the expense of all others.

The writers of these new standards did get one thing right in relation to young children.  They use the word ‘play’—something that most other standards writers have scrupulously avoided. In the section called “What is not covered by the Standards,” the document says, “[T]he use of play with young children is not specified by the Standards, but it is welcome as a valuable activity in its own right and as a way to help students meet the expectations in this document.”

The core standards do not provide for ongoing research or review of the outcomes of their adoption. The entire K–12 standards initiative is flawed by this omission, which is especially egregious in relation to the youngest students. It is urgent that the federal goverment require research of the long-term effects of the standards and related testing on children in K-3.

What you can do: The standards were finalized in June. Each state will need to decide if it will adopt them.  Tell your own governor, chief state school officer, and state early childhood specialists about the need to promote play and play-based learning in Kindergarten and the need to protect young children from testing. Click on the links in this section to find the addresses of your state officials. Let your voice be heard.
For more information: Read our press release, our statement on the standards, signed by hundreds of leading educators and health professionals, and signers' comments. Also see public comments by Alliance Senior Researcher Ed Miller presented at an April 23 meeting on early learning at the U.S. Department of Education. You can read commentaries by early childhood educators, Eric Gidseg and Carla Horwitz, on the likely effects of the core kindergarten standards.

Documents were presented to the Department of Education three years ago.  Why don't you see this information on the Common Core State School Initiative's website?  Why aren't the pro-Common Core proponents informing parents, taxpayers, legislators, school boards, districts, etc that five members of the validation committee refused to sign onto the standards?  Why is dissent of the standards from professionals ignored?

Even if the CCSS lobby won't tell you the truth about the adoption/implementation of the standards, you are able to see the results from the students.  Are we seeing a generation of students detaching from school? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Join this #stopcommoncore Telephone Conference Thursday, July 25

“Stop Common Core Conference Call"

Common Core State Standards in education have garnered a growing degree of attention from all sides of the educational policy field in the last several months. New Hampshire was one of the states to adopt this new set of academic standards and is right at the center of this lively debate currently going on in the school halls.

Common Core's advocates say it raises the educational bar. Yet, detractors have indicated that Common Core comes with a number of detrimental trade-offs.

The minds and futures of children merit the careful consideration of all angles and facts to determine the truth and the best course of action.

Interested parties are invited to join an exclusive 90-minute discussion call that will address Common Core State Standards. Respected educational policy experts from several well-known organizations will be on the phone to present valuable information and respond to your questions.
The discussion call will be held on:
• • •
Thursday, July 25 @ 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm EST (last 30 minutes will be a Q &A) 
Call in Number: 530-881-1300 Code: 587258

Experts on the call will include:
Dr. Sandra Stotsky: Sandra Stotsky was professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas and held the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality. She retired in December 2012. She served as Senior Associate Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from 1999-2003, where she was in charge of developing or revising all the state’s K-12 standards, teacher licensure tests, and teacher and administrator licensure regulations. She served on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from 2006-2010, appointed by Governor Mitt Romney. She served on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, from 2006-2008, appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Most recently she served on the Common Core Validation Committee, from 2009-2010. She was also editor of NCTE’s premier research journal, Research in the Teaching of English, from 1991 to 1997. She has published extensively in professional journals and written several books.

Joy Pullman: education research fellow, The Heartland Institute is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, a national monthly publication. In that capacity, she has interviewed and produced podcasts with many of the leading figures in school reform. She previously was the assistant editor for American Magazine at the American Enterprise Institute. She is also the 2013 recipient of a Robert Novak journalism fellowship for in-
depth reporting on Common Core national education standards.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Education - It's A Funding Problem

By now most people are familiar with the Melissa Harris-Perry video where she accused us of having an old fashioned notion of our children belonging to us, when in fact they belong to the collective.

I believe MS. Harris-Perry has it wrong.  We have been treating our children as belonging to the collective for a long time and that is one of the biggest problems with education.

We collectively pay for education. Ever since it was mandated in our country (and our state) we signed the social contract that says we will all pay for education because ultimately we will all benefit from preparing future generations.

While this payment was handled at the local level there were fewer problems.  If the locals didn’t like the school teacher they chose, they replaced her.  She was accountable to them because they paid her salary directly.

As we have expanded the means by which we pay for education, we have expanded the number of people who feel entitled to a say in what we at the local level are doing with their money.  Government has a responsibility to the taxpayer to be responsible stewards of our money and to demand accountability. That is what has led us to our current predicament with education - the concept that we are accountable to the federal government for the goals that they have set for the money they send us. The children belong to all of us in that we all pay for them. Yes it is our money, but once it goes through the fed’s hands they can claim responsibility to see that it is spent “wisely.”

That means that they will set standards (in the broadest sense) for how we operate our schools. The nature of a bureaucracy to justify and expand its existence guarantees that they will seek greater and greater control over what we do locally.  This sets up an imbalance.

The average school district only receives 7% of its funding from the Federal government, yet focuses more than 50% of its time on accountability measures to the feds: reporting, training, programs etc.  We should probably congratulate congress because that is one heck of a return on an investment.

The problem arises in terms of achieving consensus with an ever expanding group of stakeholders. Put seven teachers together in a classroom and have them agree on the best way to teach math. You will be there for days. Ask ten different school districts to agree on the definition of “critical thinking” and how to teach it and you may never get consensus. Common Core shines a spotlight on the extreme difficulty of developing agreement about education; what should be taught and how. Finding the balance between accountability and flexibility is a Sisyphean task .

Last week, as the House Education committee began debating the ESEA, they were only able to pay lip service to local control. After all, they must be responsible stewards of your money and therefore have to maintain some sense of accountability.  The public will never be fully satisfied with their work because it will still require them to set some standards and accountability at the national level that we will never all agree on. As long as we continue to send our money for education through them, we will answer to them. 

An audience member at a recent Common Core meeting said he would never vote for another bond issue or tax increase from his district so long as they were implementing Common Core and other federally pushed programs. The room erupted in applause.  Top down intervention is going to make life at the local level very challenging.
Wouldn’t it be far simpler to find 7% savings and just do what we can agree on locally? Wouldn’t that make the local taxpayer infinitely happier?

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